Now, sometimes my pictures of the beer are a little bit on the outdoors-y side of things. While I don't (yet) have my consoles set up outside so I have constant access to them, I am often times grilling out (at least from spring to fall. In the winter? Not so much) and have a portable game console like my 3DS or Vita with me. It just so happens that the other day I was slow cooking some smoky barbecue chicken over charcoal while playing a game on my mobile phone - Marvel Puzzle Quest. The beer of choice at the time? Rübæus by Founders, arguably the best brewery in the state of Michigan.
Now, this is hardly a new game - but then I spend a lot of time not just playing new releases but also older titles. I still have several retro consoles bouncing around my house. While Marvel Puzzle Quest is not that old, it has been out for a time. I was rather late to the party with this game, despite my buddy (and frequent fellow craft beer drinker) Scott encouraging me to pick it up. I did early on, but it was one of those games I grabbed and then tried to play in between fifty other things going on in life. I figured I would understand the basics without any help - after all I was quite familiar with the original Puzzle Quest game, have played more than my share of Match 3 video games over the years and had even played a more recent but similar style of game in Gems of War.
The thing is? Marvel Puzzle Quest is actually more complicated than any of those games. I had no idea what I was doing. Sure, matching three - or even better yet four or five - is still the key to success. However, there is a whole lot more going on with this game, from using different characters (initially I had few to choose from, and even then decided to go with favorite characters while being oblivious to their different strengths and weaknesses), different currencies (hero points, ISO-8, consumables, etc) and the way damage is dealt and received. It was a lot to take in, so on my first go I just shook my head and didn't fire the game back up again for months.
There is so much to do in this game, it is almost ridiculous. Of course at its core you have the Match 3 mechanic. However, you can add new characters, and by finding more covers from that character, you can earn new skills, which in turn allows you to level them up, which in turn raises hit points and damage - those sorts of things. So it ticks a lot of the boxes I really enjoy. I have always been a sucker for Match 3 games, so when you add things like collecting and RPG progression mechanics, you tend to have my on the hook there. I feel like I should be slightly annoyed as I've managed to avoid paying microtransactions on any game for years, and I finally crumbled for this one.
Certainly Marvel Puzzle Quest could have done a better job of walking me through the basics, but part of the problem was undoubtedly my desire to hurry through the beginning and just assuming I knew how the game would play out. It was not until much later that I finally gave Marvel Puzzle Quest another go in earnest, and I have to say that I am glad I did - and a bit regretful at the same time. You see, I have played a lot of free to play mobile games on my iPhone and even on consoles before. This is the first time I have spent money on one, and while I haven't dropped a 'Stark's Salary' on it - I have made multiple purchases on it now.
Easy enough to justify however, because I play it more than any other mobile game on my phone. Of course this is handy because it is always with me - including when I am sitting outside making up food. It was hot out when I was playing. Of course, just about every place thinks it is hot, and admittedly the temperature in Michigan is not as blistering as a lot of other locations, but it gets humid and we've had a run of 90+ degree days of late that have me grilling out and trying lighter, fruitier beers as a result. One such beer is Rübæus by Founders.
Now, my wife is not a beer drinker - at all. She doesn't mind the smell of a few (usually the really fruity ones or the sweeter beers like Millkshake Stout), but just can't stand the taste of them. Of course, I think my wife's tastes are pretty questionable to begin with, because she married me - but she has had a couple of very fruity ones poured into lemonade to make a shandy that she can enjoy, and Rübæus is one of those few. It is a very sweet, very fruity beer that is made with loads of raspberries. Not the kind of beer I normally pick out (though I have had it on nitro at the Founders tap house and it is quite good and smooth that way), but on a hot day like the ones we've been experiencing lately, it goes down really nicely.
The beer itself pours a dark amber red color with a quickly dissipating white head and plenty of carbonation. It is a very light beer in taste, with a fruity flavor that is far superior to a lot off fruit beers out there. Too often fruit flavored beers taste artificial not the case here. The carbonation, like the head, is in appearance mostly. Mouthfeel is tiny bubbles but not overwhelmingly carbonated, with a slightly syrupy feel that compliments the malt/cracker taste right up front. It simply 'tastes red' with all of that raspberry flavor, and is arguably my favorite fruit beer on the market. Founders Brewing Company is one of the best known breweries here in Michigan, and while my favorite beers of theirs tend to be of the darker and barrel aged variety, they do a lot of others types of brews that are worth trying out as well.
So while I was playing Marvel Puzzle Quest, there was a new development this particular afternoon. They had recently released a VIP subscription package to go with the other microtransactions that could be purchased. Looking it over the day the service released (just over a month ago), I remember a survey that I had taken for the game some time prior and a lot of the questions in it were reflected in the VIP offering. Daily rewards ranging from a couple of legendary tokens, to trickles of hero points, ISO-8, recruit tokens and more. I passed on the offering initially - I was spending enough here and there on hero points so I could expand my roster of characters. This game really, REALLY appeals to my collector's mentality, which is where most of my money seems to go.
Well, as I was playing the game, cooking food and moving on to my second and then third Rübæus, the VIP package seemed like a better and better deal. Now, I'm not saying that one shouldn't have a few drinks and play games with microtransactions, but... there's a good chance that one shouldn't have a few drinks and play games with microtransactions. All in all, the VIP plan is only $10 a month, and it doesn't auto renew and it started with a legendary token. So sure, I went ahead and picked it up and also decided to do a Logan's Loonies package for more hero points because I had some cards sitting around waiting to be added to my roster.
I have to say that while my judgment may have been slightly questionable, the results were not as I pulled the new (only days old) Bruce Banner Hulk 5 star Legendary character. Now, I realize that was probably just dumb luck (my first legendary pull when playing the game was a 5 star black costume Spider-Man as well) - but I'll take it. I haven't decided whether or not I plan to re-up for the VIP plan next month, but I can safely say that I'll have another Rübæus again before I have to decide.
Article by Nick