iOS, PS4/Vita, Xbox, Switch, PC/Mac/Linux • I talked last week about my recurring addiction to Stardew Valley, the overly cute and surprisingly deep farming simulator that’s been the bee’s knees since it released on PC back in 2016. We knew it was coming out for iOS today but it actually popped up on the App Store last night giving me a little time to try it out while the family slept. It’s pretty great.
PC • I don’t think it’s much of a secret that Factorio has been (and still is) one of my favorite video games of all time. The open-endedness, seemingly endless research tracks, and mind-twisting efforts to crank just a little more efficiency out of what’s turned into a bowl of spaghetti are, apparently, what I’m looking for in a game as I turn into a grumpy old man. It doesn’t end with Factorio, though. I’ve always loved city-builders and simulations that allow you to create something amazing from a blank slate. Today a new challenger to the throne arrives from the one-man dev house, Codebyfire, called The Colonists.
iOS, Android, Switch, Consoles, PC/Mac/Linux • My history with Stardew Valley is a tale of two extremes. I first started hearing about it on other mobile sites wondering if it would ever make the move to phones and tablets. Looking into it, I decided the cartoonish graphics weren’t my style and, other than Agricola, farming doesn’t do a lot for me. I tried to forget about it, but its immense popularity ensured it popping up in Twitch streams or YouTube reviews of people I followed. It became too big to ignore. Eventually, it came to Mac and I caved. Thus begins the second act of my experience with Stardew Valley, the phase my wife likes to call “that time you were obsessed with that one game and you didn’t talk to anyone in your family for about four months”. Yes, she’s very verbose and, unfortunately, not exaggerating much. I fell for the open-ended game pretty damn hard and loved just about everything it offered and was only saved by the fact it wasn’t available for mobile, confining my addition to a desk. That’s changing, however. Not only is has it been out for Switch for a bit (yes, I own it there, too), but it’s coming to iOS on October 24. My wife has already threatened divorce.
iPad, PC, Tabletop • I’m going to tell you a secret that will probably discredit my supposed love of all things hexmap, but I never really got into any of the war games from Every Single Soldier. Which games are those, you might ask. That would be the acclaimed and much-loved Vietnam ’65 and the slightly less beloved follow-up, Afghanistan ’11. I know, I’m ashamed of myself [this goes without saying and has nothing to do with either of those games-ed.]. I did manage to stumble onto a tweet from ESS today, however, and my jaw hit the floor. Perhaps this is old news, but it’s new to me and this is the ESS game that looks right up my alley. It’s called HMS and it’s coming for iPad, PC, and…wait for it…cardboard.
iPad, PC/Mac/Linux • Ah, nothing like a warm island breeze cooling you off as you’re sipping a daiquiri from a comically tall glass on a hot beach. The only thing that could make it better would be pocketing away millions of corrupt dollars while doing so, all while avoiding being handcuffed and taken away to a reeducation center because you happened to mention that El Presidente’s mustache was looking a tad droopy this morning. If you have no idea what the hell I’m talking about, welcome to Tropico, the city building game where you play the corrupt leader of a banana republic. The original Tropico is more than 15 years old now, but it’s had a slew of sequels and, later this year, it will make its debut on iPad.
PC/Mac/Linux • One of the unheralded gems of 2017 was a little historical title with a terrible title, Predynastic Egypt from Clarus Victoria. We liked the hell out of it with the exception that it ended when the 1st Kingdom began which is kind of when all the really cool stuff in Ancient Egypt started rolling. Yes, I’m talking about the pyramids. No pyramids in Predynastic Egypt, but in the follow-up, Egypt: Old Kingdom, which was released on Steam yesterday, we’ve got pyramids aplenty.
PC • Radvaĭ se, Vauxhall Viva fans and the confraternity of the Nissan Cedric Special! MinskWorks‘ Jalopy has left the detritus-strewn garage of Early Access and is now travelling the Eastern Bloc highways of a one-point-zero release! Put the State in your Stately Play car game of 2018. Read on!
PC/Mac/Linux • According to Steam, over the past week I’ve played Factorio for 31 hours. That may not seem like a lot to gaming diehards, but we’re talking about a guy with three kids who is forced to spend most of his waking hours away from a keyboard. 31 hours in a week on my laptop, playing games, is simply unheard of. Even games like Civ or Cities: Skylines haven’t drawn that kind of devotion from me in the past few years. In fact, I’d have to go back to pre-kid days when I’d spend every night playing World of Warcraft while my wife travelled for her job. Yes, I was a really cool cat back then, too. The thing with Factorio is that I haven’t even scratched the surface. I suddenly understand why my kids like Minecraft so much.
PC (now), Mac/Linux (when it reaches Steam) • Did you play with Legos as a kid? Did you build elaborate spacecraft and make them fly around and fight each other? Do you have Legos around now, you know, for “your kids?” If you answer “yes” to those questions (as I do), have I got a game for you.
PC/Mac/Linux • 2017 has been such a great year for mobile gaming that I can’t even remember the last time I fired up Civilization VI, which was my top game of 2016. I know it’s been within the last few months, but there’s always been something else to pull me away from all that civ-building goodness [mostly the civ-building goodness of Through the Ages, I’m sure -ed.]. Looks like Civilization VI will be getting a bunch of my attention in February as Firaxis just announced that a full expansion, Rise and Fall, is coming on February 8.