iOS, Android, PC/Mac • One of our favorite gamebook creators back in our Pocket Tactics days were the fine folks over at Choice of Games. Their gamebooks appear spartan, lacking any illustrations, but are actually deeper than just about every other piece of interactive fiction out there. This comes from their spreadsheet-like approach to tracking your choices and adjusting your character as you proceed through the story. It also comes from the fact that many of their gamebooks tell epic, sweeping stories rather than focusing on a single quest or adventure. Their latest isn’t any different.
Oskar Stålberg is an artist and game designer and we just realized he’s got some skills when it comes to making cool stuff for your laptop. Consider his Polygonal Planet Project, a browser-based Unity thingamabob where you can build your own planet. You can place continents and islands, raise up mountains, spread forests, and build massive cities. It’s a creative and fun tool with which to play. You can also download it to your computer for faster performance. Oh, there’s more. (Warning: gifs ahead!)
iOS, Android, PC/Mac, Console • While it’s sad to think that we won’t be getting any more Sorcery! titles from the mad geniuses at inkle Studios, it’s comforting to know that we’re getting something. Heaven’s Vault is their upcoming title and I say “something” because we really don’t know much about what the hell Heaven’s Vault actually is. A few screens of a woman and her robot looking over a desolate landscape is all we have to go on. That and the fact that Raymond Chandler and Gene Wolfe were mentioned as inspiration. That’s all they really had to say, but they keep throwing more info at us anyway.
iOS Universal, Android • When 2017 started I had already been girding my loins in preparation for a certain card game that was originally released in cardboard form back in 2007. Yes, 2017 was to be the year that I finally left my family behind and started the cult of Vlaada, continuously playing the digital version of Through the Ages. Things have changed. While I’m still planning on abandoning my family for a 2007 card game, it looks like it might be Race for the Galaxy instead of the aforementioned civ builder. RftG is out and, yes, it’s that good.
PC, Mac • How often does a game’s catchphrase, a blurb that’s often silly and seldom informative, sell you on playing said game? We’re hoping the answer is, “not often”, but check this out: A Deckbuilding Roguelike Adventure. Sold! That’s the tagline for Monster Slayers, a game by Nerdook Productions, and it’s the exact coupling of words needed to penetrate the inky blackness of my heart and, more importantly, wallet.
PC, Mac, Linux • I remember talking with Owen back in the day and listening to him gush over Empire: A Deck Building Strategy Game as if it were the second coming of XCOM. Was his love for Empire a tad overzealous? Perhaps, but just a tad. Designed by Keith Burgun, Empire and his other titles, 100 Rogues and Auro, have all been the cream of the App Store crop since their release. Thus, you’ll be happy to hear that Mr. Burgun is working on another title and he’s currently funding it via Kickstarter. You’ll be less happy to hear that there’s no plan to bring it to mobile.
iOS, Android, Windows Phone • If someone pinned me down, held a gun to my head and asked me to name the best mobile board game port ever created, I would have to say Galaxy Trucker (unless the person holding the gun to my head was Strangiato, in which case the answer is definitely Twilight Struggle). It manages to bring the feel of the tabletop version to the touchscreen while adding great single player and multiplayer extras that you just couldn’t do with a cardboard version. One of those tweaks is happening this weekend in celebration of International Tabletop Day. Czech Games Edition has added a new mission in which you can win real, cardboard copies of their games as well as putting the app on sale through Monday.
PC, Mac, Linux • NEXT JUMP: Shmup Tactics has my number something fierce. Do you like shmups, this Brazilian indie effort asks. YES, I proclaim. But do you suck at them, it continues. YES, I admit. If you find yourself in this quandary of unquenchable thirst, Post Mortem Pixels has your back.
Windows, coming soon to iOS • YOU’VE PLAYED 5 hours. Nice of Steam to keep a tally of how much of your life you spend gaming, isn’t it? I don’t really need Steam to explain that crap-I-stayed-up-too-late-gaming-and-now-it-is-2AM feeling, though. I shouldn’t have started playing so late, but then again, I didn’t expect to spend five hours on Missile Cards, a game I had just installed earlier that day. Problem is, I just couldn’t stop.
Tabletop • As a sad and lonely man, it’s only natural that I would gravitate toward games I can play by myself. This used to mean playing a game meant for 2+ players alone by taking control of all sides. Over the past year or two, however, I’ve discovered that there are great solo games out there, you just have to look. GMT is one company that regularly puts out games that play great when you’re all by your lonesome, and Victory Point Games is another. To be honest, before HexWar brought Infection: Humanity’s Last Gasp to digital, I wasn’t familiar with VPG’s offerings. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with several of their designs, and have Kickstarted several others (including their latest Kickstarter for Chariots of Rome). The latest to draw my attention is one with a unique board game theme, Healthy Heart Hospital.