ysobel: (easily distracted)
[personal profile] ysobel

Okay so a few months back, I was going to post about the games (mostly iOS) that I was obsessed with, only then I decided I had to do the Best And Most Thorough Recs Ever. Which sort of made it such a stupendously monumental task that I never did it.

I still may do a more in-depth thing later, but these are my current or recent iOS games. (Some may be available on other platforms, I don't know.)

The Game Formerly Known As Abyssrium

I'm sure they had good reasons for changing the name from Abyssrium (which evoked the premise of a deep-ocean virtual aquarium) to "Tap Tap Fish" (ugh) but the change very nearly kicked it off the list. But ... eh.

Premise: you are a lonely hunk of coralite at the bottom of the ocean. Being lonely, you want to create friends: plants first, then fish of increasing complexity. The more life you create, the more "life force" you generate, which lets you create more life.

Gameplay: you tap (pretty much anywhere on the screen) to generate Vitality, and then spend the Vitality on buying plants and fish, or upgrading or expanding "facilities". Cost of fish goes up semi-exponentially, but so does the ability to generate vitality. There are also things you can do to boost vitality either temporarily or permanently. After the beginning bits, your coral will generate vitality passively, even when the app is closed.

Pros: It is low stress and you get pretty fishes. Or other things -- penguins, narwhals, walruses, seahorses, dolphins, whales, sea slugs, jellyfishes, octopodes, squids, etc.

Cons: there are frustrating plateaus where you don't seem to progress very fast; it can be buggy sometimes; the name is stupid, and I'm still bitter about this.

Cost/ads: Free with optional in-game purchases. There are ads but they're "optional": you can watch an ad to get gems for free, or to recharge your skills without waiting, or to get bonus goodies, but ads are never sprung without warning. There are fish you can only get with IGP, but those aren't really needed for anything.

Pro tip: you get extra bonuses for sharing camera snapshots on social media (instagram or Facebook or twitter), but *you don't have to actually post to get credit*. When the draft post pops up you can cancel it, and still get the bonuses. (I actually created ,my IG account for the purpose of spamming it, before I learned this trick; now I only post the ones I actually *want* to share.)

Pro tip: most fish show the requirements needed to purchase that fish, but some have hidden requirements. It's fun to discover them on your own for a while, and I really recommend exploring on your own for a while, but there are some that I really have no idea how anyone figured out how to get them -- the equivalent of "turn around three times clockwise, scratch your nose with your left pinky, and shout "wallaby!" while hopping on one leg". Once you get to the point of wanting to know how to get all the fish, this guide is my go-to, and I highly recommend it.

Pro tip: if you connect the game to Facebook, you can visit your friends' corals and collect vitality. If you are playing and want to add me as a friend, send me a PM!


Zen Koi

Here, fishy fishy fishy. Pretty fishy.

Premise: you're a koi, swimming around in a pond and eating things. Eat enough of the right things and you can upgrade to a bigger pond. Upgrade enough times and you evolve into a dragon -- as koi do, donchaknow -- and then start all over as another koi.

Gameplay: Tap to swim -- tap will swim the fish to that point and stop, tap-and-hold will keep the fish moving in that direction). Eat by running your mouth over prey, or tap on the prey and the koi will auto-chase. (Some prey are trickier than others.) Eating stuff gets you xp, and each time you can add a point into one of your stats (speed, agility, or the chance of a rare offspring).

Pros: This game manages to be amazingly relaxing, and somehow not boring even though you're doing the same thing. It's very, well, zen. Nothing in the pond can hurt you; you cannot die; the worst that happens is that there are a few things that temporarily slow you down. There is also a collecting aspect to the game: breeding with (randomly-appearing) wild koi will get an offspring that is the pattern of one of the parents, and some combination of the parent colors; you get rewards for the first dragon of each color/color/pattern combinations, and additional rewards for completing the set of all color combinations for a particular pattern.

Cons: It is a black hole of time. (I am not the only one to experience this.) You play it for five minutes and suddenly it's three hours later. Also, there are limited koi slots, and while you can purchase more with pearls (premium currency), the cost of slots goes up way out of proportion to the rate of gaining pearls. Also also, some colors are rarer than others, and for completionists (*raises hand*) getting the last rare colors in a pattern can be frustrating.

Cost/ads: Free, with optional ads. Watching ads is one way to get pearls without paying (you also, rarely, find them in-game, and get them as rewards for becoming a dragon). Also optional in-game purchases for pearls and/or unlocking additional "collector" designs, though it takes quite a while to get through the non-collector designs. I have been tempted but haven't yet purchased.

Pro tip: For every fish, stay in the first pool for longer than you "need to". Especially after your first time, it's easy to eat enough to move on, *but* there is no advantage to rushing. The first pond is small, refills quickly, and the prey are all easy; I have gotten into the habit of staying in the first pond until I have 5 points each in speed and agility.

Pro tip: There is very little benefit to leveling up a koi in a pattern/color combination you've already done. (The exception is when you're going for the last few color combinations -- to get a baby koi with pattern A and colors B/C, you must be swimming as a koi with pattern A and colors B/x or x/C, and if you have all the other A/B/x and A/x/C dragons in your collection, you don't have any option but to do a fish you've done -- but that won't happen often, and if it does you can just stay in the first pond without ascending.) So if you hatch a fish in your collection, just release it; ditto if you lay an egg that doesn't have any fresh possibilities.


Merge Dragons!

This game has taken over my life, I think. I even get the Tetris effect of closing my eyes and seeing MD stuff.

Premise: Bad evil creatures have come through and destroyed land, so your job is to bring it back to life. And merge stuff. Especially dragons.

Gameplay: Its a match-3 game -- or more accurately, a combine-3 game. The playing field is a grid of squares, and stuff combines like 2048, but you move things one at a time and anywhere on the board. You merge stuff to get better stuff -- 3 dragon eggs makes a baby dragon, 3 baby dragons make a kid dragon, 3 kid dragons make a dragon, etc; you can also match more than 3 at a time. The items have to be on contiguous squares to merge, but it's not linear; Boggle is the closest thing I can think of. Some stuff is started by capturing things floating across the field (floating seeds and rain clouds, so far), some stuff you earn by playing levels, and dragons can harvest some things to get other things. (So for example: floating seeds of a particular type create level 1 grass tufts; you combine grass to get better grass; level 4 or higher grass can be harvested by dragons to get moss-covered stones, which can be harvested to make piles of stones, which you can store so that in your home camp you can build better homes for your dragons or extra coin storage; and sometimes harvesting higher level stuff gives you treasure chests.)

Pros: very addictive. Especially with sound on -- the ching! of combining items practically screams "dopamine trigger" -- but it is easy to feel productive. There is always something to do; there is a logic element to figuring out the best ways to combine things. At least so far, there is no time element, although there may be later levels that have a time limit, I don't know. Also the dragons are hella cute.

Cons: very addictive. It is a time suck -- "just five minutes more" at 10pm becomes "wait how is it midnight already? Okay, I'll just finish up" becomes "...whoops, its 2am" fat too easily. Also, I have found myself accidentally clicking on (and thus collecting) things I wanted to save; there's an opt-in confirm option but it only triggers for higher level stuff. (If I tap on a level 7 coin, it will require a confirmation tap, but if I have a level 2 coin I want to save to combine up, tapping just collects if) Tap and drag on a filled square (move item) is different than tap and drag on an empty square (move field) is different than tap and hold (shows information about the item) is different than tap (collect), but it's annoyingly easy to do the wrong one.

Cost/ads: Free, no ads. There is a premium currency (dragon gems) that are used to unlock a specific type of chest, or to buy rewards available at the end of the level; you start the game with some gems, and you collect some slowly and randomly as you proceed, but there is also the option of purchasing them. There is also one area of the home camp that you can purchase for a small one-time fee (RL money, not gems) that has special stuff, I'm guessing chests and gems and similar.

Pro tip: unless you plan on spending money buying dragon gems, the non-free end-of-level rewards are a waste of gems. Save them for the chests -- which collect *way* faster than gems do, and don't have much of a combine chain, so take up tons of space that you need for other stuff.

Pro tip: in your home camp, the floating seeds are worth capturing if you have the space. If you don't want to combine them up for the flowers they make, you can sell them for 1 coin each.

I have more, but this is enough for one post /) I'm not sure whether the remainder will be one post or two.

Feel free to ask me any questions about any of these apps.
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