Here at Pocket Tactics we try to avoid tossing barely repackaged press release bullet points onto the front page. Sometimes, though, it takes every ounce of collective resolve we have to not CTRL-C some of these ridiculous things wholesale and call it a day, knowing that PR “truth” is invariably stranger than, well, the truth. So try this one on for size: “Family-Friendly Remake of Drug Dealing Simulator Swaps Drugs for Confectionery Products.”
It’s hard to tell just how on-the-nose this new theming is meant to be. According to developers A-Steroids, Underworld: Drug Lords has been denied entry to the App Store several times, ostensibly because those squares at Apple can’t handle the game’s edginess and radical streetwise vibes; Underworld: Sugar Wars is meant as a workaround. It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen an app thwarted by the occasionally draconian submission process. What’s odd is that this too cool for school posturing ignores the fact that a hideous looking game with almost the exact same name and theme is already on the App Store.
Regardless, the gag (?) is that A-Steroids haven’t really changed Drug Lords at all, and it’s still a game (on a distribution platform next to plenty of bloody murder sims) about abusing addiction to make money. Ha, yeah, okay, that’s a good one. The real joke, though, might be that–though the game sports a clever-sounding location system where trade is influenced by where you are in the real world–the Android version of Underworld: Drug Lords has IAP running up to $30, and Sugar Wars on iOS looks like it’s absolutely lousy with the same free-to-play malarkey. Let’s call it a +1 for the swipe at perceived double-standards, and a -1 every time the game asks if I want to buy unwieldy denominations of coins with real drug money dollars.
Papa Sangre and its Sean Bean-starring sequel are two of the most unique games on the App Store. They eschew graphics and, instead, exist only in audio. It sounds like a gimmick, but it actually works to create an incredibly deep and immersive experience.
Publisher Somethin’ Else has just released Audio Defence: Zombie Arena for Halloween and it holds true to the Papa Sangre formula of sound-only except, instead of a creepy horror game, here you just blast the hell out of zombies. Audio Defence works using the gyroscope inside your phone, so you can physically turn while listening for zombies. When it sounds like they’re in front of you, shoot. It’s not difficult to figure it out, but my 9 year-old has been playing for over a half hour now and he’s loving it.
If you don’t want to stand in the middle of the room and spin around, there are options for swipe or tilt controls as well. The game offers 20 levels, over a dozen different weapons and power ups as well as a slew of different zombie types. It’s currently available for iOS at $5.
In a reversal of fortune not seen since Randolph and Mortimer Duke bought orange juice futures, Android users can today play the classic Infinity Engine role-playing game Icewind Dale on their devices while iOS users are flat out of luck. It’s almost as if everything I’ve ever believed has been proven to be a lie. It’s as if the sun rose in the west and….okay, you get it. I’ll stop.
The original plan was for Icewind Dale to appear on all platforms simultaneously today, but there were some snags with the Apple submission process requiring Beamdog to resubmit the app yesterday. So, gloat while you can, Android users, it should be available for iOS in a week or two.
If you’ve followed any of Beamdog’s other ports of classic Infinity Engine games, like Baldur’s Gate or Baldur’s Gate 2, you’ll know that this release is an “Enhanced Edition”. In the BG titles, that meant new characters, quests, classes and more. Icewind Dale is pretty much a 40-hour long dungeon crawl consisting of very little story and a whole ton of combat. Also, unlike the BG games where you created one character and NPCs would join your group, here you create a full party of six. So, what’s “enhanced” about this new edition, then? We have new spells and items to find, new kits for different classes, quests that were cut from the original, and it also includes both the Heart of Winter and Trials of the Luremaster expansion packs. Put all that together with the original game, and you’ve got a ton of CRPG goodness here.
White dragon, guys. It’s supposed to be a white dragon.
The worst thing about writing an “Out Tonight” post on a day when there doesn’t appear to be any releases is that I know the very first comment will bring up a decent game that I missed and/or forgot. Go ahead. I don’t mind.
I’m going to pretend that you aren’t filling up the comments with great releases and go with what I have, a Tin Man release we missed last week and a match-3-ish puzzler.
We all know and love Tin Man Games, and their huge catalog of interactive fiction on iOS and Android is truly impressive. Last week, it grew a little more when they released the Fighting Fantasy book, Caverns of the Snow Witch. Author Ian Livingstone first released the dead tree version of Caverns back in 1984 and this digital version offers the ability to switch to retro mode which replaces the new artwork with the original drawings from back when Prince was making doves cry. Other than that, it’s your standard high-quality Tin Man release. If you love what Tin Man does, you’re going to love this book as well. It’s for iOS Universal or Android and it will set you back $6.
More releases (okay, 1 more release) after the break.
If my actual wireless communication exams in college would have been like this, I might have passed.
Transmission: Connect to Communicate is a new puzzle game developed by the Science Museum (it’s in the UK, I checked) that’s supposed to be educational, but I don’t really see it. It is a pretty good puzzler, though, so I’ll cut it some slack. It’s also free without any IAP or ads, so it’s got a few things going for it.
Transmission tells the story of human communication starting with the telegraph and ending…somewhere. I don’t know, I’m only up to the computers level. The goal is to move cubes that represent information from a transmitter to a receiver using things like transceivers and for-loops. The initial telegraph and telephone levels are incredibly straightforward and serve as a decent introduction, but the game gets pretty darn tough as you move forward. I should clarify that, completing the puzzles isn’t too tough, but getting 3-stars by completing all the criteria for that puzzle can be quite tricky.
Transmission: Connect to Communicate is free and is available for both iOS and Android. Trailer after the break.
Games Workshop already has a floodofgames on iOS, so I guess another one shouldn’t really be a surprise. What is surprising about this latest title, Warhammer 40K: Space Wolf, is that it’s a free-to-play game that offers IAP to buy “coins” to further your in-game progress. Before you run away, screaming, let me give you a couple reasons to stick around: Space Wolf is a turn-based, squad-level tactical game that uses a collectible card engine for combat.
Oh, and it looks pretty damn nice, too.
From what I can gather, IAP isn’t necessary as everything can be gotten through grinding. How much grinding? Not sure at this point. The game features a single player campaign in which you’ll battle the Word Bearers, fanatical worshipers of the Chaos Gods. You select a main hero and several companions can be unlocked during play to accompany you on future missions. Cards are used as weapons and equipment in battle, and you can deckbuild to create a deck to meet the different challenges you’ll find in each mission.
Warhammer40K: Space Wolf is currently out for iOS Universal. Trailer after the break.
Kerry Batts is a busy guy. Last week saw the release of his Pro Strategy Football 2014 but he’s been busy at work getting the promised career mode update ready to go. It’s still a work in progress, but we did get a chance to pick his brain and see where career mode is headed.
PSF career mode is going to allow you to coach the same team for multiple years and each year will be broken into four phases: offseason, draft, preseason, and season. The season part is what we’ve already come to know and love about the PSF series, so lets delve into those new phases. During the offseason players will all age 1 year which can lead to them leaving the league or having their ratings change as they get older. During this time, you can also set your funding to focus on scouting, coaching, conditioning or training to increase your team’s skills in different areas. Draft will allow you to tell the front office what your needs are and then see who they can pick up based on what you’re looking for and Preseason will allow you to see how the offseason and draft phases have come together before the season starts.
All of this is on top of the ability to drill down into individual and team stats over the years that you simulate. You’ll be able to look at career and annual stats for each player as well as overall team stats. Currently, when you begin career mode, you’ll start in 2014 and proceed from there. Kerry is hoping, someday, to have the ability to head back and take the reins of some of the best teams of the past like the ’72 Dolphins or the ’85 Bears.
Career mode is still being worked on and there is no ETA right now for the update to go live. That said, Kerry made a video for us to highlight what he’s working on. Check it out after the break.
My iPad is one of the 64GB models which, at the time, seemed like more than enough memory. Turns out it wasn’t and every time I want to get a new game on my iPad I have to do “the shuffle”. Delete apps I haven’t used in awhile, delete Police Academy 5, move those Starfleet uniform/green screen selfies to Dropbox, etc. You’ve all been there, I’m sure. In all the shuffles one game has never been removed from my iPad: King of Dragon Pass.
The more I think about that, it’s pretty odd because I’ve never completed a full game of King of Dragon Pass. I’ve tried, but I always find that I’ve botched things up beyond repair, or can’t figure out how to get something done, so I end up quitting. Despite my failings, I always go back and try again, so KoDP is staying right where I need it to be.
For those who have no idea what I’m talking about (hi, Mom!) King of Dragon Pass is a game unlike anything else you’ve played. It’s a storytelling game that’s part choose-your-own-adventure part civilization game and part raw genius. You control a tribe and they, as well as your neighbors, react to your decisions and commands but it’s all done with still photographs, great writing, and screens and screens of stats and sliders to control everything about your tribe.
If you’re one of the few to have not picked it up yet, now’s your chance. A Sharp is putting King of Dragon Pass on sale for all platforms starting on October 29th. For 5 days you can pick the game up for 50% off the regular price, which means you can snag it on iOS for $5 or on Android where it already appears to be $5.
For those of you who love KoDP, A Sharp has also told us that they’re working on a spiritual successor to KoDP called Six Ages. Like KoDP, it will be a storytelling game set in the world of Glorantha, but it’s looking like a 2016 release so we’re still quite a ways from any solid news.