Thursday, October 20, 2016

"Live Blogging" through Kingdom Rush - Day 3

(This is the third post of a series examining my attempt at the iPhone gaming app Kingdom Rush. I recommend you read post one and post two before this post.)

I am frustrated.

I played Kingdom Rush for over an hour tonight, and I have yet to achieve all three stars on the fourth level; each time I play until the end, I just lose too many lives. The best I have done is finished with 16 lives. Unfortunately, that still resulted in two stars.

I collected tons of gems, but only two stars today.

My extreme struggle on only the fourth level of the easy version of Kingdom Rush makes me think that I am missing some very important aspect of the game. (Otherwise, I am just really awful at Kingdom Rush! It's possible that this is the case.) Because I felt this way, I exited the level-playing area and began exploring the other "pages" of the app. I was looking for areas with features I hadn't noticed or utilized before.

As I was looking around in the app (outside of the levels I was playing), I stumbled upon an upgrade area. It seems like the highest number of stars the player earns on each level (not each time the level is finished, just the highest star score for each level) is collected. These stars can then be traded in for upgrades. The upgrades differ depending on the aspect of the game that is being upgraded; in the example below, the upgrade increases the number of coins the player receives by selling a tower.

Here is the upgrade page within the Kingdom Rush app.

I don't ever sell my buildings, so I didn't want to buy that upgrade. However, I did upgrade some of my towers so that they would be more effective in causing damage to my enemies. Please see all of the upgrades I purchased in the photo below.

I upgraded the cannonball, army men, and magic towers, as well as the resiliency of the fighters.

I returned to the fourth level of the game with my upgrades to find that, while my enemies were more readily defeated, I still could not end the level with more than 16 lives (and therefore, I only earned two stars each time).

The best outcomes I had resulted from when I stuck to army men and cannonball towers (with one arrow-flinging tower to defend the path into my kingdom). In the past attempts, I had been using mostly army men with any of the other towers around them; I changed that strategy to just put cannonball towers near the army men. I thought that, if the army men held up the enemies for the cannonballs to reload, they could get another attack on those enemies (and hit multiple in one shot). This was substantially more effective when the cannonball towers were upgraded because their explosives were more damaging and they didn't take as long to reload and fire. Unfortunately, upgrading the cannonball towers is extremely costly (over 200 coins), so it's hard to save the money to be able to do that.

Another thing I started doing today was using the special attacks. As you can see in the lower left hand corner of the image below, there are two circular icons. These are the special attacks I have been instructed to use so far.

See the icons in the lower left corner that represent the special attacks in Kingdom Rush.

The first one (which is a blacked out fiery rock; I used it just before taking this screen shot) shoots down "fire and brimstone" on the enemies. This does substantial damage, but the attack takes an incredibly long time to reload. The second disk (with the clashing swords) calls on two additional army men (placed wherever the player would like) to help defend the kingdom. In my experience, these fighters have not been particularly tough or bright; they are destroyed quickly. Again, the game requires the user to wait before allowing another use of the special attack.

I knew about the special attacks before playing Kingdom Rush today; however, I allowed my pride to get the best of me and told myself I would be able to defeat the enemies in the level sufficiently without the special attacks. It was those special attacks that allowed me to make it out of the level with a whopping 16 lives. (Because there are two trolls, and each troll costs three lives, this means that I had to defeat a troll in the game or else the number of my lives would be 14 or less!) It was the special attacks that enabled me to better my score (in lives) of each game, so I am glad I got over my pride and used them.

My frustration clouded my ability to strategically play the game today. Normally, I would sit and think about the ways I could approach the level, record my attempts and what went wrong, then try to resolve the issues in the next try at the level. However, tonight I just tried different ways to play the game with none of this prior thought or reflection. The next time I feel the urge to try again, I hope I have a better mindset and a determination to try multiple combinations of tower placements and then learn from those experiences.

When some people get frustrated while gaming, they turn to a strategy guide that includes hints or hacks for moving forward. I can completely understand why this occurs - many people play games to relax and have fun, and being stressed or anxious over getting stuck might ruin the joy of the experience. I don't personally feel like looking up hints or strategies is wrong, but I do not do this myself (unless I become desperate and stuck for days, but I usually ask a friend for help before turning to the web). To me, part of the appeal of gaming is working through those challenging times and being rewarded by the intense feeling of accomplishment when I figure something out.

Though I am frustrated in my gameplay right now, I am not in a state that I feel the need to look up strategies or hints. There is a Kingdom Rush Strategy Guide, Wiki, and plenty of walkthrough videos to be found on YouTube. For just about any game, typing "<game name> help" will bring up some great resources (especially blogs and videos) in a search engine. It's so easy to access these materials, which makes it difficult to resist finding the answers to my problems online. However, I'd really like to work through my frustration on my own! Therefore, I am committed to ploughing onward in the game and working on my own merit.

Have you ever gotten frustrated in the middle of a game? What did you do about it? Do you have any suggestions for me moving forward? Please share in the comments!

No comments:

Post a Comment