It doesn’t matter which action I take, I always lose
Mr. Jack Pocket is still one of my favorite 2-player games on my iPad. It’s a perfect, puzzly diversion for a few minutes at a time, and it never fails to give me a mild headache. It was just given the mandatory iOS 8 update, but developer Meeple Touch managed to sneak in a couple new characters as well and it makes a great game even better. That is, it makes the game even harder for the detective player.
The 2 new characters are Lizzie Williams and Walter Sickert who have, in real life, been added to the embarrassingly long list of improbable Ripper suspects. In Mr. Jack Pocket, the detective isn’t sure which of the 9 characters on the board is Jack, and is trying to place his characters around the edge of the board to see down the gaslit streets of Whitechapel. In the base game, all the characters are on a tile with 3 exits. Lizzie Williams’ tile only has a straight alley on it, with 2 exits, and Walter Sickert is even worse being on a dead end with only 1 exit. Trying to isolate these two characters feels nigh impossible to a dullard like myself, but I can’t imagine it doesn’t ramp up the difficulty for even the most seasoned Mr. Jack vets.
Mr. Jack Pocket is available for both Android and iOS devices (although it doesn’t appear these new characters are in the Android version, yet). Trailer after the break.
“Now you will learn Lambada: the forbidden dance.”
Interactive fiction manufactory Tin Man Games have another gamebook for us: The Complete Sagas of Fire*Wolf collects all of the stories originally published in the 1980s about Herbie Brennan’s titular fantasy character. I’ve flipped through some screenshots and it appears that Fire*Wolf’s name always appears with that medial asterisk, like that girl Lori who sat next to you in 7th grade algebra and dotted the ‘i’ in her name with a heart.
The Complete Sagas app is $10 on the App Store and the same price on Google Play, but for that price you’re getting four gamebooks in one. In the stories, Fire<3Wolf is exiled from his village and grows into a powerful sorcerer and saves the world of Harn from the Demonspawn, learning a lot about life and personal responsibility in the process, no doubt.
FNG Alex picks a game we hadn’t even covered before. That kid’s got moxie.
The summer — horrible, horrible summer — is finally over. The fickle sun now favours that mysterious other hemisphere and won’t throw its awful unblinking glare onto your iPad screens any longer. Put away your parasols and desert canteens. The outdoors are safe for gaming again.
What games did the PT druid circle choose as their favourites of the summer’s twilight? After the jump, Jacob, Clancy, Kelsey, Owen, and FNG Alex tell you all about their picks.
It’s no big exaggeration to say that Herocraft’s Strategy & Tactics WWII was one of my least favourite games of 2013. In Bizarro World my assertion that it was “a complete failure of a game” is a box quote. But it’s entirely possible that I’m crazy: Herocraft have been reinvesting in that light wargame with numerous expansions over the past year, and today they’ve come out with a brand new edition of it, so maybe I’m alone in hating it?
Strategy & Tactics WWII Sandbox tears down the walls of last year’s title, which was built around a string of scenarios, and opens up all of Europe. You can take control of any country in the conflict and essentially do as you please. Make a separate peace with Germany as the US and invade Russia. Stultify future historians by crushing the Western world as Greece. There’s 16 playable countries, with 10 more en route, the devs say.
Given my antipathy for the original game, I’m not exactly holding my breath about this one. But maybe a bigger, more epic sweep and interesting non-battlefield activities are what S&T needs to redeem the mushy, undifferentiated combat engine. And hey, maybe the combat itself has improved from when I last saw it. Even better: there don’t appear to be any in-app purchases either, which were another thing dragging the first game down.
Hunted Cow impresario Andrew Mulholland has just sent us an exclusive early peek the first fruit of the Scottish studio’s licensing deal with tabletop publishers Victory Point Games. Infection: Humanity’s Last Gasp is a digital adaptation of the board game of the same name and it’s due out on mobile and PC in December.
Thematically, Infection bears a strong resemblance to Z-Man’s Pandemic, which was the subject of an excellent digital translation last year: in both games you’re running a team of scientists racing to everyone’s favourite bipedal species from a coughing, spluttering demise. But where Pandemic is intended as a co-op multiplayer game that also plays well solo, Infection is designed from the ground-up as a single-player affair. Managing your unique scientists is the key to the game, as they grow increasingly stressed and might even become flat-out unwilling to work with each other.
Victory Point announced earlier this summer that they were going to cease in-house development of digital games to hook up with Tank Battle makers Hunted Cow — and that looks like it was a pretty good call. These are static screenshots but already Infection looks more dynamic and self-assured than VPG’s homebuilt games like Zulus on the Ramparts ever did.
More screenshots after the jump. This game sounds like it will be iOS Universal and on Android, too.
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.
There was a big update last week for one of the year’s real underdogs: Cuban rebel wargame Heroes of the Revolution, an experience that I was quite fond of despite some wooly flaws. A couple of those flaws are addressed head-on in the new patch, which (thank the gods) adds the option to skip the tedious dice-rolling animations. There’s also new recruits for the enemy Cuban regime’s army — in version 1.0 Batista’s boys were an olive drab fly for your rebel juggernaut to swat by the late game, as their strength didn’t scale along with yours very well. Hopefully the new update means that there’s a good level of challenge all the way through.
There’s also an update to disable the in-game music, though why you’d want to turn off that saucy little Cuban guitar number is beyond me.
Here’s a game that only true App Store nerds might remember: Aralon, which was probably the most ambitious iOS game of 2010. New York devs Crescent Moon dropped us a line to say that Aralon has received its first update in two years, adding widescreen support for iPhone 6.
Aralon was mind-blowing for the time — it was a contemporary of Infinity Blade and though that game was much prettier, Aralon was bigger, offering an Elder Scrolls-style open-world RPG experience. It was the first hint that console-quality games could be done on mobile. Crescent Moon themselves have since outdone Aralon with the bigger, niftier Ravensword: Shadowlands, but Aralon is still a reasonably epic goblin-whacking experience today.
Watch the trailer for this bit of iOS gaming history after the jump. Aralon is on Android, too.