Fiesta Update #2

Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Embrace The Glass.

Since my last update, I learned of an important change to Vampire from the GBA version. In the GBA version, Vampire deals damage equal to your missing HP, heals you for that amount, and works on any enemy. Yes, a full heal plus damage for only 3 MP. In the iOS version, though, Vampire deals damage equal to half of your missing HP, heals you for that amount, and is programmed to fail on bosses and certain other “heavy” enemies. On one hand, yeah, it probably needed a bit of a nerf. But on the other hand, this team now has very little sustainability against bosses or other “heavy” enemies. A lot of fights in this update get real dicey because of this. On a positive note, with ??? and Spellblade I hit pretty damn hard.

GarulaSo, when we last heard from Team Blue Mage, we were climbing up Walse Tower in order to watch helplessly as the Water Crystal gets destroyed. Apparently, we’re not that good of a superhero team. I totally forget to get Pond’s Chorus on the way up, so I struggle a bit against Garula. I do manage to blind him with Flash after 5 tries (totally justifying my decision to use a precious Ether), and by putting everyone in the back and sucking him dry with Nerfpire, he falls. This will be the last boss fight in a while that doesn’t get dicey. As you can see from the tweet, I got Mystic Knight as my Water job, and as I’m an equal-opportunity employer, I immediately give Faris and Lenna the job.

I'm an equal-opportunity kind of guy.
I’m an equal-opportunity kind of guy.

Next, we head to Karnak and I pick up my next significant offensive spell, the questionably-named ????, from the Wild Nakks in the forest. After a little misunderstanding in Karnak, I’m thrown in jail, and after meeting Cid (who is required by law to appear in every Final Fantasy game), I get the wonderful opportunity to travel to the Fire-Powered Ship. Oh goody.

The Fire-Powered Ship has an annoyingly high encounter rate and you frequently get thrust into additional battles with Motor Traps after you finish a fight. The only benefit from the Traps is that you get Self-Destruct from them if you hit them with a lightning attack. I’m not sure when I’d actually use Self-Destruct, but it feels kinda good to have it. I don’t know why. Just in case, I guess.

Liquid Flame
The inspiring tale of what you can do when you can afford to buy a lot of Frost Rods.

The boss here is Liquid Flame, and he’s rough for this party because of Blaze, which hits everyone for pretty good damage, and as I mentioned before, I can’t use Vampire to heal up. So I take the wimpy way out and break two Frost Rods on him. I’m not proud. Okay, I am. Okay, I’m not. But I really am.

My healing options are now Vampire, which won’t work on bosses, and hoping I get Nightingale. Fantastico. Anyway, the escape from Karnak Castle is fun with a virtual D-pad. And by “fun”, I mean “awful”. I do manage to pick up Aera from Gigas and Death Claw from IronClaw and escape with two minutes remaining.

So now that the wall is destroyed, I head down south to the Library of the Ancients. I get everyone to level 16 and leave Faris at 15 so I can pick up L5 Death, and I break yet another Frost Rod on the Dhorme Chimera so I can pick up Aqua Breath, further increasing my impressive glass cannon-ness. Ifrit sucks hard, and I win pretty much by luck. I managed to Silence him with Spellblade early in the fight and from there Bartz and Lenna whittle him down with Blizzara Spellblade while Galuf pretty much sits there and throws Potions that do practically nothing. Way to go, old man. Byblos, on the other hand, eats a Death Claw and then dies horribly.

Next time, we finally get my Fire job!

The Fiesta Begins!

Four Job Fiesta has begun, and I get Blue Mage for my first job. At least I can equip (and therefore, break) rods, which should help later. After I get my job crystal, I’m greeted with what I can only describe as superhero costumes.

Team Blue Mage
Team Blue Mage, ready to go!

(Incidentally, I find the sprites in the iOS version to be vaguely irritating in a way that I can’t quite put my finger on.) I pick up Goblin Punch and Aero (after a couple of close calls) in the Wind Shrine and then backtrack to the Pirates’ Hideout to get Vampire. Goblin Punch essentially replaces my Attack command for the first few hours of the game and Vampire allows me to save money on Potions.

I must have been the same level as Karlabos, because Goblin Punch hit for about 260 damage, three-shotting him. After that comes the first major test, the Ship’s Graveyard, and since I forgot to look at what was coming up, I’ve got 2 Potions and a long dungeon full of monsters that I can’t use Vampire on. Maybe I should, like, prepare or something, I don’t know. Luckily, I can two-shot each enemy group using Aero, and as long as I select targets fast enough (which isn’t easy, even on an iPhone 6 Plus), I manage to keep my team relatively healthy.

Siren
A close call, but Siren falls.

Siren hurts me bad, especially because I’ve only got Aero and not enough Antidotes. Fortunately, Faris manages to live long enough to kill her with Aero. (By the way, Vampire didn’t work on Siren, even when she was “normal”. iOS bug or did I just forget that part?)

I pick up the Ice Rod in Carwen, but I’m going to wait until I get my other jobs before I decide where I need to use it. The North Mountain is fairly uneventful, although trying to maneuver around the poisonous flowers is kind of dicey with a virtual joystick. I get Flash from a Headstone, using up a precious Ether in the process, which pretty much trivializes Magissa and Forza.

On the next episode of Steve & The Vaguely Irritating Superheroes, I climb up Walse Tower and get my second job. Stay tuned!

iOS Week in Review: The Four Job Fiesta Edition

I’m going to be doing Four Job Fiesta this year, even though I haven’t played Final Fantasy V in about 8 years. This has the potential to get dicey, but the iOS version was on sale this week, and hey, what’s the worst that could happen? Wish me luck!

Fallout Shelter

It was a stroke of good fortune that the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter and stomach-turning things like The Last Guardian and the Final Fantasy VII remake were also announced at E3, because otherwise the sheer audacity of announcing a mobile game during E3 probably would have caused the complete annihilation of the gaming world forever.

Brand-name recognition (and the resulting appeal to non-mobile gamers) probably contributed a lot to the success of this game so far, as the game really isn’t anything special and it’s nothing that mobile veterans haven’t seen before.

I think the biggest issue with the game is that it starts strong and quickly sputters out. You start out with a good number of caps and lots of dwellers, and you’ll probably get a few more caps from the lunchboxes you can earn by completing randomly-assigned challenges, but it eventually peters out. Once that happens, you need some luck to get your engine going again because the only reliable way to get more caps (and therefore, more rooms) is to send your dwellers out to explore the Wasteland, which has three issues:

  • It’s dangerous if they don’t have any gear, which again comes back to the lunchboxes.
  • It takes way too long to gather enough caps to build one room and then you have to wait for them to return.
  • Every dweller you have out in the Wasteland is one fewer dweller to actually work the Vault, generating the power, food, and water you need to keep the Vault going.

Because of this, and the fact that you don’t use resources while you aren’t playing, and the fact that you can’t really play the game in any meaningful way anyway, your best bet is a very hands-off approach to managing the Vault: check in every few hours, collect your resources, and then leave them be.

Card Crawl

Card Crawl isn’t technically a new game, but it did have a significant content update and a big sale this week, and since I didn’t play it when it was new, I figured it could still count for this week. This is a fun little dungeon crawler played with a standard deck of playing cards, with each suit representing monsters, equipment, coins, or potions. Cards are dealt four at a time, with new cards being dealt when one card remains on the table. You have three slots to hold cards, your two hands and a backpack, and once a card has been placed in one of your hand slots, you can’t use that slot again until you use the card. Because of this, it’s important to plan ahead, as you may be forced to discard useful cards or take damage if you can’t clear your hands.

Discarding cards isn’t always the worst thing, though, as discarding equipment and potions gives you coins equal to their value. The more coins you bank during a game, the higher your score, which creates an intriguing dynamic: You need to use equipment and potions to stay alive, but you’re also trying to get high scores by throwing away useful items. Coins can also be banked between games to purchase special ability cards which have powerful effects such as temporarily returning cards to the bottom of the deck, dealing damage equal to the life you’ve lost, and causing creatures to attack each other.

While Card Crawl doesn’t have a lot of depth to it, the nature of the game makes it a fun little time-waster in between “serious” gaming.

Xenowerk

While Xenowerk doesn’t bring anything new to the genre, it’s still a fun twin-stick shooter. What more could you want? I mean, besides more words about the game itself.