Those camels aren’t doing what you think they’re doing.
Part of the fun of writing for Pocket Tactics are the press releases that show up in your inbox each day. Most are irrelevant or just terrible and I like to imagine that we’re saving you, our loyal readers, from having to suffer through them. Every now and then, however, a surprise comes through letting us know about games whose existence we weren’t even aware of. Those days are a lot of fun. Today was not one of those days. Instead, today I had to steal this story from the extremely handsome and talented gent who writes over at 164because it appears that no press release is forthcoming.
The story I’m stealing concerns last year’s Spiel des Jahres winner, Camel Up. The SdJ award is kind of like winning Best Picture at the Oscars, and it’s likely that any game that nabs the award is a pretty good one. Camel Up is no exception. It’s a family/gateway game about racing camels but, instead of you controlling a camel and trying to win, you’re placed in the shoes of a spectator/insane gambler who is betting on the outcome and trying to influence the race to end in your favor. It’s light and silly and, as some have pointed out, a really good game for talking trash.
Camel Up has just been released for iOS Universal and while I’m sure the game will translate fine from a gameplay standpoint, without the trash talking I’m not sure how much fun it’s going to be.
You can grab Camel Up for $5 right now and, after the break, watch Joel Eddy of Drive-Thru Review fame give you the rundown.
Would you believe that this is an exhilarating screenshot?
I’m sure Dave is going to mention this later when he does Out Tonight, but I wanted to very quickly stick my head in the door to say only this: SPL-T is awesome.
SPL-T was announced and released in one neat little flourish today. It’s a new Simogo game, here to redeem a year that we previously believed would have to get by without one. It is an absolutely ingenious puzzle game. My first two goes with it were spent blindly groping around making moves at random — and then it just clicked. It clicked hard.
SPL-T is very simple: I won’t bother attempting to explain it because you will understand it faster through play. But go get it. It’s my favourite puzzle game of 2015 — sorry Dr Croft. I can see SPL-T earning a permanent spot on my devices.
This is a game that only the makers of Device 6 and Year Walk could have made: if these screenshots had turned up in my inbox coming from an email that didn’t end in “@simogo.com”, I would have trashed them so hard Oscar the Grouch would have felt it. This is a game that has fewer animations than the ATM you visited at lunch today. Tio Salamanca from Breaking Bad has a more ambitious sound design. And yet: it is the year’s most elegant puzzle game.
Out There creators Mi-Clos have pulled the curtain back just a little farther on Sigma Theory, the near-future espionage game whose existence they revealed back in February. The details were sparse then; just some intimations about intrigue and moral ambiguity, but just being the follow-up to one of our favourite games of 2014 was enough to get Sigma Theory on my personal most-wanted list.
Today we learn more about Sigma Theory: it’s a turn-based strategy game where the player is the head of an intelligence agency, recruiting spooks and sending them out into the field to fight a sub-rosa war against your rivals. There’s a bunch of screenshots and a trailer after the jump.
I don’t have my glasses on, but does that say Lou Grant? I didn’t even know Ed Asner was still alive.
The last time we heard from developer Timecode, they were busy blowing Clancy’s mind with the rather wonderful Totems. Since then we’ve had a few Totems updates, but nothing to really shout about. Today, we received a missive indicating that Timecode has teamed up with legendary eurogame designer, Reiner Knizia, and is bringing his latest game to iOS in October. It’s called Dice Monsters and it looks very Knizia-ish.
Dice Monsters is, wait for it, a dice game. Surprise! It’s also labeled as a puzzle game, so there’s going to be more than just rolling and reserving dice, Yahtzee style. Your job is to beat the other monsters’ dice rolls, but each critter comes with its own special abilities and modifiers to make it as difficult as possible. They’re not the only ones with something up their hairy sleeves, however. You will be able to nab upgrades and strage dice with various powers as you progress through the over 100 different levels over 5 different worlds.
Sounds pretty good so far, but wait a minute before you go putting this one on your release calendar. First of all, those upgrades are going to be available via IAP. Secondly, it appears that special dice are unlockable, but there are also screen shots of mini-games in which you can win coins which always sets off red flags for me. If that wasn’t enough, they’ve also sent along a screenshot that clearly shows a timer counting down the minutes until your life refills.
I haven’t played the game yet, and what I can find out right now doesn’t go into details on how high the paywall is going to be, but it sure looks like it’s going to be present. Timecode is soft launching the game next week, and doing a world-wide release on October 21st, so we won’t have long to see how high the paywall is for ourselves. Here’s hoping they keep it closer to a privacy hedge than a certain ice wall in northern Westeros.
No video for this one, yet, but we’ll let you know when we stumble onto one. Instead, check out some screenshots after the break.
If you’ve read any Raymond Chandler, you know that some of the best writing comes in the form of metaphors and similes that Marlowe tosses out throughout each novel. Stuff like “The voice got as cool as a cafeteria dinner” or “Her smile was as faint as a fat lady at a fireman’s ball” jump off the page even if, like that last one, part of you wonders what the hell he’s talking about. PataNoir is brand new interactive fiction which thrives on these metaphors and similes and makes them a part of the game.
First and foremost, PataNoir is interactive fiction. It’s a noir mystery that you’ll need to unravel, but puzzles throughout the text will be presented as these hard-boiled metaphors. To get anywhere, you’ll have to crack them open and start looking at these figures of speech as clues instead of simply words. Whatever the gimmick is, it’s new interactive fiction and its hard-boiled noir, both of which are good reasons to give it a try.
PataNoir is available for iOS Universal and runs $3. If Android is more your style, it’s $3 there as well. No gameplay video for this one, but we do have a promotional video that…well, just watch it yourself after the break.
When Shenandoah Studio released Battle of the Bulge back in 2012, it was something we hadn’t seen on an iPad before. It was sleek, beautiful, and built specifically with the iPad in mind. We kind of dug it. Unfortunately, real war games don’t make as much money as Skinner box junk, so after developing a couple other greatgames, Shenandoah went away. Turns out they were absorbed by war game giant, Slitherine, and the fruit of that collaboration is ready to hit the App Store.
Today, Battle of the Bulge will be released for PC and Mac, but the iOS version is also getting a major overhaul. Graphically, you won’t notice much of a difference, but under the hood things have gotten crazy. Not only has both the Axis and Allies AI been completed rewritten, but the game will now support all kinds of multiplayer. Starting today, you can play not just in paired or private matches, but also in a brand new tournament mode. Considering that multiplayer is completely cross-platform, you shouldn’t have a problem finding fresh meat to play against, either.
Battle of the Bulge is available for iOS Universal and will set you back $10, with the new update hitting sometime today. Check out the new release trailer after the break.
If you were to enter the WABAC Machine and travel to the mid-90’s, you’d find me bemulleted and with just a whisper of hair on my upper lip in a failed attempt to grow a mustache. You’d probably also find me either inebriated or altering reality using other, less legal, methods. College was fun, wasn’t it? If you showed up on a weeknight, there was a good chance that my impaired self would be playing chess with my best friend and housemate. We called it stoned chess–because we were renaissance men–but I think Damian Sommer has a better name, Chesh.
Chesh is chess completely randomized and described by Sommer as “what chess would be if it got drunk and woke up on the App Store”. Each game, the pieces and how they move are completely different, so a big part of the game is not just attacking your opponent, but deducing what the hell is going on. Just to make sure that’s as difficult as possible, there are over 500 different pieces in Chesh, designed from over 30 different artists, so the pieces won’t even look the same between games. If that doesn’t create enough confusion for you, there is also the ability to change the board size and number of pieces you want to play with. Chesh can be played against an AI or against humans via pass-and-play or online multiplayer in one of three different modes: Bullet Chesh, Infinite Chesh, and Blitz Chesh.
Take a look at the trailer after the break, and then keep an eye out for Chesh when it hits the App Store on October 8. It will be on sale at release for $3, but will eventually move up to its normal price of $5.
I can’t believe they didn’t go with “Continental Divide”.
PT‘s favourite online shooter series World of Tanks is developing a charming eccentricity: last Christmas the PC version rolled out an “8-bit” version of the game and the current promotion on desktops is an Indiana Jones-style search for “ancient weapons” — which turn out to be tanks, naturally.
Developers Wargaming.net announced the first big World of Tanks Blitz event for the mobile version of the game this morning, and it’s suitably wacky. The Rise of Continents event that kicks off of 28 September will be a four-week-long tournament pitting Europe, North America, Asia, and (oddly) the Russian Commonwealth. It’s sort of a passive tournament — all you have to do to represent your continent is log into the game and play, and Wargaming will tot up which region is doing the best each week, with the winning teams getting in-game swag like premium tanks and IRL swag like Sennheiser headsets.
The video after the jump gives you a (decidedly metaphorical) flavour for what Wargaming are going for. If you’re in Europe and therefore on my team, I would request that you not attempt to play Blitz whilst wearing chain mail gloves. You’re going to let the side down.