iOS, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • I was breezing through my Twitter feed the other day and stumbled on a tweet from occasional contributor, gaming genius, and friend of the site, Matt Thrower. He was asking if anyone was making classic adventure games like we’d find back in the 80’s and 90’s. Classics like Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and dozens like them. The only reply he received was from the wonderful Wadjet Eye Games, but today I stumbled onto Thimbleweed Park and I think it will make our British friend very, very happy.
iOS Universal, PC/Mac • Being a socially awkward 12 year-old in 1983 meant that I spent an inordinate amount of time by myself at the local mall, most of it at Aladdin’s Castle spending paper route earnings one quarter at a time. When the quarters dried up only a few other stores could garner enough excitement to get a visit before biking home. There was Hobby Horse, where I could peruse Dungeon & Dragons modules and Ral Partha metal figures. There was Spencer Gifts, whose poster section offered the alluring chance to spy sideboob before being asked to leave the store. And then there was Waldenbooks, one of the early Amazon casualties, which offered up more books than I could imagine and was far closer to home than any public library. It was here that I purchased my first Fighting Fantasy book, Warlock of Firetop Mountain.
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.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac • If you’ve played the physical version of Terra Mystica, you’re aware that the game comes complete with enough chunky wooden pieces to heat a small home through an extremely bitter winter. Every building you can plop on the board is made of wood with the small individual houses all the way up to massive strongholds and temples. That’s just the wood, there’s also about 30 pounds of cardboard in the box to account for the 14 different factions, each one playing completely differently than the others. Each time a copy is purchased, there’s a copse in Germany that sheds a tear. Lucky for Gaea, there’s a digital version on the way and it’s coming sooner than we thought.
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.
iOS Universal, PC/Mac • When the first Where’s Waldo? book was published I was already in high school failing to impress the ladies with tales of my 7th level paladin, Sir Loinofbeef. Yes, even at 16 I was confused why girls weren’t impressed by the wit of a Bugs Bunny cartoon from 1949. Anyway, I was a bit on the old side for “hidden object” books that seem to still be a thing 30 years after the bespectacled barber pole made his first appearance. Hidden Folks is basically a Where’s Waldo? for the digital age. Each screen is loaded with a mind boggling horde of stuff, and you’re tasked with finding a needle in the figurative haystack. Sounds terrible, I know, but for some reason it isn’t. In fact, it’s a rather wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
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.