iOS Universal, Android, PC/Mac • When Age of Rivals launched for iOS last week, I’m not sure anyone saw just how damn good it was going to be. Sure, I’d played it on my laptop a bit, but it took a tablet version for me to really start digging into it and realizing that the design is brilliant. Even more surprising is the lack of complaints from other users. Not to say gamers can be a picky lot, but there’s always something that the dev didn’t do right. The only complaint I’ve heard about Age of Rivals is that it requires an online connection, even when you’re playing the AI. In what might be the quickest response to a complaint by a developer ever, the always-online component is now history.
iPad, PC • Every Single Soldier are the genius minds behind the beloved Vietnam ’65 and this year’s Afghanistan ’11. Vietnam ’65 has been on our tablets since 2015 and Afghanistan ’11 should make it there shortly. Their next title, Carrier Deck, is coming to iPad as well, but if you’re thinking it will be another hex-and-counter war game, think again. Instead, Carrier Deck will be a naval real-time management simulation without a hex in sight and they’re looking for beta testers now for both iOS and PC.
PC/Mac • Forget Fat Leonard for a moment. Here’s some bigger nautical news. Killerfish Games, the fellows behind the rather well-received Atlantic Fleet, are closing in with their next naval effort, Cold Waters. Rehsink rehbbits yin Reyjavik? Not if you can help it.
iPad • Rome: Total War arrived on iPad way back in November with much fanfare. Here was a massive PC experience–albeit a 12 year-old PC experience–on a touchscreen device you could play on the couch. It had everything the PC version had including the thousands of little fake people killing each other left and right. More importantly, they managed to create a UI for touchscreens that actually worked. One of the big questions when it was released revolved around the expansions. Would they be included or come later? At the time, Feral Interactive was mum on the subject, but today they announced that the first expansion, Barbarian Invasion, will be coming to iPad.
If you’re like me you have a stack of games that you’ve purchased and have yet to play, both tabletop and on your PC. Time, family, and a debilitating drug habit always seem to get in the way. Poor me! One of these Isle of Misfit Toys wannabes is Pillars of Eternity from Obsidian. Released back in 2015, I purchased it on day one and it has sat in my GoG library ever since with the knowledge that, when I have time and/or quit heroin, I have a really great RPG waiting for me. This week Obsidian kind of kicked me in the ribs and told me to hurry up because Pillars of Eternity 2 is on the way.
Wartile is an upcoming real-time strategy game that is styled like a tabletop miniature war game. [And looks a hell of a lot like Heroscape. That’s not a bad thing. -ed.] The game is currently in alpha-testing with a planned Windows release sometime in Q1 (and later releases for Mac and tablets) and I recently had a chance to give the whole thing a whirl.
If ever there was impetus for would-be armchair politicians to jump into heady strategies, it would be the election of one Donny John T. Anyone, it seems, can have a crack in the modern era. Along comes Realpolitiks, a modern day grand simulation of boat-rocking and saber-rattling, to provide a slightly safer environment to test out your acumen as a global leader. Tremendous potential, folks. Tremendous potential. Believe me.
1997 might have belonged to the triumvirate of genre-stompers — Total Annihilation, Age of Empires, and Myth — with a hearty sci-fi Blizzard chaser the following year, but there was one game that fought adversity and lived on. Netstorm: Islands at War was an innovative strategy effort that earned the title ‘Best Game Nobody Bought‘, largely due to anyone owning the demo being able to convert it to the full game. Ah, those halcyon days. Netstorm did however garner a small but dedicated fan-base, who praised its interesting and comparatively static tactics in contrast to the build-rush nonsense of its peers.
Are you a creep? Put away the Coke Babies import, you don’t need to show the severity of your creepdom. I’m talking of Knuckle Cracker‘s magnificent little RTS trilogy, a twist of tower defense and supply chain optimisation. Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal has been on Steam since 2014, but it has finally been joined by its elder siblings from 2009 and 2011.
Of all the game genres to come to touchscreens, real-time strategy has probably been the least well served. There’s too little controllability when you’re dealing with your stubby finger as opposed to the fine maneuverings of a mouse and keyboard. To compensate, many iPad RTS games lower the amount of units available so the game becomes more manageable for your finger. That’s not how Rome: Total War is going to handle things. Out today for iPad, Rome: Total War is a port of the PC title that includes everything the desktop version has, even the thousands of units clashing on screen at any given time.