For this week’s Mobile Watch we have not one, but two titles in the spotlight, including simulation spin-off Tiny Death Star and comic-book puzzler Marvel Puzzle Quest. Both are available via the iTunes and Google Play (Android) stores for free.
Star Wars: Tiny Death Star
Published by Disney, in partnership with LucasArts, Star Wars: Tiny Death Star is a bite sized simulation game in which players create and develop their very own space-faring behemoth.
This is done primarily through housing “Bitizens” and building levels. Each of these levels has its own function though the majority are used to stock and sell goods to visitors. Money will only start dropping into the Death Star coffers when you successfully stock and flog goods and services to your interstellar punters.
If the concept sounds familiar, that’s because developer NimbleBit made a similar game not too long ago by the name of Tiny Tower. In both mobile titles, everything is done in real time, resulting in a game that’s suited towards short bursts of play as users assign their Bitizens to new tasks and then leave them to it.
Though you are effectively left to do whatever you want with your Death Star, an ongoing pool of missions are constantly available, guiding you through a network of advanced mechanics.
It’s fun, charming, and has plenty of character, weaving in cameos from the entire Star Wars series. With that said it isn’t a game that will instantly draw you in. Given its nature as a real-time sim, you’ll need to commit for a number of days before it really starts to shine.
Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, despite its simplicity, is still one of my favourite portable games of all time. Developer Infinite Interactive took the basic “Connect-3” game model and combined it with medieval RPG elements. This resulted in a ground-breaking puzzler for the DS and PSP which has gone on to spawn a number of sequels and spin-offs.
Dark Reign is essentially your bog-standard Puzzle Quest experience albeit one populated by a spread of iconic Marvel heroes and villains. You’ll bound from one scenario to another, watching as the story unfolds between battles.
The battles themselves are turn-based, allowing players and their opponents to house three team members. Connect three or more identical tiles on the board and you will deal damage to your active opponent, reducing their health count. Connecting these tiles will also fill an energy meter for heroes, sort of like mana or MP. Once high enough you can trigger one of their abilities which unlock as you train them.
If this is your first time with the series then, chances are, you’ll easily get sucked in. However, those who played the original games may be a little put off. Playing as a single, customisable character was the biggest draw for me though this approach would never have worked with the Marvel license. Instead, you have a pre-set roster of heroes which can be expanded as you battle, either through random, booster-like items or individually in the game store.