Seattle’s Harebrained Schemes are back at the Kickstarter well to fill their bucket again for more Shadowrun: this time they’re offering up Shadowrun: Hong Kong, their most blandly descriptive title to date, but with their track record I’m willing to issue an indulgence.
Hong Kong will be another standalone expansion pack for the throwback cyberpunk RPG but with one major difference. “We have elected to focus all our efforts on PC in order to deliver the best game we can,” says the pitch, “without the current processing and memory limitations of tablets.”
Well same to you, pal! What a snub. Harebrained’s support for tablets has always felt a bit half-hearted with the rebooted Shadowrun games, always coming months after the PC release and shaved of the user-created content elements. Now our preferred platforms have been kicked to the curb entirely. This is absolutely good news for those of us who still play games on PC, but tablet-only types are left in the cold.
Harebrained Schemes might be the most successful of the wave of nostalgia-powered Kickstarter projects of the past couple of years. The studio successfully razzed the 1990s cyberpunk RPG with 2013’s widely-admired Shadowrun Returns, which they then exceeded with the inarguably superior Shadowrun: Dragonfall — both of which came to iPad and Android tablets.
So why leave mobile high and dry for Shadowrun: Hong Kong? I’m sure that to a great extent we can take HBS at face value: they want to make a PC-native experience with lots of whiz-bang graphics and–I dunno–actual magic. But businesses don’t just leave money on the table for no reason. The unstated truth must be that the two Shadowrun titles must have sold poorly on mobile — or at least they’ve sold an order of magnitude more on PC. And that’s a shame.
I usually wait until the new models are out and then pick up last year’s model for a steal.
The original Musket Smoke for iPad was mainly a multiplayer affair. There was an AI present, sure, but its main positive attribute was how good it looked as a corpse on the battlefield. Considering that Musket Smoke was always considered to be multiplayer focused, the lack of single player goodness can be forgiven. Hell, nobody complains that the AI in Hearthstone is terrible, do they?
Developer Woodie Dovich is heading back to the drawing board for Musket Smoke 2, which is currently on Kickstarter. This time, single player will be the focus with a full single player campaign built around the English Civil War. That’s not to say that multiplayer will take a hit in MS2. It should still be the same campaign-oriented multiplayer that worked so well in the original, it just won’t be the only reason to get MS2 when it releases.
Musket Smoke 2 will not be a free download like Musket Smoke currently is. Instead, there will be an up front cost that will contain both the single and multiplayer campaigns. The Kickstarter campaign is offering backers exclusive maps and more, but to get all the exclusive maps you’ll have to shell out $100 CAD. There are smaller entry points as well, but some of these numbers jumped out at me considering that we’re talking about an app. Head on over to the Kickstarter and check out all the tiers and rewards for yourself.
For those of you wanting to check out Musket Smoke, it’s a free download and was just updated to include Universal support.
Kickstarter video for Musket Smoke 2 after the break.
We’ve not hidden our feelings about the lack of a decent city-builder on our tablets. Nearly every title out there is either a free-to-play mess, or just not deep enough to grab you and hold you the way the classics like SimCity or Caesar did. Therefore, we will take any and all chances of a decent city builder for mobile and run with them, even if their appearance on iOS or Android is, at this point, just a wish.
Cole Jeffries, who developed the puzzly Megacity for iOS and Android is twisting his city-building muscles again. This time he’s including a board game mechanic for good measure: deck-building. Concrete Jungle is the new title and it’s just been funded on Kickstarter with 23 days to go.
Concrete Jungle is still more puzzle than city manager, but the combo of deck-builer and city-builder looked too cool to ignore. So, the goal of the game is to clear city blocks so you can continue to build a bigger city. Of course, the bigger the city gets, the harder it gets to keep building. There are over 150 cards that you can use to build a deck that will allow you to build certain buildings, and as your cities get bigger, you can add bigger and better buildings to your deck. Best of all, the game features no IAP at all.
The big downside is that Concrete Jungle is currently only planned for PC and Mac, and those are the only platforms being funded by the Kickstarter. Cole does mention, however, that iOS and Android are possibilities down the road. Let’s hope he heads that route, as tablets can use any city-building love they can get.
Cosmic Encounter is a board game from 1977 that has been republished and recreated many times in the past 35 years. It’s truly one of the most influential board games ever made, introducing mechanisms like individual player powers, free-form negotiation and the concept of expansions. Lots and lots of expansions. Of all the games I wouldn’t think would transfer well to a digital version, Cosmic Encounter is near the top due to the fact that the entire game involves talking, bluffing, and the making and breaking of deals. It just wouldn’t work without the face-to-face element.
Apparently the designers agree, but they’ve come up with a clever way to still get Cosmic onto an iPad. It’s called Cosmic Encounter Connector and consists of apps that will allow you to use real-time voice chat with the other players as well as all the bits you’ll find inside the current Fantasy Flight Games version of Cosmic Encounter. From what I can tell, it appears to be more of a sandbox that will allow you to play Cosmic Encounter with all the pieces you’d normally play with. It’s like VASSAL for iPad, only with voice chat and focusing on one title.
While the app isn’t backed by Fantasy Flight at all, it appears that they will allow all the art and bits from their version to be used in the app and they’re even talking about using the Connector system to port other Fantasy Flight titles to the system.
Cosmic Encounter Connector is currently on Kickstarter. They’re looking for $128K and are only at about $2.5K now, but they still have 29 days to fund. The initial goal of $128K includes iPad support, but there are stretch goals for other platforms as well as including different expansions and player-created content.
If you’re a Cosmic Encounter fan, you need to check the Kickstarter out. If you’ve never played before, check it out and realize what this could mean for board gaming in the future.
Pretty! But not remotely what Battle Worlds will look like on your tablet.
Back in May, Battle Worlds: Kronos devs King Art told me that the iPad and Android tablet version of their turn-based sci-fi wargame were due out just two weeks hence. Now I’m no fancy mathematician, but the chronomages at the Pocket Tactics Time Calculation and Pizza Re-heating Research College high atop Mount Hexmap inform me that BWK is now about 11 weeks late.
We can only speculate about the reasons for the big gap, but if you watch the video after the break you may find a clue. In an update from last week, King Art showed off builds of the mobile versions of Battle Worlds for the first time, revealing that the tablet editions will have entirely new graphics that have been downgraded from the PC iteration. Alas, it’s clearly not as nice to look at but King Art point out that the gameplay is entirely identical and that cross-platform multiplayer is a go.
There’s no new release date for the tablet editions, but King Art are soliciting beta testers. After the break, the first video of the iPad and Android versions of Battle Worlds: Kronos, and the Ouya version, too! I bet that seemed like a sensible use of resources in early 2013.
“Nothing’s too good for the man who shot Freaky Space Worm Valance.”
Being a certified Old Man™ with the reflexes of a sedated elephant seal, I can hardly imagine a game I’d like to play less than a bullet hell shoot-em-up. And yet, Mighty Tactical Shooter has me considering blowing the dust off the old gaming Kickstarter klaxon. Before you start the impeachment proceedings, hear me out. Mighty Tactical Shooter is a shooter that you can play and drink a beer at the same time.
Mighty Tactical Shooter is the brainchild of Brighton-based former Second Life dev Johnny Marshall, and it’s built around an idea I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen before. The game is a 2D side-scrolling shooter like the ones that have roamed the Earth since the age of the dinosaur, but the evolutionary twist here is that the game is entirely turn-based.
Turns in Mighty Tactical Shooter are simultaneous with the enemies’, so when they fire a missile at you, you can use a gravity weapon to alter its path, or target it with a missile of your own. Basically, you get to see a shmup the way Wayne Gretzky sees a hockey rink. There’s also three different AI subsystems on your ship (“AI buddies” — sounds legit) which you can route power to at your discretion, boosting your ability to dish out, absorb, or repair damage, which would give you a lot of flexibility in how you approach different tactical environments.
There’s eight hours left to fund Mighty Tactical Shooter on Kickstarter, but its success is now a forgone conclusion as it hit its £10,000 goal earlier today. Marshall told me yesterday that the game already runs like a dream on his Android tablet, and he’s planning an iPad edition as well.
We live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by robots with guns. [Image by Chad Ellis]
Battle for Hill 218 is one of those games that, sadly, gets overlooked on a lot of “best of” iOS lists. It’s a shame, really, as it’s a great little 2-player game and it’s digital implementation is spot-on. Recently, the publisher, Your Move Games, started a Kickstarter to reprint Battle for Hill 218 as well as its sci-fi sequel, Battle for Sector 219. While cardboard versions of games are amazing, what struck me was that $10K stretch goal that would bring Sector 219 to iOS.
The iOS version would most likely be done by the same developer as Hill 218, Large Visible Machine. This means we should be excited, people. Not only did they do a great job with Hill 218’s UI, but they created an AI so evil that they were forced to add a weaker AI in an later update due to the complaints.
Check out the Kickstarter for more info, or go download Battle for Hill 218 from the App Store. You won’t be disappointed. Kickstarter trailer after the break.