You sound like somebody who just plays online multiplayer games and gets immediately bored at anything that tries to tell an actual story. You sound like your just in it for fast quick paced gameplay and nothing else
This ask almost directly follows me talking about JRPGs I've played, where I state I put more than 100 hours in to the original Final Fantasy 7. I have lots and lots and lots of posts on this blog also stating how much I don't like Final Fantasy becoming more of an action game and less of a turn-based RPG. Just saying.
Also let it be known that while at TSSZ, I reviewed Grand Theft Auto 4, Grand Theft Auto 5, Phantasy Star Zero, Sands of Destruction, Breath of the Wild, Judgment, and was in the process of also reviewing Final Fantasy 7 Remake when Tristan shut the site down*. A lot of those games, I put 30-50+ hours in to. For Breath of the Wild, I put THREE HUNDRED hours in to it, by the time I got everything I wanted out of it.
Steam lists my playtime in Skyrim at 138 hours, and I'm probably not even halfway done with the main questline. I think I'm over 50 hours in to FF7 Remake, finally nearing the end of the game.
But here's the deal: I do like, and even tend to prefer, shorter, more simple games as I get older. I've taken to multi-tasking a lot, so splitting my attention between a game and Youtube (or Twitch) has become how I relax.
When I'm splitting my attention like that, I don't like playing story-heavy games, because I think the narrative deserves my undivided attention.
And often it's just... way easier to... not do that. To fall back on replaying Spelunky, or Burnout Paradise, or a narrative-driven game I've already finished so that I don't have to pay attention to the cutscenes the second time through. To chill out and vegetate to something I don't have to devote my full attention to.
Is there anything wrong with that? Only a little. I could, and try to, push myself to play bigger and more narrative driven games. It's why I ended up playing through Uncharted 1 and 2 a couple years ago, but I got lost on whether or not I should bother with Uncharted 3 or just move on to The Last Of Us.
But also: I'm allowed to play what I want to play, and this ask feels ever so slightly like an attack. And to be honest, I don't understand why.
* I probably reviewed more long games, but those are the names that jump out at me, and most of my TSSZ reviews have not yet been archived on Last Minute Continue.
(Ads to the left, gameplay to the right, cropped for formatting.)
This is a pretty basic run-of-the-mill idle game with not much different mechanics than other idle games I’ve played. You can repeatedly tap cannabis plants to speed up harvesting, tap a the machine at the end of the conveyer belt to speed the buds down the production line and tap the cash register area to speed up customers coming in and out and purchasing the cannabis products. All of this also happens on its own over time thus your operation continues to run while you’re idle or away from the app (you can collect the money you earned while away when you come back).
There are various ways other ways to boost production and earnings in the background such as hiring and assigning managers to give certain stations temporary stat boosts, upgrading stations and managers, upgrading cannabis strains and using temporary boosters that boost the whole operation at once (ex. multiplying all profits). I guess one thing that is slightly different than the idle games I’ve played specifically is the upgrade system for plants and managers - you can earn and buy crates that contain cards and you can upgrade the plant/manager once you get enough cards for that specific asset. This is actually more similar to the upgrade system for the real-time PVP strategy game Clash Royale, as I mentioned in this post.
I guess the most exciting part of the game is collecting different cannabis strains and expanding your operation although, at least for as far as I’ve gotten, expanding is just adding more harvesting tables. I guess I’m kind of biased since I’m not a huge fan of idle games but I still think this game is less fun than something like Egg Inc. This isn’t a bad game though within its genre and it’s decently paced (unlike 9 Months, which comes to a standstill if you don’t watch ads or pay money) and has nice enough art although the cartoon people are kind of wonky. I like the sound effects when you tap the plants or processing/packaging machine (may seem like something small but personally I find sound effects really enhance my experience in casual games) and there’s some cute humor like one of the in-game currencies being called Tokins (as in “toke-ins”) and your first customer saying “I just bought weed legally!” as they leave the store 😂
I don’t really have any major complaints about this game other than it’s pretty much an average idle game, just weed-themed. If you like idle games and weed I guess this would be the perfect game for you, but if you’re looking for something new or especially interesting you won’t really find it here. As for the ads, at least the ones I’ve seen, they’re totally honest and accurate, the art style and general setup are exactly the same and you tap and upgrade things essentially just like you do in the interactive ads (with some very small differences that are acceptable for the purpose of demonstration in an ad imo, and the 2nd ad I included above is also older which might explain some style difference).
Ad Honesty Rating: 5/5
Overall Rating: 3/5
If you got to the end, thanks so much for reading 🥳 I’m always open to game suggestions if you have any!
Previous generations might've had other obvious means of tracking their age, but I just noticed how the godawful mobile game ad templates come with one specific use that never fails to miss the mark on anyone's use of the Internet.
Just like Evony keeps changing its subdivided title in order to escape plummetting app store figures and re-emerge on the top of the Downloads charts, the "If you're over X, then you must try Game Y!" template is similarly unkillable.
It's always around here on Tumblr, either here or on Facebook, always just sort of aiming for my actual age without ever stating it openly, and I assume the ad campaign manager that's associated just copy-pasted the same header and incrementally changed the number listed in relation to the viewing user's stated birth date.
Right now, I'm looking at an ad for some sort of Match-3 Gardenscapes clone reskinned in order to look like a farm upkeep sim. The ad's pitch line reads "If you're over 37, you MUST try this new Hit Computer Game!"
It's sufficiently nonspecific as to be used for a ton and a half's worth of campaigns, and probably tied to a cheeky bit of code that looks at my birth date, adds a year to avoid being too obvious and then lets it loose.
It's honestly amusing. I'm on my yearly three weeks off from work, so the only adulting I've done since last Thursday involves paying my bills, doing my groceries, cooking and cleaning. Everything else is dedicated to nerdery with friends, and to video games decidedly more crunchy and with a deeper meta than someone's cloned and monetized Bejeweled ripoff.
Fuck, the last time I touched Gardenscapes was to troll my mother by using a hacked APK that made my metered uses of the actual garden-design mechanic theoretically infinite. I didn't touch the Match-3 core at all and sent her a screenshot of my twee little mansion in all its isometric, flat-assets-under-low-poly-sprites grandeur fifteen minutes after sideloading it on my phone.
She was seething, and I was cackling like the cruel bastard I sometimes am.
Auto Play and Idle Games, the Lo Fi Hip Hop of Video Games
Auto Play and Idle Games, the Lo Fi Hip Hop of Video Games
Part 1: The First Idle RPG
Progress Quest by Erik Fredricksen was an early, menu-based game created as a kind of rhetoric. You open the game, and it plays itself. It is a program that masquerades as a game, but is not a game, because there is no interactivity. Yet it was still extremely popular at the time. This was not because tons of people really liked the joke, or that they loved satire.…
While I don't pretend to have done a comprehensive review of all casual games, I believe it is impossible. But you have all played these games.
"Marbles" and puzzles
These games don't need to be explained, I think. Puzzles, riddles and Tetris, as well as variations of the "three in a row" game, help office plankton around the world to keep their minds busy. There are many games on play store and internet but here are some names such as
Save the Alien
The maze game 3D
The arcades we love and have played since childhood are those that we enjoy. We first played them on Dendy's computer, then on the PC of a friend, then on the smartphone purchased by our parents as a birthday present.
The visuals of arcades have improved tremendously over the years. They are now more clear-cut and stunning, and their gameplay and plots are more original. These games can also be used to relax, distract, or rest and improve your reaction speed.
Attention games, where you have to spot differences or find lost objects, were created long before the "Computer Era". These were the first computer games. They were based on stock photos of lost objects. This made it very difficult to locate them on the screen. There are many variations of the "I search" game. Some of these games require you to search for items and complete "circles". While some locations may vary from others, others remind you of quest-style games. These games are not only for fans of the genre, but also for visual people.
Most people have a favorite simulator. These games can help improve your stress tolerance and speed of reaction. Some even serve as a guide for running a business. When the player assumes the role of a manager of a restaurant or hotel, they are able to solve many small problems in a short time.There are ma games like Run and Smash etc.
A large section of survival simulations is available -- called "robin sonades". These casual games are, in a way, reminiscent of primitive strategy games. You play as a group of people or animals who find themselves on a desert island and need to escape before they become hungry or fight among themselves.
Sports simulators. This category includes all racings, including football, basketball and tennis, as well as fighting. There is something for everyone.
You can play chess or backgammon as well as draughts and chess. There are also many "gambling" options such cards, roulettes and poker. While this isn't gambling per se they can be played for fun and not for real money. This is also known as "social gambling". There are many such games on the market. They come in a variety of styles, including a classical design and unique gameplay. Examples of casual slots games include Yggdrasil (about a magic tree), Top Drop (about Colombian smugglers), and Back to the ’90s (a slot that reflects the 90's Japanese fightings).
You will find many games that focus on romantic relationships, such as the Otome and date simulators. Google Play has hundreds of these games available for mobile devices. Many of these games are 18+. It's hard to identify the intended audience for such games. This is a genre that not only girls love. High-quality graphics and a wide variety of plots make modern romantic mini games stand out.
This genre of simulators is what I chose to highlight because it combines elements from economic and building simulations and sometimes includes elements of arcades. The most well-known mobile game is Farms. You can progress to a specific level by breaking down the game's time. You can build, sell, and buy animals here, just like on a real farm. There are sometimes other problems, such as a bear taking away your animals, livestock deaths or crop damage.
There is something about fixing items that is so satisfying. Unfortunately, I am terrible at it. Thankfully, there is a game that let me live out my repairwoman fantasy.
Assemble with Care is a casual puzzle game by ustwo games, the studio behind Monument Valley. You play as Maria, a travelling repairwoman as she arrives in the humble town of Bellariva. She plans on just fixing a few things to…
I noticed an ad for what seemed to be practically the same exact game as Merge Mansion, so instead of doing an individual review for it, I decided to find as many Merge Mansion dupes as I could and review and rank them all!
If you’ve never played Merge Mansion or similar games, the concept is basically merging together two of the same item to get higher-level items of the same category. The items spawn from other items (I don’t know if there’s a technical name but I call them spawners), which you usually need to tap in order to put more mergeable items on the board. You can usually create new spawners by merging special parts together too, and create more powerful spawners by merging together two of the same spawner. The objective is to fulfill tasks the game gives you to obtain certain items by making enough merges. I enjoy these games because it’s satisfying to merge things together and discover new items.
Here is a handy-dandy rubric I used to score and compare each game to the best of my ability. This way instead of going by which games I just liked overall, you can pick which game you’d like to play based on the aspects that are important to you! (All of these metrics and scores will be broken down and explained further below.)
See all seven games (including Merge Mansion itself) ranked from best to worst below:
1. Travel Town
Developer: Magmatic Games Ltd
Release Date: Feb. 12, 2021
So this game is actually the one on the list that is the least like Merge Mansion, and I wouldn’t really call it a copycat unlike some of the other games on the list. However, the basic gameplay is the same as Merge Mansion and all the other games, so I think it’s fair to put it in the same category. (It also has the common thread of using energy, coins, diamonds and a level system, all using similar symbolism as the rest of the games.)
I really like this game’s vibrant colors and beautiful items, and the fact that all of your goals are shown right above you which is less frustrating than having to switch back and forth between your goals tab. I also like that you have a lot of goals at once so that you don’t feel like you’re wasting energy if you spawn and merge items that aren’t related to a current goal when the spawner you actually need is reloading.
Another thing that makes this game unique is that instead of just unlocking new renovations or parts of the story with each goal you fulfill, you get coins for fulfilling goals that you can then spend on the construction stages, that come with additional parts of the story in turn. I’m not sure if this is a better or worse system, but is the only game on this list that does it like that.
The best part of this game I think is the fact that there are event stages with completely different items and a cool way of unlocking new parts of the board (for example, you merge tools up to a chainsaw to cut down trees blocking part of the board). For a newer game, I think it’s pretty innovative and off to a strong start!
🐚 Art: 3/3 (It’s are very vibrant and shiny-looking and the character drawings are also very well done)
🐚 Story: 2/3 (the dialog between characters is fun and humorous at times but I don’t really see a solid plot going on throughout and I couldn’t tell you any of the characters’ names or most of their relationships to each other to be honest)
🐚 Gameplay: 5/5 (I haven’t run into the frustrating thing of constantly running out of space on the board, at least not yet, and completing the merges is very satisfying. I also like the goal system and the events)
🐚 Variety: 3/3 (There isn’t that much variety on the main board to begin with but this is the only game on the list to have a log book that tracks the items you’ve unlocked and I can see from the blank sections that there will be a lot more variety going forward. Plus there is extra variety in the event stages)
🐚 Playtime vs. Wait Time (without paying for more energy or to reload spawners): 2/4 (Like most of the games on this list you can only really play the main board in short sessions before needing to wait for your energy to reload. However being able to play the event stages when they’re available can lengthen your play session)
🐚 Overall Enjoyment: 5/5 (This is sort of subjective score based on the amount of fun I personally have playing each game. I found this game to be the most fun out of all of the games and I would give it an overall 5/5 if I were reviewing it individually like I do with my usual reviews)
🐚 Total: 20/23
2. Merge Design
Developer: Stonemobile Kft.
Release Date: Feb. 19, 2021
This is another newer game that is pretty unique from Merge Mansion and off to a strong start! it’s also the only game on this list with a landscape orientation so it’s nice to play on an iPad if you have one.
For this game you fulfill objectives to place furniture and decor inside a room you’re remodeling for a client. There are different clients throughout the game and several tasks for each client; you also get to choose between three styles for each item you place in the room. There are two main designer characters you follow throughout the game and there’s occasional dialog between the designers and clients.
I found this game to be more on the challenging side because you have to experiment a bit to find the items you need, and getting the spawners you need for some of those items does not come as easily and naturally as in most other games.
One of the things I didn’t like that much in this game were that the maximum level for most item categories is not that high so you can get a lot of maxed out items pretty easily, although there is a wide variety of different items. There’s also only a handful of slots to unlock in storage (where you can move items off the board when you’re running out of room) so it can be a lot easier to run out of room which is frustrating. However, the ability to play this game for longer stretches of time than the others is a big plus!
🛋 Art: 2/3 (the character art, item art and room/furniture/decor style are each nice enough of their own but they kind of clash in my opinion, like they’re from three different games)
🛋 Story: 2/3 (it’s cool to meet the different clients along the way and you can definitely start to see the personalities of the two main characters but it’s not all that exciting)
🛋 Gameplay: 4/5 (I like that this game is a little more challenging and that the objectives are more complicated, usually requiring more items, but it’s really frustrating when the board gets so cluttered)
🛋 Variety: 3/3 (lots of different item tracks corresponding to different types of furniture and household items, and new spawners that take work to obtain but it’s fun when you see the new kinds of items you can get)
🛋 Playtime vs. Wait Time: 4/4 (by far the best game for if you want to be able to play for long stretches of time. You get a ton of energy, almost to the point where it seems like a mistake by the developers lol, and the spawners reload pretty quickly too)
🛋 Overall Enjoyment: 5/5 (between the variety of items and ability to enjoy long play sessions I definitely enjoyed this game plenty!)
🛋 Total: 20/23 (same score as Travel Town but Travel Town gets the upper hand with its event stages and less of a problem with clogging the board)
3. Merge Friends
Release Date: Nov. 6, 2020
This is the last game on the list that I wouldn’t consider an exact copycat of Merge Mansion but definitely seem like it’s influenced by it. It’s unique in its more cartoony art style which I think has some charm when it comes to the items on the board, although I was a little less fond of the character designs. This game also has parts of the board that unlock as you level up and getting new types of items takes a little time.
The objectives of these game are based on orders placed by different characters to complete certain tasks, and you get little pieces of the storyline with each task you complete. Each character has their own personality and role in the town that goes along with the items you have to give them to complete the objective. There are also some events in this game but they’re not exciting as the ones in Travel Time, they basically just seem like extra goals with extra chances for rewards.
🔨 Art: 2/3 (as mentioned I like the cartoony art style on the board but don’t like the character designs as much)
🔨 Story: 3/3 (this is one of the only games where I actually got kind of attached to the characters and wanted to know what would happen next)
🔨 Gameplay: 5/5 (merges are satisfying, didn’t have problems with the board getting clogged up and I liked that each objective went along with the story i.e. the character had a specific use for the items as explained through the dialog)
🔨 Variety: 3/3 (it takes a little longer to get more categories of items but once you unlock more of the board it’s fun to see the new categories you can come across, the items also level up pretty far)
🔨 Playtime vs. Wait Time: 1/4 (unfortunately you can only play this game in short spurts once you run out of energy)
🔨 Overall Enjoyment: 4/5 (solid game but not being able to play for longer sessions puts a bit of a damper on it)
🔨 Total: 18/23
4. Miss Merge
Developer: TrueMyth Games Ltd
Release Date: Feb. 2021
This game is probably the most blatant rip-off of Merge Mansion, but only based on the fact that they steal the fake plot from the Merge Mansion ads and actually do something with it lol. In fact it’s because of that that I actually ended up liking this game more than Merge Mansion - it gives you want you wanted from those ads that wasn’t in the actual game.
Other than the ripped ad plot and a similar grandma character design this game actually is pretty unique from the original Merge Mansion and is more similar to Merge Friends in its gameplay. It has a similar cartoony art style, similar form of objectives (except instead of orders it’s just personal requests from characters) and similar way of unlocking parts of the board along the way.
This game probably has the best storyline of all the games, with an actual mystery unfolding throughout the plot line.
🍪 Art: 2/3 (similar to Merge Friends, the cartoony board items are charming but the character designs are lacking)
🍪 Story: 3/3 (I genuinely want to know what happens next and each character has their own personality, motives and relationship with your character/the other characters)
🍪 Gameplay: 4/5 (gameplay is most similar to Merge Friends but objectives are more random and not directly tied to the plot, and this is the only game without storage space for your items, although I haven’t really needed it all that much anyway)
🍪 Variety: 2/3 (there is a little more variety in items as you go along but not as many interesting and unique categories, you’ll mostly just be giving people various foods and beverages for a while)
🍪 Playtime vs. Wait Time: 3/4 (you can’t really play for long sessions, however, extra energy is pretty easy to come by so you can often play for longer than most of the other games)
🍪 Overall Enjoyment: 4/5 (definitely delivers as far as storyline but doesn’t do much more than any of the other decent games on this list)
🍪 Total: 18/23 (same score as Merge Friends but has less item variety and clearly copies a lot from other games)
5. Merge Mansion
Developer: Metacore Games Oy
Release Date: Sept. 16, 2020
I’ve already thoroughly covered this game in my original review of it, which you can read here. This was my first experience with this kind of game and it’s the first of its kind as far as I know, so I definitely have a fondness for it, although it has its pitfalls.
💐 Art: 3/3 (I really like the art in this game, you can see the detail that went into each individual item and I like the main character designs too. The 3D models of the characters shown in the garden are a little wonky though)
💐 Story: 1/3 (Very generic and boring “adult child returns home to discover mansion is a mess” plot)
💐 Gameplay: 3/5 (Overcrowding the board is a huge problem and there are certain spawners that automatically spawn what I consider nuisance items without you even tapping them. They’re nuisance items because if you need them for an objective that’s not until much later in the game; I’ve never needed these useless items yet and all they do is take up space. The objectives also aren’t very satisfying to complete other than it getting rid of some of the items taking up space. However merging is very satisfying and the game deserves credit for introducing me to this whole genre of merge games to begin with)
💐 Variety: 3/3 (tons of different items and spawners to discover, almost too many)
💐 Playtime vs. Wait Time: 2/4 (you can only play in short sessions before running out of energy but the sessions do tend to last a bit longer than in some other games, and you can get extra energy pretty often)
💐 Overall Enjoyment: 4/5 (although the overcrowding issue is frustrating it is a very fun game and keeps me coming back to keep discovering new items; this is the rating I gave it in my original review)
💐 Total: 16/23
6. Merge Matters
Developer: GreenPixel Ltd
Release Date: Dec. 31, 2020
This game seems a lot like a direct copycat of Merge Mansion; the art style and categories of items are extremely similar. It basically hits all the same boxes as Merge Mansion but I liked it just slightly less.
🪴 Art: 3/3 (the colors are more vibrant than Merge Mansion and overall the items are very nice to look at, the character design of the main girl is very pretty but I noticed that she seems to have a different art style than the grandpa, or maybe that’s just me)
🪴 Story: 1/3 (same problem as Merge Mansion, very generic homecoming story)
🪴 Gameplay: 3/5 (satisfying merges but same overcrowding problem, maybe even a little worse than Merge Mansion)
🪴 Variety: 3/3 (about the same level of variety as Merge Mansion)
🪴 Playtime vs. Wait Time: 2/4 (about the same as Merge Mansion although I tend to get less extra energy in this game but maybe just by bad luck)
🪴 Overall Enjoyment: 3/5 (although it’s nearly identical to Merge Mansion, I give it a lesser score here because if I had to pick between the two I would definitely choose Merge Mansion. I can’t say exactly why, but a range of small factors make Merge Mansion the more satisfying game to play)
🪴 Total: 15/23
7. Merge Villa
Developer: 4Enjoy Games
Release Date: Feb. 2021
So this isn’t the worst game ever, but it is by far the most lackluster out of all the games I played for this project. It definitely feels like the dollar store version of Merge Mansion. The art here is frankly ugly and the gameplay is very simplistic with very little item variety. The merging here also doesn’t feel very satisfying for some reason, maybe because there isn’t any sort of animation or proper sound effect to go along with the merging. It’s definitely a playable game but nothing to write home about.
🪛 Art: 1/3 (like I said, it’s ugly)
🪛 Story: 2/3 (it actually has a little more plot going on than Merge Mansion or Merge Matters although it still follows the same trope)
🪛 Gameplay: 3/5 (although it’s definitely simplistic and the merges are less satisfying than in Merge Mansion/Merge Matters, I’ve never had to worry about running out of room on the board, plus it has the added feature of letting you choose between three styles for each renovation similar to Merge Design and other games like Homescapes, which makes completing the objectives more satisfying)
🪛 Variety: 1/3 (very little variety, I’ve only seen and handful of item categories so far)
🪛 Playtime vs. Wait Time: 1/4 (abysmal, the play sessions are short, the spawners run out quickly and the energy takes twice as long to recharge as in other games)
🪛 Overall Enjoyment: 2/5 (playable but barely worth playing)
🪛 Total: 10/23
If you got here to the end, even if you just skimmed through, thank you so much for reading 😍 Follow me for more reviews and articles about those mobile games you’re always getting ads for 🥳
My name is ♛ Ren ♛ and welcome to my gaming blog! (main is whoretensia)
I just made this blog to post stuff from and about all the games I like, so I hope to stay fairly active, have lots of fun and meet awesome people. I’ve honestly hardly ever had tumblr mutuals, so if you’d like to become such, don’t hesitate to drop me a message~
Georgi (Ren, whoretensia)
studying Game Art in the UK
casual gamer, I play League of Legends, Stardew Valley, Diablo II and Aion regularly
L O V E nostalgia and time management games (Sally’s Spa, the whole Delicious franchise, Wedding Dash etc.)
getting into Genshin Impact and Graveyard Keeper
other hobbies/interests include, but are not limited to: K-POP, dancing, anime, cosplay, drawing, fashion and make-up