iPad Casual Games #hazm8playsgames – Q3 2018

Sooo this quarter turned out a lot less active for me, as I got pretty busy with work, but also, I started playing this non-iPad and arguably non-casual game:

Pokemon Ultra Sun Box Art

Pokemon Ultra Sun (Image: Nintendo)

Look, sometimes you gotta spend money on a good game that lets you walk through every metre of tall grass as you wish, or chase dozens of side story arcs and mini-games and feel rewarded by connecting these pieces of a virtual world.

Short digression here

I’m honestly pretty happy to get my head out of my mostly freemium games, which just have zero story or world-building. It’s their nature, yes, but we’ve allowed them to define mobile and casual gaming; to normalise limit, narrow gameplay and a million ads and forever grinding to earn in-game currency. But wait, isn’t this a post about casual games to recommend? And do I just have terrible taste in casual games? Ah…

But seriously: If your casual games ever start to feel empty, and your finances allow, It’s okay to put aside your casual games for a month to instead play games with richer gameplay and writing, actually designed for your delight.

Anyway, for those who just want to get back to it:

Continuing my #hazm8playsgames series! Here’s the first post if you want to know what it’s all about.

My preferences (click to view):
  • Genres:
    • Puzzles, especially word and logic games. I don't like physics-based puzzle games.
    • Strategy/Simulation, which is code for "I have a stupid weakness to time management games", like Cooking Dash 2016 (here I am, playing the game for x years).
    • Not: Platformers, Shooters. I'd love to play more RPGs but I only seem to manage to finish one every few years!
  • Styles:
    • Cute or cartoonish art or animation style, over realistic or, hmm, less cute styles. (I've never liked the Ren and Stimpy art style, for example)
  • Other:
    • Casual games, because however much I want to think of myself as kind of a gamer, I never seem to spend time playing "heavier" games. Which leads me to...
    • Free / Freemium / $0.99 Games, partly because casual games tend to be cheaper and I can't justify spending more money (straightaway) on games that I might not actually play. Yes, even wonderful indie games. 🙁

Games this quarter

Woven Words


Sudoku meets words? It’s something you might think at a glance, but the game actually works that way. It always seems like only that one exact letter can fit into a row or column, to form a specific word.

Blue Ox also developed one of my earliest iOS favourites, 7 Little Words!


Twenty48 Solitaire


This game is a curse that my sister, well, cursed upon me.

I’ve never played 2048 (or its variants) and this game gave me a glimpse into the kind of addictiveness of those kinds of games.

Status: Deleted

Developer Website



A pretty game in a 3D polygon art style, with a Mastermind-ish concept: Figure out the patterns of colours, in order to proceed through the level. Each level starts out with a 3D graphic of simple object and a single colour, but the object also evolves as you solve more patterns, adding more elements and colours.

The sounds and music are relaxing – until you move between levels and find the calm atmosphere interrupted by a video ad.

I can’t say I got through much of this game, only trying out the Easy levels. Despite the unique premise, I did not find it that intriguing. Worth a look if you like the concept!

Developer Website

Games revisited

Flipflop Solitaire

Another solitaire, but closer to what most think of as ‘Spider’ (or Klondike, as it says on the game website). It’s a version of solitaire where you’re allowed to stack cards in reverse order – think a ‘K’ on top of a ‘Q’ that is stacked on top of another ‘K’. It’s also flexible about undos, and whether there are any empty spaces when redealing.

The reverse itself adds a new, welcome dimension to the game. You can plan your moves differently, while traversing the new complexity of having reversed stacks. And you can make it more challenging by playing with up to 5 different suits!

Status: I liked this game so much that I paid for the full game unlock.


Cooking Dash 2016

Do not talk to me about this game. I have spent $ (redacted)  on Gold and still grind for it on a weekly basis. I lost my game data in a reformat this year, but I still re-downloaded it anyway because I just want to keep torturing myself unlocking more food and getting those stars.


More screenshots of the above games, if you’re interested! (Click to open in a Google Photos album)

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Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m heading back to Alola to build up my Pokedex!

Infographic: My Recreation & Entertainment Expenses 2015

The average monthly expenditure in a Brunei household for recreation, in 2010 (6 years ago!), was B$185. (Source: JPKE, or direct link to PDF)

But how much do we spend individually, and on what? How much do we spend when we go out, or to keep ourselves occupied at home, or generally on “stuff”? After food and bills (and savings, yes?), how much of our salaries are going to cinema tickets, or magazines, or new gadgets? It would be genuinely kind of interesting to know what the spending trends are for recreation and entertainment – or even what counts as “recreation and entertainment” to different people.

And yes, there’s concern on the economy, considering recent calls this year to be more prudent on spending, from embedding a savings culture to government deficits – I won’t minimise the importance of this, but it’s also not what I’m directly addressing here.

I’m thinking: Data! I’m thinking of richer, detailed numbers, that reflect our Bruneian society and living, and our unique local circumstances. I wonder how much we spend on our hobbies. I wonder to what extent do we support our favourite creators (local or otherwise) with our wallets. I don’t know what on earth we’re always shopping for in Miri. I wonder how we seek out relaxation, or laughs, or thrills.

“Laughs and Thrills” should be how I rename my entertainment budget, but more generally, here are some typical ways we might be recreatin’ or entertainin’:

  • Reading: How many people regularly buy books and magazines? As a B:Read committee member, it was interesting to see the rise in local Instagram shops just for books, or enthusiastic secondhand book sales in Facebook and Instagram communities.
  • Music and movies: Are we still torrenting or buying pirated discs? There was excitement when Netflix became available in Brunei this year, but streaming is bound to the usual Brunei internet woes, and we’ve been running on our restructured TelBru data plans for over a year now. Or are we comfortable with Kristal Astro and offerings from local cinemas? How many of us are just listening to music via YouTube, or Brunei radio?
  • Shows and spots: Brunei is low on local entertainment spots or “shows”, usually having seasonal periods of events, but here and there, we find places to go. We might have brought our kids to Jerudong Park’s water park, or the short-lived crocodile park, or to the popular Ultraman shows this year. We might have paid a small fee to enter a pet reptile show, or an outdoors festival. Some of us might have paid $30 tickets for the rare orchestral concert.
  • Lastly, how do people generally find, and pay for, recreation in Brunei? Do people prefer parks or shopping malls? Do we prefer hangouts at local kopi places, or with friends who have the latest gaming consoles? (Spin-off question: Are we a nation that is both happy to santai but also be consumed with, well, consumerism?)

Read more…

Jul 2016