This year, I’m thankful for this not being a MOBA.
“Hey, here’s a great idea: let’s announce the release of our game while the single biggest video game market in the West is drooling in front of the TV, near-catatonic from eating half their body weight in turkey.” Apparently Polish devs CD Projekt are hoping that Americans will subconsciously absorb the news that the Witcher Adventure Game has been released on iOS (iPad-only), on Android, and on PC, based on the popular RPG of the same name.
But let’s not give CD Projekt too much stick: in a world where every major console and PC game property is running headlong into the App Store to cash in on F2P psychosis, the Witcher Adventure Game appears to be a deeply nerdy digital board game. Thank you CD Projekt for not making your Witcher mobile game into a free-to-play kart racer (though they apparently are working on a licensed MOBA).
The Witcher Adventure Game (which was first announced back in January) was made in conjunction with high-spec tabletop publishers Fantasy Flight, who are naturally releasing a physical version of the game as well. The gist here is that you (and/or online multiplayer friends) control a group of four heroes questing around a board getting into low-fantasy hijnks. The game plays like a computer RPG to an extent — characters level up and develop new abilities as the game goes on.
‘You’ll see how they forget about these “Wolverines.”‘
You won’t find too many wargame monikers quite as dull as “Wars and Battles”. If French developers Kermorio ever tried their hand at baseball we’d get “Gloves and Caps” — or maybe an FPS called “Persons and Shooting”. I suspect that some children of Kermorio employees are named “Baby”.
Ignore the insipid name — Wars and Battles is an accessible wargame of moderate complexity with cagey scenarios and an intricately-modelled tabletop miniatures aesthetic. It’s lovely to behold and equally lovely to play. Even in a year where the wargame pond has been well stocked with fine beasts (Battle Academy 2, Desert Fox, Commander: The Great War), Wars and Battles is a singular specimen.
Owen here, temporarily taking the helm back from Neumann as we put the great ship Pocket Tactics into port for the Thanksgiving holiday.
As is my idiom, I’m seizing the reins at the exact moment that the horses are going to sleep — this is a snoozer of a release night with exactly one good game on offer. But it’s a pretty dang good game. Come meet me after the jump and I’ll tell you all about the preview build of Wars and Battles I’ve been playing, and as a bonus we’ll read the tea leaves on whether or not to expect Telltale’s latest adventure tonight.
A future version of myself just popped into my dusty office here at PT HQ high atop Mount Hexmap with startling news: Shadowrun: Dragonfall, the follow-up to last year’s RPG of the Year Runner-Up is finally dropping for iOS. Right around three months following the PC release, the game will hit the App Store for iPad next Wednesday at midnight. That future version of myself also begged me not to send him back to his timeline but I’ve got enough family over for Thanksgiving already, thanks.
This is great news for RPG fans: I really enjoyed last year’s Shadowrun Returns despite a short-ish campaign and garden-variety turn-based tactical combat. By all accounts, Dragonfall polishes up the dull bits of its predecessor and is generally even better. If you’re not familiar with the setting, imagine Twilight as written by William Gibson and you’re basically there: a science-fiction cyberpunk world where magic exists and the Giants are playoff contenders. Also the Giants have real giants.
I’ve rezzed a trailer for Shadowrun: Dragonfall for you after the jump. No word yet on the Android version. [UPDATE: Android getting a simultaneous release next week, HBS tells me.]
Thanksgiving is coming tomorrow here in the US and it’s a day of reflection and giving quiet thanks for all that we have in our lives, and we celebrate by trying to buy as much new crap as possible. I’m not sure we’re getting the message. Then again, when everything is on sale, what are you going to do?
The App Store isn’t immune from the cunning wiles of Black Friday. This time of year you can snatch up some pretty amazing apps for a steal. Wargames? On sale. Board games? Yep, those too. We’ll even throw in an RPG for good measure. Check out the deals after the break.
Wait? It’s all-seeing? I’ll have to clean out my browser cache.
A couple weeks ago I looked at an upcoming game that mixes tower defense with the basics of Dungeon Keeper (the original one, not the crappy EA money grab) called Wicked Lair. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to play around with the game a bit and, starting today, you can as well. It was just released this morning for both iOS and Android.
Wicked Lair puts you in the pointy shoes of an evil overachiever who’s job is to destroy the neighboring town. Of course, the local townsfolk aren’t really up for this and they send forth the standard adventuring group to harsh your buzz. Your job is to build new layers of your dungeon, each with different specialities, stock them with monsters and traps and kill everything that enters. Oh, and creating a few monsters that can leave your dungeon to attack the town helps, too.
The game is free to download, and you can unlock everything in the game for $2 via IAP. There aren’t any timers or other freemium nonsense involved. Wicked Lair is available for both iOS Universal and Android.
Yes, I’m the blue guys. Yes, I’m getting my ass kicked. Thanks for asking.
Apparently the folks at Fantasy Flight Games are a little confused and think it’s Christmas morning when it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet. Waking up today, under my imaginary tree, was a shiny package that I wasn’t expecting at all: BattleLore Command with an App Store bow. I’ve been able to play a little of the solo campaign this morning and, I’m not going to lie to you, it’s pretty great.
BattleLore Command was first announced at Gen Con this year, and is the first time the Command & Colors system created by designer Richard Borg has hit mobile devices. Basically, it’s a skirmish game in which two armies face off, but control of your armies is done with cards which indicate how many troops, and from which sections on the board, can be activated each turn. BattleLore adds a lot to that basic system, including a Lore system that allows you to launch spells that alter the battlefield and a slew of creatures that will join the battle on both sides.
On top of a solo campaign, there is also skirmish mode which plays pretty much just like the board game. You can play this mode either against the CPU or against others players via local wifi.
BattleLore Command is available for both iOS Universal (iPad2 and iPhone 4s or later) and Android. It will run you $10, but there’s no IAP to be seen, other than a placeholder for future expansions.
There are several developers out there who seem to keep popping out new material continuously, and you begin to wonder when the hell they get a chance to sleep. One of the newer, red-eyed faces in that crowd is gamebook dev, Cubus Games. These are the guys who created Heavy Metal Thunder which was one of the most original and fun gamebooks I’ve read in a long time.
They’re back on iOS and Android with a Mayan adventure that’s been out for a couple weeks now, Necklace of Skulls. The book will lead you through Mayan myths where you’ll face gods and ghosts as you battle for your very soul. Yeah, their books are like that.
That’s not all. Coming “imminently” is the follow-up to Heavy Metal Thunder, Sol-Invictus. The sequel will extend the tale of your amnesic anti-hero and, going out on a limb here, will probably entail graphic, brutal, and mostly well-deserved violence.