iOS Universal I love pinball, be it standing in an arcade or digitally on my iPad. I’m also one of the freaks that prefers the real tables of Pinball Arcade to the fanciful, and often physics-defying, tables of Zen Pinball. Give me Star Trek: TNG and a handful of quarters and I can die happy. The problem is that Pinball Arcade’s apps are hunks of garbage compared to the polished gems that Zen puts out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to either re-purchase my ST:TNG table only to have it disappear the next time I open the app. Thus, I was super stoked when I heard that Zen has acquired the Williams license and would be bringing real-life tables into the Zen world. What more could I want? A lot, apparently. Last week, Zen Studios released Williams Pinball for iOS and I don’t think it’s possible for them to have shit the bed any worse.
iOS Universal, Android At first glance, Legends of Andor may resemble other campaign-driven fantasy board games like Gloomhaven or Descent: Journeys in the Dark. There’s a fantasy map (you know it’s fantasy because there’s a castle and spooky caves), characters that fit the usual fantasy tropes, monsters, and even markets where you can buy your heroes better equipment. It may resemble those games, but Legends of Andor is nothing like those games. Not a bit. In fact, Legends of Andor isn’t a board game so much as a puzzle game wrapped in board game attire.
PC We don’t post a lot about bundles and sales here. I largely agreed with simulation maven and long-time indie dev Cliff Harris that unplayed games are a blight upon developers and players alike, and that we might all be better off if we just paid full price for games we really want and then played the mess out of them. My moral authority on this topic, however, is about nil: I have literally dozens of unplayed games installed on my PC, hundreds I’ll never touch in my Steam library, and, even after the 32 bit app-ocalypse, enough mobile games to last me a lifetime, if push came to shove.
PC/Mac/Linux Last Friday we returned to our weekly glimpse into the future and I stated that I would be playing the hell out of Divinity: Original Sin 2. Well, I lied. I didn’t even open D:OS2 all weekend. I have a good excuse, though. You see, no one told me that a little card game called Slay the Spire had left Early Access last Thursday. If I’d known, I would have been forthcoming with the fact that I planned on playing the living hell out of Slay the Spire all weekend long.
PC Mystic Vale from Alderac Entertainment Group and Nomad Games has been available on Early Access since late 2018. Today we learned that it’s breaking free from its beta shackles and heading out into the real world. On Thursday, January 31, Mystic Vale will have its official launch for PC on Steam.
Okay, so scrying took a month off, but we’re back now and that’s what really matters, no? Hello? Okay, I get it, you’ve moved on. You’ve started reading what other non-professional, second-rate gaming blogs are doing this weekend. It’s okay. I understand. That said, can’t you make room in your weekend-prognostications for little ol’ Stately Play? I think (hope) you can.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac/Linux We’ve loved the Trese Brothers around here since before there was an around here. Way back when, at another site that you might have heard of, they were recipients of several year-end accolades for their previous title, Templar Battleforce. Their latest, Star Traders: Frontiers, has been out for PC/Mac/Linux since last August, but, today, we learned it’s making the move to our touchscreens. Soon.
PC/Mac/Linux While I love Baldur’s Gate, BG2, and all the other Infinity Engine games from the 90’s and early aughts, they did suck in one aspect: combat. Unlike the fantastic D&D Gold Box CRPGs from SSI, the Infinity Engine turned RPG combat into a real-time click-fest, which was so unlike tabletop D&D that I could never quite grok the reasoning behind the decision. Tabletop RPGs are turn-based, why not the digital versions? This bizarre choice was used again by Obsidian when they attempted to reignite the Infinity Engine style games with 2015’s Pillars of Eternity. I tried, I swear I tried multiple times, to play PoE only to discover that the game wasn’t compelling enough for me to put up with combat I despised. Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire, also released with the real-time curse, but today Obsidian has made amends. Today, they released an update that allows you to choose between real-time or turn-based modes. Guess what RPG I’m going to be buying and playing this weekend?
I used to own the cardboard version of Legends of Andor right when it was first released back in 2012. It intrigued me, but the gameplay wasn’t something my group would dabble in and, thus, it was sent away in an auction or trade. This was before I realized I was a friendless loser and held onto solo games like mithril. These days, it would have remained on the shelf and, perhaps, gotten some table time. I’d even considered re-purchasing LoA again just to give it another go. Today, however, saw the sneak release of LoA for mobile, so at least now I can try it on digital before I (re)take the cardboard plunge.
One of my most endearing traits [right above obnoxious, yet not entirely unwarranted, levels of self-loathing and below crippling social anxiety. Just in case you’re keeping score -ed.] is the ability to instantly give up when the going gets tough. This goes for everything, but let’s put it into a gaming perspective. Factorio, Europa Universalis, RimWorld, and Kerbal Space Program. What do all these titles have in common? Steep learning curves. How do I adjust? I simply stop playing them. I’ll get back to them, eventually. Usually. Factorio, for instance, has become, quite possibly, my favorite video game of all time. I’m slowly, but surely, getting my head around the interpersonal hooha in RimWorld. EU still eludes me, but I have started to get my Paradox feet wet with some Hearts of Iron IV. Oh, and I’ve really started digging into Kerbal Space Program the past couple weeks. Why did I wait so long?