Monday, September 7, 2009

Nanovor have taken over the world

About three days ago the kids and I were watching Cartoon Network when a commercial for nanovor popped on.

I didn't think much about it until after the commercial when the kids literally jumped out of their seats and wanted to go check it out on the computer RIGHT NOW I MIGHT DIE!

So we went there.

Three days later I am 20 dollars poorer from buying two of these nanovor toys at Toys R Us, and a lot more educated about how a "red spike" move might be accomplished by a 2.0 evolved nanovor bug.

This is what I do. I teach my kids how to kick your butts and unleash them upon you. Sorry about that.

As a parent, I was glad to see there were some chat controls available to me, so I'm in!

Nanovor is a pvp-only online game where you pit your swarm of microscopic bugs against an opponent's swarm of microscopic bugs.

The above shot is the initial battle screen. What you see there is that my character has five bugs in his swarm and has chosen the Plasma Lash nanovor to begin his battle. The Plasma Lash bug (or at least this generation of the bug) has four options to choose from: head whip, electro-lite, yellow spike, and skip. The battle proceeds as I choose one of those and click on the opponent's location (unless I choose the spike), and then I finally click which bug to swap out on the next round and reclick on your opponent's location.

After the battle orders have been made, my bug and your bug go at it.

This repeats and repeats until one person either leaves the game in frustration or one person's swarm is obliterated.

SPLAT! like that.

There is progression in this game so far (I mean, we've only been playing the game for 3 days or so . . . we don't know how far this will go yet). After playing and winning a few battles, you'll eventually earn a few badges.

Badges in this game are awesome things. Some of them will result in a new nanovor being added to your swarm and perhaps a few EMs. EMs are the stuff of evolution--Primordial ooze in a microscopic test tube. If you get the right combination of EMs you can take your bugs and evolve them into tougher 2.0 (And on) versions.

Here's a picture of a tank walker bug we evolved into it's 2.0 version.

Evolved bugs are stronger and usually have either more deadly attacks or more beneficial overrides. ahhh! We'll get to overrides . . . be patient.

Now besides earning your bugs and EMs through badges, you can also buy nanocash. Nanocash is where the free game ends. Each of those two 10$ Nanovor toys up above came with 400 nanocash. With nanocash you can buy three things. 1) a bug and 3 EMs for around 65 nanocash or so, 2) 6 EMs for around 55 nanocash, or 3) a whopping 6 or 7 bugs (always guaranteed a rare bug in the bunch) for 275 nanocash.

Here's a picture of my daughter opting for the 6 EMs choice.

Many bugs evolved this day . . . many bugs.

So, as we were saying, What the heck is an override? Overrides are buffs that you can apply to your nanovor to make it stronger, faster, or more deadly. Some are single use buffs (the spikes specifically) and some stay with your swarm until you cast over the top of it or win the match. You can only have one override running at a time.

Here's my one and only tip for you guys on overrides. Don't waste your breath casting a spike if you don't have a 2.0 version of a bug in your swarm that can actually make use of it. Not every 2.0 bug can make use of a spike either . . . only specific ones.

I think you'll figure it out from there.

Now, do I have complaints about Nanovor? You bet I have complaints! Who the heck wants to battle in a black 2-D boring space? My kids and I came up with a very compelling background space out in the parking lot in about 5 seconds.

Come on (who makes these things?) Smith and Tinker, Inc! You can do better than a black background!! We've seen your cartoon episodes; we expect more awesome backgrounds! (How'd I do at my angry consumer voice? not good?)


See you in the Nanovor space!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

. . . but are you Dragon Blade tough?

Yeah, I've been playing this action game on the wii. I bought the game for ten bucks, and . . . I'm liking the change! haha.

Just to warn you up front, Dragon Blade gets ripped to shreds in two or three reviews over here at IGN and it is a couple years old, but there are also a few good reviews as well, so read on and let me add mine to the pile . . . I've so needed this game lately.

I like MMOs and I like playing "cute" games with my kids, but sometimes I need the difficulty to be raised a few notches, and Dragon Blade reminded me that games can be tuned a bit more difficult and be a bit more unforgiving. I NEEDED that.

What I like about this game is probably what most people hate . . . the graphics. They're "Everquest I" awful. You know when you see repeating textures forming an unintended pattern on the ground, that you're playing something that's going to remind me of everquest. I remember loading up Everquest back in the 2000's and thinking . . . you gotta be kidding me, these graphics are horrible. Then the social atmosphere of EQ overtook me.

So, because I think in terms of MMOs. This is like hack-n-slash meets a solo person "raid encounter" from Everquest. You grind on regular mobs and then you fight the raid boss for uber loot. Let me give you an example of game play here by talking through one of the encounters.

This is King Tyl (please excuse the poor quality graphics . . . it's a photograph of a television set showing a game with dated looking graphics as it is)

King Tyl is hear to kick your butt. He's bigger than you, and he has a massive arm that delivers a wicked punch--both to your face and to the ground to cause shockwaves. He's also fond of dashing at you and running you over . . . only to punch the ground when you get up.

The key to beating any boss in this game is to discover their pattern and exploit that in their weak moments.

So here's what I figured out on this particular fight, which I died on a number of times and had to restart . . . I'm guessing 15 times at least.

King Tyl shoots streams of fire at you when you are away from him, so you need to dodge right and left as you get close to him. When you get close to him, he switches from streams of fire to ground shockwaves. To get him to perform a shockwave, you need to time it just right so that you run into his close range and then back out and then run back in again. Right after he does a shockwave to the ground he will be vulnerable for about a second.

After hitting him when he's vulnerable, King Tyl punches three times in his close vicinity and then braces to charge. You need to run slightly more than half way to the other side of the small small arena at that time. The moment after he charges is the moment he is vulnerable . . . that's when you break out the right dragon arm and just work him over with about four or five swipes with either your sword or your dragon arm.

If you get low on health (because you will make mistakes), you need to run to one of these "bells of health" (groan at the bad pun) and refuel.

Where it gets tricky is that when you defeat his "powerful" version, you need to have at least a good half bar of fire power left (there's a life bar and a fire power bar . . . you know, health and mana . . . just like in EQ) to finish off his "exposed" version. This is a common denominator in boss fights in Dragon Blade. You slash your way through a blue bar of life to expose a green bar of life. Once you get to the green bar of life, you have about 3 minutes or less to defeat your enemy or they heal themselves up to about a fifth of their blue bar.

The resulting fight is a weaving in and out and back and forth to finish this guy's complex pattern off. It's not an easy task, and when you defeat him after your 16th try, you . . . and your kids scream with delight. Not only because you *finally* beat this guy, but also because he drops the left arm of dragon killing awesomeness.

We had fun playing around with this new feature after the fight. When your character has his left arm drawn he slowly walks toward you with these ominous arms of fire. If you turn up the volume on this clip, you'll hear me saying in a funny accent, "where am I going?" while the character is walking away and then "I'm coming for you!" when I spin him around. hehe.

I gotta warn you though, your wrist and arm are going to be sore after playing this game. Since you use the wii remote to waggle your way through this game, it gets to be a bit painful.

Bottom line with this game for me is this: If you're looking for a challenge on your wii system, this might be a good game for you to pick up . . . especially if you can find it in a blockbuster for 10 bucks like I did.