jurassic world alive

Jurassic World Alive is a Better AR Game than Pokémon GO

Posted by | Feature, Mobile | One Comment

I love Pokémon GO. I fell in love with the brilliant concept of hunting Pokémon in the real world and forgave the horrendous networking issues along with everyone else when it launched two years ago.

Jurassic World Alive borrows much of the basic gameplay and mechanics of Pokémon GO, using dinosaurs in place of Pokémon. Even if you’re not a big dino-fan, Jurassic World Alive improves upon Pokémon GO in several key areas, making it the AR game I’m more likely to play when I’m out.

Bingo, Dino DNA

Inn Jurassic World Alive you are a member of the Dinosaur Protection Group. Your mission is to save dinosaurs by, uh, shooting them with tranquilizer darts, creating genetic hybrids, and battling other dinosaurs. Who knew prehistoric conservation could be so much fun?

jurassic world aliveJust as in Pokémon GO, your primary job is to collect creatures on an augmented reality map, localized to your current location. Dinosaurs and Pit Stops are scattered around the world, the latter giving you darts to capture dinosaurs and gold for upgrading them.

When you find a dinosaur you enter a timed mini-game. The dinosaur runs around as your flying drone attempts to fire tranq darts from above. A crosshair reappears in different places on your target as you hit the marks, upping the challenge. It makes capturing the dinosaurs far more engaging and less frustrating than flinging a bunch of poké balls.

The other key difference is that you never capture a single dinosaur. Instead you collect a number of DNA points, depending on how well you hit the crosshairs. A direct bullseye will net over 10 DNA per shot, while a grazing shot gives half of that. If you miss the crosshair you’ll receive none at all.

Since each capture session is timed, you can only get a limited amount of DNA from each dinosaur. This provides a welcome incentive to capture duplicates dinos.

Gather a certain amount of DNA and you can create that dinosaur. Rarer, stronger dinosaurs like the Tyrannosaurs Rex require much more DNA. Each dinosaur can also be leveled up by collecting additional DNA, with upgrades granting more health and stronger attacks. You’ll definitely want stronger dinos because the turn-based combat is legitimately fun.

We Need More Teeth

Combat in Jurassic World Alive isn’t limited to Gyms as in Pokémon GO. You simply select the Battle button from the menu and match up with a similar rank opponent. You can bring up to four dinosaurs on your battle team, with the goal of defeating three of your opponent’s dinosaurs before they do the same to you.

Battles are intuitive and fun. Unlike the constant clicking chaos of Pokémon GO, combat in Alive is entirely turn-based. Each dinosaur has two to three moves you can choose from. Most include secondary effects like slowing down an opponent, or adding a protective shield for your next turn. Passive abilities include armor that reduces damage, or automatically counter-attacking after receiving damage.

jurassic world aliveThere’s enough variety in the starting common dinosaurs that I’ve already been adjusting my team several times over as I find the right mix. The Velociraptor, one of the easiest dinosaurs to level up in the beginning, hits extremely hard with an ability that does an additional x2 damage. It has very little health, however, making it good for a strong opening attack that I immediately switch out with something beefier, like the Euoplocephalus.

While many of the abilities are outlandish and very video gamey (like the aforementioned shield, which literally looks like a sci-fi hologram in front of the dinosaur) I appreciate that most of the dinosaurs are drawn from real world creatures. Each stat sheet includes a nice little About This Creature section, featuring a few sentences of science facts. Euoplocephalus, for example, means ‘well-armed head.’ It’s not exactly National Geographic but it’s nice to see some effort made to create some educational content in a game about collecting and battling dinosaurs.

In another improvement, the Supply Drops, Jurassic World Alive’s equivalent of Poké Stops, are much more frequent and accessible. This makes a huge difference to folks living in more rural areas, where the dearth of Poké Stops makes Pokémon GO almost unplayable. A free incubator is also given every six hours, which always includes a pack of 20 darts, no matter where you are.

You can purchase additional incubators (essentially loot boxes), gold, and darts with cash, and cash can be acquired with real money purchases. But it never pushes them on you, and I haven’t felt the need to spend any real money despite devoting quite a few hours into my new dino collecting hobby.

If I have one complaint, it takes a long time to level. Like Pokémon GO, your character also levels up. Reaching higher levels spawns better and rarer dinosaurs in the wild. The leveling feels painfully slow, even early on, limiting you to seeing the same few dinosaurs everywhere.

As it cross its two year anniversary Pokémon GO’s star-studded status has faded from the public view. Pokémon remains a stellar franchise and finding Pokémon in an AR game is still very enjoyable. I have no doubt that the upcoming Switch tie-ins, Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee, will spark a wave of new interest.

I love Pokémon and Pokémon GO, but Jurassic World Alive does a better job of everything Pokémon GO does. At this point I have fully switched over from Gotta Catch ‘Em all into humming that classic John Williams theme.

playerunknown's battlegrounds

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile Celebrates 10 Million Daily Players

Posted by | Mobile, News | One Comment

One of the most popular games to play online is celebrating a big milestone. Tencent and PUBG Corp are officially confirming that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile has reached over 10 million daily active users around the world.

The mobile version, also known as PUBG Mobile, was released on iOS and Android on March 19. In less than a week it reached the top downloaded spot in more than 100 countries. It’s available to download for free with in-app purchases.

Recently PUBG Mobile added the new second map, Miramar. Miramar features a desert setting with several large cities. The mobile game has been nominated for Best Breakthrough Hit and Best Community Building Game at the 2018 Google Play Awards.

PUBG Mobile is the successful mobile version of the incredibly popular Battle Royale survival-shooter, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. PUBG drops 100 players on an island in a massive free-for-all deathmatch. Everyone has only a single life, and must scrounge the area for supplies, weapons, and vehicles.

A fun selection of stats has been released. Apparently the average survival time is only about 14 minutes.

playerunknown's battlegrounds

PUBG originally released via Steam Early Access last year. It’s also available via Xbox Games Preview on Xbox One.

Despite stiff competition from Fortnite’s equally popular Battle Royale mode, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds remains the most played game on Steam, with around 1-1.5 million players at any given time.

PUBG Mobile is available on iOS and Android. It’s rated T for Teen with Violence and Blood.

fortnite

Fortnite Teases Avengers: Infinity War Crossover

Posted by | Mobile, News, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One | One Comment

One of the most popular video games of 2018 is crossing over with the biggest film of the year (and, uh, most likely all time). Earlier today the official Fortnite twitter account teased a single image that announced the limited time mashup with Avengers: Infinity War. The event begins tomorrow, May 8.

Entertainment magazine and website Entertainment Weekly has the exclusive details from Epic Games. It’s called the Infinity Gauntlet Limited Time Mashup. The event will begin like any other Fortnite Battle Royale match, with 100 people dropping into an island in a free-for-all deathmatch. But this time, the Infinity Gauntlet is there.

The Infinity Gauntlet will be powered by all six Infinity Stones. The Gauntlet will be laying around for some lucky megalomaniac to pick up and wield. It will probably grant a wee bit of power to its wielder, and possibly unite everyone else against them. Epic is still playing coy with the details, despite the event starting tomorrow.

The crossover is the result of Avengers: Infinity War co-directors Anthony and Joe Russo being big Fortnite fans. They reached out to Epic Games Creative Director Donald Mustard and hashed out the basics for this limited time promotional event.

“Infinity War blew us away, and the Russos, Kevin Feige, and the whole team at Marvel have been incredible to work with,” Mustard told EW. “This kind of opportunity, where you have this mutual respect for someone’s work and you’re on the same page about doing something cool for fans, is rare and really exciting. We hope players love it.”

The Fortnite Infinity Gauntlet Limited Time Mashup begins Tuesday, May 8. Fortnite Battle Royale is available for free on Mobile, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

star wars

Save on Star Wars Games During May 4th Sales

Posted by | Mobile, News, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One | No Comments

Happy Star Wars Day! May the Fourth may be one of the punniest ‘holidays’ of the year, but it also brings deep discounts on Star Wars games for PC and consoles. Sadly it’s also a reminder that despite the recent resurgence in the Star Wars brand thanks to the new trilogy, there aren’t many recent Star Wars games to get excited about.

Steam

If you’re looking for older Star Wars (like 10-20 years ago), the Star Wars Complete Collection has just about everything you need. It includes over 20 games, from beloved BioWare RPG Knights of the Old Republic to the classic flight sim TIE Fighter and co-op LEGO action games. The bundle has been discounted by 72%, bringing it down to $76.16. Or you could pick and choose your favorites. Each game is individually discounted by 66%.

One of the few Star Wars games not included in the Complete Collection is the more recently released LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Oddly the Deluxe Edition (75% off), which includes the Season Pass, is cheaper than the base game (66% off).

GOG

As always GOG is your destination for DRM-free PC gaming. Their Star Wars sale is pretty much the exact same as Steam’s, though they do have one recent arrival: Star Wars: Episode 1 Racer from 1999. It just arrived a few days ago and as a new game on GOG it is discounted by 15%.

GOG is also hosting a weekend sale to celebrate Interplay’s 35th anniversary, which ironically includes a bunch of Star Trek games.

Origin

Since EA has the exclusive rights to the Star Wars license, you’ll find more modern Star Wars PC games on Origin. That consists of the much-maligned Star Wars Battlefront II, which launched last fall amidst controversy surrounding its loot boxes and microtransactions. You can pick it up now for 60% off.

PlayStation

With the exception of Battlefront II and LEGO Force Awakens it’s mostly older Star Wars games and FX Pinball tables on the PSN May the 4th Sale. Notably you can actually purchase play the old SNES Star Wars platformers on PS Vita, which are also part of the sale.

Xbox

Microsoft’s store includes May 4th sales on both XBox One and Xbox 360 Star Wars games: Battlefront 2, The Force Unleashed, LEGO Force Awakens, and Star Wars Pinball.

Mobile

Various ongoing free-to-play Star Wars games have deals on in-app purchases, including Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes and Star Wars: Commander. You can also snag Star Wars Pinball 6 for Free, and the mobile version of Knights of the Old Republic for 50% off on both iOS and Android.