By Josh Speer / June 24th, 2019
I should point out now I wasn’t originally slated to cover anything by FriendTimes at E3 2019. Not because of any fault of the developer, but due to a snafu with setting up my schedule. And while it’s true oprainfall doesn’t normally cover mobile, I’ve made the exception to cover interesting mobile games at other shows over the years. The games that FriendTimes had on display at E3 were all visually impressive, and offered freedom from micro transactions, as well as the option to use them. Keep reading to see the 3 titles I got to check out at the show.
The first title I played at the FriendTimes booth was Yokai Kitchen. I figured anything with yokai in it was a safe bet for our audience, and turns out I was right. Visually Yokai Kitchen reminded me somewhat of games like God Wars: Future Past or even a little like Okami. It’s bright, colorful and definitely inspired by Asian culture (which would be a running theme).
Your goal in the game is to summon yokai to do various tasks for you, such as run your kitchen, fight in battles and much more. You also will come across foodimon, which are creatures you use for culinary preparation. In the demo, I was able to check out a ranch full of them, as well as assign tasks to my wait staff in my restaurant. Sadly some aspects of the demo were being glitchy, so I wasn’t able to try out the combat first hand, but what I did experience piqued my interest.
This is a really attractive game, and in no way a quick cash grab like I usually expect from mobile. I was most impressed by the varied artists that have contributed to the yokai in the game, and there’s a ton of style and personality on display. While the release date has yet to be announced, eventually Yokai Kitchen will be available for iOS and Android devices.
The second game I played was Empress: Tales of the Heart, and as you can ascertain from the screens above, it’s still in the process of being translated into English. Thankfully, I had one of the FriendTimes team members on standby for translation duties, as well as explaining the mechanics of the various games. Whereas Yokai Kitchen is more of a fanciful sim game, Empress: Tales of the Heart is a more mature 3D MMO experience. You can take on various quests, fight dramatic battles and more.
You have an avatar in the game which you can fully customize as well, and I loved the distinctive and elegant art style here. Frankly, when I think of mobile games, this is not the image my brain comes up with. You can tell a lot of effort went into the aesthetics of the game, and that goes a long way to making any game successful. It also doesn’t hurt the game has wonderful animated cutscenes.
While I do wish I had more of a clear idea what I was doing in the game, even I could tell there’s a lot of complexity and nuance to how it works. An example of this is the day / night and weather systems. Each of your team members has distinct moves and skills, and you can level up and enhance them like in any other RPG experience. Also, depending on which tasks you take on, your fate will change. Much like Yokai Kitchen before it, Empress: Tales of the Heart also doesn’t have a release date yet, but it is slated to release on iOS and Android as well.
The final FriendTimes title was one I didn’t actually get to demo, the previously unannounced WizardLord. Unlike the other two, this one is distinctively Western flavored, not unlike a Lord of the Rings or World or Warcraft sort of vibe. This one is also the most combat oriented of the games, at least from what I could gather. In WizardLord there’s a ton of variety in your units, and a focus on PVP duels and collectible cards. As if that wasn’t enough, there are also 3 lanes you can fight on.
I honestly wish I had played WizardLord at E3, cause it looks very much like my type of game. I love deckbuilding and I love fantasy. If you love those as well, you can enjoy it right now on both iOS and Android.
Overall, I had a lot of fun checking out what FriendTimes had on display. Despite my inherent bias towards most mobile games (and to be fair, there’s a lot of garbage out there) these three may have convinced me to be more open minded in the future. Be sure to keep tuning into oprainfall in the coming days as I wrap up my E3 coverage!
E3 2019Empress: Tales of the HeartFriendTimesmobileoprainfallWizardLordYokai Kitchen