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.
I’ve written before of my affection for Square Enix’s beautifully realised Hitman GO, and now (lucky me) I have the opportunity to do so again: it’s the “Free Game of the Month” courtesy of IGN.
Some PT readers have reported that the slightly Byzantine process required to redeem your free copy — which I’m told entails a loyalty oath, a geography quiz, and a small (mostly painless) hot-iron brand of the IGN logo on a forearm — can be a bit tricky, but it’s probably worth it. Hitman GO is one of the year’s best puzzle games and is reassuring proof that AAA studios can make mobile games that aren’t icky free-to-play garbage.
To get your free iOS Universal copy of Hitman GO, roll up one sleeve and visit this URL. Supplies are apparently limited so don’t dawdle.
What is a mobile video game worth? Quite a lot, say Square Enix, who are stubbornly sticking to their gunblades on mobile game pricing strategy. Their iOS port of PS2 JRPG Dragon Quest VIII launched back in May at the price of $20 — it’s on sale this weekend for the very first time at $15, still a vertigo-inducing price tag by App Store standards. It’s tempting to look at Squeenix and see a doddery old man complaining that kids these days listen to their music too loud and expect their games to cost a dollar.
Cas Prince of PC game developers Puppygames recently wrote that game prices are dropping so precipitously that the rich and diverse ecosystem of game creators we’ve come to enjoy is in danger. That long post includes apparently self-immolating statements like “[customers] are worthless to us[.]” But hear him out.
“Once upon a time, back in the early 2000s or so, games would sell for about $20 or so. Some developers did really well at that price point -– I mean really well. Most of us didn’t do that well, and made beer money, but we carried on making games anyway because that’s what we liked to do, even if nobody wanted them. When we got a customer we were able to treat them like royalty.”
“Then came the Humble Bundle and all its little imitators. It was another cataclysmically disruptive event… You’ve sold 40,000 games! But you’ve only made enough money to survive full-time for two weeks because you’re selling them for 10 cents each.”
Obviously, Prince is talking about one- and two-man indie studios here, not publishing behemoths like Squeenix. And casting Squeenix as the defender of the “premium”-priced game is problematic when the other fork of their mobile games strategy is pushing free-to-play bilge. But at least Square Enix have resisted the temptation to rip out Dragon Quest’s spine and turn it into a freemium cyborg like Namco did with Tales of Phantasia.
I wonder sometimes about publishing this (mostly) weekly price drops post. Am I aiding the forces pushing game prices down? I love getting a game for a dollar as much as the next guy, but many of the games I love can’t be sold profitably at a price point that low. I don’t know. I’ll keep doing it out of inertia for now, but I’m open to the notion that there’s something better to be doing on Saturdays.
This installment of Weekend Price Drops is unusual for a couple of reasons: first, there’s more good games on sale than there has been in recent memory, and second, there’s a game in here that isn’t any good at all. A mystery!
After the jump, if we crack this case I’ll approve your transfer to Homicide.
It’s World of Tanks maker Wargaming.net’s 16th birthday this week, and to celebrate they’re giving everyone in the world a free tank,thus confirming that Wargaming is run by Hank Scorpio. Wargaming’s company timeline is an interesting read, actually — I had completely forgotten that they were the studio behind Massive Assault back in the early 2000s.
If you log into World of Tanks Blitz on iOS today, your account will get a free tank slot and that slot will be promptly filled with a free Soviet M3 Stuart. The Stuart is a zippy little thing but it’s got thinner skin than Kanye West, so drive it like a skirmisher and you’ll have a great time with it. PC players get a freebie today, too — the delightfully-named Japanese Te-Ke.
If you’re going to use the free premium tank as a reason to get into World of Tanks Blitz this weekend, be sure to check out my newbie guide for the game. I’m going to give that thing a fresh edit and and some more content tomorrow, I think, as I’ve just spotted a typo in it.
And you may ask yourself, “Well… how did I get here?”
This weekend is associated with no particular holiday or milestone and yet — thanks to the munificence of Space Emperor Xerxes XIV, whose every howl is like music to his subjects — it is quite possibly the biggest discount weekend of the year so far.
King George was mightily displeased when he learned of Jeff Goldblum’s treachery.
Two-hundred and thirty-eight years ago yesterday, George Washington and Jeff Goldblum piloted a captured Montgolfier balloon onto the British mothership and uploaded a computer virus which disabled the King’s legions of freedom-hating Sentinel robots, providing an opening for General Lynyrd Skynyrd to lead the Continental Army to a decisive victory over the royalist forces led by Rowan Atkinson.
It is in honour of that historic act of black hat sneaker-net hacking that we celebrate the 4th of July by downloading discounted iPhone games. After the jump, let the celebrations begin.
[UPDATE, Sunday the 6th: King of Dragon Pass is on sale, too. If you're into games and you haven't played King of Dragon Pass, that's like calling yourself a movie buff having never seen a Kurosawa film. You need to play KoDP, and it only goes on sale once or twice a year, so carpe diem. It's usually ten dollars, but it's discounted to eight until Sunday night.]
Between Desert Fox: The Battle of El Alamein and World of Tanks Blitz, this was one hell of a release week– but what if you’re just sick to death of World War II? I’m not. At all. I’m happy to keep fighting World War II until a time traveller kills Hitler and erases it from our timeline.
But I completely sympathise with you if you’re over it. How many times have you charged up the beach at Normandy? How many times have you invaded Poland? I have an astonishingly good grasp of that country’s geography as a result. Need directions from Poznan to Warsaw? I’m your dude, and I’ve never even been to Poland in real life. That’s kinda weird.
So after the jump, lots of interesting games that are on discount right now — and not a single Garand or Fallschirmjaeger amongst them.