2016 rather inured me to the tragedy of celebrity deaths, and when a man dies at age 97 after a life as a mathematician, logician, philosopher of eastern religion, stage magician, pianist, author, husband, and stepfather, it seems more an opportunity to celebrate his life than sink into despondency. Raymond Smullyan is best-known as the author of numerous books of puzzles, often puzzles which make advanced logical concepts accessible to an innocent audience (which is, perhaps, to be expected from a logician who extended Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems). I recommend these; they exude a playful light-heartedness rare in any discipline, without compromising their depth and quality. Indeed, much of my taste for puzzles was shaped by Smullyan’s work, and several other Stately Play authors joined me in marking his passing. Should you wish to learn more about Taoism, or serious logic, his writing on those subjects is also first-rate.
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.
iOS Universal • Ever since Tinytouchtales arrived on the scene back in 2015, we’ve been wondering about their next big project. That’s what happens when you release one of the best mobile games ever created, which is exactly what they did with Card Crawl. We shouldn’t have to wait long to experience what they’ve been working on, as yesterday they announced that Card Thief has been submitted to Apple and it’s release is imminent.
PC/Mac/Linux • Nearly three years after its release on iPad, FTL: Faster than Light is still one of the greatest games on the platform. Not only is it one of the most perfect roguelikes ever made, its port to touchscreens set the standard for all ports from that point on. Since then, the forge at Subset Games has been silent, but today we learned [Hat tip: Matt Thrower and Kotaku] that their next effort is well underway. It’s a turn-based strategy game called Into the Breach and it’s coming for PC/Mac/Linux.
Tabletop • In the comments following our review of Arkham Horror: The Card Game, there was short discussion of Fantasy Flight‘s recent decision to split their rulebooks into two separate tomes, a Learn to Play guide and a Rules Reference. Victory Point Games has done FFG one better. Actually, four better. That’s right, when you pull the lid off of the latest edition of Dawn of the Zeds you’ll find no less than six rulebooks staring you in the face. Six. If the tech writer at VPG was writing A Song of Ice and Fire the series would have ended back in 2005. I’ll admit, the six manuals seemed like a whole lot of overkill until I actually got this to the table. Dawn of the Zeds can be a massive, complex game if you want it to be, or it can be a simple struggle against invading hordes. Either way, it’s harder than hell and hell of a lot of fun.
iOS Universal, Android, PC/Mac • I worry about Scandinavians. They’ve been exporting bleakness long enough that it may actually have overtaken mythology as their principal cultural product. The Frostrune mixes peanut butter* with a bar of that bitter chocolate: it’s a point-and-click adventure in which you play the lone survivor of shipwreck, a thirteen-year-old girl. After washing ashore, you discover that everyone you encounter is dead, murdered by a legendary being with the power to create magical ice in summertime. I’ll spoil the happy ending for you: you use necromancy to stop it, but everybody’s still dead and you’re still alone.
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.
iOS Universal, PC/Mac • With two stories in one day, it’s beginning to feel like Tin Man Games day around here. That’s okay, as they make some great interactive fiction ranging all the way from Shakespeare to the 41st millennium. Earlier today, they were busy conquering 1920’s Melbourne, but later this month they’ll tackle Firetop Mountain. That’s right, the long awaited dungeon crawl, Warlock of Firetop Mountain, is due to release for iOS later this month.
iOS Universal • As someone who neither has a Netflix account nor lives in Australia–two things I’d like to correct before I die–I am completely unaware of who Phryne Fisher is. Luckily, for rubes like me, there’s Wikipedia which tells me that she’s the star of a series of books and a television show set in the flapper-decked world of the 1920’s. Oh, and she solves mysteries. I probably should have led with that. Regardless, Tin Man Games is bringing Miss Fisher to our iDevices today with their latest piece of interactive fiction, Miss Fisher and the Deathly Maze.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac • When I wrote about my love for Fantasy Flight’s latest foray into the Lovecraft universe yesterday, I seem to have opened a gate allowing news of other Cthulhu-themed games to ooze into my inbox like the tendrils of a great otherworldly and indescribable beast. Yeah, it was pretty cool. The developer playing Nyarlathotep in this scenario is a new one, Strange Matter, who came together last year in France. Their first game is currently in development and, more importantly, now on Kickstarter. It’s called Rise of the Elders: Cthulhu and promises the tactical feel of XCOM, the globe-hopping adventure of Eldritch Horror, and the RPG depth of Call of Cthulhu. It should come as no surprise that I was interested in hearing more.