Posts by: Owen Faraday

Take a deep breath: Hunted Cow reveals first collabo with VPG is Infection: Humanity’s Last Gasp

License to ill.

License to ill.

Hunted Cow impresario Andrew Mulholland has just sent us an exclusive early peek the first fruit of the Scottish studio’s licensing deal with tabletop publishers Victory Point Games. Infection: Humanity’s Last Gasp is a digital adaptation of the board game of the same name and it’s due out on mobile and PC in December.

Thematically, Infection bears a strong resemblance to Z-Man’s Pandemic, which was the subject of an excellent digital translation last year: in both games you’re running a team of scientists racing to everyone’s favourite bipedal species from a coughing, spluttering demise. But where Pandemic is intended as a co-op multiplayer game that also plays well solo, Infection is designed from the ground-up as a single-player affair. Managing your unique scientists is the key to the game, as they grow increasingly stressed and might even become flat-out unwilling to work with each other.

Victory Point announced earlier this summer that they were going to cease in-house development of digital games to hook up with Tank Battle makers Hunted Cow — and that looks like it was a pretty good call. These are static screenshots but already Infection looks more dynamic and self-assured than VPG’s homebuilt games like Zulus on the Ramparts ever did.

More screenshots after the jump. This game sounds like it will be iOS Universal and on Android, too.

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Sunday Almanac: It’s Galaxy Trucker Night

If we ain't outta here in ten minutes, we won't need no rocket to fly through space.

If we ain’t outta here in ten minutes, we won’t need no rocket to fly through space.

This week’s Almanac was originally going to be a rant at EA over the new SimCity BuildIt details that they divulged to Pocket Gamer‘s intrepid Mark Brown. But as Typhoid Mary once said: I’m not worried about all that crap.

No, tonight I’m more concerned with the iPad release of Galaxy Trucker, the year’s most surprisingly excellent digital board game adaptation. If you live in Germany or points east, Galaxy Trucker for iPad is on the App Store right now for five American dollars. In the US, it’ll be dropping at 11pm Eastern time and in the UK at midnight.

I interviewed designer Vlaada Chvatil about this game on Friday and if I interpret the howls emanating from the PT Writers’ Dungeon correctly, Neumann should be putting the finishing touches on our review momentarily. But here’s the short version: this game is damn good, and you’re going to be playing it tonight for longer than you’d planned. I’ve taken the liberty of preparing some excuses you can use when you turn up to the office an hour late tomorrow morning.

  • “The boiler exploded.”
  • “My wife/husband has become the Gatekeeper/Keymaster of Gozer the Gozerian.”
  • “Time is an illusion/flat circle.”

One of those should do the trick. Sunday links after the jump.

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Weekend Price Drops: Throw Up the Horns Edition

Nameless King, what is best in life?

Nameless King, what is best in life?

It’s been a good long while since I had a reason to write about God of Blades, which is a real pity because I love God of Blades. Our 2012 Action Game of the Year channels the late 70’s so hard it smells vaguely of leather and hair spray. It comes from a time when fantasy genre fiction was so tightly wrapped around psychedelia that you couldn’t pull them apart. God of Blades is Heavy Metal: The Game, basically.

You’re the Nameless King (or the Whispering Lady) called back from the dead to confront an evil that only you can defeat — and you defeat it by running around thwapping monsters in the puss with a giant sword longer than you are tall. There’s unlockable swords, subtly tactical duelling, and a soundtrack that gives me chills. Don’t you dare play this with the sound off or you’re missing the half of the appeal.

God of Blades is free on iOS right now so put on your Black Sabbath t-shirt and download it immediately. It’s on Android, too, but not free over on that side of the aisle.

More interesting bundles and discounts after the jump.

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Government reinforcements arrive in Heroes of the Revolution update

It's now harder to fight city hall.

It’s now harder to fight city hall.

There was a big update last week for one of the year’s real underdogs: Cuban rebel wargame Heroes of the Revolution, an experience that I was quite fond of despite some wooly flaws. A couple of those flaws are addressed head-on in the new patch, which (thank the gods) adds the option to skip the tedious dice-rolling animations. There’s also new recruits for the enemy Cuban regime’s army — in version 1.0 Batista’s boys were an olive drab fly for your rebel juggernaut to swat by the late game, as their strength didn’t scale along with yours very well. Hopefully the new update means that there’s a good level of challenge all the way through.

There’s also an update to disable the in-game music, though why you’d want to turn off that saucy little Cuban guitar number is beyond me.

Read my review of Heroes of the Revolution, which is available on iOS for three bucks. I talked to GamerNationX boss John Ellenberger last week and he’s already cooking up some new ideas for his next title.

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I’m the captain now: Vlaada Chvátil talks to us about Galaxy Trucker for iPad

Your cards ain't worth a dime if you don't lay 'em down.

Your cards ain’t worth a dime if you don’t lay ‘em down.

If you’ve been hanging out with us for the last couple of weeks, you know that we’re pretty well jazzed about Galaxy Trucker, the iPad adaptation of the board game of the same name that’s coming out this Monday.

After 2013’s flood of top-quality board games for iOS (Agricola, Pandemic, Brief History of the World, Lords of Waterdeep… just to name a few), this year there’s been barely a trickle. Dave and I have been playing a preview build of Galaxy Trucker, and it’s easily good enough to compete with that beautiful 2013 bumper crop.

Maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised. Vlaada Chvátil, the designer of Galaxy Trucker and the head honcho at publisher Czech Games Edition has a career that spans the worlds of tabletop and video games. Chvátil is a bona fide board game legend thanks to designs like Space Alert, Mage Knight, and Through The Ages on his CV, but his first notable game design was the 2001 PC RTS Original War, a cult hit that still has an enthusiastic following today.

After the jump, I ask Vlaada Chvátil about Galaxy Trucker and where he sees the intersection of board games and digital platforms taking us in the future.

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Aralon, the App Store’s original 3D open-world RPG, magics up a widescreen update

+2 Robe of Screen Resolution

+2 Robe of Screen Resolution

Here’s a game that only true App Store nerds might remember: Aralon, which was probably the most ambitious iOS game of 2010. New York devs Crescent Moon dropped us a line to say that Aralon has received its first update in two years, adding widescreen support for iPhone 6.

Aralon was mind-blowing for the time — it was a contemporary of Infinity Blade and though that game was much prettier, Aralon was bigger, offering an Elder Scrolls-style open-world RPG experience. It was the first hint that console-quality games could be done on mobile. Crescent Moon themselves have since outdone Aralon with the bigger, niftier Ravensword: Shadowlands, but Aralon is still a reasonably epic goblin-whacking experience today.

Watch the trailer for this bit of iOS gaming history after the jump. Aralon is on Android, too.

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Mint in box: 80s board game throwback Card Dungeon sets up for iOS next week

Do not bend The Crusader.

Do not bend The Crusader.

PT reader Nikos wrote in to tell us about Card Dungeon, a single-player roguelike due out next week on iOS from Indiana’s Playtap Games. You play as the Crusader, delving randomly-generated dungeons and collecting loot on a quest. There’s thousands of cards to find in the game, the devs say.

Now, Card Dungeon is going to look awfully familiar to anybody who’s played Card Hunter, Blue Manchu’s popular web-based free-to-play RPG that’s currently in development for mobile — they’re both doing this tongue-in-cheek channelling of 1980s tabletop games. I asked developer Fredrik Skarstedt about that today.

“There is no relationship between the excellent Card Hunter and our game,” says Skarstedt. “Both games use the same source material as inspiration: Dungeons and Dragons, board games such as Dungeon! and Heroquest from the 80’s, that I used to play as a kid, and collectible card games. I wanted Card Dungeon to look and feel like how I saw those games in my imagination when I played them as a kid.” Hmm.

There’s some substantial differences under that similar surface aesthetic: in Card Dungeon you control one character, not a party. It’s also a straight-up premium game that you pay for once and play to your heart’s content. There’s also that roguelike bit I mentioned earlier. “We also have corpse runs as a major feature,” says Skarstedt. “If you die during a run a grave marker will be placed at that location. If you make it back to your where you died, you gain all of your cards and money back that you were using the last run. If you don’t make it and perish again a new grave marker will be placed at the new location.”

Card Dungeon is a Universal app due out on October 1st for $3.99 — we’ll remind you next week.

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The coming of the machines: Legions of Steel in beta, due out on iOS & Android before year’s end

Tom Servo, why have you forsaken us

Tom Servo, why have you forsaken us

“Far in the future,” says the fluff for Slitherine’s forthcoming Legions of Steel, “factions from the Milky Way are forming a military coalition. Their target: The Empire of the Machines, a fearsome robotic authority that endangers the whole galaxy.” If you bought one of those fancy AI thermostats for your house, this is all your fault.

Legions of Steel is borrowing a page from Terminator there, but it’s borrowing the rest of the book from a semi-obscure board game of the same name from the early 90s. Tabletop Legions of Steel was a tactical miniatures game that developed a cult following but never broke through to the same level as Warhammer.

But some folks have never forgotten it — especially not the guys at French developer Studio Nyx, who acquired the rights to Legions of Steel a couple of years ago and have been toiling away ever since. The game is now in full-on beta for both PC and tablets, and unusually for a Slitherine-published game, it’s planned for a simultaneous release on all of those platforms.

Legions of Steel is due out before the end of the year, Slitherine tell me, and the turn-based sci-fi corridor brawls will no doubt be welcomed by those who were a little underwhelmed by Space Hulk‘s rough-around-the-edges adaptation last year. There’s both online multiplayer and single-player scenarios in the mix. Slitherine are looking for beta testers on all platforms, and you can find those details here.

More screenshots and a gameplay video after the jump.

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