Until today, I had been blissfully unaware of the existence of Albion Online. As for why I was unaware, I kept wavering between simply not paying attention and being lazy which, my wife helpfully reminded me, are kind of the same thing.
Regardless, after seeing the trailer this morning I’m in a bit of shock. This doesn’t look like a tablet game. It looks…huge. On the surface, it appears to be a top-down MMO, but it appears to include content that I’d only expect to find in a PC game. Crafting, housing, and guilds are all there. The character development looks incredibly deep as well, with a giant wheel-like tech-tree that unlocks new abilities as you level up. All this depth isn’t that surprising when you realize that Albion Online is a PC/Mac game as well, and will have full cross-platform play with the iPad and Android tablet versions.
Albion Online is entering its Summer Alpha on June 29 and you can join in if you plunk down a chunk of change. Otherwise, the game is planned for release on tablets in Q1 of 2016. When it launches it will be free to play. I’m not entirely sure if it will work off of a subscription or microtransaction model, but considering that in-game gold is converted to a dollar value on the sign-up page, I’m leaning toward the latter.
Check out the trailer after the break. It’s a long one, but they get into all the different systems in the game and, I’ll admit it, it looks pretty damn good.
In my house–they’re not allowed access to Mt. Hexmap–I live with three small boys who excel at eating all my food and playing the drums just as I sit down to write. Every now and then they’ll empty the dishwasher, so it’s not all bad. Having three boys also means that my house is full of Legos. I cannot walk from my desk to the bathroom without stepping on a piece which, somehow, always seems to be lying with one of the pointy corners pointing directly upwards. Even on hardwood floors. Don’t ask, I stopped a long time ago.
Enter, Lego Minifigures Online. A video game that has you collecting little Lego people and taking them on adventures or something. What that entails, I honestly have no idea. It sounds a bit like Skylanders or Diablo but all blocky and plasticy. What’s truly intriguing is that the game was originally scheduled to be free-to-play, which would have ensured the press release a short life span before it met my trash bin, but has been moved to a premium game that you buy up front and can just play. Kind of. The PC version will be a full release for $30 but the iOS and Android versions will run $5 but only include the first world. You can buy extra worlds in the iOS version starting on June 29, whereas the Android version will get more worlds later this summer.
So, how much content do you get for your initial $5? No idea, but I’ll be sure to tell you how long it takes for my kids to start squawking about buying new content.
After the break, check out the reveal trailer. Now I just need to hide it from the kids.
I’ll be the first to admit that World of Tanks Blitz isn’t my favorite game. I’ll also admit that the reasoning behind that stems from nothing other than I suck at it, and no matter how much I play, continue to really suck at it. That said, I know there are those of you out there who do not suck at this game. I’ve seen it first hand.
Sometime today, World of Tanks Blitz is getting a major update that fixes and changes a ton of current content, as well as adding an entire new line of German medium tanks starting with the Panzer III and culminating in the Leopard I. Unfortunately, there’s nothing in the patch notes about me sucking less, so I’ll be steering clear.
You can pick up World of Tanks Blitz for iOS Universal or Android and both of them are free to download. After the break, check out an overview of the Leopard I.
If we were keeping score of how starship simulations are going on mobile, I’d have to say that the home team is taking one on the chin. Sure, FTL is a fantastic game, but that’s not really a simulation. I’m talking about other notable failures like Star Command and Trexels, which put you in charge of modifying a starship, then drop the ball with hackneyed, boring play. We’re still holding out hope for Tiny Trek, which is currently in early access on Steam and should be coming to iOS sometime this year. Into that crucible steps a newcomer, SavySoda, with Pixel Starships.
Because the title contains the word “pixel” they’re legally obligated to have 8-bit graphics. Don’t let that scare you off, however, because looking at the trailer, I hardly noticed. Instead, I’m intrigued by the cutaway side-view of the starship with turbolifts and transporters at the ready. It appears that not only will there be ship-to-ship combat, but sending away teams over to other ships will also be an option. The game is going to be an MMO, so dealing with other humans will be the name of the game.
The trailer looks far more martial than I like my Trek, but hopefully we’re only seeing a small portion of what SavySoda has in store. The expected release isn’t until late 2015/early 2016, so they have some time to polish it up.
Check out the aforementioned trailer after the break.
Of all the Warhammer games currently on tablets, Space Wolf is the only one I can think of that had the opportunity to be free-to-play garbage. From the comments here on Pocket Tactics, however, it turns out that maybe the IAP wasn’t quite so terrible after all. While not perfect, it seems like the biggest thing missing from the original release was multiplayer. Well, starting today, that’s no longer a concern as a new multiplayer update has hit.
Multiplayer is arena style with 3-on-3 battles with seasonal leaderboards. The combat is all turn-based, so the only thing holding this back would be the IAP getting in the way of having a good time. Download it for free and see if the paywall got any higher with the new update.
If you need a secret kept, you can absolutely trust Rodeo Games with it. Over a year ago we learned that the next game from the makers of Warhammer Quest would be another Games Workshop property, but aside from that we knew nothing at all. I prodded. I pleaded. Rodeo would divulge nothing. Pocket Tactics spies skulked off into the night to uncover what they could.
“It’s a game about 40K Inquisitors,” reported one. Other reports corroborated this. “It’s about Inquisitors, but it’s based on Cooking Mama,” said another. Eventually, I began to suspect that our spies had been turned. “It’s not a game — it’s an app that turns Siri into an Ork.”
Finally last week, after months of fruitless hypotheses and unworkable theories, Rodeo’s Ben Murch reached out to reveal what the Guildfordians had been working on. “Deathwatch: Tyranid Invasion is set in the Warhammer 40,000 Universe, and focuses on the Deathwatch,” Murch tells us. “Our game is set in the Astolat Sector which is under threat of being consumed by Tyranids from Hive Fleet Leviathan. The Deathwatch are tasked with undertaking high risk missions to turn the tide of war and defeat the invaders.”
No Inquisitors. No Cooking Mama. But lots and lots of Space Marines and their most famous foes. “It’s a turn-based strategy game,” says Murch, “with the emphasis on strategy.” Now we’re talking.
Around here, we write about free-to-play games about as often as Uri Geller gets invited to antique silverware conventions — but our position shifted ever so slightly last year. Hearthstone and World of Tanks Blitz showed us that–while 99% of free-to-play games are still hot, smelly garbage–it is possible to have an F2P game experience that isn’t skeevy and condescending to the player.
World of Tanks makers Wargaming.net are bringing another of their unusually beguiling F2P games to mobile: World of Tanks Generals is rather a more abstract combat simulation than Blitz — it’s a head-to-head multiplayer card game. Like Hearthstone, it’s a collectible game where you unlock new cards customize your deck with. Wargaming say that there’s 200 cards in the game at the moment, with more coming. There’s three different factions (the US, USSR, and Germany, following the WWII and early post-war setting of WoT) and you can probably count on the British, French, and Japanese eventually showing up, too.
Generals just started a closed for desktop web browsers that you can sign up for here. The game will be available for iOS and Android “in the future”. Trailer (with dramatic voiceover!) below.
The thing I get the most emails about is beard-grooming advice, followed closely by mewling requests to stop holding the world for ransom from my sinister lair high atop Mount Hexmap. But number 3 is definitely PT readers wondering what the heck is up with Star Realms.
The sci-fi flavoured deck-building card game got a good write-up from us last year and it did even better over at Board Game Geek, where it pulled down a fistful of Golden Geek Awards. It’s a nifty little card game that had some UI wonkiness in its iOS and Android incarnations, and it had a strong tang of “pre-expansion” gameplay — there were a lot of obvious open sockets waiting to be hooked up to more elaborate gameplay mechanics.
The Gambit expansion for the Star Realms base set came out on cardboard back in 2013, and it’ll hit desktops and mobile versions of Star Realms this Thursday, White Wizard Games told me this morning. Gambit cards are randomly dealt to the players at the beginning of the game and allow the player that holds them to bend certain rules, encouraging players to pursue different gameplay styles. It’s a neat idea and the expansion is generally well-reviewed on tabletop. Perhaps even better: there’s two new chapters included in the much-admired single-player campaign. Gambit will be available as a single in-app purchase for $4.
Besides the new cards, there’s been some welcome tweaks and additional functionality to the Star Realms app, and everybody will get these improvements when the game updates this week, whether or not you buy the new card set. There’s a new update feed which will help you stay on top of your asynchronous games (a big pain in the engines in 1.0), an option for faster card animations, online leaderboards, and new tips and hints to smooth out the learning curve for new players.
Lots more images from the expansion after the jump.