iOS Universal, Android • The retreat from Game Center has opened a hole in the iOS board game development world. With Apple’s commitment to asynchronous multiplayer looking uncertain and the value of a unified multiplayer solution high, publishers of popular board games are likely to seek partnerships with developers who have proven multiplayer systems. That’s going to be very interesting to observe over the next few years. Potion Explosion is a Horrible Games/Cool Mini Or Not product in the tabletop world, but Asmodee Digital and Studio Clangore have brought it to mobile devices, which means you can use an existing account for any Days of Wonder or Asmodee title. That’s a pretty impressive catalog–just in my own iTunes library, I have Ticket To Ride, Small World (2, he added, rolling his eyes), the recently improved Colt Express, Pandemic, and Splendor.
iPad, Android • Titan HD was the first game I ever decided to review for Pocket Tactics more than year after its initial release. Its tabletop version was famously deep, challenging, and counter-intuitive, and is still played at conventions more than thirty years after its introduction into a hobby famously obsessed with the Cult of the New. More importantly, it’s also surging in popularity among users of our own forum, drawn not only to its classic gameplay but to an app which has been lovingly supported by developer Kristopher Giesing for almost as long as there have been tablets capable of holding it. I managed to track down Kristopher and grill him about one of my favorite iPad apps.
Asmodee has been on a digital rampage over the past couple months. Since Thanksgiving in late November, they’ve released Colt Express and Mysterium and tomorrow we’ll see another Asmodee creation, Potion Explosion.
HexWar released 1775: Rebellion last year to much fanfare, only to have the initial release be received less than warmly. Since Matt’s review, the game has undergone several updates fixing many of the issues brought up in the review. They’re not done, either. They’re planning another major update that will not only fix bugs and improve the app, it will also introduce a brand new scenario created by the game’s original designers.
One of 2016’s better mobile titles was a little card battler from Righteous Hammer called Solitairica. Following in Card Crawl’s footsteps, it was a quick-playing, fast solitaire card game whose true genius was less in the game’s mechanisms and more in all the extra doodads you can unlock the better you play. Solitairica sported several different classes and special powers to unlock so, even if you failed to make it all the way to Castle Stuck, there were rewards right around the corner. The problem is, eventually, you ended up with all the doodads in your pocket with nothing left to quest for. Lucky for us, it looks like Righteous Hammer has big plans for 2017 and making Solitairica something to come back to.
Since the dawn of electronic handheld gaming, there has been conflict between mother and child. The mother wants chores or homework to be done, but there’s always “just one more level” or a high score just out of reach. At some point, the mother will resort to simply hiding the device in the hopes of boring the child into productivity. The child, of course, instead leverages their boredom into searching for their game. They inevitably find the device, and the cycle begins anew. Japanese developer hap Inc.’s free Hidden my game by mom (sic) series distills and translates this conflict into a delightfully absurd escape room puzzle game format.
One of the greatest memories I have of my Good Ol’ DaysTM working at Pocket Tactics occurred in 2014 when Owen went apoplectic regarding Atari’s botched release of RollerCoaster Tycoon 4. Seriously, go read his review. It’s a beautiful thing. Not only did RCT4 fail to bring a fascinating simulation to mobile, it basically became the face of the free-to-play downfall of the App Store. Here was a classic title with promise that was retooled to wring as much cash out of players as possible, fun be damned. I had given up on seeing a decent RCT game ever make its way to mobile but then this week I spotted something else over at our old digs. A five-star review for something called RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic. What the hell?
Mysterium was one of the victims from the famous Colt Express fallout of 2016. You might remember that Colt Express was launched by Asmodee with much aplomb, only to be met with rather dour reviews especially concerning the state of its multiplayer system. Asmodee quickly pushed back the releases of Mysterium and Potion Explosion to 2017 to work things out. I’m not sure if you noticed, but it’s 2017. As such, we can expect Mysterium to materialize this Thursday on all platforms.
Despite the recent death of SolForge, there’s still hope for mobile CCG fans who don’t want to go crawling back to Hearthstone. Duelyst has been around on PC/Mac for a bit now and it’s one of the few CCGs that can actually hold my interest. Lucky for us, it appears to be coming to mobile in Q1 of 2017.
Despite what you might be hoping, Avignon: A Clash of Popes does not feature Stephen IV and St. Peter performing the fish slapping dance. Nor does it feature Boniface VI riding a pegasus while holding the severed head of Sixtus II. Despite that, it sounds like a pretty great game.