Posts Tagged: iOS Universal apps

Alea iacta est: Rubicon Development breaks free

Things not going well for blue

Things not going well for blue

It’s not uncommon for an established developer to put their digital catalog on sale, in fact it happens all the time. What I can’t remember happening, however, is what Rubicon Development is doing this weekend: free. You heard me right, everything they have on the App Store is completely and unequivocally free.

If you’re unfamiliar with Rubicon, you might be thinking that this isn’t a big deal. Let me tell you just how badly you’re embarrassing yourself. Rubicon is the developer of some of the best turn-based, strategy war games ever made for the iDevice: Great Little War Game, Great Big War Game, and Great Little War Game 2. Okay, so they can’t name games worth a damn, but I guarantee that if you are remotely interested in turn-based strategy, any of these will fit the bill and keep you happy for a long, long time. Getting them for free is, cliché be damned, a steal.

Much of their other content, like the excellent card battler Combat Monsters, has always been free.

The sale will only last through the weekend, so if you haven’t picked up the Rubicon apps, now your chance to do it on Rubicon’s dime.

Need to see what you’re missing? Little War Game 2 trailer after the break.

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Of beanstalks, frost, and lanterns: Junk Jack X goes full Halloween

Well, at least this neighborhood is well lit.

Well, at least this neighborhood is well lit.

The Terraria-inspired mine-a-lot Junk Jack X was one of our runners-up for Action Game of the Year 2013 (losing out to Tilt to Live 2), and it looks like the game’s still going relatively strong with the recent version 2.2.3 update. It’s all Halloween-y, naturally.

Though they’ve clearly a missed opportunity in not calling this the “Jack-O’-Lantern X” update (or at least the “Junk-O-Ween” update), developer Pixbits have put together all the requisite spooky bits of digital bric-a-brac which are basically expected from games of Junk Jack’s stripe this time of year (and some bug fixes, too). Sure, witches and zombies are overused fantasy tropes, but now Junk Jack X has “Witch Zombies,” which one assumes are less Sabrina, more Henrietta. Acid pits are in too, so you can get your House on Haunted Hill… on. And–direct pull from the announcement–a “new rare placeable hanging skull,” which for some reason is a felony when I advertise on Craigslist but a plus here, so go figure.

Even having not played the game, holiday theming like this makes me grin. It’s extra work for, what, about a week or so of relevance? That’s some festive dedication right there. At the same time, I can’t imagine many jumping into the game for the first time on the strength of a holiday update alone–rather, this sort of decoration seems primarily a bonus for the faithful.

Junk Jack X is $4.99 on the App Store. Wholly unseasonal video after the jump.

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Hit me: Hitman GO gets new levels and new price

If this were real, I would totally be one of those dads who wouldn't let their kids play with it.

If this were real, I would totally be one of those dads who wouldn’t let their kids play with it.

It’s not often that a game will make me pause with just a screenshot. Personally, graphics aren’t everything. In the case of Hitman GO, however, it’s not that it has realistic or cutting edge graphics, it’s just that the screenshots look so damn cool. Seriously, every picture of the game looks like a toy, and not just any toy, but one that you want to get in there and explore every nook and cranny. It’s the Castle Grayskull of apps.

Since its release in April, Hitman GO has already spawned one expansion, dropping you into an immaculately rendered airport, and now they’ve released another. This time it’s frosty St. Petersburg with 8 new levels based on some chapters from Hitman 2. In a cool twist, you can access the new levels via two methods: pay for the damn thing ($1) or unlock the new levels by completing mission objectives.

If that’s not enough, Square Enix has also put the game on sale for a limited time. You can grab it for iOS or Android now for only $2.

Trailer after the break.

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Keep on keeping on: Galactic Keep looking for testers

Wait. Viral Enhancers are a good thing?

Wait. Viral Enhancers are a good thing?

Gilded Skull Games first update on the Galactic Keep Dice Battles website was back in September of 2012, but it’s been floating around since before Pocket Tactics was a glint in Owen’s eye. Many years later and we’re mostly still in the dark. Oh, sure, we’ve had preview builds played and other updates, but the official webpage hasn’t been updated since February.

Turns out I’ve been looking in the wrong place. Gilded Skull has been posting updates in the forums over at TouchArcade, the latest update popping up just yesterday. From the sound of it, Galactic Keep Dice Battles is nearing completion. All the maps and scripted events are finished with the only apparent issue being that the game doesn’t care for closing during a scripted event. They also need to tweak some of the graphical elements, but are expecting to head into the bug squashing and play balance phase soon.

After reading Owen’s thoughts about his time with the alpha version, I can’t wait to get my hands on this one as well. Trailer after the break.

Hat tip: Zebracadabra

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No one can hear you think: Sci-fi puzzler, Nexionode, out for mobile

Seriously? I'm getting stuck on 4 and 5 node puzzles.

Seriously? I’m getting stuck on 4 and 5 node puzzles.

As a puzzler, Nexionode has more going for it than a name which I’ll misspell at least 4 times in the next hundred words, it also has a plot. You can’t say that about most puzzle games, which are simply high-score or 3-star affairs. Nexionode tells the story of a starship facing destruction with the puzzles being the knitting that holds the story together.

Puzzles consist of nodes, each with a certain number of markings on them. You need to connect all the nodes together, ensuring that each node has as many connections as indicated by the markings. The trick is that you have to do them in a continuous path which bumps up the difficulty. It’s complex enough to become very difficult, but simple enough to have that “one more try” feel. As you complete puzzles, you select different sections of the ship to repair you’re rewarded with story segments allowing you to piece together what’s happening upon the Nexio Colony Spaceship.

On top of being a solid puzzler, there’s also no IAP or ads to deal with. Nexionode is available for iOS Universal, Android, as well as PC and Mac.

Trailer after the break.

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Natural election: Election Manager 2016 coming to iOS

It looks like WOPR is hitting New England again.

It looks like WOPR is hitting New England again.

I’m sure I’m not completely alone when I lay out my distaste for politics. Or, I guess I should qualify that as distaste for politicians. Politics, and elections in general, can be full of strategy and nuance that isn’t apparent when you’re watching TV and some jackanapes is trying to convince you their opponent is an incompetent clown. It’s not surprising that there have been many games focusing on the election process from the epic German election board game, Die Macher, to lighter iOS fare like Campaign Manager.

Continuing in this vein is Election Manager 2016 from Lensflare, the same team behind Tactical Space Command. Unlike most campaign games that hit the market every 4 years, EM2016 doesn’t focus on a single, historical campaign. Instead EM2016 is a sandbox that will let you run any 2-4 candidate election for President of the US. You can run with Democrats and Republicans or mix it up and include only independent tickets.

EM2016 will allow control over many core aspects of the campaign: advertising, fundraising, polling and more. It will have a single player mode, or you can play the game multiplayer via pass-and-play.

EM2016 should be arriving by the first Tuesday of November for iOS Universal and Mac but, even if they miss that date, November is a lock.

Check out more screens of Election Manager 2016 after the break.

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And so it grues : Zork-like interactive fiction, Hadean Lands due on iOS

Where is the small mailbox?

Where is the small mailbox?

I’ve reviewed a lot of interactive fiction here at Pocket Tactics. We’re talking tons. Maybe more than I should have? Maybe not enough? At the end of the day, however, I’ve never played interactive fiction like Hadean Lands before. That’s not totally true. I remember playing games much like Hadean Lands between cutting notches in my floppy disks, but I haven’t played games like this on an iOS device.

Hadean Lands tells the story of a lone survivor of a crashed starship who also happens to be an alchemist. It’s like peanut butter and chocolate from where I’m sitting. Instead of the choose-your-own-adventure style of IF you may be used to, Hadean Lands goes the route of games like Zork and other Infocom classics of yesteryear. You are given an environment usually littered with tools and items you can interact with and then you tell the game what you want to do. We used to call these “text adventures” and solving puzzles while “talking” to your PC was as close to solo D&D as a pimply 13 year-old could have hoped for.

The man behind Hadean Lands is Andrew Plotkin who’s no stranger to this type of thing. He’s written several other award-winning interactive text adventures such as Shade and The Dreamhold, as well as being a major force in keeping interactive fiction relevant today. Oh, and he’s also the guy responsible for creating an entire genre of game with Werewolf.

Hadean Lands successfully Kickstarted nearly 4 years ago, but was just submitted to the App Store and should be arriving on October 30.

Kickstarter video after the break.

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Better than a jazz odyssey? : Outcast Odyssey is new, different CCG

I don't know who or what a Bovak is, but it's getting its ass kicked

I don’t know who or what a Bovak is, but it’s getting its ass kicked

Yes, I still play Hearthstone. No, I don’t expect to start playing another CCG on my iPad anytime soon. That said, Outcast Odyssey from Bandai Namco was just released and it looks to offer something a little different than your average CCG. It looks like a role-playing game.

On the outside, it looks like your standard digital CCG: free to play with IAP to buy more cards, but when you watch the video it looks bonkers. You explore dungeons and other maps and conflict is handled with card play. Not like Naxxramas where you’re facing creatures with their own decks, this looks like you’re actually attacking the monsters with your cards. Or something. I don’t know what I’m looking at. My eyes!

It’s not just the gameplay that looks different, though. There’s a lengthy single-player campaign as well as competitive online multiplayer, but there is also the ability to form guilds and trade cards with your friends which is nice considering that there are over 600 cards in this initial set.

Outcast Odyssey is available for both iOS Universal and Android. Trailer after the break.

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