The only thing harder than making a hit video game is making a hit video game twice.
Sweden’s Mojang has ridden the truly phenomenal success of Minecraft — their first and only commercial game release, originally the project of solo coder Markus “Notch” Persson — all the way to a $2.5 billion acquisition by Microsoft last month. Following up on a hit is tough (Rovio and OMGPOP and Vanilla Ice all nod somewhere), but following up on what might be the biggest hit in history… how do you do that?
Last week, I spoke with three of the folks at Mojang who are charged with that very task. Owen Hill, Måns Olson, and Henrik Pettersson who are working on Scrolls, Mojang’s sophomore effort — a fantasy card game that they plan to release on PC, Android tablets, and iPad simultaneously next month.
I’ve been a fan of the superhero card game Sentinels of the Multiverse ever since I heard about it way back at Gen Con of 2011. I also became a fan of the Sentinels helper app, Sentinels Sidekick, developed by Handelabra Games. I was delighted when the guys from Handelabra told me last year that Sentinels of the Multiverse would be coming to tablets. I had a chance to play a beta build of the game while at this year’s Gen Con and I came away impressed and, for the last couple days, have been messing around with the release build that they just submitted to Apple yesterday.
FNG Alex picks a game we hadn’t even covered before. That kid’s got moxie.
The summer — horrible, horrible summer — is finally over. The fickle sun now favours that mysterious other hemisphere and won’t throw its awful unblinking glare onto your iPad screens any longer. Put away your parasols and desert canteens. The outdoors are safe for gaming again.
What games did the PT druid circle choose as their favourites of the summer’s twilight? After the jump, Jacob, Clancy, Kelsey, Owen, and FNG Alex tell you all about their picks.
When Slitherine first introduced me to Pike & Shot at the beginning of the summer, I didn’t think much of it. This iPad-bound wargame models 16th- and 17th-century battles on a very big scale — but it started life as a mod of Battle Academy, a WWII game that zooms things in to a company-level scale. How well could a game engine designed to simulate 20th-century armoured manoeuvre warfare possibly replicate giant clashes between musketeers and cuirassiers?
Death isn’t even excited that he won. He’s just chilling. Levitating some dice.
PC and Mac gamers have been hunting cards in Blue Manchu’s tongue-in-cheek online CCG Card Hunter for about a year now, and the game has earned universal rave reviews. Despite being browser-based like those Ask.com toolbars your mom keeps installing on her computer by accident, Card Hunter is a legit tactical tabletop RPG experience. RPS‘s Adam Smith called it “as good a turn-based skirmish game as I can remember any studio releasing in a good while”.
But what about us mobile types? Card Hunter’s been on our radars for a long time now, with an expected release on iOS this year with Android to follow. Mobile developers DropForge Games recently announced that the game was changing its name to Loot & Legends. Why ditch a perfectly good name that your fans already know?
I recently bugged developer Joe McDonagh about this question and others and he sent us these never-before-seen screenshots along with his answers, which I’ll show you after the jump.
Venerable wargaming imprint Slitherine are getting ready to ship Battle Academy 2 for PC this Friday, but the iPad version is just entering closed beta. Closed. It’s only available to a shadowy cabal of Slitherine’s mandarins — and to you. Well… some of you.
Slitherine reached out and offered to give 5 closed slots to Pocket Tactics readers, giving you early access to the sequel to one of the very best wargames on iOS. To win, just drop a line here in the comments of this post and tell us what your favourite tank from World War II is. We’ll give away those those beta slots at 9pm London time tonight, picking 4 at random and I’ll pick one answer that I liked the most.
If you don’t already have a Pocket Tactics Forum account, read this on how to register one. It’s a slightly more daunting process than signing up for most forums, but it’s that high barrier to entry that makes PT‘s forum community the most electrifying discussion group in sports entertainment today.
Battle Academy 2 takes the company-level turn-based tactical gameplay of the original Battle Academy and ships across Europe to the Eastern front. There’s new features like smoke effects, trenches and other fortifications, and a reworked air cover system. There’s four campaigns (two Soviet, two Axis) and 130 different units. There’s no set-in-stone iOS release date yet but you can fire it up on your PC this weekend.
Watch the trailer below, and good luck getting the PT Magic 8-Ball to choose you.
After watching yesterday’s Apple Event, I immediately cinched up my Robe of Maximum Focus and settled into the Thinking Chair to come up with a clever, funny, and insightful take on yesterday’s reveal of the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch. After several hours of reading Wikipedia articles about Batman and watching videos of plane crashes on YouTube, I decided to just steal somebody else’s take instead.
I got in touch with some of Pocket Tactics‘ favourite game developers to ask them what they thought about Apple’s showcase yesterday. Tech pundits and games writers are all well and fine, but I thought you would appreciate hearing from the folks who are actually going to be making (or not) the games you’ll be playing on these new devices.
After the jump, a recap of what Apple showed off yesterday, and reactions from some of the top developers working in mobile: chief Coding Monkey Martin Pittenauer, Rebuild creator Sarah Northway, Canabalt maker Adam Saltsman, Inkle‘s Joseph Humfrey, and many more.