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3 Quick Tl;Dr Android Game Reviews / Recommendations (Episode 166)

Happy Friday, my fellow mobile gamers. And welcome to the latest episode of my weekly roundup of the most interesting games I played last week 🙂

This episode includes a fun drifting racing game, a 2D fantasy RPG focused on crafting, and a challenging platform action game with both single-player and real-time multiplayer.

Disagree with my opinion? Let’s have a friendly discussion below.

New to these posts? Check out the first one from 166 weeks ago here.

The games are "ranked" somewhat subjectively from best to worst, so take the ranking for what it is.

Let's get to the games:

Drift Max Pro (free)

Genre: Drifting / Racing – Offline Playable

Orientation: Landscape

Required Attention: Full

tl;dr review:

Drift Max Pro is a fun physics-based drifting game with 36 unique cars, both single-player and real-time multiplayer, and a decent monetization for a racing game.

The game features a huge career that introduces all the core mechanics, real-time multiplayer versus friends or random opponents, and lots of single-player quick play game-modes, including capture the flag, slalom, cone smash, and free ride. As we progress, we buy more powerful cars that can then be tuned and heavily customized through decals, suspensions, rims, spoilers, and more.

The controls are nicely calibrated, and the whole experience feels high-quality and well-executed, creating one of the best drifting racing experiences I’ve personally had on mobile so far.

We can play the career as much as we want, while quick play requires tires and PvP requires multiplayer tickets, both of which are energy systems that replenish over time. Thankfully, the replenish time is very short, and a $12.99 iAP provides infinite tires.

Drift Max Pro monetizes through ads after finishing races, incentivized ads for extra rewards, a $2.99 to remove these ads, and relatively inexpensive iAPs to unlock cars faster. Everything can be grinded through normal gameplay, however, and the monetization doesn’t feel forced. Interestingly, there’s even a single $50 iAP that unlocks all 36 cars, removes ads, and provides infinite tires and multiplayer tickets. Although expensive, this turns the game into a premium experience.

Google Play: Here

MiniReview link: Here

Heroes and Merchants (free)

Genre: RPG / Fantasy / 2D / Indie – Requires Online Access

Orientation: Portrait + Landscape

Required Attention: Some

tl;dr review:

Heroes and Merchants is a crafting-focused 2D fantasy RPG that, while primarily single-player, features strategic real-time PvP duels, guild raids, and a global chat to communicate with other players.

The core gameplay has us send heroes out on missions to gather materials while training artisan NPCs so we can craft items and equipment using those materials. Once started, both crafting and missions execute automatically, with a timer indicating when they will be completed. Meanwhile, we can head into an Adventure mode where we control our heroes from a first-person perspective as we explore a 3D dungeon to gather resources and gold by killing creatures.

There is no lack of content to dive into, including tasks, guild activities, daily competitions, games at the Tavern, and time-based events. While fun and unique, Heroes and Merchants is very slow-paced in the beginning, with little to do while waiting for missions and crafting to complete. Over time, however, we unlock so much content that the wait-times become irrelevant, and since the game receives frequent updates, this first-play experience might improve over time.

The game's biggest drawbacks are that the controls in the 3D Adventure mode are somewhat mediocre, and that while having a certain charm, the hand-drawn graphics may not appeal to everyone.

Heroes and Merchants has almost no monetization. Incentivized ads allow us to gain one extra item from adventures and a key to open a low-tier resource chest, but there are no iAPs or forced ads, and no way to speed things up or gain an unfair advantage.

Google Play: Here

MiniReview link: Here

Project Secret (free)

Genre: Action / Platformer / PvP – Requires Online Access

Orientation: Landscape

Required Attention: Full

tl;dr review:

Project Secret is an incredibly challenging fast-paced action platformer with a speed-running focused single-player and real-time multiplayer.

Both campaign missions and multiplayer matches consist of a combination of four maps that we must complete as fast as possible. Every map has a type that indicates whether it is full of traps and other elements that can damage us, features puzzles that need to be solved, or focuses on timing and speed – each challenging in their own way. Maps also include secret areas that can be accessed and completed for extra rewards, although it will cost precious time.

Winning levels provide us with various currencies used to buy equipment pieces that may add new abilities or boost our defense. These can also be bought for real-life money, which allows paying players to progress faster. Fortunately, the matchmaking is skill-based, which means we should be matched against players on our skill-level. Losing a level consumes energy, of which we have only three per game mode. Once fully depleted, we must wait for them to slowly replenish or spend real-life money for an instant refill.

The simple controls work well, and although the UI could use some polish, the core gameplay is super fun and challenging. It feels like a game with great ambitions that just needs a bit more development time.

Project Secret monetizes through iAPs for a premium currency that can be spent on instantly acquiring better equipment or replenishing energy so we can continue playing without a break. If played in 30-minute intervals, the monetization is unlikely to have a large impact on free players.

Google Play: Here

MiniReview link: Here

NEW REVIEW APP: You can search and filter reviews and games I've played (and more) in my app MiniReview:

Outdated (replaced by MiniReview): Sheet of all games I've played so far:

TL;DR Video Summary (with gameplay) of last week's 3 games:


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