Shaun Mccran

My digital playground


Micro transaction madness with Marvel Puzzle Quest

I'm a big fan of Puzzle games, and Marvel, so what could be better than a Marvel themed puzzle game?

The game itself is a classic three-in-a-row puzzle game just like the previous versions of Puzzle Quest games. It's the now 'classic' model of free-to-play but with in-game micro transactions through it. There are several resources used in the game, Iso-8 which is used to upgrade your hero's level and hero points, which are basically coins that you can use to but team slots to hold more characters, or to buy skills for characters.

You can play the game without purchasing anything at all, which is my preference or you can spend upwards of £80.00 on all the extras. Personally if it was priced at a sensible mobile price point I would have happily purchased it, it's the sheer volume of micro transactions present that is annoying. I don't know how or why the trend for Micro transactions started but the model is abhorrent.

This whole game feels like a vehicle for micro transactions. Every way you try and play it you are faced with a transaction. The only other option is such soul crushing repetition that the game is almost unplayable. You really have to purchase a wealth of content if you want to even see half of the characters and powers in this game.

Looking at this from a design perspective it is obvious that the design started with user journeys arriving at micro transactions. For me, if a games design is being driven by the purchasing functions in it then you've lost the plot. I appreciate that games have to make money, that's just the modern games industry but they shouldn't be the driving design principle in the product!

This is a real shame as the game is quite enjoyable, its just that the constant barrage of 'purchase me' advertising really starts to intrude on your enjoyment of actually playing the game. It feels like there is more 'purchasing advertisements' than puzzle matching.

So, I'd stay away from this game. Marvel should release a non 'free to play' version at £9.99 or £14.99 with all the content unlocked. I'd be happy to purchase in that model. Micro Transactions hidden in the 'free to play' games are a blight on the games industry. Its false advertising, plain and simple. There needs to be a change in policy, and a change in terminology, as this terms is just lies.


Gillen and Kubert produce comic genius with Wolverine: Origin 2

Kieron Gillen and artist Adam Kubert follow up 2002's 'Origin' with 'Origin 2', a continuation of the history of Wolverine. Issue one has an acetate cover over the front, with the claws on it, and Wolvies wolf family on the normal cover. The effect is outstanding and really gets across the animal theme of the issue across.

There is very little conversation (after all Wolverine is surrounded by Wolves) and a fair bit of internal monologue, written as 'instinct' rather than conscious thought. This helps to bring the reader up to speed quickly and builds a real atmosphere around Wolverine being out in the wilderness. On that note the Wilderness is brought to life with incredible detail by Kubert. The scenery design and the animal art is fantastic in this issue, there is a real sense of the open wilderness here, its remote, and you can feel it.

The production on this issue is fantastic, from both a writing perspective and an artistic impression. It's a shining example of modern comic creation. Even if you are not a fan of Comics I'd recommend buying this issue, it crosses the boundaries into 'Art' for me. I simply cannot recommend it enough.

Go buy it now, if its anything like the original series it won't be available for long.