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.]
PS4, Xbox, PC • I imagine the right way to open the review of a Lovecraft-riffing game is dark foreshadowing of looming evil, so, uh–don’t look behind you. [Well done. Now clean out your desk. -ed.] Ripstone’s Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics (henceforth ACT) aims at an experience much like XCOM. Not XCOM as it would be now, because you’ve probably already played that. Instead, it has all the pieces needed to give you the experience of playing XCOM for the first time, again. That is, it’s mechanically distinct enough to play quite differently, facilitating the joy of discovery. The setting is almost perfect for this purpose–while I feel the pull of legitimate concerns about continuing to use Lovecraft’s work (starkly put by Michael Barnes here), ACT’s melding of techno-über-Nazis with Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos offers players mostly familiar, immediately comprehensible weapons and soldier roles to build from, with such a variety of possible ways of adding strangeness that you never know what might emerge from the shadows.
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.
iOS/Android (coming in 2019), PC/Mac/Linux (available now) • Artifact, if you’re not aware, is the latest digital CCG to hit the market, this time from streaming bigwig, Valve. While playing Civ VI on my laptop, I was inundated with ads for the game [there was one, and it was only when he logged in -ed.] and, [being a simpleton -ed.] couldn’t resist. After playing through the two tutorial matches I can only say one thing for certain: I’m not a huge fan of CCGs.
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.
PC • If you aren’t familiar with the tabletop card/board game Mystic Vale from AEG, then the title of this post might be confusing. Obviously, the idiot in charge of headlines [Dave is that idiot -ed.] screwed up and should have written “deck-builder” because card-builder sounds more like a craft project than a game. Well, thanks to the wonders of plastic, Mystic Vale IS a card-builder in which transparent sleeves and cards blend to make new cards every time you play. I first stumbled on Mystic Vale when it released at Gen Con a few years ago and was struck by the gorgeous artwork and the unique crafting concept but never got the chance to actually sit and play it. That makes today’s news even more exciting, as I’ll finally get to give Mystic Vale a go. What news, you ask? Mystic Vale is now available to play via Steam Early Access.
I’m not really a shmup guy. I mean, I dig so much about the genre, but my atrophied synaptic responses would make Bell 101 owners think they were living in the fast lane. That is, until I played Morfeo’s Furious Angels. A mouse-based frisson of physics-heavy turning, burning and gunning. A papercraft aesthetic, accommodating responsiveness and simple controls coalesced to form one of 2017’s top games. Play it if you haven’t. A convert’s testament. Turns out, we’re getting a follow-up, and deliciously soon.