Despite my best efforts to review all of the mobile games in existence in the space of a few months, it turns out I’ve barely scratched the surface of this massive industry. DAMN. In the interests of speeding things up so I can reach my impossible, self-set quota, I’m doing another double feature. This time, I’m looking at Sage Solitaire and Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle.
I had grand plans for last week. I was going to clean my wardrobe, look into a gym contract and de-weed the green pepper planters (I do a lot of gardening, don’t judge me). I’m telling you all this as context, because those plans took a distant backseat when I started playing Sage Solitaire.
Sage Solitaire is best described as solitaire with poker scoring rules. The goal is to clear a deck of cards by forming pairs, three-of-a-kinds, flushes, etc. The cards are arranged in a 3×3 grid, and clearing all the cards from a cell adds bonus points. It sounds simple, and it is. The game is incredibly approachable and easy to learn, as well as nearly impossible to put down.
Some people may not like the fluctuating difficulty level due to the randomised nature of a card game. Furthermore, it often feels like each game has one or two set ways to play it, and deviating slightly may result in failure. Regardless, Sage Solitaire is highly recommended. It’s fun, accessible, and has an incredibly charming presentation. The free version I tried also has very few adverts that manage to be entirely inoffensive, but I believe it’s worth paying the price for the premium version.
Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle
The Dragon Ball franchise is one of those that’s nearly impossible to not have a history with. You either know about it, watch brilliant parodies of it, or fondly remember rushing to SABC 2 every afternoon to catch the next episode. I did/do all three of those things, so it was quite exciting when Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle launched. It was less exciting once I actually started playing it.
Dokkan Battle casts the player as a member of the time police, assisting Trunks. You get to name your character, and I called mine Note because I already didn’t care for the story at that point, which is too similar to the recent DBZ: Xenoverse with its time-hopping shenanigans. In its defense, the storyline does pit you against various antagonists from Dragon Ball, and it’s quite a treat to see the older art style battling against the newer one.
It can best be described as “Puzzle Quest with less stuff to do”. Players tap a coloured “Ki sphere” to charge their attacks. There are modifiers triggered when the sphere corresponds to your attacker’s or defender’s type, and linking together multiple spheres will deal increased damage and trigger special attacks.
The other main area of gameplay is assembling and managing a team of iconic Dragon Ball characters. Each character has specific strengths and weaknesses, and can be trained and levelled up. This is also the main draw for microtransactions, because most players won’t like being stuck with Yamcha for long.
All in all, Dragon Ball Z: Dokkan Battle is a fairly boring game. It’s simplistic and slow-paced, the story is all too familiar and the art has an ugly, grainy look to it. It has entertaining moments, but you can do much better.