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Free Game Spotlight: Magic The Gathering Puzzle Quest

Free Game Spotlight: Magic The Gathering Puzzle Quest

Dev: Hibernum
Platform(s): iOS, Android
Release Date: December 15, 2015

Guest Post by: Michael Wells

Welcome to the July Free Game spotlight! This month we’re talking about Poke– wait, we’re not talking about Pokemon Go? No we’re not. If ever in the history of games there was something that didn’t need a spotlight, it’s Pokemon Go. No, this month’s game is Magic the Gathering Puzzle Quest.

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Pictured: Not Pokemon Go

First thing’s first, Magic the Gathering Puzzle Quest is a free-to-play game. It’s a free download with options for micro-transactions. Most of the micro-transactions require the game’s premium currency, but some exclusive cards or characters can only be purchased with real money. It’s got daily rewards, event rewards, and PvP ranking rewards to keep you coming back in the hopes of convincing you to open your wallet. If you’ve played any free-to-play game since Farmville, you know what to expect. That being said, the game is worth trying for two reasons. First: the game respects your time. Micro-transactions are available, but aren’t necessary to engage with the game and get a real sense of progress. Second: the game is fun to play.

The Puzzle Quest series began back in March of 2007 as the first successful attempt to take the match three gameplay of Bejeweled and match it up with RPG combat and character progression. It was a surprising two-great-tastes-that-taste-great-together moment and has inspired a whole sub-genre of puzzle RPGs. The first game was a modest hit but its more ambitious sequel failed to find an audience. Puzzle Quest 2 languished on various app stores for several years before publisher, D3, quietly made the game to free-to-play. Since then, D3 has used the basic match three plus combat gameplay as a platform for licensed properties like Adventure Time, Marvel, and, most recently, Magic the Gathering. While the previous licences were odd fits for the formula, Magic the Gathering gets the game back to the strengths that made the first game such a surprise and also provides its own welcome twist.

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Free Game Spotlight: Snake.io

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Credit: Amelos Interactive

Developer: Amelos Interactive
Platform: Google Play  &  iOS

Snake.io is the spiritual successor to the Miniclip minimalistic games Agar.io and Slither.io. It is apart of the fine tradition of relaxing and chill mobile games meant for waiting in line at the grocery store or ignoring your rude cousin at a family gathering. I was never the greatest fan of Agar.io. I enjoyed its minimalist design and how easy it was to just continue after inevitably dying over and over and over again. However, I think where Snake.io shines and where Agar.io failed to really reach me is that Agar.io was too aggressive to me, too stressful.

There certainly are ways to be tactfully aggressive with Snake.io but mostly it feels like we’re all just swimming along in this weird world where we’re all just trying to eat yummy colorful dots. The tactics in the game, for me, don’t come in until I reach a large enough size where I can surround other players and slowly close in on them until they are forced to collide with me and then I eat their souls, yummy.

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One of my more successful runs.

Snake.io is just a simple game and it doesn’t pretend to be anything more. There are calls for some improvements like adjustable controls and there are criticisms of their offline mode that the bots are too easy. It’s not an original game. It directly uses the visual model of Agar.io and the game play of Slither.io but, despite the fact that it isn’t the original, I definitely prefer this version with a much cleaner game design, more accurate movements, and minimal lag.

Elder Sign: Omens

Elder Sign: Omens Review
Fantasy Flight Games
Mobile Game

I picked up this one because I own Elder Sign, the board game, and I love it. I dipped my toe in the gaming world of H. P. Lovecraft with Elder Sign and I ran off madly into the night with Cthulhu soon after.


Elder Sign: Omens plays almost just like the board game, which to me is a huge bonus. I walked into this with a general idea of what I am doing. It has a similar array of characters to choose from. I say similar because I do not own all of the expansions for the board game, but have purchased most of the expansions for the mobile game, which run about $2.99 each.


You choose your Elder One. Some are obviously much harder than others. I’ve beaten all of them except Cthulhu himself, the Elder One of the first expansion you can purchase. After you have made your selection (it does tell you how easy/hard each Elder One is), you select four members of your team. You get to go over each of their abilities and, after a lot of practice, I do have my ‘dream team’ out of the characters that are already unlocked. I do urge you to always take Kate Winthrop with you, since she is immune to terror effects and I find her instrumental in the game.


You go from room to room, defeating evil and gaining items. You gain spells (they hold dice rolls that you may need), common and rare weapons (additional red and/or yellow die to add to your pool), clues (the ability to reroll all remaining dice in your pool), and Elder Signs. You need to collect enough Elder Signs before the Elder One’s Doom Track fills up. Once it fills up, game over. However, if you get the Signs first, you win.


Simple, right?

It’s amazingly well done. It never plays the same twice, even if you pick the same Elder One and the same team. If you love H. P. Lovecraft, or Elder Sign, or board games, then you have to pick this game up. It’s available in your app store.

Fallout Shelter

Fallout Shelter by Bethesda
Mobile Game

So, I’ve had the pleasure of playing the crap out of Fallout Shelter for my Samsung/Android. It’s been out long enough that I’ve beaten it and now am working on new content that they just put into the game. There is a really good reason for the new content, but I will get to that.

You are in control of a Shelter and the goal is to grow your shelter and protect your people. Simple right? Not really. I think I went through 10 different vaults before I didn’t kill all my people.

You have to worry about power to your rooms. After that, you need food and water for your people. They also like to be happy. So you create your rooms, put people in them (when they are in the ‘correct room,’ the cursors on the corners turns green) and hope they aren’t killed by raiders or deathclaws. BTW, Deathclaws come when you have more than 50 people.

You create training rooms to increase the S.P.E.C.I.A.L stats of your people (Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charm, Intelligence, Agility and Luck). You can also send people into the wasteland with items (the gun and armor you can equip and a max of 25 Stimpacks and Radaways). They will bring back armor, guns and caps. Be sure to keep checking on them to bring them back before they die out there.

Now that I’ve said all of that, let’s talk about what I think. I think it is a fairly awesome time kill that took me a bit to get started. However, I reached the ‘end’ fairly quickly once I got started. I have 200 people, which is the max. I have pretty good guns and armor doesn’t matter because I’ve been maxing out all of their stats. At this point, I’m trying to get all the collectables, which is difficult since I’ve maxed out my people.

I must admit I was surprised that they added Halloween decorations, which I loved, but I’m confused because they only did the diner and the living quarters, which seems a little half-hearted. Why not just do them all?

Now they have recently added a new mode: Survival. You start getting attacked immediately by larger groups and you can’t revive anyone that dies. I’ve started it and it is taking longer to build up than previous vaults. It is definitely interesting.

With all that said Fallout Shelter is a good game, a good time waster, but I really hope they do more with it. It’s awesome and short and a nice way to keep people interested in Fallout 4 coming out, but we will see if it holds up over time or fizzles out.