iOS, Android • There are a lot of great puzzle games for mobile, but even amongst the best we can separate them into The Room titles with everything else a step behind. Fireproof Games blazed onto the mobile scene back in 2012 with The Room and showed everyone how to utilize a touchscreen. Not only were there beautiful graphics and a creepy tone, but puzzles were solved by flipping switches and turning knobs, all done by manipulating items with your fingers. It was incredibly tactile, and made The Room the best puzzle game on the platform. It was followed by the shrewdly titled Room 2 and Room 3, both of which raised the bar by expanding the size of the titular room(s) and bumping up the number of puzzles. Earlier today they announced that The Room series isn’t finished, and the next version The Room: Old Sins will be on our devices by the end of 2017.
PC • Eugen Systems are back. Seventy-three years back. As you might have picked up on the battalion squawk, the French powerhouse are returning to World War II with the Paradox-published Steel Division: Normandy 44. What’s old is very, very new again.
iOS, Android • Link Twin is a simple, pleasantly-presented puzzler. Though modest in scope and number, its puzzles pass my idiosyncratic test: they sometimes stumped me until I stopped playing, and were immediately solvable when I returned. That tells me that there are various ways to approach them which are valuable enough to attract one’s thinking but easily accessible enough that breaking one’s chain of thought makes it possible to take a new tack. This would leave me perfectly satisfied, but for the fact that the minimal narrative hints at something more.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac, Consoles • With their game-changing take at Fighting Fantasy, Sorcery!, and their globe-trotting mega-adventure, 80 Days, inkle Studios has yet to swing and miss. As such, we’ve been waiting patiently (mostly) to see what they might be working on next. The wait is over. Yesterday at GDC inkle announced their next project and, unsurprisingly, it looks completely unique. It’s called Heaven’s Vault and is coming to mobile, PC, and consoles.
iOS, Android, PC • Last week, big news ’round these parts was the announcement that the farming/war board game, Scythe, was coming to digital. At the time all we had was a little art and a rough release date of 2017. Using the bat-computer, I was able to log into every cell phone in Gotham and track down the developers, The Knights of Unity. Using an elaborate scheme that involved getting arrested and surgically implanting a cell phone bomb into one of my lackeys, I was able to get some face time with Sir Lucas, one of the aforementioned Knights. If you’re wondering what the hell’s wrong with me, I also rewatched The Dark Knight yesterday. That’s on top of the staggering mental deficiencies you’re already aware of, so it should all make sense now. Sort of.
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.