Out Now: Augmented Edition

By Nick Vigdahl 22 Sep 2017 4

It's Friday which means yet another Out Now. Today, we've got a turn-based tactics game that came out last Friday but missed our deadline for Out Now as well as a Mini Metro for commuting in cars and one of the first augmented reality games for iOS. 

Warbands: Bushido (iOS Universal) - Full Review Incoming!

Looking for a digital game with a look, feel, and play style that evokes tabletop miniature battlers? Look no further than Warbands: Bushido which has left the confines of Steam exclusivity and is out now for iOS gamers. The game puts you in control of a squad of fighters from medieval Japan for turn-based, tactical combat against an opposing team.

Combat makes use of a deck of cards full of special powers and bonuses that you can use to turn the tide of battle against your foe. As you win you earn in-game currency, coins, which can be used to acquire more fighters (minis) and more cards. Gameplay is fast and fun and certainly rewards a strong overall strategy and solid turn-by-turn decision making. The art is top notch and they really nailed the tabletop look.

Warbands: Bushido is a premium game with no IAP to purchase additional coins. This really surprised me and has left me wondering if the plan is to add it in later. Regardless, at this point you can only gain coins by selling spare units and cards and completing daily CCG-style quests.

Games are quick, 5-10 minutes, and have some good tactical crunch. The game is all about taking on other players and there isn't much in the way of meaningful campaign play, though it sounds like solo play is part of the game's roadmap. Our sister site Strategy Gamer has a review of the PC version, if you're interested, and our iOS review will be coming soon. Definitely one for turn-based tactical fans out there.

Freeways (iPad and Android)

Traffic. Nobody likes it and everybody thinks their city has it the worst. Many even have thoughts of how traffic could be better managed if only somebody who knew what they were doing was in charge. Well now that person can be you!

Freeways is the Mini Metro of cars and puts you in charge of building a road system to handle traffic demands for a city, section by section. Freeways is not nearly as polished as Mini Metro, graphically or in terms of intuitive gameplay, but that's not necessarily a problem (Mini Metro was just really good at both). You draw the routes your roads will take and must make sure to connect everything together in an effective manner.

The game is plenty challenging and more than a little complicated and, unless you're a civil engineer, will likely take some time to figure out the rules of the road, so to speak. I like this game and if you enjoyed Mini Metro you probably will too. My main gripe is a lack of an undo button, you can really only just clear everything and start over if you mess up.

 

The Machines (iOS Universal) (Requires iOS 11)

Apple hosted their annual "Apple Special Event" on September 12. This is generally where the Cuppertinos attempt to drum up excitement for their Autumn product launch catalog. This year, they made a big deal of augmented reality (AR), showcasing a game called The Machines that is making use of Apple's new ARKit. The game is out now and if your device is compatible, you can check it out.

Apple's ARKit only works on devices with the more recent A9 processor (or better). This means iPhone 6S and 7 and both generations of the iPad Pro. I tried the game on both my 12.9" iPad Pro and iPhone 6S Plus and, unfortunately, it's not as smooth an experience as the special-event demo, or trailer below, may have led you to believe. First off, you're greeted by a message that says, "Slowly move the camera until a plane is found." This isn't particularly clear and the game means a geometric plane, not an airplane. It's looking for an appropriate surface upon which to generate the game board. I tried a table like in the trailer, but none of mine appear acceptable for augmented-reality purposes.

This means you don't necessarily get to choose where you play. I was able to find a plane on the floor without too much trouble but this makes the game pretty awkward to play. You have to move closer in order to zoom in, which means going from a standing position to sitting on the floor and back again and I didn't feel it tracked particularly well. It was awkward to play holding my iPad and the phone was better, though it got very warm very quickly.

Gameplay itself is interesting if not overly compelling. It's a pretty standard RTS type of game that is clearly relying on the AR to bring the players. Augmented/virtual reality is clearly going to become a big thing in gaming, but we aren't there yet, at least not on iOS. The Machines feels like an attempt to be first into the App Store using augmented reality more than a game I really want to be playing.

Seen anything else you liked? Played any of the above? Let us know in the comments!

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