iOS Universal, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • The past couple of weeks have been tough ones for me, but this hardship has been completely of my own devising. Instead of going to sleep at a remotely decent time, I’ve been staying up well past 2am nearly every night playing War of the Chosen, the new expansion for XCOM 2. While we’re unlikely to ever see the XCOM sequel on our tablets, there is good news in mobile-land for XCOM fans: XCOM: Enemy Within was just updated to comply with iOS 11’s 64-bit requirement.
iOS, Android, Kindle • You don’t need to be Fred Allen to know that mobile Real Time Strategy games are seldom well-done. Sadly a phone or tablet doesn’t have the requisite number of easily accessible input devices to allow for standard RTS play. Not that people haven’t tried to reproduce the Command and Conquer or Starcraft experience, but the results have been less than spectacular. RTS games that have succeeded on mobile–Rymdkapsel, Autumn Dynasty, and Alien Tribe 2 come to mind–do so by either reworking the concept of an RTS or creating new control schemes to simplify what’s possible with a keyboard and mouse. While these are all good games, none manage to create the same tension that desktop RTS titles are famous for. And so, into this peculiar gaming niche comes Iron Marines from Ironhide Game Studio. Is it the grail RTS we’ve been waiting for?
iOS Universal, PC/Mac • It’s been a long time since we’ve had a pure puzzle game worth talking about land on the App Store. The Witness, Jonathan Blow‘s puzzle opus, almost fits. It’s definitely a puzzle game, but it’s also big, beautiful, and mysterious. It feels like there’s much more to do than just solving the maze-like puzzles, but when you get down to it, there really isn’t. It’s kind of weird, but I keep loading it up and exploring the world so there must be something there.
Tabletop • I’ve never played a solo game quite like Nemo’s War from Victory Point Games. I went into it prepared for the usual solo/cooperative game tropes–turns divided by a “bad” phase, more fires to put out than you have hoses, a general sense of being completely screwed–but found none of those. Instead, Nemo’s War felt more like one of those open-world video games like the Elder Scrolls series. Do whatever the hell you want, when you want, and have fun doing it. There’s never that moment, as in other cooperatives, where you “beat the game”. It’s strange, yet mesmerizing.
PC/Mac/Linux • INTRODUCE Capped off 12 East Games’ Trackless some days ago. Still thinking about 12 East Games‘ Trackless today. Surely a very good sign. CONTINUE
iOS Universal, PC/Mac/Linux • You’re probably sick and tired of me talking about Thimbleweed Park around these parts, but I know a lot of our readers are mobile gamers first and foremost, so I also know many of you have probably ignored my earlier praises of the game. You’re probably also aware that the previous sentence is an abomination of word structure and nearly, but not quite, a run-on sentence. That sentence wasn’t much better. Shorter, but not better. What I’m trying to say is, mobile gamers can now experience the joy I’ve had playing Thimbleweed Park because it’s currently on the App Store.
iPad, PC/Mac • There was a time–well before anyone had coined the phrase App-ocalypse–that Spiderweb Software had their fill with Apple and vowed to never produce another RPG for our tablets. Remember that? Spiderweb guru Jeff Vogel was lamenting the fact that iOS 8.3 broke their engine, and they were taking their ball and going home. They eventually relented, with the reveal that Jeff’s initial rage was caused by some underlying medical issues and things happening outside the wonderful world of coding. That circus revolved around the release of Avernum 2 and, thanks to Pocket Gamer, we learned that we can expect the final chapter in the saga, Avernum 3, next year.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • Art is cheap, at least when it comes to mobile games. You know this is true because even the most crap-filled freemium abomination is filled to the bevel with the most precisely crafted artwork. Pretty pixels are the aluminum siding of mobile gaming. Consequently, a good game is often not even particularly about the visuals but about the way the developer creates a tension between the tactical options available to the player and the desired game outcome. That and timers. We must always have timers. The reason this is important is that one of the latest titles to make its way to mobile, Minos Strategos by Brett Lowey of Militia fame, is not a particularly ground-breaking game in terms of visuals and also has some surprisingly poor UI choices. Combined, these make Minos Strategos troublesome at first but are, ultimately, a slight blemish on what is a very good abstract strategy game.
We’re nearing the one year anniversary of launching Stately Play and while we haven’t reached the heights of our old living quarters, it’s been a lot of fun being able to write again about topics that I love. Of course, I could write all I want but without you guys reading it, I would just be another mad man bellowing into the wind. Therefore, I have to thank each and every one of you, whether you stop by every day, once a week, or only when you spy a story you might like via our Facebook or Twitter feed. None of this would exist without you reading, contributing in the forums, playing in tournaments, and all the other stuff you do that doesn’t deal directly with what appears on the front page.
iOS Universal, PC/Mac/Linux • Still one of the best gamebook translations to the touchscreen, Warlock of Firetop Mountain just got even better with some new DLC that’s now available for the iOS version.