Not pictured: me tapping the iPad screen as fast as humanly possible.
Back in late 2013 the digital gamebook market was experiencing a renaissance. inkle Studios had released the magnificent Sorcery! series earlier in the year, and in November Lone Wolf came to iPad, and it was unlike any gamebook we’d ever seen. When you held your device in portrait mode, it was a beautfully illustrated tome, but when you needed to jump into action, turn your device to portrait mode and have at it with 3D combat.
Sounds great and it was, kind of. Turns out the combat was actually pretty crappy: repetitive, long, and consisting of nothing more than repeated quick time events. Luckily the story was good enough to make you want to see it to the end, and now you can all in one package. Previously, you could buy the first chapter of Lone Wolf and then purchase the remaining chapters as IAP. Now, however, you can buy the complete Lone Wolf saga in one app with no IAP in sight.
If you pick it up today, you can nab it for only $10 as well, which is $3 cheaper than it will be when you wake up tomorrow. Lone Wolf Complete is available for either iOS Universal or Android.
Have no idea what we’re talking about? Check out the trailer after the jump.
Two new releases that are flaunting the usual Wednesday night release convention and just popped up on the app stores this morning. It’s anarchy, I tell you! Dogs and cats living together. Mass hysteria.
The first is Arnhem: Airborne Assault, a scrappy little wargame from Richard Berger. It’s not going to win any beauty contests unless all of the other contestants are members of AC/DC but it seems like a pretty good little hex-and-counter wargame. It’s a WWII affair that puts you in charge of the Allied paratroopers making the ill-fated airborne assault on Holland in 1944. The combat model is big on fog-of-war, so considerations like moving your troops through forests and maintaining contact with the enemy are a big deal. There’s a couple of genuinely tough scenarios in there, but I haven’t spent enough time with the game to decide if it’s Clever Tough™ or Throw Your iPad in the Canal Tough™. You can find out for yourself for two bucks: it’s available for iPad and for Android, too. This one’s got online multiplayer for up to four players, too.
A gameplay video of this, plus another new release below.
The other dungeons are: It’s a Small World, Space Mountain, and Pirates of the Caribbean
Over the years we’ve seen many, many, way too many game trailers. Rarely, they’ll be either fantastic or terrible, but usually they’re somewhere in the middle. You’re familiar with these middling trailers: show a little gameplay, add a blurb or two, wrap it up. I’m not entirely sure where the trailer for Pixel Heroes: Byte & Magic lies, but I’m leaning towards the “fantastic” end of the meter. If the trailer has a downside, it’s the reminder that I actually looked like that in 1987, albeit with a more bitchin’ mullet.
That’s just a trailer, though, let’s take a gander at Pixel Heroes itself, which has on Steam for awhile now, but is coming to iOS and Android next Wednesday night. In it, you control a party of up to three heroes chosen from 30 different classes and do RPG stuff like running quests and finding loot. The game has 13 different dungeons each with different end bosses as well as NPCs who each have their own stories and quests. It also has permadeath. That’s right, Pixel Heroes is another roguelike, which isn’t a bad thing.
Now, stop reading this and head past the jump to witness a trailer unlike any other.
One of the great App Store injustices of the last couple of years is that Outwitters didn’t become a Star Wars-sized global phenomenon. Children should be walking around with plush dolls of the weird cycloptic elephant. Libertarian subreddits should be extolling the BitWit virtual currency. At least the game’s bipedal sharks made it big.
But even if this fantastic turn-based arena combat game didn’t get quite the success it deserved, there’s a big enough base of core Outwitters diehards that developers One Man Left are still putting time into it, almost three years post-launch.
How many Outwitters heads are we talking about? “We average around 12k-15k monthly active users,” One Man Left‘s Alex Okafor told me yesterday. “Not a huge playerbase, but quite the dedicated one for a somewhat niche game.”
It’s for those folks–and hopefully some new fans, too–that OML are rolling out Outwitters 2.0 in March.
I don’t know, a little paint, a few flowers, a couple of throw pillows and Hell wouldn’t be so bad.
The last time we talked about Hell: Fight for Gilrand, it was just called Hell which was probably not the best title from a search engine perspective, but sure was easier to type. What I’m trying to say is that I’m sticking to just calling it Hell, thank you very much.
Hell is a product of both Hunted Cow and Slitherine, so you’d expect some major war-gaminess to be happening here, but instead it’s a tactical-RPG in which bad guys (the guys from hell) fight the good guys (the guys not from hell). I’m paraphrasing a bit, but not as much as you’d think. It looks a bit like BattleLore, but with a bit more of an RPG, questy feel to it.
After nearly dying in a sudden and tragic avalanche of Game of the Year trophies, 80 Days creators Inkle have recuperated enough to update us about the status of Sorcery 3, the penultimate chapter of the legendary interactive fiction series that started way back in 2013. Yesterday they put up a blog post stating that the game has gone into beta testing and that–for the first time in a Sorcery game–the title would be launching simultaneously for Android and for iOS.
I got in touch with Inkle co-founders Jon Ingold and Joe Humfrey this morning. What lessons from 80 Days will they be taking into Sorcery 3?
Why all the snow games?, I asked Dan FitzGerald. The maker of the wonderfully aggravating Dawn of the Plow has got another winter-themed game in the works called Dog Sled Saga. “The snow thing is mostly a coincidence[.] Dawn of the Plow was actually originally inspired by the sand-blowing mechanic in Forbidden Desert.”
Dawn of the Plow eventually departed from its board game roots and was an anxiety-inducing little high-score game when it was released — you had to do your best to control a wildly oversteering snowplow to keep the roads clear until you eventually ran over enough motorists that the city fired you. It was fun but about as relaxing as watching a Von Trier movie with your mom.
FitzGerald sent along a preview build of Dog Sled Saga and this is a game with a more relaxed vibe.
The surest tell that you’re playing a good turn-based game is how readily it induces Inter-Turn Apnea. You know what I’m talking about.
You spend your turn carefully laying down foundations for the table-flipping coup-de-main that you’ll spring the next time you get the dice. So with all in readiness, you pass the dice on to the next player and wait for them to come back around to you. You x-ray everyone else’s moves while trying to maintain a Moai-like poker face. You unspool contingency plans in your head. And when the dice get to the player who might unmake everything you’ve worked so hard to set up, you involuntarily hold your breath. Inter-Turn Apnea.
The press preview of Sid Meier’s Starships that I’ve been playing is so good at generating ITA that it’s almost turned me purple.