News By Numbers - December 19th, 2016

By Nick Vigdahl 19 Dec 2016 3

Welcome to News by Numbers, where we highlight some of the can't-miss mobile gaming news each week. This one is full to the brim with sales, expansions and more, so let's dive right in!

Mr. Jack Pocket: $1.99

There are lots of holiday gaming sales going on.  Many of them are even worth mentioning. Like Mr. Jack Pocket for $1.99 on either iOS or Android. Mr. Jack Pocket is a lite digital adaptation of the boardgame by the same name and pits Jack the Ripper against an investigator trying to bring him to justice. Dave was a fan, like, forever a go and gave the game four stars. Just go add it to your gaming backlog. You know you want to.

Mr. Jack Pocket

Vainglory: version 2.0

The recent Vainglory update has officially moved the mobile-MOBA to version 2.0. The new release includes improved guild management and quality-of-life updates, a new-and-improved classification system as well as revamped chests (rewards). If you're interested in the full patch notes, you can read them here. Oh, they've also introduced a new assassin named Idris - I thought he was great when he was in The Wire.

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic: $2.99

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic is one of the best video-game role-playing games of all time. It is known. Lesser known is the fact that it is now on sale for a measly three bucks in both the Google Play and App Stores. If you don't own this one, and have the space on your mobile-gaming device, I shouldn't have to convince you. Go!

KOTOR

Lanterns The Harvest Festival: $4.99

Lanterns: The Harvest Festival is a best-selling, tile-placement tabletop game set in imperial China. The digital adaption came out earlier this year and offers nice visuals and audio and three game modes: solo, challenge, and asynchronous online play. The recent Emperor's Gifts expansion adds Pavilions, Emperor Cards, Wild Lanterns, and Gifts. Check it out on iOS or Android.

Sentinels of the Multiverse: five new heroes

The Sentinels of the Multiverse mega-expansion "Vengeance" is now available on iOS and Android and is jam-packed with heroics and villainy. It includes five new heroes a super-team of five villains to fight against and two new environments to be used in any game. Check out the official page for all the details and the video below for a teaser. The expansion will set you back $6.99.

Colt Express: 6-player game

I gave Colt Express two stars not long ago due to its woeful implementation of multiplayer in an otherwise good game. The developer was obviously well aware of the shortcomings at launch and the game has recently been updated to try to address them. I was eager to take a look and the game required me to register, which is fine, but registering seemed to have the unwelcome side-effect of resetting my story-mode progress, which was not fine.

There is now an option for a private game where you can invite up to five friends. Those friends have to have already been "favorited" in the game and must be online to invite, so you'll need to do some external communication to get a private game going. There's also a revamped lobby where you can see open games and join one. I didn't see any games available the times I checked, however, and very few players online at any given time so I wasn't able to test this out. I'm still in buyer-beware mode on this one.

Private Game

Road Not Taken: 10-50 Android installs

Road Not Taken is a turn-based puzzle game about making choices and following them through. It was, until very recently, only available to iFolk but was released to Android late last week. Tof gave it four stars earlier this year. As of the time of this writing, it was in the "10-50 installs" bucket on the Google Play Store. Go give it some love if it's your thing!

Road Not Takener

Baseball Highlights 2045: 15 new cards

Baseball Highlights 2045 is a boardgame that also got a digital implementation early this year. That implementation earned four stars from Dave Neumann in its Pocket Tactics review. The third expansion pack for the game was recently released, adding 15 cards and four new (and excellent) immediate actions—Error, Wild Pitch, Contact, and Bean Ball. The game is $6 on iOS or Android and the expansion pack is another $1. 

Baseball Highlights

Warbits: 20 single-player missions

Warbits is a great game. Great. If you like tactical games—and the odds are good considering you are here—you really need this game. If you do own the game, good decision, and guess what? We all get more content. Risky Lab is working on a "Challenge Mode" which will add 20 single-player missions to the game at no charge to you. The update will be out in early 2017 and I'm looking forward to it helping me get through the long, cold winter. 

Warbits

The Warlock of Firetop Mountain: 35 years

In 1982 a single-player adventure gamebook was written Steve Jackson (yeah, him) and Ian Livingstone. Warlock of Firetop Mountain was the very first of the Fighting Fantasy series. As part of a super successful Kickstarter—way back in October 2015—Tin Man Games got the green light to bring that very book to life on iOS. Well, it's almost here and will be out in early 2017. Tin Man's made some promises as well:

  • Firetop Mountain – expanded! New monsters, rooms and traps!
  • Figurines from Otherworld Miniatures – digitally scanned into the game!
  • A story which changes based on which figurine you take into the dungeon.
  • Simultaneous, real-time combat featuring the GridBluff system!

We'll keep an eye out for a release date and let you know when you can grab a copy.

Warlock

Twilight Struggle: 50% off

Speaking of board games and expansions and speaking of sales on awesome games…Twilight Struggle has both…today! The Cold-War-based game that eventually got a digital adaption is a five-star game and actually got multiplayer right—certainly in comparison to its 2016 peers. The game has launched on Android, and is half off both in the Google Play and App Stores. Get…now…

But wait, there's more! A new expansion called Turn Zero, is also available and allows for alternate starting scenarios for both superpowers as well as some promos and different art. Turn Zero is available as a $4 IAP, unless you backed the game on Kickstarter, in which case it is free! Good things to those who wait and all that.

Twilight Struggle

Hades' Star: around 600 alpha testers

My favorite game at present is the space-based MMO Hades' Star. In it you explore and colonize your own solar system, build a powerful economy, mine asteroids for fuel, amass and upgrade a mighty fleet of battleships, and warp to dying red-dwarf stars to recover priceless alien artifacts. The gameplay is compelling and the graphics simple yet attractive. The truly remarkable thing about Hades' Star, however, is that it is only in Alpha testing. Don't get me wrong, there are bugs and the game needs balancing, but it is in very good shape for an alpha.

The second alpha update is coming this week, in fact, and will include a bunch of balance adjustments, visual improvements—such as better detail about what the games tech does and how it will improve if you invest in updating it—and of course bug fixes. There will also be a change in how the artifact-rich red-star systems work a key component of the game, to make it more fun for both solo and collaborative play. Oh yeah, and there will be new effects for when red stars go nova. Also, the devs will announce the rewards for alpha participants which will carry over into the game upon launch (free crystals and badges anyone?).

Hades Star

About 600 people have downloaded the game so far and the more the merrier; the devs would really like to stress the server. If you want to join in there's still time, the alpha will go at least until New Year's Day and quite possibly a couple weeks longer. Please note, however, that any progress you make will be wiped when the game is reset. The Beta will kick off shortly after alpha testing concludes and will essentially be the soft launch of the game. Watch this column for a heads up to get in on the ground floor.

That's it for this edition of News by Numbers, my last of the year. I'll be back next year with more! Until then, if you've got a news item worth sharing send it my way on Twitter @MrVigabool. News by Numbers will resume January 2nd, 2017.

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