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Hardware Unboxing: Nintendo Switch
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Game Refraction’s Best of 2016: Jen’s Top Mobile Games

Whether you are a PC or console gamer, there is no doubt that everyone is a mobile gamer. With technology readily at our fingertips these days, it’s not uncommon for a smartphone to be filled with tons of various mobile games for gaining satisfaction to pass time while out in the world. …waiting for a bus, bored at work, or even when lying in bed. With so many games available in the app stores, it’s sometimes hard to decipher the cheap knockoffs from the well-developed games. And sometimes you can’t even decide based on price…because sometimes even the really bad games come with a cost.

I have had the chance to play tons of mobile games this year, and it was actually quite difficult to choose my top picks as I had to refocus on how long I really invested in certain games, and what ones had me coming back to play long after download.  There were so many good games that I had seen gameplay videos about and read reviews on, but I have decided to focus solely on games that I actually took the time to dedicate myself to.

Now some of my picks may have initial release dates from earlier years since they may have been released on other platforms first, or they were remastered and re-released, but either way they are still games that I invested much of my time (and still do) when gaming on my mobile.

5. Threes!

This game was so addicting from the start. I am a gamer who enjoys puzzles and strategy, and even though the game is very simplistic, it keeps your attention. The basic concept of the game is to slide numbered tiles on a 4×4 grid to combine tiles in multiples of threes, increasing in difficulty as the tiles increase in value and additional tiles are added.  While most games only last between 2 to 5 minutes (depending on how much strategy you put into it), the game pushes you to try and beat your top score by constantly rethinking your strategy. And the cute sound bites from the tiles as they evolve from combining add some comical relief.

4. Pokemon Go

The game of the summer….the game that brought the child out of the 30-somethings generation and more. Whether you were a huge fan of the tv show and video games as a kid, or just a popular game enthusiast, Pokemon Go became a phenomenal hit of the summer.  The general concept of using real life locations and your smartphone camera to make every person feel like a real Pokemon Master hunting with their trusty Pokedex was pure genius.  This game brought people together, and got them out seeing the world around them. The game introduced exercise, teamwork, friendship and competition all in one (Team Valor all the way btw!)…and still is constantly adding new content to keep the interest up now that some of the hype has cooled down due to the weather being not as favorable to venture out in. While there is some disadvantages of living in places that are smaller and do not provide a wide variety of Pokemon to catch, grinding through the game will eventually let you evolve your Pokemon to another version…or at least pump them up in level to defend the local gym.

3. Carbon Warfare

I had a chance to play the beta of this game before its release in early November, and it was a very interesting game to experience. It reminded me of another popular game series, Plague Inc, which I was already actively addicted to. Something about Earth’s destruction that is so appealing…. In this game, you are given the free will as the overseeing power to control industry and natural disasters of the world, and strategize to push the planet to the brink of destruction by causing global warming levels to rise and unleash catastrophic results. The game is constantly challenging you to plan out your path of destruction, making critical decisions on what industries to invest in to get the greater emissions from and what part of the planet to focus on. No two game simulations are ever the same. I think I got the most fun out of playing the various situation scenarios that require you to play the game, but with added goals and difficulty to overcome in your path of destruction.  The best scenario was only having to sit back and unleash various disasters one after another to try and destroy the planet the fastest…. Like hear is a wildfire, now a typhoon, now a mudslide, now a plague..bwahahaha!

2. Reigns

While this game was my favorite as an overall in 2016, it kind of had a tie with the #1 game, simply because both games provide endless (and continued) card based entertainment, but each in their own way. Reigns takes advantage of the imagination side, wherein you rule a fictional world as a King, making decisions based on a card deck of individual cards representing people in your kingdom that request something of you. With a swipe left or right, your decisions would cause a ripple effect of future decisions and the ultimate fate of your rule and your kingdom.  As I have invested countless hours into the game, I can say that as time progresses with every reign, no two simulations are the same, even though some of your reigns will end in the same death or you may experience some of the same requests over and over….but never do you play through the exact same situation on repeat. I still find myself playing this game a lot, as I find that there really is no end to the possibilities in the game, and since reigns can last only a few minutes…it makes for an easy time waster.

1.Exploding Kittens

Exploding Kittens itself as a game was extremely popular this year, and was smart to utilize popularity in both the physical card game and also a digital mobile version.  While I have yet to try the card game, I was instantly drawn to the mobile version of the game. The gameplay is simplistic, taking turns drawing cards, hoping to not draw the Exploding Kitten. The game forces you to use some strategy when playing cards, such as playing attack style cards like Blind or Slap against an opponent. This can turn ugly and put you in a tough place when the tables turn on you and you are forced to pick up a card…even though the Percentage of Kitten Card meter is ready to blow. Sometimes even though you know you are about to blow up….it’s still hilarious to make another players’ game a virtual hell by turning all their cards to Kitty Butts or slapping them so many times that they have like 10 turns to complete before their turn is officially over. The sound bites and hilarious graphics make the game visually appealing and add to some interesting comical relief. The game is endless entertainment when playing both a quick local match with friends or a full on battle with strangers online.

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