Moneymaking Mobile Tap Games

Since I dedicated an entire post to reviewing AdVenture Capitalist – still the original and best for me – a few more moneymaking mobile app games have made their way onto my Galaxy S5. In the world of mobile gaming there seems to be quite the market for players to amass imaginary fortunes in a variety of ways.

Here in what’s becoming an ever-decreasing regularity of blog posts as of late (apologies!) I thought I’d take a look at a couple which have recently caught my eye.

Make It Rain – The Love of Money

This one’s actually been around for a couple of years now, and aside from the investment-based gameplay, its most endearing feature is the ability to make money by making that entirely classy motion of swiping dollar bills from your own fat stacks to ‘make it rain’ and watch the pixelated notes fly.

Make It Rain mobile game

Build up the value of your cash pile by investing in businesses, as well as increasing the value of your Bucket to add funds while you aren’t playing.

No doubt the game is fun – at first – and the thrill of ‘making it rain’ also lasts a lot longer than it really ought to. But there are a couple of non-negotiables here that do their very best to wreck the game experience.

First off, unlike AdVenture Capitalist, where you can start to see your imaginary purchases pay off over time and appreciate the finely-tuned systems, the equivalent effect in Make It Rain is rather off. I didn’t feel any sense of accomplishment in watching my empire grow because there was no sense of achievement – it was just all about that swipe.

Secondly, and extremely annoyingly, the ads. The opportunity to double the earnings from your Bucket once you log back in is quite tempting, and the option to watch a video to do so is a small price to pay. But then there’s the regularity with which an advert just starts playing, for no reason at all. I know it’s a free game, but here there’s a definite sense of a cash grab, and it can be very off-putting,

Once I realised just how often this game-ruining experience would pop up, not even the mimed display of wealth could keep the game installed on my phone.

Bitcoin Billionaire

Bitcoin Billionaire struggles to stay quite as flashy as Make It Rain, but that’s as much down to the more 8-bit feel and more honest portrayal of making digital riches from the comfort of your modest surroundings as anything else.

bitcoin billionaire mobile game

But where the game succeeds, far more so than in Make It Rain, is in giving you much more control (as in – any control) as to where the ads pop up. If you want to benefit from a quick cash boost or get some help to mine the elusive Hyperbits, you can choose between running banner ads for 30 seconds, viewing a pop-up ad or watching videos. Given that choice, it’s still unlikely I’ll ever watch a video but I am grateful to have the option rather than have it play regardless.

But there’s the rub with freemium games – given the choice between a finely-balanced playing experience and the opportunity to simply lob ads in willy-nilly, the developers have got to know where an otherwise fine game just descends into an unplayable mess – and while the more modest  Bitcoin Billionaire succeeds, Make It Rain fails spectacularly.

For that reason I’d be far more likely to recommend the latter game, but when it comes down to it neither are really a patch on AdVenture Capitalist.

 

Nintendo’s Miitomo is fantastic fun…for precisely two hours

It’s only been on the app store for a couple of weeks, but Nintendo’s Miitomo game is already racking up some fantastic engagement.

The Japanese titan’s first foray into the lucrative market of mobile gaming and microtransactions – aka cash for hats – is apparently drawing more than a quarter of a million dollars every week.

But more than that, the game itself has so far proven to be a fun and engaging hit, with four million monthly active users logging on to change their costumes, take photos with Mii friends and answer each other’s questions about their favourite meals and what they’re up to at the weekend.

It is a great game, but if my own experience with Miitomo is anything to go by, this surge of success may not last.

nintendo miitomo

Nintendo’s casual appeal

In terms of the game itself, and as you’d expect from the all-time masters of video gaming, Miitomo is a beautifully-designed and cleverly thought out game with plenty of fun to be had by its users.

I said as much when I logged in myself for the first time. I set up my little character, gave him a jaunty (free) hat and let him loose on the Questions board, to tell everyone how much I loved season two of Daredevil and how much I love pizza. (That really seemed to come up a lot. Is that their design flaw or mine?)

There was plenty to keep me coming back for a whole weekend – more friends to add through Twitter, Facebook and in person. The face-to-face add is a particularly excellent idea, as me and my friend found out at a wrestling show a couple of weeks ago.

nintendo miitomo

There are a few niggling issues with Miitomo – the Miitomo Drop, a seemingly enticing mini-game with unique clothing to be won, is a frustrating experience and not all that fun a game to play in the first place. And I was getting a few too many randoms trying to add me too – without the benefit of a Twitter account or Facebook page to display, I was hesitant to accept any invitations.

Regardless, I tapped on and enjoyed the whole playing experience for a few more days. But then I just stopped.

No real reason, really – and whenever the mood strikes me I’m still liable to get in there and see what funny in-jokes my friends are sharing as their Answers to certain confusing questions.

But there’s nothing else really to make me want to go back. All of which is fine – I’ve talked before about how I’m never going to pay money to get special features on mobile gaming, for a start – but I’m at a bit of a loss.

Maintaining the mobile hype

Mobile gaming is a tough one; even with the most attractive titles, once you’re through the initial frenzied gameplay there’s really nothing to keep you going without heavy investment of time and money – neither of which I’m inclined to put in to most mobile games.

I am sure that this isn’t something Nintendo are too worried about – they’ve got 3,999,999 much more hardcore users to take care of right now. But for filthy casuals like me that are too easily distracted – or simply not that attached to their mobile – the magic wore off a little too quickly. And maybe that’s something that Nintendo should worry about six months or a year down the line, especially if they see mobile gaming as a major route to revenue as they’ve indicated previously.

By all means, download a free copy and give it a go – it’s a fascinating experiment and there’s certainly enough of a novelty to it. But the appeal wore off for me quite quickly, and considering that mobile is more than a passing concern for Nintendo right now, the next few weeks can be very telling for their entire mobile strategy. That is, until that VR Pokemon game comes out, then I’m right back in there.

Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector – cute and cuddly mobile fun

This week I’ve been looking for a new gaming adventure for my mobile phone – AdVenture Capitalist only gets you so far, and the Christmas game was pretty disappointing – when gradually all my social feeds were taken over by pictures of virtual cats. One download later and I’m the proud owner of some cute kitties courtesy of the Neko Atsume game.

neko atsume mobile game

Let’s get this out of the way first – IRL, I’m really not a cat person. I just don’t get the appeal. If I were to share my living space with a pet (and my fish, Dean Venture, doesn’t count, because he doesn’t take up sofa space) I’d at least want it to depend on me to some extent. Cats seem to just do what the hell they want, regardless of my presence.

But over the last few days my Instagram and Twitter feeds have been taken over by pictures of the cutest virtual pets; lazing on cushions, playing with balls of yarn or just plonked in boxes and buckets – so adorable. These pictures were all shared by Neko Atsume players, and I decided I just had to have a go for myself.

neko atsume mobile game

How to play Neko Atsume

It’s quite easy to get involved, with just a quick download to your iPhone or Android device.  The tutorial then takes you through the simple process. The aim is to attract the cats to play and relax in your yard, which you can do by using silver and gold fish as currency to buy a range of treats – from posh cat food to luxury furniture and balls of yarn.

You’re then meant to check in with the game several times a day to see who pops up in your yard – at the moment there are 49 cats to ‘collect’, which you can do by taking pictures and adding them to your galleries and cat profile pages. These profiles also keep track of how many times each cat visits and which items they like to play on best.

neko atsume

When a cat leaves they’ll leave you a gift of either gold or silver fish which you can use to buy more treats. You can spend real money to obtain gold fish, but the good thing about this particular microtransaction system is that you’re in absolutely no danger of falling behind in the game if you choose not to. Many a free-to-play game gets this balance completely wrong, but being as this game is the very definition of ‘casual’ it’d be pretty hard to get wrong.

It’s that gentleness which is my very favourite thing about it; Neko Atsume is hardly even a game, more an interactive experience with virtual pets that are overloaded with kawaii cuteness. It’s so soothing too – always a sight for sore eyes and good for a few relaxing minutes.

If you’re pining for the days where Tamagotchi ruled the playground (and the teachers’ desk drawers), I’d definitely recommend checking this out.

‘Tap Titans’ mobile game is no fun for people with big hands

Put simply, Tap Titans is fast-moving and exciting – but only for a limited period.

tap titans mobile game

While counting down the months and weeks until the release of Fallout 4 (and buying a PS4 to play it on), I was very excited to learn of the existence of the Fallout Shelter mobile game, and immediately went to the App Store to check it out.

Since I got my Galaxy S5 about two months ago I’ve been impressed with it, and have been wanting to try different games out on it. So imagine my disappointment to find that Fallout Shelter hasn’t even been released for Android – and apparently won’t be for ‘a few months’.

As far as mobile gaming goes, I don’t have that many apps installed on my phone, and am quite discerning when it comes to trying them out. AdVenture Capitalist obviously made the cut. I saw Tap Titans during one of the bonus-giving ad breaks, and decided to give it a go too.

A couple of days later and I’m pretty much ready to cut it loose – partly because I quite like my S5 and am no longer prepared to risk damaging it by thrashing away at it with my sausage-like fingers.

big train fat handed twat

The aim of Tap Titans is pretty simple; defeat monsters, level up and recruit new fighters to aid you in your quest. The action is barely broken up at all as you move on to the next battle instantly, with the difficulty climbing only by the amount of damage you need to go, multiplying accordingly with the level of you and your fellow fighters.

Of course, this being a freemium game, there’s the chance to progress further in the game by making real-money purchases; in this case Diamonds which are available in bulk for prices between $1.99 and $99.99. I am honestly amazed that the option exists for people to spend 100 dollars (more than £60) on a mobile game, but there you have it; some people must be really keen to progress in the game and…

…I’m not even sure there is an endgame here. All I know is my heroes keep being killed by bosses, and that I can’t see a damn thing onscreen when I’m battling because all I’m really doing is hitting my screen and my giant hand is blocking the view.

 

simpsons jokes about my giant hand gif

 

Just tapping the screen to take part is all very well and good, but in terms of a game mechanic there isn’t really much skill involved – of course, a more rhythmically gifted player will do better than me on this, but there just isn’t much fun to be had by tapping the screen to knock HP off my enemies – especially when the damage they’re returning seems fairly arbitrary in response.

Of course, it could well be that I’m just a complete noob at Tap Titans, but just a couple of days after installing it I’m not seeing any real argument to hold onto the game.

AdVenture Capitalist – shut up and give me money

An ‘idle’ business sim game for mobile that’s fun and educational.

My brother is evil. There, I said it. (In fact, I might just click Publish and leave it at that.)

About a week and a half ago he happened to show me and my good lady a game he’d installed for his mobile phone – a business sim called AdVenture Capitalist. It looked fair enough to me and, long since tired of Geek Resort and more than a bit fed up of Tiny Tower, decided to give it a go.

adventure capitalist mobile game

Now? I wake up and check my bank account. I buy hundreds of ice hockey teams at a time without blinking on the train home. Don’t even ask me how I get through a full day at the office without digging out my mobile. (Hint: I can’t. Just don’t tell my manager.)

This game has me gripped in its clenched capitalist fist. And it’s so much fun.

AdVenture Capitalist is a simple enough ‘Idle’-type game to begin with – you set up your very own lemonade stand and make money by tapping the lemon, squeezing out some profits from sales. Once you’ve made enough money you get to take on a newspaper round – more money per press. If you’re getting particularly flush with the cash you can buy more lemonade stands, more paper rounds and so on.

From here you work your way up the business chain, via car washes and pizzerias all the way up to banks and oil companies worth billions per press. You can even hire managers, dispensing with the button press as the meters fill up automatically.

Naturally your lemonade stand is going to give you some cash a little faster than waiting to strike oil – but once your profits start climbing, your businesses multiply and the profits come even faster thanks to the ownership bonuses and purchasable additional profit multipliers.

Still with me? Good. Now it gets tricky.

Once your empire has been amassed, you attract the attention of angel investors. These blessed backers will multiply your profits even more – at 2% per angel. The only catch is, for the angel investors to get on board you’ve got to sell up everything – everything – and start again from scratch. It can be painful watching everything go, especially with all that waiting around to increase your fortunes.

But once they’re in, your empire can be built again, even faster. On my most recent restart I pressed Lemonade once and was able to make the jump straight up to purchasing an oil company and make my way back down! The power. The riches. The numbers so high they sound as if they’re made up – quintillions and sixtillions, oh my!

Ahem. Yes. So, in closing, this game is rather moreish, and my brother is evil. Good day.

Plague, Inc. mobile game

Plague, Inc: Spreading worldwide contagion and chaos on your smartphone.

Last week I caught a cold; it started on Tuesday night with a sore throat and the morning after I felt all stuffed up and sneezy. Naturally I spent the entire rest of the week pissing and moaning about this minor infection as if it were the end of the world.

Plague Inc mobile game

But then I discovered a game that actually does simulate something like an apocalyptic health risk when I downloaded Plague, Inc for my Samsung.

The mobile game Plague, Inc allows you to manipulate the very DNA of pathogens including bacteria, viruses and even biological weapons in a bid to wipe out the world’s population.

Players earn DNA points by spreading the disease and can then spend them on new and wicked ways to infect more citizens through different modes of symptom generation and transmission traits. Try to get as much of the world map to glow red as you can before those pesky humans start working on a cure for you.

Tips come in the form of a news ticker informing you of recent developments in other countries, giving you an idea of where to try and spread the sickness, as well as in slightly annoying sound effects like buzzing insects and in-flight plane announcements.

Plague Inc mobile game

Since the game was originally released on smartphones in 2012 a new version called Evolved is now available on Steam, such was its success upon release that its creator gave a talk at the US Centre for Disease Control, who went on to praise its “non-traditional route to raise public awareness”. It hasn’t done too badly for itself as a runner-up for IGN’s Game of the Year 2012 award for Overall Best Strategy Game.

The interface is really easy to use, allowing players to skip quickly between menus to work out what next to spend their points on. I also really like the music; drone-like haunting music like you’d get in your typical bio-disaster movie warning of impending doom. But it all comes together to give a certain feeling that I didn’t expect I’d ever want from a game.

Few games make me feel like a real Bond villain; Plague Inc. has made me realise that this is something I’m very interested in experiencing in my games. While games I love like Fallout 3 give me the option of taking the bad guy route, blowing up Megaton and killing do-gooders, I’ve still never been able to take the moral low road. That’s probably due to the realistic human side of the game which Plague, Inc. does not possess. In first-person games you’ll actually see the damage that you do but with a simulation like this it’s much easier just to look at the numbers and, on a fundamental level, know that you’re a bad ass germ with nothing to lose.

Plague Inc mobile game

And how could you not be when there’s livestock to infect, symptoms to mutate and abilities to thrive in any weather condition? Plague Inc. is a very well-made game with a certain evil charm to it which I can’t get enough of at the moment.