Zombies, you say? Aren’t they incredibly played out at this point? What’s left to say on the shambling hordes? If The Walking Dead is anything to go by, very [insert meandering mid-season break] little. But that doesn’t mean people aren’t getting creative in siphoning that near-empty pop-culture tank. Enter Screwfly Studios, rolling up the sequel sleeves and continuing to develop their distinct brand of strategy in Zafehouse Diaries 2.
Frozen Synapse. The Samaritan response to Earl Grey going cold during CS 1.6 matches. A dignified serving of tactical WEGO that kept the brew hot and the neurons firing. It was the firearm surgery of Counterstrike, but field-stripped to core components and removed from the Hindbrain for proper turn-based deliberation. Every action you’d pull in a regular realistic shooter could be replicated in fastidious detail. And ruminative sipping. When Frozen Synapse 2 was announced earlier this year, I wondered how Ian and friends could possibly improve upon an already proven clutch of systems. Turns out Mode 7 like to dream a little bigger.
1997 might have belonged to the triumvirate of genre-stompers — Total Annihilation, Age of Empires, and Myth — with a hearty sci-fi Blizzard chaser the following year, but there was one game that fought adversity and lived on. Netstorm: Islands at War was an innovative strategy effort that earned the title ‘Best Game Nobody Bought‘, largely due to anyone owning the demo being able to convert it to the full game. Ah, those halcyon days. Netstorm did however garner a small but dedicated fan-base, who praised its interesting and comparatively static tactics in contrast to the build-rush nonsense of its peers.
Arrival appears to be the hot new business at the box office. Being industrial-grade Parentcore, I’ll get to it when I can — presumably just before heat death ruins home-streaming — but have it on good authority that Denis Villeneuve’s film is the new Contact, stripped of cheese. Alright, alright, alright.
Are you a creep? Put away the Coke Babies import, you don’t need to show the severity of your creepdom. I’m talking of Knuckle Cracker‘s magnificent little RTS trilogy, a twist of tower defense and supply chain optimisation. Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal has been on Steam since 2014, but it has finally been joined by its elder siblings from 2009 and 2011.
Describing Atlas Reactor (and why it’s all sorts of fantastic) is a tall order. It leads to a tumult of clumsy ‘…like x, but with a twist of y‘ equations that are never as helpful as they are clever, and lead to some pretty average approximations. The best I’ve managed is a supercilious ‘multiplayer turn-based strategy for the Overwatch generation‘. Thing is, it totally is. Now released, I can emphatically suggest it as strategy front runner for any serious GOTY discussion. Here WEGO.
This is this, and this is free. Eugen Systems continue to deliver the goods for Wargame: Red Dragon, their final entry in the esteemed operational-level real-time tactical series. Though deploying in 2014, the game has now received no less than six expansions and nation packs, four gratis and two paid. For my hard currency, I can’t think of a more enjoyable real-time tactics title, and it sits, stinking of diesel and MLRS propellant, atop the pile of recent strategy gems.
Captain W. E. Johns returned to consult on Battlefield 1 and those sales figures don’t lie. The Titans are indeed falling. We’re being called to duty for our three-hundred and fifty-third tour, a veritable Flashpoint Contiki of hyperbolic bang-bang-back-on-the-bus. Hazarding a guess, the NATO armour rating for this current season of military-themed action fare would be a solid five. Nigh impenetrable. Allow me to crank Wagner and see if Jetcat Games can’t pierce the holiday season with their brand of rotorcraft multiplayer.
Reverse off the sealed road, maintaining careful control of the Palfinger crane to avoid inconvenient jack-knifing. Park between the felled logs, stripped and segmented by the now-silent Sampo Rosenlew HR46, logging head taut from its articulated boom. Clamber aboard the sufficiently-sized trailer and drop the support jacks. Power up the claw, acclimate to the controls that differentiate clamp rotation to grip and extension. Begin to select trunks from the strewn lumber and manoeuvre them onto the bed. Lose an entire evening.