Every year it seems like there’s one or two tabletop games that get 98% of that year’s hype. Last year’s darling, Scythe, was a huge game from a small publisher funded via Kickstarter, a combination that wouldn’t seem to warrant the levels of anticipation we were seeing. Turns out the hype was warranted, because Scythe launched to great reviews and turned out to be one of 2016’s best tabletop experiences. Unbeknownst to us, there’s a digital version of Scythe in the works and, from what little we can gather, it looks like it should be generating a whole lot of hype on its own.
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.
iPad, PC/Mac • A fairly big week for releases (both Warlock of Firetop Mountain and Dungeon Rushers are already scheduled) just got bigger with the upcoming release of Gamious‘ oil tycoon simulation, Turmoil, which is due on February 23.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac • One of the highlights of last year’s Gen Con was seeing North Star Games‘ fantastic take-that euro game, Evolution, in digital form and looking like it was near ready for release. Turns out, the version we saw wasn’t fit to survive and, dare I say, is still evolving. That’s the word from inside North Star’s digital group, and it sounds like it might be a while before Evolution actually climbs from the primordial code-soup and onto our tablets.
iOS Universal, Android • One of the best games to land on our PCs in the last ten years became one of the best games ever ported over to an iPad back in 2013 when XCOM: Enemy Unknown arrived on the App Store in all its tense, heart-breaking glory. In 2014 it was superseded by XCOM: Enemy Within which added more stuff and a new way to ratchet up the tension by placing a pseudo-timer on each mission in the form of Meld. If you haven’t picked up XCOM: Enemy Within for mobile, first of all, shame on you. Secondly, go pick it up now; it’s only three frickin’ bucks.
iOS Universal, Android, PC/Mac • It’s about time I came clean. I know this will come as a shock to many of you, so you might want to prepare yourself. Ready? Here we go: Back when I was in college, I was a huge nerd. There, I said it. Take as much time as you need to let that soak in. Now, when I say “nerd”, I’m not talking about the kind that spent their time in the library on Thursday nights rather than at house parties, I’m talking about the kind that stayed in and played role-playing games with friends on Thursday nights instead of going to house parties. A lot of Dungeons & Dragons Second Edition was played in many dorm common areas, let me tell you. We even, for a short time, dabbled in something called Vampire: The Masquerade which was White Wolf’s more freeform answer to D&D’s mathiness and was all the rage thanks to Anne Rice and the lingering effect of a young Kiefer Sutherland in leather. Well, Vampire: The Masquerade is back and it’s on your phone.
iOS Universal • One of the most unique games I’d ever played was Her Story released back in 2015. The “game” consisted of a myriad of video clips that you had to piece together in order to figure out the entire story. There was no winning or losing, just learning more and more about this rather interesting woman who was being questioned by the police for…something. Designer Sam Barlow has said that he’s working on a follow-up, but we haven’t heard of when Her Story 2 might actually find its way to our tablets. Yesterday, Three Story House released a game I wasn’t aware of that brings a lot of that Her Story vibe back to our iPads and adds a healthy dose of Sherlock Holmes along the way. It’s called Ink Spotters 1: The Art of Deduction and, as someone who loved Her Story and also devours anything Sherlockian, color me intrigued.
iOS Universal, Android • Pathfinder Adventures from Paizo and Obsidian was my top mobile game of 2016 and one that I still find myself playing more than most of the other games on my iPad. It’s always big news when Obsidian drops a new update for the game, if only to squash some of the still lingering bugs. Yesterday, the latest update was released for the game bringing some new features and fixes but, more importantly, it was accompanied by a blog post indicating that Quest Mode has an upcoming appointment with the headsman.
PC/Mac • A long time ago I remember hearing rumors of cardboard publisher Lock ‘n Load getting into the digital game, then I hit a personal black hole and lost contact with the world only to reemerge last fall having completely forgotten about their digital plans. Turns out I should have written a note or tied a string around my finger to remind myself, because Lock ‘n Load published several versions of their light, fast tank battler Tank on Tank for PC/Mac last year and I’m just hearing about them now.
iOS Universal, Android, PC/Mac • You might remember Mi-Clos Studio from their classic study in isolation, Out There, a game with beautiful art that tells the story of a stranded astronaut trying to find their way home. It was thoughtful, a little dark, and very hard. These are all traits that do not apply to their latest, Dungeon Rushers. Developed by Goblinz Studio and published by Mi-Clos, Dungeon Rushers is full of 8-bit art and has its tongue firmly within its cheek. This is a game that takes dungeon crawling the level of seriousness it probably deserves, but still manages to be a fairly deep and interesting RPG. Oh, and it’s coming to iOS and Android on February 23.