Papa Sangre and its Sean Bean-starring sequel are two of the most unique games on the App Store. They eschew graphics and, instead, exist only in audio. It sounds like a gimmick, but it actually works to create an incredibly deep and immersive experience.
Publisher Somethin’ Else has just released Audio Defence: Zombie Arena for Halloween and it holds true to the Papa Sangre formula of sound-only except, instead of a creepy horror game, here you just blast the hell out of zombies. Audio Defence works using the gyroscope inside your phone, so you can physically turn while listening for zombies. When it sounds like they’re in front of you, shoot. It’s not difficult to figure it out, but my 9 year-old has been playing for over a half hour now and he’s loving it.
If you don’t want to stand in the middle of the room and spin around, there are options for swipe or tilt controls as well. The game offers 20 levels, over a dozen different weapons and power ups as well as a slew of different zombie types. It’s currently available for iOS at $5.
In a reversal of fortune not seen since Randolph and Mortimer Duke bought orange juice futures, Android users can today play the classic Infinity Engine role-playing game Icewind Dale on their devices while iOS users are flat out of luck. It’s almost as if everything I’ve ever believed has been proven to be a lie. It’s as if the sun rose in the west and….okay, you get it. I’ll stop.
The original plan was for Icewind Dale to appear on all platforms simultaneously today, but there were some snags with the Apple submission process requiring Beamdog to resubmit the app yesterday. So, gloat while you can, Android users, it should be available for iOS in a week or two.
If you’ve followed any of Beamdog’s other ports of classic Infinity Engine games, like Baldur’s Gate or Baldur’s Gate 2, you’ll know that this release is an “Enhanced Edition”. In the BG titles, that meant new characters, quests, classes and more. Icewind Dale is pretty much a 40-hour long dungeon crawl consisting of very little story and a whole ton of combat. Also, unlike the BG games where you created one character and NPCs would join your group, here you create a full party of six. So, what’s “enhanced” about this new edition, then? We have new spells and items to find, new kits for different classes, quests that were cut from the original, and it also includes both the Heart of Winter and Trials of the Luremaster expansion packs. Put all that together with the original game, and you’ve got a ton of CRPG goodness here.
In August, Wizards of the Coast introduced the latest edition of the venerable Dungeons & Dragons, at which time we also learned that a fairly comprehensive suite of digital tools for tablets was coming down the pike called Dungeonscape. This morning Trapdoor Technologies posted their last post regarding Dungeonscape, indicating that they and Wizards have severed ties and Dungeonscape is no longer a thing. What the serious hell?
As late as Tuesday they were still sending out beta invites to PC and Android users, so I’m guessing this decision came as quite a shock to Trapdoor. Now, instead of more invites we’ve been told that the beta will cease at noon tomorrow.
I was just accepted into the beta earlier this week and found the product to be a bit rough, but serviceable and had been told that the PC version I was testing was the furthest behind with most of their resources focused on the tablet versions. So, what went wrong? We won’t know until we get some more information which doesn’t seem to be forthcoming from either party at this stage.
Anyone who has followed WotC’s stewardship of D&D probably isn’t too surprised. Each edition they’ve produced has had promises of digital tools, none of which ever evolved into what was promised. Will we ever get digital tools for D&D that work on our tablets? At this point, I wouldn’t hold your breath.
After the break, Trapdoor sits with Russ Morrissey from EnWorld at GenCon and shows us what might have been.
“If you’re the owner of a grey Kubelwagen parked in Lot B — you left your lights on.”
From the distant vista of the casual fan, WWII wargames might all look more or less the same: you push around some tanks, you compel some infantrymen to butt helmeted heads; somebody wins and writes the history books, someone loses and then reloads a save.
And to be sure, there’s some truth to that. Much like basketball and baseball might look fundamentally similar to uncontacted Amazonian tribesmen made to watch SportsCenter, a lot of the differences between super high-level operational wargames like Drive on Moscow and intimate tactical affairs like Battle Academy can be cosmetic and presentational. But as Michael Jordan reminded us in 1994, you can be pretty damn good at one kind of ballgame and rubbish at another. Those little differences might be important.
White dragon, guys. It’s supposed to be a white dragon.
The worst thing about writing an “Out Tonight” post on a day when there doesn’t appear to be any releases is that I know the very first comment will bring up a decent game that I missed and/or forgot. Go ahead. I don’t mind.
I’m going to pretend that you aren’t filling up the comments with great releases and go with what I have, a Tin Man release we missed last week and a match-3-ish puzzler.
We all know and love Tin Man Games, and their huge catalog of interactive fiction on iOS and Android is truly impressive. Last week, it grew a little more when they released the Fighting Fantasy book, Caverns of the Snow Witch. Author Ian Livingstone first released the dead tree version of Caverns back in 1984 and this digital version offers the ability to switch to retro mode which replaces the new artwork with the original drawings from back when Prince was making doves cry. Other than that, it’s your standard high-quality Tin Man release. If you love what Tin Man does, you’re going to love this book as well. It’s for iOS Universal or Android and it will set you back $6.
More releases (okay, 1 more release) after the break.
If my actual wireless communication exams in college would have been like this, I might have passed.
Transmission: Connect to Communicate is a new puzzle game developed by the Science Museum (it’s in the UK, I checked) that’s supposed to be educational, but I don’t really see it. It is a pretty good puzzler, though, so I’ll cut it some slack. It’s also free without any IAP or ads, so it’s got a few things going for it.
Transmission tells the story of human communication starting with the telegraph and ending…somewhere. I don’t know, I’m only up to the computers level. The goal is to move cubes that represent information from a transmitter to a receiver using things like transceivers and for-loops. The initial telegraph and telephone levels are incredibly straightforward and serve as a decent introduction, but the game gets pretty darn tough as you move forward. I should clarify that, completing the puzzles isn’t too tough, but getting 3-stars by completing all the criteria for that puzzle can be quite tricky.
Transmission: Connect to Communicate is free and is available for both iOS and Android. Trailer after the break.
Sometimes I wonder just how far we’ll go into the recursive, navel-gazing abyss of games concerning–and styled after–older games. “In Merlin’s Adventure of the Schoolyard Heroes you play one of several fantasy archetypes (represented by digital HeroClix miniatures) reliving a game of tag during recess at their childhood village’s daycare–narrative psychotherapy by the great wizard, Merlin. Hiding is accomplished by angrily throwing dice around Merlin’s office. For each other player your character recalls finding, you engage in a dungeon raid with small dolls, both in your memories and with Merlin, using action figures holding other, smaller action figures.”
More often, though, I just think about the promising line-up of reasonably themed digital “tabletop” games we have now (and that I can always call up my local Dungeon Master if I ever get too close to ludic Limbo). Playtap Games have just released their first update for procedurally generated dungeon crawler Card Dungeon, and it looks to fix many of the quibbles that Owen brought up in his review.
Hunted Cow have informed us that Decision Games’ Rebels & Redcoats will be available for iPad on November 6th. The game promises to be a largely faithful adaptation of the source boardgames, hex-based and with all the period flair one expects of a Hunted Cow joint, with a robust tutorial and two five-mission campaigns playable as either the American colonies or the British Empire.