iOS Universal, Android, PC/Mac/Linux • The past couple of weeks have been tough ones for me, but this hardship has been completely of my own devising. Instead of going to sleep at a remotely decent time, I’ve been staying up well past 2am nearly every night playing War of the Chosen, the new expansion for XCOM 2. While we’re unlikely to ever see the XCOM sequel on our tablets, there is good news in mobile-land for XCOM fans: XCOM: Enemy Within was just updated to comply with iOS 11’s 64-bit requirement.
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.
iPad • “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for any man to actually succeed at Darkest Dungeon.” — Jesus (probably)
PC/Mac/Linux • While there have been some fantastic PC ports showing up on our iPads over the past few years–including Firaxis‘ own XCOM: Enemy Unknown–the chances of us seeing XCOM 2 on our tablets is hovering right around 0%. So, you’ll need a PC or Mac to delve back into the XCOM world, but it’s more than worth it. XCOM 2 was one of the best experiences I ever had on my laptop and, later today, it’s slated to get even better. The first major add-on for XCOM 2, War of the Chosen, is unlocking tonight and everything about it sounds amazing.
iPad, PC/Mac/Linux • I remember talking with Red Hook Studios about Darkest Dungeon way back when Owen was still running the ship over at Pocket Tactics. He was, rightfully, enamored with the PC version and wanted a tablet version pronto and, at the time, was told mobile was a possibility. It’s taken a couple years, but today Owen should be doing a little happy dance as Darkest Dungeon is now available on your iPad.
PC/Mac/Linux, iOS (coming in 2017) • As a kid I had no use for the Old West. Immersed in things like D&D, Tolkien, and Dragonlance, the Old West seemed like a boring, dusty place filled with images and stories that just didn’t push my buttons. As an adult, I stumbled onto the Deadlands RPG, and all the possibilities and adventure of the Old West suddenly made sense to me. These days, my favorite TV show of all time is Deadwood and I didn’t miss an episode of last year’s Westworld. Thus, when I heard about West of Loathing, I was excited. An RPG set in the untamed West that would, eventually, be coming to iOS? Sign me up! Then I saw the screenshots, and had to wonder what the hell was going on.
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.
PC/Mac, (mobile coming later this year) • When I heard that Antihero had been released for PC and Mac it conjured up feelings of excitement for finally getting to see what the fuss was all about, and then sadness because all that fuss was generated by Owen way back when. In 2014, Owen was so excited about the promise that the first Antihero trailer made, I feared his head would explode and we’d be picking up bit of skull from all corners of Mt. Hexmap for weeks to come. Now it’s 2017 and things have changed, Owen is AWOL, and Mt. Hexmap is under new management. Why am I being so damn maudlin? Antihero is out, and so far it’s exactly what Owen would have hoped for.
iOS, Android • I’ve heard people mention three web-based boardgaming sites often: Brettspielwelt, Yucata, and, um, Bootyjew (that’s what I’ve always heard it called, and I am proud of myself for finding a link despite that). BSW has always sounded the strongest, but it wasn’t enough for them–now they’re coming for our mobile devices, as well. Their first foray: Friedemann Friese’s Friday, a sterling choice. It’s a well-regarded solo game with complexity just a bit above Onirim‘s, so they avoided the twin bottomless pits of development effort: AI and multiplayer, like Pitfall Harry. I looked it up–that’s actually the name of the character from Pitfall! I’m not excited about it, it just seemed like a waste of punctuation to end a sentence with “Pitfall!.”
iOS Universal, PC • We’ve talked about it, we’ve reviewed it, and today’s the day it finally arrived on the App Store. We’re talking about Missile Cards, which landed on the App Store last night and joined a handful of other card games that are trying their best to make 2017 the best year ever for mobile gaming.