Jewel of my eye(Pad): Splendor gets a trailer/release date

Is it real, or is it digital?

Is it real, or is it digital? [Image by W. Eric Martin and Space Cowboys]

When details about Splendor leaked in the last couple weeks, enthusiasm for the game waned slightly as it became aware that online multiplayer was not a part of the game. Today, Brad at 164 posted the first trailer for Splendor showing some of the gameplay, and I fully expect enthusiasm levels to rise. Seriously, the gameplay of Splendor looks absolutely fantastic. We get to see the game in motion as well as the new play modes which, even if they don’t play well, sure look nice.

That’s not all, though. Brad also managed to snag a release date from Asmodee which is akin to learning the daily nuclear launch codes. Splendor will be gracing iOS Universal and Android devices on July 9th, so we’re just over a week away.

Even if you’re disappointed with the lack of multiplayer, take a look at the trailer after the break. It might just change your mind.

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Planning to dominate: Major update for Dominant Species arrives

Confused? Me too.

Confused? Me too.

Dominant Species was released back in 2012 and was GMT Games‘ first foray into the digital realm. It showed. It was a bit clunky and the AI was, well, it was kind of like playing DS against me. It sucked. Now, the clunky part is understandable. Dominant Species is a big, heavy euro game that’s more complex than just about anything else I can think of on the App Store. This game is so complex that I’ve owned it twice (don’t ask) and still have yet to bring it to the table with my game group. Not because it’s bad, but the thought of teaching it humbles me.

GMT has been working, with multiple developers, over the past few years to correct Dominant Species’ mistakes and that work has finally paid off today with the release of Dominant Species 2.0. We’ve got some new art, a new UI, and completely overhauled AI opponents. I’ve loaded it up, and it does look pretty great, but I have noticed a couple issues. It would be great if there was a random setup, so instead of picking a species for every player to control they could be randomly assigned. Also, save games don’t appear to work at this point. They appear to be fine if you exit the app and enter back into it, but if you leave a game via the Main Menu or force quit the app, then the save game appears corrupted.

I’m guessing that issue is going to be fixed in the update that GMT is currently working on which will also bring online multiplayer to the app. There’s a button for it now, but it’s just a tease.

The biggest downside to the app is the lack of a tutorial. There are rules accessible within the game, but if any board game on the App Store could use a tutorial, this is the one. Having not played in years, I spent the first five minutes feeling completely overwhelmed. Well, we always have play through vids on BGG to help us along, I guess.

The update is free to existing owners of Dominant Species, but for those you you who haven’t picked it up and want to try it out, it’s $7 and for iPad only.

One of those play through videos after the break. This one from Richard Ham.

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Set sale: Price drops on XCOM, Baldur’s Gate, and Chainsaw Warrior

Worth $5 just for David Warner's voice work.

Worth $5 just for David Warner’s voice work.

It’s been a long couple of days. I’ve been wrapped up in family issues and Owen is doing his best Phileas Fogg impression and is currently in a private submarine somewhere in the South Pacific. Shocked at how far behind you can get just by missing a day, I’ve consulted the Pocket Tactics handbook on how to get back on track and was met with two simple words: Price Drops.

It’s actually a big week for sales on the App Store, with both Baldur’s Gate and Baldur’s Gate 2 at 50% off. You can grab them both for only $5 each right now. The Baldur’s Gate series on iPad isn’t perfect, but even with their flaws they’re still probably the best pair of RPGs on the App Store, and getting them both for only $10 is about as close to stealing as you can get while still giving your credit card information to Apple.

Grab BG1 or BG2 on the  App Store, and then head past the break for a couple more deals.

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Out Tonight: Her Story, Door Kickers, and Dragon Quest 6

Cop rock

Cop rock

Okay, you got me. The title of this post is almost completely misleading. Neither of those first two titles are “out tonight”, they’re both already available on the App Store. That said, they’re the most compelling games released this week and I can’t find anything else remotely as interesting. I know it’s breaking the rules, but I’m feeling rebellious this week. Just don’t tell Owen. Please.

The first new game is Her Story and is only the second time in video game history in which the terms “full motion video” and “sucks” cannot be used in the same sentence. The other instance would be Civilization 2, which towers over all other entries in the series only because none of the other Civ games entreat you to sheathe your swords in the beating hearts of your enemies.

Her Story consists of seven police interviews which are broken up into hundreds of short FMV clips. The goal is to piece together the clips, gathering clues from the female interviewee’s answers and try to solve a 20 year old disappearance. I haven’t had a chance to get my hands on this one yet, but I’m planning on downloading tonight.

Her Story is for iOS Universal and runs $5. Check out the trailer and more games after the break.

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Eat ham and jam and spam a lot: New Dungelot game coming in 2015

Contrary to appearances, this is not a kindergarten Halloween party.

Contrary to appearances, Dungelot is not a game about kindergarten Halloween parties.

The original Dungelot was quite the surprise hit when it landed on iOS back in 2013. It was a barebones and simple roguelike that combined Minesweeper with an old fashioned dungeon crawl. Dungelot 2 wasn’t quite as successful mainly due to its rather miserable free-to-play system. It was eventually pulled from the App Store only to reappear with the freemium system completely overhauled.

It sounds like the developer has learned their lesson from the Dungelot 2 fiasco, and the third entry in the series, Dungelot: Shattered Lands, will leave the F2P model behind. Other than that, we know that Shattered Lands is expected for iOS in 2015 and it continues the Minesweeper/dungeon crawl tradition set forth by its predecessors. I’ve yet to try either of the earlier installments, so I’m looking forward to getting this one on my iPad.

Reveal trailer after the break.

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Kick it up a notch: Door Kickers comes to iPad

What? Oh, no! It’s the cops! Oh! And a construction worker.

What? Oh, no! It’s the cops! Oh! And a construction worker.

The premise of Door Kickers involves controlling a SWAT team as they kick down doors and take control of uncontrollable situations. From the trailer, it looks like control is mainly achieved through the barrel of a gun and some well placed flashbangs.

Killhouse Games had released Door Kickers for PC to near universal acclaim, and it just arrived on iPad this morning. The iPad version isn’t watered down or incomplete, it’s the full PC version with controls and UI revamped for touchscreens. Door Kickers is a real time game in which you can control your troopers on the fly, or pause it whenever you like and set up a series of moves that fire off once the game is set back in motion. It’s also pretty massive with over 80 single missions as well as six campaigns, plus a mission generator that offers unlimited replayability. There are over 60 different weapons and items to use in your missions as well as 5 different trooper types to play around with.

Door Kickers is for iPad only and runs $5. After the break, check out the iPad release trailer.

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Crossing the border: Tales from the Borderlands Episode 3 due this week

Nintendo Power Glove saves the day

Nintendo Power Glove saves the day

Telltale Games currently has two series that I really want to play, but I’m holding off until they release all the episodes. I think it’s a side effect of binge watching TV shows on Netflix, I just want to see the entire story from start to finish without having long gaps along the way. The first series is based on HBO’s Game of Thrones, but the one that’s really intriguing to me is Tales from the Borderlands.

Unlike most other Telltale adventure games which take themselves really, really (really) seriously, Tales actually seems to have a sense of humor and lightness and looks like it would be fun to hang out in the world for a bit. The third episode, titled Catch a Ride, is coming to iOS and Android on Thursday. As is Telltale’s custom, a new installment means a new trailer, which you can check out after the break. As usual, these things tend to be spoilery, so watch it at your own risk.

Tales from the Borderlands is available for iOS Universal or Android and will run you $5. Additional episodes will cost an additional $5 as IAP.

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King of the who?: Albion Online entering closed alpha

I am so making a guild of Knights who say Ni.

I am so making a guild of Knights who say Ni.

Until today, I had been blissfully unaware of the existence of Albion Online. As for why I was unaware, I kept wavering between simply not paying attention and being lazy which, my wife helpfully reminded me, are kind of the same thing.

Regardless, after seeing the trailer this morning I’m in a bit of shock. This doesn’t look like a tablet game. It looks…huge. On the surface, it appears to be a top-down MMO, but it appears to include content that I’d only expect to find in a PC game. Crafting, housing, and guilds are all there. The character development looks incredibly deep as well, with a giant wheel-like tech-tree that unlocks new abilities as you level up. All this depth isn’t that surprising when you realize that Albion Online is a PC/Mac game as well, and will have full cross-platform play with the iPad and Android tablet versions.

Albion Online is entering its Summer Alpha on June 29 and you can join in if you plunk down a chunk of change. Otherwise, the game is planned for release on tablets in Q1 of 2016. When it launches it will be free to play. I’m not entirely sure if it will work off of a subscription or microtransaction model, but considering that in-game gold is converted to a dollar value on the sign-up page, I’m leaning toward the latter.

Check out the trailer after the break. It’s a long one, but they get into all the different systems in the game and, I’ll admit it, it looks pretty damn good.

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