Windows • If I whisper the words ‘solid’ and ‘snake’, you’ve got a fifty-fifty chance you’re not being charged four dollars ninety-nine a minute. ‘Sam Fisher’, you know you’re dealing with a shadowy Michael Ironside and his counter-productive tri-bulb NV goggles. But if I say ‘David Llewellyn Jones’, you just might be stumped. UK politican? Author? Welsh choralist? How about the stony protagonist in Innerloop’s tactical FPS Project I.G.I.? Because what we’ve got in Polygon Art‘s Beyond Enemy Lines is the distant fan-made descendant of that fabulous forgotten franchise.
iOS Universal, PC/Mac • When the first Where’s Waldo? book was published I was already in high school failing to impress the ladies with tales of my 7th level paladin, Sir Loinofbeef. Yes, even at 16 I was confused why girls weren’t impressed by the wit of a Bugs Bunny cartoon from 1949. Anyway, I was a bit on the old side for “hidden object” books that seem to still be a thing 30 years after the bespectacled barber pole made his first appearance. Hidden Folks is basically a Where’s Waldo? for the digital age. Each screen is loaded with a mind boggling horde of stuff, and you’re tasked with finding a needle in the figurative haystack. Sounds terrible, I know, but for some reason it isn’t. In fact, it’s a rather wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
iPad, PC/Mac • A fairly big week for releases (both Warlock of Firetop Mountain and Dungeon Rushers are already scheduled) just got bigger with the upcoming release of Gamious‘ oil tycoon simulation, Turmoil, which is due on February 23.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac • One of the highlights of last year’s Gen Con was seeing North Star Games‘ fantastic take-that euro game, Evolution, in digital form and looking like it was near ready for release. Turns out, the version we saw wasn’t fit to survive and, dare I say, is still evolving. That’s the word from inside North Star’s digital group, and it sounds like it might be a while before Evolution actually climbs from the primordial code-soup and onto our tablets.
iOS Universal, Android, PC/Mac • It’s about time I came clean. I know this will come as a shock to many of you, so you might want to prepare yourself. Ready? Here we go: Back when I was in college, I was a huge nerd. There, I said it. Take as much time as you need to let that soak in. Now, when I say “nerd”, I’m not talking about the kind that spent their time in the library on Thursday nights rather than at house parties, I’m talking about the kind that stayed in and played role-playing games with friends on Thursday nights instead of going to house parties. A lot of Dungeons & Dragons Second Edition was played in many dorm common areas, let me tell you. We even, for a short time, dabbled in something called Vampire: The Masquerade which was White Wolf’s more freeform answer to D&D’s mathiness and was all the rage thanks to Anne Rice and the lingering effect of a young Kiefer Sutherland in leather. Well, Vampire: The Masquerade is back and it’s on your phone.
PC/Mac • A long time ago I remember hearing rumors of cardboard publisher Lock ‘n Load getting into the digital game, then I hit a personal black hole and lost contact with the world only to reemerge last fall having completely forgotten about their digital plans. Turns out I should have written a note or tied a string around my finger to remind myself, because Lock ‘n Load published several versions of their light, fast tank battler Tank on Tank for PC/Mac last year and I’m just hearing about them now.
PC/Mac/Linux • Nearly three years after its release on iPad, FTL: Faster than Light is still one of the greatest games on the platform. Not only is it one of the most perfect roguelikes ever made, its port to touchscreens set the standard for all ports from that point on. Since then, the forge at Subset Games has been silent, but today we learned [Hat tip: Matt Thrower and Kotaku] that their next effort is well underway. It’s a turn-based strategy game called Into the Breach and it’s coming for PC/Mac/Linux.
iOS Universal, Android, PC/Mac • I worry about Scandinavians. They’ve been exporting bleakness long enough that it may actually have overtaken mythology as their principal cultural product. The Frostrune mixes peanut butter* with a bar of that bitter chocolate: it’s a point-and-click adventure in which you play the lone survivor of shipwreck, a thirteen-year-old girl. After washing ashore, you discover that everyone you encounter is dead, murdered by a legendary being with the power to create magical ice in summertime. I’ll spoil the happy ending for you: you use necromancy to stop it, but everybody’s still dead and you’re still alone.
iOS Universal, PC/Mac • The Games Workshop licensing bonanza continues. Crazy Warehouse Man says all licenses must go by midnight tonight! No exceptions. Battlefleet Gothic: SOLD! Man-o-War: Bring your floaties, we’ve got the flintlocks! Necromunda: It just makes such perfect sense! And don’t think we forgot about your massed armour fans! Sadly, that’s as excited as I’ll ever get when discussing HexWar’s absolutely perfunctory turn-based effort. I’m beginning to think they’ve kept the art team on and sent the coders home. What makes The Horus Heresy: Battle of Tallarn a tough one to level criticism at is a by-the-book approach to both source material and its tactical crunch. If ever a game felt like it was helping a studio reach a monthly quota, Battle of Tallarn is it.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac • When I wrote about my love for Fantasy Flight’s latest foray into the Lovecraft universe yesterday, I seem to have opened a gate allowing news of other Cthulhu-themed games to ooze into my inbox like the tendrils of a great otherworldly and indescribable beast. Yeah, it was pretty cool. The developer playing Nyarlathotep in this scenario is a new one, Strange Matter, who came together last year in France. Their first game is currently in development and, more importantly, now on Kickstarter. It’s called Rise of the Elders: Cthulhu and promises the tactical feel of XCOM, the globe-hopping adventure of Eldritch Horror, and the RPG depth of Call of Cthulhu. It should come as no surprise that I was interested in hearing more.