Is a game app still considered casual?

The past few weeks have been rather exciting for me as a happy nerd: Zoombinis came out this past week, so I’ve been puzzling my way through Pizza Pass and Mudball Wall, reliving my childhood. “Have a pizza party!”

When I got too frustrated with the Allergic Cliffs nonsensical patterns, I opened up the App Store to see if there was anything else worth downloading that didn’t end in “ville” or “dash” as I’ve gotten far too caught up in those cheeseball games. Featured in editors choice this week was a game called “Loot & Legends” that had the look of Dungeons and Dragons. And it was free? What’s the catch?

Oh. In app purchases. Alright so let’s give it a shot to see if I can even play the game without needing to buy levels or gear.

The tutorial levels are adorable – in part because you have this super nerd younger brother who is trying to use his brother’s sets without “upsetting” him about the way he plays – which is far inferior to how you should be playing Loot & Legends. Of course.

At one point he even takes the game away, so Gary (the younger brother) ends up drawing his own sets and taping pieces together to have a makeshift game for you to still play with him. Oh god please keep playing with him, he’s so lonely and his brother sucks. Way to suck, bro.

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These drawings are actually pretty good for a lame-o little brother, right?

The game itself is turn based (phew) and card based! That seems to be the trend nowadays anyway *cough hearthstone guild of dungeoneering cough* and I’m on board with it because it allows me to be strategic and subjective on my own time. I mean, for the most part. I can’t just take 20 years to make a move – my iPad would die, I’d lose my job… anyway. As you work your way through the tutorial, you get to see game boards and equip your newfound characters with gear that you pick up.

It’s the gear guys. The better gear you have to buy with your money. I’m okay with getting good gear by lucking out for the time being, and will probably end up supporting this developer anyway because I like the game. Because that what real respectable humans should do – support other people doing what they love.

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I named all of my characters after food. Because why not.

The interface is super easy to use, and there is a little bit of a learning curve to figure out which weapons/items are inherently better for your play style. If you like to be a heavy hitter sometimes and would risk a lower damage card sometimes, there’s an item for that. Or there’s an item for when you want to consistently hit the same every time, just to make sure you’re going to wear down your enemies eventually.

As far as the game details go themselves, I like the fact that a) you get to move a character across a board, because it puts you in the mindset or environment for being closer or farther away from enemies. Like chess. Or you know, D&D. Duh. I also like that b) the developers/artists designed around the board & interface so it gives you the feeling of playing games with a friend in a basement. I love that you open up chests and get loot – you can even buy the chests with gold or pizza. Which brings me to the pizza fund.

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Lo and behold, the nerdy little brother has a crush on the – pizza girl? Wait, there’s a pizza girl? Adorable!
The little side story with the brotherly interactions and how Gary gets suuuuuper nervous around the pizza girl are really sweet, and make the playtime inbetween battles a little more fun and interesting. Whenever she brings pizza by, you can use that pizza to buy better and rarer gear for your characters. You also earn gold in your battles, so you can use that to buy chests to get your loot.

The IAP’s (in-app purchases) are really just being able to get better gear, or better drops in battles. At least from what I’ve seen so far, and I’m probably only 45min into the game itself. I find those completely acceptable, and they would only enhance my gameplay, they don’t hinder it. There also doesn’t seem to be a timer for how many battles you can play in a certain period of time, which is nice. God knows I don’t want to stop playing Dots when I lose the level for the umpteenth time, so it’s refreshing to see a substantial game like this not have time gates.

The app is free on the apple store right now, and you can check out their facebook page for updates!

So the initial question I asked in this post, is a game app still considered casual I think I’ve answered here. I think that you can play them hardcore, or you can play them casually. What you end up doing is up to you, but if you truly consider yourself a gamer, don’t think of yourself as a dirty casual for enjoying free-to-play games on your iPad vs. the latest Uncharted.

I’m a casual gamer, I’m a hardcore gamer, I’m a tabletop gamer, but overall I’m just a gamer. And I’m happy with that decision, and I’m comfortable in my ability to game.

Let me know your thoughts on casual gaming AND if you pick up/are playing Loot & Legends in the comments. Or Zoombinis. “You’re not Fleens…”

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