iOS Universal, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • When Terra Mystica was released for iOS and Android back in April, I had hoped to get a review up about a week or so after release. Surely, one week would be enough time to get a few games in and form an opinion. You would think so, but then Race for the Galaxy happened and the rest is history. Luckily for me, this week I can give Terra Mystica a go on my Mac instead of my iPad, meaning I can play it without RftG softly whispering my name.
iOS • Format plays much the same role in modern writing that fate played for the ancient Greeks. Monument Valley 2 is exactly what that title suggests, and the original was so popular that there’s little need for reviews. But I’m a game reviewer, and to resist describing it would invite the intervention of displeased gods. So: Monument Valley took the inspiration for its puzzles from M.C. Escher, its visual style from Helvetica and sunsets, and its lightly-presented narrative from maturing, regret, and making amends (and how distinct are those, really?). It was the sort of gem which made people feel like there was still something they could use to show off the potential of touchscreen devices to jaded onlookers. MV2 refines that success very gently.
iOS, Android, PC • If you asked me my pick for Game of the Year on May 2, I would have had a hard time narrowing it down. Let’s face it, 2017 has been a pretty great year for mobile apps with releases like Onirim, Card Thief, and Warlock of Firetop Mountain just to name a few. On May 3rd, however, Race for the Galaxy landed on the App Store and I can honestly say that I haven’t played another mobile title this much in a long, long time. It’s nearly perfect in just about every way and the few remaining issues are on Temple Gate‘s radar. In fact, they plan on having them all cleaned up on June 27.
iOS, Android • Jaipur on tabletop has long been highly regarded as a fairly light and quick, but still satisfying, economic game. The translation is everything we could hope for from an Asmodee digital title. Asmodee’s online service could improve in numerous ways (most notably by allowing asynchronous games), but they tend to choose games which support relatively large player bases so it is, at least, usually possible to find opponents. Solo play includes a generous campaign with a variety of tweaks to the formula, and, of the three AI opponents, only the easiest seems like a pushover.
iOS, Android • Few games do what they set out to do as well as Battle of Polytopia. Create a 4X game with depth and strategy that plays in 20 minutes? We can do that. Part of that success comes with developer Midjiwan‘s constant tinkering. Their latest update is set to arrive on Thursday, and it will introduce a new clan to the mix.
Android, PC • Last week the somewhat surprising news broke that Asmodee and Obsidian had joined forces, and that Asmodee would now be publishing Pathfinder Adventures for PC and mobile. The Asmodee surprises keep coming with this week revealing that they’re tackling one of the most beloved digital games out there: Carcassonne.
iOS Universal, Android • It’s been a long time coming, but the latest bit of interactive fiction from the creative geniuses at Cubus Games has finally arrived. It’s called The Frankenstein Wars and adds the living dead to the Napoleonic Wars and what could be cooler than that?
iOS, Android, PC/Mac • If you’re not familiar with the Dresden Files, here’s a quick synopsis: Harry Dresden is a wizard in Chicago and there’s all sorts of supernatural shit that happens and he saves the day and no one ever uses the word “muggle”. That pretty much covers it. It’s a good series, but I’ll admit I stalled during book 2 planning to get back to it, and just never made it there. Now there are 15 books in the series and that might be too high a mountain to climb. Yes, I’m that lazy. Luckily, there’s a Dresden Files card game in the works and, even better, there’s a digital port of it as well.
iOS Universal, Android, PC/Mac • If you’re like me, the only thing you know about ancient Egypt is that their gods looked like Gerard Butler and that King Tut had a condo made of stone-a. That’s not entirely true, as classic city-builders like Impressions’ Pharaoh and Tilted Mill’s Children of the Nile are two of my favorite oldies. From them I learned that jugglers will only walk so far down the street and don’t build farms too close to the Nile. In other words, I’m nearly an Egyptologist. Today a new Egypt simulation landed on the App Store, covering the time period when the pyramids weren’t even gleams in Imhotep’s eye. Predynastic Egypt is the rather dull title, but the game itself looks very promising.
iOS Universal, Android • Being of an unstable mind myself, I usually try to not diagnose the mental health of others on the internet. Regardless of how off-the-rails their comment or post might be, you’re only getting a small sliver of the person behind the keyboard. That said, I think we might need to send help to Asmodee Digital and make sure they’re okay. Over the weekend, they put their hit card game, Onirim, on sale and, for some reason, it’s still on sale. Oh, and when I say “on sale” I mean free.