iOS Universal • It’s already been a great year for solitaire card games on mobile. We’ve had Card Thief, Onirim, and Miracle Merchant, all of which are GOTY-quality apps. Zach Gage felt he needed to jump on the bandwagon–Typeshift didn’t suck up enough of my time earlier this year–and yesterday he released his latest title, Flipflop Solitaire. Yes, it’s just solitaire, but somehow Zach Gage has made it much more. How does he do it? I’m guessing it’s the little bit of love he puts into every app.
iOS Universal • Loaded up with Ny-Quil and Ambien, I attempted to go to bed well before my normal sleepy time last night in an effort to kill the virus currently treating my lungs as a waterpark. Twenty minutes later a tweet popped up on my phone announcing that Warhammer Quest 2 had arrived on the App Store. I tried–I swear I tried–to stay awake and play the hell out of it, but the drugs won and I managed to almost complete the intro/tutorial dungeon before blacking out. I know, this is probably the saddest story you’ve heard all week. Sorry to bring the room down. On a positive note, Warhammer Quest 2 is out and you should be playing it.
iOS Universal • Need to kill about 12 hours while you wait for a certain something to arrive on the App Store? I feel ya. You could fill a bit of that time with Underhand, but if you’re in more of a puzzle mood, how’s about giving Returner 77 a go?
iOS Universal • Some games just aren’t ready for release. Lets keep that in mind while we talk about the recently released Eminence: Xander’s Tales. Eminence was originally billed as a CCG/MMORPG when it was Kickstarted by Aeterna Studios in 2014. Now it’s 2017 and Aeterna Studios has finally released an iOS version of Eminence, without the MMORPG elements, leaving a odd card game that combines deck-building and random card packs but none of the other traditional elements of a CCG. It’s about as much fun as finding out your ice-cream sundae was made with hot fudge and cottage cheese.
Stormbound is an interesting take on CCG and lane defence titles and poses interesting tactical questions for players both during play and in deck-building. Like many games, there are some facets of play in Stormbound that aren’t immediately apparent. The purpose of this article is to shine a light on these aspects and get you up to speed as quickly as possible.
iOS Universal, PC/Mac/Linux • Warbands: Bushido is a digital miniatures skirmish game from Russian developers Red Unit Studios aiming to bring the experience of tabletop minis gaming to digital. All the cards, dice, and miniatures without all the messy assembly and painting. The game is set in the later Warring States, or Sengoku, period of Japan’s 16th century and allows you to build warbands of varying sizes taking on all comers in PvP gameplay. Warbands had a rather difficult Early Access release on Steam which I, thankfully, missed. They appear to have weathered those initial difficulties, however, and have added a Mac and mobile release to the Warbands: Bushido stable. Make no mistake though, this is still an unfinished product. Playable and very fun but still not a done deal.
iOS Universal, Android • I’ve given up being mad about freemium games. Its akin to fighting the tide, doesn’t really have any impact, and, after all, most freemium titles aren’t games at all but psychological engines devised only to part people from their money. Occasionally, however, a freemium title releases that, deliberately or accidentally, is actually a good game and that old rage begins to brew. Stormbound is a strategy CCG developed for Kongregate by Paladin Studios in the Netherlands. It’s a vibrantly styled, unique take on the CCG with some very interesting gameplay elements. It also has a freemium pay-engine strapped to it, by Kongregate I presume, that will make you weep for what could have been a true gem. It’s not as sad as the ending of Old Yeller, but you will ponder how greed can so often overcome the desire to less egregiously monetize a very good game.
iOS, Android, Kindle • You don’t need to be Fred Allen to know that mobile Real Time Strategy games are seldom well-done. Sadly a phone or tablet doesn’t have the requisite number of easily accessible input devices to allow for standard RTS play. Not that people haven’t tried to reproduce the Command and Conquer or Starcraft experience, but the results have been less than spectacular. RTS games that have succeeded on mobile–Rymdkapsel, Autumn Dynasty, and Alien Tribe 2 come to mind–do so by either reworking the concept of an RTS or creating new control schemes to simplify what’s possible with a keyboard and mouse. While these are all good games, none manage to create the same tension that desktop RTS titles are famous for. And so, into this peculiar gaming niche comes Iron Marines from Ironhide Game Studio. Is it the grail RTS we’ve been waiting for?
iOS Universal • We praised Codito last week for being cool enough to spend their time and money to make sure all their apps survive the upcoming App-ocalypse, arriving with the imminent release of iOS 11. At the time, Le Havre had gone 64-bits and we all jumped and cheered and patted Codito on the back saying things like, “Good show!” and “Well played!”. Strangely, all this Codito love was followed by an email from Mr. Codito telling me to knock it right the hell off. I was confused, but held my tongue and waited for more info, which arrived today.
iOS, Android • Dave has given me the impression that HexWar are the Lucy van Pelt to our Charlie Brown, repeatedly advertising wonderful games and delivering troubled ones once we get our hopes up. I assume that, once the running gag had been established, the challenge for Charles Schultz was to find a way to create interest in a joke with a predictable ending. With Lightning: D-Day, HexWar did it by translating to app from a well-regarded, unusually simple WWII card game famous for its poorly-written rules. I had hoped that the combination of a lower degree of difficulty than their ambitious past games mixed with an easily addressed problem in the cardboard version made this a superb candidate for an unqualified HexWar success. Then again, we all know how this joke ends.