Okay, imagine a game about solving mazes quickly. Now imagine that your goal in the game isn’t to solve the maze, precisely, but to bet on which possible solutions to the maze are the fastest. Also imagine that the mazes take place in one of those hallucinogenic flashbacks that Rust Cohle was always having in True Detective.
That’s what’s going on in MZR, which British dev Yordan Gyurchev (working as Funky Circuit) submitted for Apple certification over the weekend. The frantic pacing and throbbing visuals are quite a departure for Gyurchev, whose previous work includes the comparatively sedate alien invasion-themed geography quiz Inquisition Earth.
Gird yourself to watch the trailer after the jump.
I was floored back in June by the trailer for Motorsport Manager, an iOS open-wheel racing sim that former Hello Games dev Christian West has been building by himself for the past year. It was just beautiful to look at, which isn’t something a rational person ever expects from a game of this variety.
Sports management games are such rarities that those of us who enjoy them are more than happy to accept them as cantilevered spreadsheets with a bare minimum of video game tinsel. I still remember when the big feature in a new Out of the Park Baseball game was sound effects. This was in like 2007, by the way, not during the Reagan administration.
I’ve been playing a preview build of Motorsport Manager over the weekend, and I can tell you first-hand that, yup, there’s sound effects. Generally speaking, the high-gloss presentation completely lives up to the expectations set by the trailer. But let’s see what else is in there.
It’s come to my attention that some of you are performing a dark cabalistic ritual to summon the mysteriously delayed mobile edition of Blood Bowl. STOP. You are performing the wrong dark cabalistic ritual. I know you meant well, but you appear to have summoned this Kim Kardashian game into existence instead. Also the Jonas Brothers have been crashing on my couch for the last three days. You’re not allowed to watch E! while invoking the occult anymore.
Instead of beseeching the dark powers for aid, I sent around inquiries to see what the holdup is on high-fantasy football game Blood Bowl (announced for “early July” a few weeks ago) and on the iOS version of sci-fi deck-building card game Star Realms (which was meant to be here around July 4th).
Details of what I uncovered after the jump. But fair warning: none of it is particularly good news.
In all the recent hubbub about Hearthstone and it’s recent expansion, it’s easy to forget that Stone Blade Entertainment was doing the digital CCG thing since before Hearthstone was even a glint in Team 5′s eye. With more than 1.5 years of life on iPad, SolForge has grown quite the rabid fan base (who are probably upset that I mentioned the big H in this article at all), and now it’s time for those fans to celebrate SolForge and maybe win some cash in the process.
Earlier this week, Stone Blade announced the upcoming World Championships of SolForge in which competitors can play for a minimum purse of $5K in an 8-player, invitation only tournament. Qualifier tournaments begin this weekend, offering entrants a chance at some in-game gold and one of those coveted invites to the big tournament which starts next year and will crown a champion at GenCon 2015.
Interested in showing your SolForge plumage? Head over to the tournament page for more details and instructions for signing-up.
“Ownership is dying, as it should since it’s a dinosaur.”
Mere days after Asher Vollmer and Greg Wohlwend’s compulsively playable puzzler Threes came out earlier this year, clones of the game started to appear. Games like 2048 were unabashedly riding the coattails of Threes’ rush of popularity, and themselves spawned a secondary wave of clone clones. Here at PT we made a conscious decision at the time not to cover 2048 and the imitators that joined it in mimicking Threes’ design.
Wohlwend and Vollmer (who had had their games cloned before), bemused by 2048, reacted by posting an open letter that showed the year of work that had gone into Threes and decried the ease with which the clones earned a profit off of their sweat. Reactions online ranged from full-throated support for Wohlwend and Vollmer to dismissive “that’s capitalism” defences of the clones.
Kurt Bieg of Simple Machine has decided to wade into this debate. Actually, he’s not wading — he’s diving in head-first, and throwing his co-workers in, too. Bieg is open-sourcing all of his studio’s games, starting with word game LEX. “We believe ownership is becoming obsolete,” Bieg told me. And if you’re surprised by that sentiment, he was just getting warmed up.
Little known fact: Clan Faraday is of Cuban extraction. No joke — it’s the reason for my swarthy Caribbean good lucks and my natural talent for playing Twilight Struggle, of course.
So you can imagine my delight when John Ellenberger from GamerNationX pinged me yesterday with news of Heroes of the Revolution, a turn-based board game-style strategy game set during the Cuban Revolution. You play as the rebels in a campaign to overthrow tyrant Fulgencio Batista, building up your ragtag band of guerrillas into a fully-fledged army with hero units like t-shirt star Che Guevara and Fidel himself. Early on in the game you’ll be outclassed by the Cuban government forces and will have to rely on hit and run tactics, but as your troops gain experience they’ll grow more capable of going mano-a-mano with the regulars.
Around here we often lament the lack of wargames set in little-explored epochs of history: this pays that off in spades. Ellenberger tells me that Heroes of the Revolution is currently in submission with Apple and should be out in the next week or so.
If GamerNationX rings a bell (it’s not an offshore seastead for WoW players) you might be remembering them from February when they released classical Roman siege RTS 137 BC. Watch the Heroes trailer after the jump.
The surprisingly heartfelt side-scrolling platformer Thomas Was Alone has made the jump to Android and iPhones after materialising a few weeks ago on iPad. On iOS this comes as a Universal update, so there’s no need to buy again if you purchased it earlier for the larger form factor.
Touchscreen devices are definitely not the best way to play this occasionally tetchy platformer, but I found the minor control issues well worth putting up with for the narrative, which (like a good reality TV show) has a power to make you feel genuine emotional attachment to a bunch of lifeless two-dimensional objects.
Tonight was meant to be the night for Inkle’s around-the-world interactive fiction opus 80 Days to drop — but alas, it is not to be. Inkle’s Jon Ingold emailed me a couple of days back. “We’ve been asked by Apple to move the release day back to next Thursday, the 31st,” he said. “So we are of course doing it.”
This could only mean one of two things. The first possibility: upon reviewing the app for release, Apple has discovered Inkle’s dastardly plot to use the game to Manchurian Candidate the world’s population, preparing the ground for a reptilian takeover of Earth. Or second, Apple want to feature the game next week in a prominent slot on the App Store’s front page.
It’s almost certainly the former (alert David Icke, please) but either way the result is the same: 80 Days will be here next Wednesday night. You can read my hands-on 80 Days preview if you want to see what we’re in for next week.
There are other releases tonight, of course. Let’s have a look after the jump.