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.
Champagne is being uncorked high atop Mount Hexmap in the Pocket Tactics Prognostication Center and Quick-Pick Lotto Research Institute. The Rise of Vigil expansion for Ascension is going to be out any minute now for iOS, just we predicted last week. This is the first new expansion to everyone’s favourite digital card game in over a year, and marks the renewal of vows between app developers Playdek and game designers Stone Blade, who agreed to put aside their differences and make beautiful Ascension together again.
I asked Stone Blade designer Brian Kibler to tell me what we should be expecting from the new expansion. “Rise of Vigil is my favorite set we’ve released since the original game,” Kibler told me. “The new Energize mechanic leads to big exciting turns, and Treasure cards really make players evaluate cards differently as the game goes on. This combination makes the set great for Ascension beginners and veterans alike.”
Well. We’ll see for ourselves very soon. The Rise of Vigil rules are available as a PDF if you want to get familiar with what’s new while you wait for the App Store update to turn over. From what I’ve read, this expansion mixes things up tremendously: the treasure cards incent you to make non-optimal buys from the center row, and the new energy shards boost your ability to draw cards from your deck, which might make bigger decks more viable and tight decks even punchier.
Android adherents need not be too envious: if all goes to plan, Playdek’s iOS app will be making its way to Google-powered devices sometime later this summer, then PC in the autumn.
After the jump, two more cards from the Rise of Vigil expansion. Never played Ascension? Neither had I a couple of years ago. Read something I wrote about the first expansion back in 2012 to see why it’s so popular.
Naxxramas shakes up established Hearthstone strategies with 30 new cards for Blizzard’s fantasy collectible card game, but it also adds a whole new single-player campaign that adds solo depth to what was primarily a multiplayer affair until now. The PT staff reviewed Hearthstone as a roundtable chat back in May.
After the jump, a cinematic trailer for Naxxramas that (let’s be honest) has bupkis to do with the game, but is still pretty neat-o.
Long-time readers will know that — due to a brain parasite I contracted from an Eldar Farseer during a lurid college spring break on Craftworld Ulthwé — I am pathologically unable to stop myself from posting about Warhammer 40K games, no matter how far outside this blog’s editorial sweet spot.
Horus Heresy: Drop Assault sports a moniker that will quicken the pulse of any 40K nerd, but let me just break your heart right now and get it over with. The game is free-to-play and to my eye, appears to be a Space Marine’d-up Clash of Clans, that most odious F2P skinner box. I could be (and very occasionally am) wrong. Somebody explain to me how I’m wrong and I’ll be much obliged to you.
Canadian devs Complex Games have a resume that includes such titles as TMNT Rooftop Run and Ducktales: Scrooge’s Loot, so big licenses appear to be something of a specialty for them. This is first game set in 40K’s Horus Heresy epoch.
For those readers who have spent their precious time on this mortal coil more wisely than I have, the Horus Heresy is a landmark event in Warhammer 40K fluff: it’s the civil war within the Imperium of Man that led to the status quo in the game’s universe where the diminished Imperium (fascist neo-Roman theocrats) stands off against the corrupt forces of Chaos (punk rock Frankensteins). There’s currently a series of tie-in novels (of wildly varying quality) that digs deeper into the lore.
Horus Heresy: Drop Assault will come to iOS & Android this fall. Watch the trailer after the jump and see if you concur with my diagnosis.
And you may ask yourself, “Well… how did I get here?”
This weekend is associated with no particular holiday or milestone and yet — thanks to the munificence of Space Emperor Xerxes XIV, whose every howl is like music to his subjects — it is quite possibly the biggest discount weekend of the year so far.
Rise of Vigil adds a couple of new mechanics to Ascension: energy shards (essentially a new resource) and treasure cards which grant additional rewards for defeating center row enemies. If you want to bone up on the rules from the new expansion before it hits the app, Stone Blade have made the rules available as a PDF on their site.
We’ll keep our eyes peeled over here and let you know as soon as Rise of Vigil drops.
Admiral Ozzel came out of lightspeed too close to the system.
We’ve grown accustomed to a certain amount of forewarning about the release of iOS titles, which parade neatly onto our iPhones and iPads at precisely 11pm Eastern time on Wednesdays. But it seems as though some game developers think that we’ve grown complacent — too comfortable with our nice predictable conveyor belt of entertainment.
White Wizard, the makers of hot-like-the-sun sci-fi deck-building card game Star Realms, are keeping us on our toes for the iOS release of their debut title. The game has been on the Android market for over a week now, but there’s still no sign of the game on the App Store.
When a developer submits a game to Apple, they can elect to either A) hold the game to release on a particular date or B) just let it ride and launch the moment Apple approves it. White Wizard have unusually gone with the latter route, and as a result nobody knows when the game is due. It’s already been in submission longer than the current 7-day average wait, so who knows what’s up? Maybe Star Realms will be out tonight. Maybe it’ll be out next week. Maybe I’m a guest on the new Flying Lotus record. It is a mystery.
If you’re desperate for some Star Realms, you can stare longingly at the images in my hands-on preview from last month. For the rest of us, let’s peruse a few new releases — that we know for sure are coming.
Despite what the pastel color scheme might have you believe — things are about to get cut-throat.
A couple of weeks back, when I told you about how impressed I was with the elegance and simplicity of Paul Vauvrey’s abstract strategy game Kingdoms, what I really, really wanted was a video to show you the game in action. Kingdoms is so simple that once you’ve seen it in motion for twenty seconds, you feel silly for having spent five minutes trying to communicate the rules with words.
Lo and behold, Vauvrey just sent across that much-needed video. It’s terribly short, but it has a pull-quote from yours truly in it. Not like a funny one or anything. But watch it, and I promise you’ll know definitively within 30 seconds whether or not Kingdoms is going to be your cup of tea.
Kingdoms will be out for iPad late August/early September and will feature online and local multiplayer, plus AI for single-player. Watch the video below, and follow Vauvrey’s studio Space Bears on Twitter and Facebook.