Alas, another week is ending which means there should be loads of free time to get some gaming in. Unfortunately it’s also a holiday weekend here in the States, which means my game time will be spent not playing games and, instead, doing family things. The horror! Actually, I was supposed to have an overnight gaming holiday with my game group, but that was nixed by the wife and, instead, I’ll be heading up to the Upper Penninsula of Michigan to fish. When I say “fish” I mean put worms on my kids’ hooks and remove fish from said hooks when they get lucky. I rarely get to drop my own line in the water. Could be worse. Have a great weekend and we’ll see you again on Tuesday.
Brouge, Tales of Maj’Eyal, and The Witness
I’ve been noodling around with Brogue on iOS, and it is indeed the prettiest of the ASCII roguelikes, but it’s also reminded me of how much I like roguelikes with modern conveniences like character classes and and mana points. Oh, and tilesets, I guess, but let’s stop there lest we become decadent and embrace the excesses of full animation and 3D rendering. So, I’ve finally dipped my toe into the ocean that is Tales of Maj’Eyal, and it’s good, good enough that I’m okay with the fact that you have to unlock “true” magic users through play and that a near-genocide of the orkish peoples is part of the backstory. I’m looking forward to playing an orkish survivor and driving back the human and halfling menace, but I’ll have to pick up the Embers of Rage expansion for that.
The family game of the weekend is going to be The Witness (on iOS), I think.
- Brogue for PC/Mac/Linux, free
- Brogue for iOS Universal, free
- Tales of Maj’Eyal for PC/Mac/Linux via developer’s site, free/€6.00
- Tales of Maj’Eyal for PC/Mac/Linux via Steam, $6.99
- The Witness for PC/Mac via Steam, $39.99
- The Witness for iOS, $9.99
Zen Pinball, Alien vs. Predator, BSG: Deadlock, Phantom Doctrine
After having a hearty old time trying to survive in Legendary Encounters: Alien – and that was just describing the card sorting – I returned to a few interesting entries in the Alien digital landscape.
First of all, on the Mark Hensby of game consoles, I’ve been muddling through Zen Studios’ Alien pinball tables on Vita. They’re very slick affairs, spread across the original film, the disastrous Alien vs. Predator and Creative Assembly’s retro-futurist masterpiece, Alien Isolation. Good tables, replete with the usual missions and required showcases of skill. I couldn’t pick a favourite, but there’s always a fondness for the original.
The other investigation is Rebellion’s 2010 underdog reboot of Alien vs. Predator on PC and console. At least, it was on PC, but licenses have run out and the game has been digitally delisted, such as the ephemeral way of our modern age. Thank Weyland I nabbed it when I did, because while not perfect, it’s a decent entry that has become perhaps more enigmatic in its digital absence. Is it as good as the original Rebellion effort, AvP Gold? No. Monolith’s AvP2? Maybe. Always an interesting thing to revisit.
- Zen Pinball for iOS Universal, free
- Zen Pinball for Android, free
- Pinball FX3 for PC via Steam, free
- Pinball FX3 for Switch, free
- Battlestar Galactica Deadlock for PC via Steam, $40
- Phantom Doctrine for PC via Steam, $40
Into the Breach
After almost exactly six months of waiting, Into the Breach is finally on the Nintendo Switch, where it belongs. Everyone’s favorite Robot Kaiju-Trolley Problem-Chess Puzzle can now be taken anywhere you can pull out your Switch without feeling too silly. The transition to console from the PC release was as smooth as you’d expect from the folks who brought us the amazing iPad edition of FTL, barring some clumsiness with how tooltips are handled. And that’s easy to overlook when I can play my favorite game of the year thus far on the toilet without my MacBook Air rendering me sterile.
-Tanner “TMI” Hendrickson
Barbearian, Into the Breach, Bad North, and Unexplored
Due to a recommendation from Nick Vigdahl–recently taken up residence in the Stately sewers–I downloaded Barbearian on my iPad last night. It’s kind of like Diablo, but more structured? I mean, there aren’t just wandering creatures all over, you have to move to an area that contains about a thousand bad guys in a huge group and beat the hell out of them with your axe. It’s remarkably fun and there’s a lot I have yet to discover, having met my end rather quickly against the first challenge. If you’re looking for a quick, fun, roguelike, Barbearian is worth the price of entry. Actually, I wrote up a little review that is totally all my own words and doesn’t plagiarize Nick’s review at Pocket Tactics at all, because copying parts of a review and labeling them under another author’s name is a bad thing that we’d never do…
Barbearian is a real-time action/RPG that features frenetic combat full of huge hits against vast hordes of enemies. The constant motion, explosive hits, and overwhelming odds of it reminds us of running around Diablo III maps looking for more things to kill. It looks great, is loaded with smashy goodness and visceral feel, and is a ton of fun to play. It offers plenty of challenge without nearing the rage-quit-and-never-look-at-the-game-again reaction some similar games seem to elicit. The ability to micromanage the difficulty and completely control the UI layout is just icing on the cake.
Yep, I totally wrote that with my own brains.
Other games on the agenda will be a trio of games that I’m dying to play on my Switch. I picked up Into the Breach, Bad North, and Unexplored this week and all of them look fantastic. I played a little Unexplored already and kind of love it. The combat is a little more twitchy than my two thumbs can handle, so we’ll see how far I can get. Thus far my adventures have all ended on level 2. Pathetic. Bad North is a real-time game in which you direct your little guys to stave off a viking invasion. Again, looks amazing, and hope to get some time in. The last is Into the Breach, which Tanner talked about above. Unlike Tanner, I’m all for sterilization so I might play this one on my Mac whilst pooing.