I picked this up in Europe because I was insanely curious as to what this game would be about in terms of its gameplay. Was it a team management game? Would I race a bike?
So far, it seems like its mostly about racing BUT you're also managing your team in the big picture sense. I think. I've only done the tutorials and started a race. The tutorials explain all the core systems - pedaling, braking but also managing your energy, drafting behind other cyclists and so on. There was a bunch of stuff I didn't really understand but I figured that I'd get it in an actual race.
So, I started a race...and it's a LONG race! None of this done in 15 minutes crap. Wow. I then realized that I have no idea how to really play this game (should I try to stay in the lead all the time? when do I leave the peloton? If I stay with the peloton, is this really helping?) It was weird to feel so completely helpless and out of my element. I must have raced for 20 minutes and still had another 150km left to go in the race.
So, here's a game that lets you save mid-race because...the races are all really long!
The art style betrays this game in the sense that it is much more complex and sophisticated in terms of its gameplay that it would appear based on the cartoonish art (that implies it's a simple kids game).
I remember when the DS came out and everyone was excited about the potential of the touchscreen/stylus combination for cool new gameplay opportunities. This game fits into what I'd call the "draw runes for in-game effects" sub-genre of touch screen games. It's not a real sub-genre, but I remember hearing so many student pitches/ideas in which you would sketch a rune and a spell would happen! (this got "worse" with mobile games and ipads, where stylus became finger).
Anyways, Doodle Hex is perhaps the game I've played that best pulls of that idea - here it is literal spells and mages. As you play the game you unlock new spells with different effects and timing and you must simultaneously protect yourself from an opponent who is also casting spells.
Where I found it got really interesting (here's the sophistication) is that when you cast a spell it doesn't happen immediately, rather a rune appears that slowly makes its way (around a circle in the middle of the touch screen) towards your opponent. Only then will it trigger (assuming your opponent isn't shielded). The trick is that different spells move at different speeds around the circle (your opponent is doing the exact same thing, so their spells are travelling around the other side of the circle towards you) AND there's a combo system where you want spells to trigger in a certain order AND their effects mean that (because there are shields), you might want some to hit first (to lower a shield) such that the later one hits harder ('cause no shield, or because it does damage but is useless on a shield) AND you can't draw/cast infinitely, because there's a mana reserve (indicated by liquid inside the circle whose level goes up or down as its restored and depleted) AND different spells cost different amounts of mana.
So, it's a game of careful timing and synchronization - you might cast a spell and then have to wait until it reaches a certain point on the circle before casting the next. Say its a faster spell but you want to time it so that it hits first followed almost immediately by the spell you just cast.
Then, there's a pet you can use to store a cast spell such that you can cast it whenever you want in the future AND you need to keep your shield up to protect yourself from enemy spells (you can't cast while you hold your shield up and your mana won't replenish either).
So, there's LOTS of tricky timing and coordination things to consider in this game that seems super simple. There were a few matches I lost until I sat down and re-considered what I was doing and realized that I needed to have a strategy of both spells I wanted to cast but also the timing of these - and hopefully execute without taking too much damage.
Really enjoyable and interesting game! Of course there are lots of different mages with different base attributes and runes and such, but I didn't explore them all that much.
I haven't played too much...BUT I'm really enjoying:
a. The feeling of speed, acceleration, and motion when you swing from building to building. It feels the way Spider-Man is described/drawn in the comics and, I would say, BETTER than in the movies (where it often seems too unrealistic)
b. I like how layered everything is - things seem to unlock/become available at a rate that I can control as a player by pursuing/not pursuing story missions.
c. I think I like the combat system - but I'm still learning it, so we'll see how that goes.