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.
PC I recently waffled in a Scrye about INSOMNIA: The Ark, written calmly henceforth as Insomnia. It’s quite the thing, especially if you go in blind. Given that you’re reading this, I suspect there’s a forfeiture of surprise in your immediate future, but that doesn’t detract from Insomnia’s beguiling premise overcoming its somewhat flawed execution. Flawed, I hasten to add, in that Eastern Bloc way. An ambitious pursuit of atmosphere; a journey through time and space, anchored to a colossal star city, where dimensions appear to be a lot less demarcated than first thought.
PC (and, hopefully, other platforms a bit later) • While a new expansion for one of my favorite games would usually be a cause for excitement, I’m looking at the announcement of another full-blown expansion with a bit of sadness. After all, my favorite platform for Civ VI is my iPad and we still haven’t gotten the first expansion on there yet. Just when I thought we were catching up, Firaxis throws this at me! The nerve! In all seriousness, this new expansion looks fairly incredible adding environmental factors into a game that has largely ignored them. More info on The Gathering Storm after the break.
iOS/Android (eventually), PC/Mac (Early Access now) • When Lord of the Rings LCG from Fantasy Flight Interactive launched in Early Access back in August, reviews were rather tepid and some were downright hostile. It’s a shame because the game itself is pretty good, but it’s not what fans of the physical version wanted: a direct copy of their favorite LCG to play on the go. If we look at it as a completely separate game, however, it’s pretty fun, albeit a bit limited by the growing pains associated with an Early Access game. What may have been the biggest gripe was the pricing scheme which was confusing as hell, especially compared with the simplicity of the LCG model it was attempting to emulate. Well, that’s all changing as free-to-play is going out the window. More on that later, but for now you need to know that Asmodee and FFG just added a new mission to the game that can be had for the low, low price of free.
PC/Mac • I went into Return of the Obra Dinn with high expectations, stemming from its designer, Lucas Pope. You might know Mr. Pope as the creator of the thought-provoking and terrifying Papers, Please, a game that crawled into your skull and stuck with you well after you closed your laptop. Return of the Obra Dinn does the same, and it’s one of the best experiences I’ve had on my laptop in a long time.
PC/Mac/Linux • The first game I ever played was PC Research’s 1983 survival horror game, 3-Demon. And by survival horror, I obviously mean a first-person vector riff on Pac Man. John D. Price and Rick Richardson’s intimate maze-em-up was austere and unsettling, branded as a seminal experience into soft, impressionable neurons. So, imagine if that sort of ambience dropped tired old phantoms for battlesuits in a near-future subterranean lair? Das Geisterschiff, which arm should I present for cannulation, come November 25th?
PC/Mac/Linux • Since the release of Sentinels of the Multiverse on iPad way back in 2014 Handelabra, has established themselves as one of the top board game devs in the biz, right up there with Playdek and Czech Games. While I get that Sentinels, Bottom of the 9th, and One Deck Dungeon aren’t in everyone’s wheelhouse, you can’t deny that everything they touch is polished to a blinding sheen. Thus, when they announce a new project or, as is the case today, launch a new Kickstarter, we listen. We already knew they’re working on digital versions of both Spirit Island and Aeon’s End, and it’s the latter that is now available on everyone’s favorite crowdfunder.
Here’s a collision of interesting things. Remote Games are the blokes behind Isotopium: Chernobyl, and the premise is pure magic. Players control wheeled drones and remotely roll around a scale model of the infamous reactor and nearby town, searching for energy caches and seeking out new locations. Slivers of escape room meets Joe Haldeman’s Forever Peace. It’s currently in Kickstarterdom. And you can play a timed demo right now. Go on.