Out Now: Quality Edition22 Dec 2017 5
This is our last Out Now of 2017 and boy is it a big week going into the holidays. Aspyr has come out of nowhere with a huge release to mobile of one of the biggest games in the history of the universe. We've also got Valve releasing a new Portal game…kind of, and yet another tabletop board game adaptation.
Sid Meier's Civilization VI (iPad)
Surprise! Yes, it's real. Civilization VI for your iPad. Aspyr ambushed us, in a good way, going into the Christmas holiday and App Store freeze period. Civilization VI is free to try and you can play the first 60 turns as the Chinese Empire, you know, to get you hooked. If you want to keep going or to play a different faction it'll set you back $30 to unlock the full game. That's a hefty sum, but it is the full game. The touch controls work fine and are intuitive. The graphics and UI are the same as the PC game, though everything is too large on my iPad Pro and I wish I could rescale it. If you're a Civilization fan, hey, it's Civ on the couch with your feet up!
Hall-of-fame PC puzzle game Portal meets the physics-based bridge construction genre in Bridge Constructor Portal (yeah, they didn't try to get clever with the name). In it, you're the chief custodian of Aperture Science Vehicular Hurdling Initiative, which is a clever and appropriately long title (for Aperture) which means bridge builder. Your goal is to get Portal dudes and their fork lifts from one side of some chasm to the other without plummeting to their doom. To do this you use a slew of different bridge-building tools that any fan of the genre will find familiar. There are of course some fun diversions from the usual fare, and Portal-style mechanics add a compelling element to the game and make for some really tricky puzzles to solve. If you like bridge-construction games this is a really cool take on it with plenty of Portal-infused fun and Aperture humor. Look out for our review early in the new year.
Direwolf Digital, makers of Lanterns: The Harvest Festival and Eternal Card Game, has released a digital version of beautiful tabletop game Lotus. Lotus Digital is all about the relaxation and making pretty flowers and you earn points based on how many pedals you are able to add. Game play is straightforward with some tactics and strategy but nothing brain busting. You can play solo against the AI, which is not terribly challenging, or against other humans via asynchronous online play. I wasn't able to test online play, however, due to continuous connection errors. Hopefully these are sorted out in short order.