Posts Categorised: Features

Shellshock: World of Tanks Blitz sees 6 million players — British tanks and Android edition coming soon

A good plan, violently executed.

A good plan, violently executed.

As regular readers and my team of beleaguered therapists know, I love World of Tanks Blitz. Most mornings I strap on my ivory-handled revolvers and cavalry boots for a couple of matches before I get to work. I’m also working on a children’s show spec script for Thomas the Tank Tank that I’m hoping to sell to PBS. So yes, I love World of Tanks Blitz. I was so stoked by its brilliant combination of thrilling action and historical nerdity that I was inspired to write a strategy guide for the game, which is not an extremity to which I am frequently moved.

I’ve been talking to WoT makers Wargaming.net for the past couple of days. They’ve told me that in the weeks since Blitz went live, the armoured combat shooter has seen over 5.5 million downloads, a number that goes a long way towards explaining why the queues are so short when you want to jump into an online match. They were showing off the nearly-finished Android build of Blitz off at Gamescom last week, so that number will only increase, no doubt.

Clearly, the experiment to bring their PC experience to mobile has worked out pretty OK, so I sought out Blitz producer Dmitry Yudo and interrogated him about what we can expect to see in the game in the near future.

Here’s the big news: British tanks are coming soon — in the next few weeks I’m told. That means my beloved Matilda will soon be in Blitz. Read on for more.

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Combat evolved: The very first look at Playdek’s new online play system coming to Summoner Wars this year

I call dibs on the Sunderved avatar.

I call dibs on the Sunderved avatar.

For as long as they’ve been making iOS games, Playdek have represented the gold standard for online multiplayer. Games like Ascension and Summoner Wars transition between single-player and multiplayer with a graceful seamlessness, and nobody’s topped that experience yet. But Playdek aren’t waiting around for that — they’re going to try and top it themselves.

In our conversations with the studio over the last years, we’ve been hearing about the all-new online platform they’ve been building in their shadowy underground San Diego skunkworks, one that would bring a slew of new multiplayer features to Playdek’s existing games and to future projects like Twilight Struggle.

Today, Playdek is ready to start showing that new platform off — they’ve sent us some exclusive screenshots and details about it.

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Pocket Tactics Games of the Month: July 2014

Watch how you go.

Watch how you go.

Now it may look like we totally forgot about June in our monthly Games of the Month roundup, but taking advice from the Pocket Tactics Accounting Department and Theoretical Agricola Scoring Institute high atop Mount Hexmap, we temporarily relocated PT HQ to a dimension where June does not exist. For tax purposes, you understand.

After the break, Kelsey, Tierney, Neumann, and Owen weigh in on their favorite games from July.

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2K’s mobile port of Bioshock won’t be great, but that’s ok

Aren't you a little short for a Big Daddy?

Aren’t you a little short for a Big Daddy?

2K, let’s talk. This Bioshock port for iOS you revealed today? It ain’t gonna work.

Now before you go and tell me I’m being cynical, hear me out. I’m not making any sort of catty comment on the quality of the port you’re making. In fact, if I use your last game Civ Rev 2 as the base for my prediction, then Bioshock mobile will run smooth as butter.

But look. There’s three good reasons why Bioshock on iOS is going to underwhelm everybody, and I just want you to be ready for the reviews when they come out. I didn’t need a tarot card deck or a DeLorean to tell you what they’re gonna look like. But there’s a sliver lining here. A good one.

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Out There’s away team: A Galactic Keep Dice Battles hands-on preview

It bleeds. You can kill it.

It bleeds. You can kill it.

Something moves in the darkness at the end of this tunnel. It is too far away to see what, exactly. But you know that it is not Balkyn Gray, because Balkyn Gray’s corpse is what you have been sent here to retrieve.

More likely it’s the thing that killed him, a tonelit fox. The poison rounds from Balkyn’s reouge rifle will have weakened the monster, but it sure won’t be any friendlier, and the knife-sharp bone crests protruding from its arms won’t be any softer.

Check your inventory. Your bio-stun rod, good for getting the drop on organics. An ancient but still-effective sabre you found in a nest of feral war shadows. Some local plants with observed medicinal properties — less than useful for you, a robot, but some of your comrades may find them valuable later. Balkyn’s Huntmaster Handbook, the constant companion of every pakall hunter. The Coalition-issued temporal relay that you’ll affix to Balkyn’s body if and when you find it, which will pull him out of this reality and reassemble him… somewhere else.

There’s a passage off to the right, one that looks like it was shored up for use by sentients. Maybe there’s something in there you could scrounge to help you fight the tonelit. Of course, if there’s no other way out of that passage and the tonelit decides to wander over this way, you’ll be trapped in there with it. And maybe someone else will have to come down here to slap a relay onto your unmoving shell.

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Racing slick: Our warm-up lap with Motorsport Manager (which is in App Store approvals right now)

Right on the Button.

Right on the Button.

I was floored back in June by the trailer for Motorsport Manager, an iOS open-wheel racing sim that former Hello Games dev Christian West has been building by himself for the past year. It was just beautiful to look at, which isn’t something a rational person ever expects from a game of this variety.

Sports management games are such rarities that those of us who enjoy them are more than happy to accept them as cantilevered spreadsheets with a bare minimum of video game tinsel. I still remember when the big feature in a new Out of the Park Baseball game was sound effects. This was in like 2007, by the way, not during the Reagan administration.

I’ve been playing a preview build of Motorsport Manager over the weekend, and I can tell you first-hand that, yup, there’s sound effects. Generally speaking, the high-gloss presentation completely lives up to the expectations set by the trailer. But let’s see what else is in there.

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Field Marshal Owen’s Guide to Commander: The Great War (for Noobs)

Home by Christmas, they said.

Home by Christmas, they said.

So you’ve decided that you’re not waiting for my review, and now you’re embedded into the couch, a cold drink within arm’s reach, and the recently released iPad edition Commander: The Great War loaded up. Good choice. I’m terribly fond of this game, and non-wargamers need not be intimidated by it.

Commander is a turn-based, grand strategy-level wargame based on the First World War. It is an admirable attempt to do justice to an enormously complex, globe-spanning war — so while not a terribly complex game, it still has a number of different levers one must learn to operate to get the most from it. Your experience might also suffer from the fact that World War I has been completely eclipsed as a topic of popular understanding (and as a subject of wargames!) by its successor. Going into Commander without a working knowledge of the historical context is a handicap you don’t need to suffer. Owen’s got your back, baby.

So with this guide, I’m going to attempt to give you a quick grounding in how to get started with Commander. I’ll also try to color in enough of the history so that you feel the weight of what you’re trying to do.

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Missing in action: Where are Blood Bowl and Star Realms?

It's a punt.

It’s a punt.

It’s come to my attention that some of you are performing a dark cabalistic ritual to summon the mysteriously delayed mobile edition of Blood Bowl. STOP. You are performing the wrong dark cabalistic ritual. I know you meant well, but you appear to have summoned this Kim Kardashian game into existence instead. Also the Jonas Brothers have been crashing on my couch for the last three days. You’re not allowed to watch E! while invoking the occult anymore.

Instead of beseeching the dark powers for aid, I sent around inquiries to see what the holdup is on high-fantasy football game Blood Bowl (announced for “early July” a few weeks ago) and on the iOS version of sci-fi deck-building card game Star Realms (which was meant to be here around July 4th).

Details of what I uncovered after the jump. But fair warning: none of it is particularly good news.

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