PC/Mac • Book of Demons is a weird one. Part Action-RPG, part roguelike, part card game, and with a graphic style that I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen before. It appears to be an homage to the original Diablo, complete with a Deckard Cain-alike and an ominous cathedral whose depths you’ll be exploring for loot and glory. There’s also a big, red demon sitting at the bottom waiting for you. So, it’s a lot like Diablo, except when it isn’t, which is most of the time. Confused? Stay awhile and listen!
Did you play Crest? That gorgeous but rather abstract Swedish affair that you’d swear was a Molyneux tulpa? No? Your sins are forgiven, because as is often the case with indie titles that don’t hit the ground running, Eat Create Sleep have relaunched their tribal papercraft terrarium, with new elements, overhauls and tweaks. Additions that will entice the agnostic and convert the disbeliever.
PC/Mac/Linux • I’ve been fascinated with the story of Jon Shafer ever since I heard about him back in the Civ IV days where he was a prolific modder catching the eye of Firaxis who hired him as an intern and, eventually, a full-time developer to help with the two Civ IV expansions. Big deal, sure, but the story took an epic turn when he was promoted and made the lead designer for the series’ next iteration, Civ V. Yep, it was his idea to move from square grid to hex and (controversially) abandon the Ultimate Stack of Doom tactic by eliminating units’ ability to stack. Oh, and he did this all before he was 25. When I was 25 I made my own beer bong from parts scavenged from my dad’s garage and Home Depot. Once again, I lose. Since then, he’s meandered around and, eventually, settled with his own dev house, Conifer Games. Their first title, At the Gates, is another epic 4X strategy title and it’s coming to PC/Mac/Linux in January, 2019.
iOS, Switch, PC/Mac/Linux • My kids think it’s weird that I enjoy programming games like TIS-100 from Zachtronics (or any Zachtronics game, actually), or Human Resource Machine from Tomorrow Corporation. This is because they think I sit at work all day and write code which is most definitely not what I do. In fact, my “writing code” to “writing boring documentation” ratio is so horrifically skewed to the latter that it shouldn’t be a surprise that I’d leap at the chance to do a little coding without all that legal overhead. 7 Billion Humans is Tomorrow Corporation’s follow-up to the aforementioned Human Resource Machine and it’s been out on Steam and Switch for a couple months. Yesterday, however, it arrived for iOS and now it can be played the way it was meant to be: on a tablet.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac • So, all the voices in my head the last couple days have been talking about one thing, the new game from indie dev Kenny Sun, Twinfold. “Wait, what voices?” you’re probably asking. To that I say, Sandwiches! [we’re not sure when Dave fell and hit his head, but we’re all guessing it was somewhere around the age of 7 -ed.]
iOS • Plague, Inc. was one of the early App Store success stories, eventually pulling in over 100 million downloads. Thus, creator Ndemic Creations is responsible for the wholesale slaughter of trillions of digital humans. They’re basically the Earth equivalent of the people on Eminiar VII. [Deep cut, nerd. Also, the people on Eminiar VII and Vendikar were disintegrated after the computer simulation. Gah, why do I even bother with this guy? -ed.] Having destroyed humanity so many times, Ndemic has shifted their focus. Instead of a global lens, their new game, Rebel, Inc., focuses on a single country and all the fun that comes along with counter insurgency. Yep, it’s a war game, of sorts. There aren’t hexes or counters, but the point of Rebel, Inc. is to quell a post-war insurgency by winning over the hearts and minds of the people.
PC/Mac • I was going to post about this last week, but realized that if there’s one board game company that doesn’t need a lot of help promoting their Kickstarters, it’s Cool Mini or Not. Their Kickstarters usually end up in the millions-of-dollars range, so an early preview of said Kickstarter campaign by us didn’t feel necessary. Today, however, that Kickstarter is live–and already funded a mere half hour–so it seemed like a good time to bring it to your attention. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, the viking-themed, area control gem, Blood Rage, from Eric Lang is coming to digital next year.
iOS, Android, PC • I’m not a huge fan of Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer, but that has more to do with bloat than the game itself. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but when a game keeps adding cards and rules and mechanisms, eventually my brain shuts down and I can’t handle it. Sure, I could play Ascension without the expansions, but then the same part of my brain will keep telling me that I’m missing out on “the big picture”. It’s a sickness. That said, I know a lot of you love Ascension, so you’ll be happy to hear that its follow-up, Shards of Infinity from Stoneblade Entertainment, is coming to digital next year. You’ll also be happy to hear who’s behind the port. No, it’s not the Ascension-crafting Playdek. Instead we have Race for the Galaxy upstart, Temple Gates, taking the helm.
PC/Mac • Deemed the great moral challenge of our time and discussed at length during summits the world over; the lack of modern mech-based tactics games is reaching a tipping point. The last true Front Mission was released in the mid-Oughts. Do people even remember CyberStorm? I’d love to count the Super Robot Wars titles, but they’re niche and chibi and aesthetically repugnant. Don’t @ me, friends. I’m being cruel to be kind. There is an undeniable, intractable vacuum. Warborn, however, is stepping up.
iOS, Android, PC/Mac • There are a lot of games that, upon release, are less than stellar and only achieve greatness after patches or expansions release down the road. Diablo 3 was like that, as was Civ V. A mobile entry on that list has to be Perchang‘s reentry into the grim world of Warhammer Fantasy, Warhammer Quest 2: The End Times. When it was released the general consensus was it failed to live up to the glory that was the original Warhammer Quest. Several patches and additional content, however, have elevated it to be a worthy successor. Come January, PC and Mac gamers will get to experience the full Warhammer Quest 2 experience without having to slog through all that drama. You can thank us mobile gamers later.