Posts by: Dave Neumann

From Heck : Mr. Jack Pocket gets an update

It doesn't matter which action I take, I always lose

It doesn’t matter which action I take, I always lose

Mr. Jack Pocket is still one of my favorite 2-player games on my iPad. It’s a perfect, puzzly diversion for a few minutes at a time, and it never fails to give me a mild headache. It was just given the mandatory iOS 8 update, but developer Meeple Touch managed to sneak in a couple new characters as well and it makes a great game even better. That is, it makes the game even harder for the detective player.

The 2 new characters are Lizzie Williams and Walter Sickert who have, in real life, been added to the embarrassingly long list of improbable Ripper suspects. In Mr. Jack Pocket, the detective isn’t sure which of the 9 characters on the board is Jack, and is trying to place his characters around the edge of the board to see down the gaslit streets of Whitechapel. In the base game, all the characters are on a tile with 3 exits. Lizzie Williams’ tile only has a straight alley on it, with 2 exits, and Walter Sickert is even worse being on a dead end with only 1 exit. Trying to isolate these two characters feels nigh impossible to a dullard like myself, but I can’t imagine it doesn’t ramp up the difficulty for even the most seasoned Mr. Jack vets.

Mr. Jack Pocket is available for both Android and iOS devices (although it doesn’t appear these new characters are in the Android version, yet). Trailer after the break.

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Oh, I must, I must : New interactive fiction Pry out for iPad

It's like Dom Cobb wrote a book

It’s like Dom Cobb wrote a book

I’ll admit that I’m getting a little burned out on interactive fiction on iPad. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the genre, it’s just that there’s so much new stuff coming out all the time you can’t keep up with it all. Every time I begin to feel this way, however, the IF gods pull me back in with something I haven’t seen before. The last time it was 80 Days from inkle Studios, which shouldn’t be a surprise because they’ve basically redefined the genre and been the impetus for a whole lot of people falling in love with interactive fiction again. This time it’s a newcomer to the IF genre, Tender Claws, and their entrant is Pry.

Pry follows James, a first Gulf War demolitions expert 6 years after his return from the war, and consists of text mixed with over 30 minutes of video and other interactive elements. You interact with the novel by “opening” James’ eyes to see what he sees, or to pry open parts of his subconscious. Part 1 of Pry was released today, with Part 2 following shortly. Part 2 will be a free update for those who have already purchased part 1.

Confused? Luckily, there’s a trailer for you after the break to give you an idea of how it all works.

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Viet gone? : Vietnam ’65 put on hold

Hey, hey, LBJ, is it December yet?

Hey, hey, LBJ, is it December yet?

Back in August Owen mentioned that upcoming war game, Vietnam ’65 had been submitted to Apple and then about a week later boasted (gleefully, and with much malice, I might add) about playing a pre-release version and announcing that it would be in the rest of our hands on October 1st.

Today we received an odd email from the developer stating that Vietnam ’65 wouldn’t be coming on October 1st as originally planned. It turns out that they’re looking for a publisher and, without one, won’t be releasing the game on iOS. They’re still fully expecting to launch the game before Christmas and, on the bright side, are using the extra time to complete redo the terrain art as well as enhancing the gameplay by adding some new mechanisms and tightening the current gameplay.

I guess we’ll have to fight our battles in WW2 for a little while yet. Watch the game in action after the jump.

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Do I have to catch em all? : Pokémon Online TCG soft launches [UPDATED]

I need to ask my 9 year-old what the hell is going on here.

I need to ask my 9 year-old what the hell is going on here.

Of all the things in my head I wish I could extract and never remember it would be Pokémon junk. Of course, I have 3 boys at home all under the age of 12 [It's all legal. We checked. - ed.] so Pokémon is simply a way of life, and isn’t going away any time soon. That said, I’ve never actually played the game, so while I can tell a Bouffalant from a Bulbasaur, that’s about as into the game as I’ve ever been. I’ve even been told by some “adult” sources that Pokémon isn’t actually that bad of a game, and it appears to have an adult following based on all the bearded men I see playing it at my FLGS.

Last week, Pokémon for iPad soft launched in Canada which means its world-wide release is imminent. The game is already available for PC and Mac, so chances are the soft launch period will be short. Toucharcade is reporting that any progress made during the soft launch will carry over when the app launches world-wide, as well.

Not familiar with Pokémon? It’s a basic CCG in the Magic mold, where you summon creatures (the Pokémon)  that battle each other, trying to capture each other’s prize cards. Or something. I’ve watched my kids play and, I swear, the rules change every time they play based on who’s winning or losing. I don’t want to crush Pokémon too badly here. I’ve never played and I’ve been told the game itself is pretty good. Hell, it’s the only CCG that Magic can’t seem to kill, so there must be something there. Plus, it’s cute.

Watch Nintendo’s announcement video after the jump.

Update (30 Sept): The Pokemon TCG is now out worldwide — Retina iPads only, says the House that Miyamoto Built.

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I thought length didn’t matter : Frontline goes long with its next installment

Children, avert your eyes!

Children, avert your eyes!

The first game in the Frontline series from Slitherine, Frontline: Road to Moscow, is most notable for being given a 17+ rating due to its depiction of guns, as if guns held by toy soldiers and miniature tanks were something that 16 year-old kids just couldn’t handle. Looking at screenshots, it’s easy to confuse Road to Moscow with Grand Theft Auto because both have a map. Or something. It’s been a long time since I’ve played a GTA game.

Undaunted, Slitherine is producing another game in the Frontline series, this one tackling D-Day and it’s called Frontline: the Longest Day. This iteration will have new units, new art, and 5 all-new campaigns. The game is currently entering beta testing for both iOS and PC, so if you’re interested in helping to get this one a 2014 release, head over and sign up.

More NSFW (according to Apple) screens after the break.

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Review: Galaxy Trucker

Yes, I'm yellow. Yes, I just lost 15 pieces of my ship to meteors. Yes, I'll have another drink.

Yes, I’m yellow. Yes, I just lost 15 pieces of my ship to meteors. Yes, I’ll have another drink.

Vlaada Chvátil has always been a designer known for taking risks. Look no farther than his tabletop magnum opus, Through the Ages, for proof of that. Here is a civilization-building game—complete with diplomacy, leaders, and wonders—that truly felt as sprawling as any Sid Meier creation ever has, but it was accomplished with nothing but cards. No maps, no little plastic soldiers, no dice. It was a pure eurogame masterpiece and, while there have been other civilization building games, none have matched it or dared to follow his lead and try to recreate what Through the Ages did sans map.

In 2007, the follow up to Through the Ages was released and, while I’m not sure what people were expecting, I’m positive nobody was expecting Galaxy Trucker. Where Through the Ages dared you to play without analysis paralysis, Galaxy Trucker dared you to play without drinking a beer. It was a farcical romp that involved little, if any, strategy and created its fun out random, wanton destruction. It was also one of the greatest board games ever created, and it’s a testament to its uniqueness that no other game has ever come along and tried to replicate it. Galaxy Trucker is, truly, a one of a kind experience on the table.

Seven years later and Vlaada is, again, doing something unexpected. Galaxy Trucker has now arrived on our iPads. It seems an odd choice for a digital game as the bulk of the board game is played simultaneously. There are no turns in Galaxy Trucker, instead everyone is frantically building their spaceship at the same time. How would this work on a digital device? Doesn’t Vlaada and everyone else at Czech Games Edition understand we want our board games asynchronous? Where did this rash come from?

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It’s about time: Battle Worlds Kronos to have October release

Let's talk about hex

Let’s talk about hex

We first mentioned the possibility of Battle World: Kronos back in April of 2013 when the Kickstarter campaign was underway and a mobile version was promised. Since then, there have been promises of release, but as of today we’ve seen nothing in the App Store. According to an update unearthed by reader Zac Belado, that might soon change.

Why should we care? Kronos is a hex-map, turn-based wargame with a single-player campaign as well as asynchronous multiplayer, none of which is a common site on either the App Store or Google Play. Also, Sean seemed to like the PC version when he reviewed it last year.

Today’s update specifically mentions that the iOS and Android versions are nearly ready for release and should be available on both platforms by the end of October.

Screenshots and (old) video of gameplay after the break.

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Neuroshima burning: Neuroshima Hex gets update, new army

Apparently, the midwest is awash in Iocaine powder

Apparently, the Mississippi River is awash in Iocaine powder.

 Neuroshima Hex is one of those board games for iOS that we always seem to forget about. We shouldn’t. It’s a great implementation that’s been polished to a fine sheen over the past several years and, unlike a lot of board game apps, still routinely gets updated with new content. Unlike, oh, games like Big Daddy’s Creations stablemate Eclipse…cough, cough.

Today Neuroshima Hex was updated once more, bringing in yet another army, this time it’s the Mississippi. In the world of Neuroshima Hex, the Mississippi River is a polluted wasteland of deadly fumes and toxic sludge, which houses a race of mutated warriors who are now available as a $2 IAP. Of course, Big Daddy’s Creations also did some bug squashing and, to top it all off, has put nearly all their games and IAP on sale. Check out the list over at the BDC site.

Neuroshima Hex is available (and on sale) for both Android and iOS. Watch a trailer after the jump.

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