iOS, Android, PC/Mac • I’ll admit that I didn’t get the first Reigns. I know it was everyone else’s 2016 GOTY, but I just couldn’t get into it at all. Swiping left, right and ending up…somewhere? I just couldn’t figure out what all the hubbub was about. Apparently, if you stuck with it, all sorts of special story-driven stuff happened, but I didn’t have the patience [or common sense -ed.] to keep playing. That said, it remains on my phone. One of these days I’ll really dig into it and realize I had an awesome game right under my nose all this time and it will be great. Or, I might delete it and just download the sequel, Reigns: Her Majesty, which is coming to all platforms on December 7.
iOS Universal, Android • 2017 has seen a flood of digital board game conversions from new kid on the block, Asmodee Digital. Today, however, I think we can safely say is their strangest release. It’s called Catan Stories and finally allows us to roleplay as settlers on the titular island like we’ve always wanted to! In all honesty, I’ve never wanted to do this, and never really thought about the people collecting my wheat and sheep when I roll dice in Catan. I’ve thought about the robber, wondering why he’s such a dick, but I don’t think that’s where Catan Stories takes us. Anyway, Catan Stories is out now for iOS and Android.
iPad, PC/Mac • Subsurface Circular exists primarily because of a willingness to experiment during a lull in the developer’s schedule, but it also seems to suit the needs of a maturing game-playing public. While its gameplay is aptly described as “text adventure”, the game deserves credit for establishing an atmosphere and an aesthetic using high-quality audio and visuals. This is possible in such a short window largely because it’s a single-room mystery: the game is played entirely on a train for robots, with the player taking the role of a robot detective smart enough that humans have rendered it unable to leave the train as a precaution.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac • Summer is a huge pain in the ass. Instead of talking to developers and actually playing games, I’m spending my days going to amusement parks and museums “building memories” with my kids. Gross, right? The worst part is that a small part of me is actually kind of enjoying it. Fear not, it’s only a matter of time before they ask me for money and the warm fuzzies quickly dissipate. The worst part of all this involves Stately Play getting the short end of the stick. A bunch of stuff happened last week that I didn’t get a chance to talk about simply due to time constraints. Considering that this week is probably going to be worse–tomorrow is a holiday here in the US, and I won’t be around to post–I figured a quick news dump was in order. Let’s start with our old friend, Solitairica.
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 • If you’re one of those weirdos people that usually find gamebooks or interactive fiction to be a bit too dry, you need to give Cubus Games‘ stuff a go. I kind of fell in love with them after reading Heavy Metal Thunder which somehow managed to be more badass than the title required it to be. It took the usual gamebook conventions and mashed them up with beautiful 80’s-90’s-style action-schlock. You weren’t just an antihero, you were an antihero who makes Max Rockatansky look like a measly War Boy. You kill while spouting one liners and pretty much do whatever the hell you want, and it’s pretty great. That’s not the only great gamebook they’ve churned out, however. HMT had great sequels and they even had a book set in the Mayan civilization. Their latest book is coming in June and it, too, looks like a doozy.
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.
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, Android, PC/Mac • When you think of Fighting Fantasy books, you probably remember solitary dungeon romps with your trusty d6s in tow and pining for the love of another human being. Good times. Gamebooks like The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, City of Thieves, and the Sorcery! books replaced my parents for a good chunk of my adolescence and it seems these books can’t stop being brought back to life on our phones and tablets. Heck, we just had a new version of Warlock of Firetop Mountain land a month or two ago, and the Sorcery! saga was brought to life in ways my pimply-faced self couldn’t have imagined thirty years ago. Nomad Games, creators of digital Talisman, have joined forces with Fighting Fantasy to bring some of these old titles back to life. They’re not doing it with stodgy pages and, you know, reading. Blech! Instead, they’ve added dice and cards and are turning the whole thing into a boardgame-esque romp.
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.