PC/Mac • Aristotle’s ontological legacy can be summed up in a single, irrefutable truism: Man can never have too many mech games. No such state exists. Such sagely observation continues to ring through the ages. The battlesuit-besotted have a lot to look forward to. Tetragonworks’ Phantom Brigade (which is utterly ace), Valkyria Chronicles-dated-Armored Core Dual Gear by Orbital Speed Studio (also ace), Harebrained Studios’ Battletech (should be ace) as well as a bunch of other titles like Bombdog’s Chromehounds successor, MAV and the tungsten-tough isometric magic of Stellar Jockeys’ Brigador. And so on and so on. The god of iron and autocannon continues to smile upon us, as Armored Freedom gears up for Steam Early Access.
PC/Mac • Forget Fat Leonard for a moment. Here’s some bigger nautical news. Killerfish Games, the fellows behind the rather well-received Atlantic Fleet, are closing in with their next naval effort, Cold Waters. Rehsink rehbbits yin Reyjavik? Not if you can help it.
PC, iPad (coming soon) • 2017, n. A year. See also: Brimming, overloaded, encumbered, stacked, chockers, totes too many good games, Tom Chick’s wallet threat level gone critical, hocked goods, remortgage, world gone mad. We’ve already seen a terrific payload of games disgorged in the opening few months, and it looks like there’s no stopping this train. But beyond Zeldas and Horizons and whatever else the kids are playing, the true masterpieces have begun hitting. Take, for example, the smartest wargame you’re likely to lock synapses this year in Afghanistan ’11.
PC/Mac, iOS (coming soon), PS4, Vita, Xbox One, Wii U • A new life awaits you in the off-world colonies. The chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure! Scrub ‘colonies’, keep ‘off-world’ and underscore ‘adventure’. Forma.8 is here.
PC/Mac • It’s the flight model. No, no, it’s the visuals. Wait, it’s the muted pokka-pokka-pokka of the cannon. Whatever it is about recent shmup revelation Furious Angels, I’m ensconced in its cocktail of arena shootery like nothing else. As such, I reached to the man behind the game for a quick goosey at where, why and how.
PC • Eugen Systems are back. Seventy-three years back. As you might have picked up on the battalion squawk, the French powerhouse are returning to World War II with the Paradox-published Steel Division: Normandy 44. What’s old is very, very new again.
PC/Mac • That’s me, pretending I played more than five-odd minutes of Devil Daggers, 2016’s gothic arena chest-hair simulator. It gained immense traction with its collision of deft art direction and lean, mean shooter gameplay. Too crazy for me, but akin to many other folk, it was an easy purchase to make. One to have on the digital shelf, say they were part of, and move on. But Furious Angels? Now we’re talking.
Windows • If I whisper the words ‘solid’ and ‘snake’, you’ve got a fifty-fifty chance you’re not being charged four dollars ninety-nine a minute. ‘Sam Fisher’, you know you’re dealing with a shadowy Michael Ironside and his counter-productive tri-bulb NV goggles. But if I say ‘David Llewellyn Jones’, you just might be stumped. UK politican? Author? Welsh choralist? How about the stony protagonist in Innerloop’s tactical FPS Project I.G.I.? Because what we’ve got in Polygon Art‘s Beyond Enemy Lines is the distant fan-made descendant of that fabulous forgotten franchise.
iOS Universal, PC/Mac • The Games Workshop licensing bonanza continues. Crazy Warehouse Man says all licenses must go by midnight tonight! No exceptions. Battlefleet Gothic: SOLD! Man-o-War: Bring your floaties, we’ve got the flintlocks! Necromunda: It just makes such perfect sense! And don’t think we forgot about your massed armour fans! Sadly, that’s as excited as I’ll ever get when discussing HexWar’s absolutely perfunctory turn-based effort. I’m beginning to think they’ve kept the art team on and sent the coders home. What makes The Horus Heresy: Battle of Tallarn a tough one to level criticism at is a by-the-book approach to both source material and its tactical crunch. If ever a game felt like it was helping a studio reach a monthly quota, Battle of Tallarn is it.
PS4, Vita • Mention the title ‘Dynasty Warriors’ and some folk blanch at the prospect of once again scything to hair-metal through hordes of hesitant Han. Truth is, the Dynasty Warriors games are actually pretty damn good, and they’re one of the last bastions of the moribund beat ’em up genre. I’m here to talk about one specific spin-off for PS4 and Vita in Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers, a fresh turn-based twist on the long-running series. The Omega Force gang were said to have been jonesing to create something like Godseekers for a while, give the series hasn’t seen a tactics game since the PS2, largely honing their Han-themed crowd control simulators. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and time in the wilderness has justified the return to cogitative griddery. Cutting to the chase, Godseekers is absolutely terrific and the rest of year ought to get its tactical act together, because this is 2017’s turn-based strategy to beat.