iOS, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • Art is cheap, at least when it comes to mobile games. You know this is true because even the most crap-filled freemium abomination is filled to the bevel with the most precisely crafted artwork. Pretty pixels are the aluminum siding of mobile gaming. Consequently, a good game is often not even particularly about the visuals but about the way the developer creates a tension between the tactical options available to the player and the desired game outcome. That and timers. We must always have timers. The reason this is important is that one of the latest titles to make its way to mobile, Minos Strategos by Brett Lowey of Militia fame, is not a particularly ground-breaking game in terms of visuals and also has some surprisingly poor UI choices. Combined, these make Minos Strategos troublesome at first but are, ultimately, a slight blemish on what is a very good abstract strategy game.
iOS Universal, Android • You know what doesn’t work on touchscreens? Real time strategy games. Getting one to work with less than accurate touchscreen controls is akin to putting that rubber band on those posts in a game of Operation, very few people can pull it off. A new title has just sauntered onto the App Store looking to buck the trend, however. It’s called Iron Marines and it looks like it might just succeed.
iOS Universal, Android, Consoles, Switch, PC/Mac • While I absolutely adored the PC/Mac version of Thimbleweed Park earlier this year, I’ll admit that I still haven’t fully solved the Twin Peaks-like murder mystery that lies in the game’s center. The game is big and sprawling and while it looks and feels like a 1990’s LucasArts point-and-click title, there’s much more here to unravel story-wise. I’ve kind of been waiting for the mobile version to launch so I can follow the exploits of Agents Ray and Reyes–who are in no way anything like Dana Scully or Fox Mulder–on my couch. The wait is nearly over! Thimbleweed Park is coming to iOS next week and Android in October.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac • It seems like we’ve been talking about a digital version of North Star Games‘ creature builder, Evolution, for longer than Darwin sailed on the Beagle. Well, guess what? It still isn’t ready for release and, in fact, is looking for a little extra help to push it along via a brand new Kickstarter campaign that started earlier today. We saw Evolution in action at Gen Con 2016 and it looked pretty darn polished then, so what the heck is going on?
iOS, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • Minos Strategos is an abstract digital board game that traces its roots to a physical board game from none other than Through the Ages designer, Vlaada Chvátil. The game is called Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends and is one of the very few Vlaada creations I haven’t played. That’s because it’s a two-player, head-to-head battle game which, in my home, are less likely than Monopoly to hit the table. Luckily, Minos Strategos has an AI to play against so I don’t have to rely on my kids and, better yet, it’s now on mobile, so I can play on my phone.
iOS Universal, Android • In our review of Card Thief earlier this year, our only major beef with the game was “trash loot”. Many of the chest would be mostly (or completely) filled with loot that did nothing. It was pure garbage and didn’t have any in-game value whatsoever. The first major update for Card Thief landed today with the biggest news being that Tinytouchtales solved the problem of trash loot.
iOS Universal, Android • We’re only a week away from Through the Ages–the reason I bought an iPad 2 six years ago–finally appearing on the App Store. In preparation, Czech Games Edition has just launched the first official trailer and, well, I’m not sure I need to say much more than that. See you all in-game next Thursday!
iOS Universal, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • I’ve been noticing a lot of people on social media decrying the end of summer and whining that autumn is nearly upon us. These people are morons. Autumn is the best goddamned season of the entire year and I’ll fight anyone who claims summer is all that. Can you wear flannel while eating chili in front of a roaring fire in summer? Hell no! Autumn wins. If I had a mic drop gif, this is where I’d put it. Handelabra is on my side, and are doing their darndest to make autumn even better. Starting last night, their Fall of the Variants event began and we can expect new, free Sentinels of the Multiverse goodness every week through December.
iOS Universal, Android, PC/Mac • If you’re not familiar with board game designer Ryan Laukat, you should be. He’s designed some real gems with themes ranging from battling ancient titans to conquering the stars. That’s not all. In fact, Ryan is a true renaissance man, he’s a board game publisher, designer, and artist all in one. Each game from Red Raven is a complete Ryan Laukat creation, which is kind of cool. As of yet, however, none of Red Raven’s games have gone digital. That ended this morning when Eight-Minute Empire landed on the App Store.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • Does anyone here remember that first Armello trailer and how gaga Owen went over it? Okay, I’ll admit we all went a bit gaga over it. After all, it was a theatrical-quality trailer promising an original board game with all sorts of cool mechanisms that would be tough to pull off on a tabletop. On top of that you play as an anthropomorphic animal, making the furry inside each of us cry out in joy. The PC/Mac version of Armello released just over 2 years ago and, since then, talk of the promised iPad version has been virtually nonexistent. In fact, I was talking with Brad from 164 at Gen Con about Armello and if it would ever come to mobile and we both thought they were only focusing on the desktop and consoles. Guess we should have chatted at PAX instead because at that con Armello was being played on an iPhone.