If there’s one type of game that everyone at Mt. Hexmap can usually get behind, it’s the RPG hybrid. Whether it’s a match-3 mixup like You Must Build a Boat, or a card-driven solitaire game like Card Crawl, chances are that if you mix any mechanism [not those hidden picture games, though. We need to draw the line somewhere. -ed.] with killing monsters and nabbing loot, we’ll make room for it on our device. Today we received a note from Clint Jorgensen, who used to be an art director at a little developer called PopCap, about his first game with new developer, Righteous Hammer Games. It’s called Solitairica and it looks pretty darn sweet.
Besides being hard to type, Solitairica blends a dungeon crawl with, you guessed it, solitaire. While that might sound a bit like Card Crawl, the trailer should dissuade you of that pretty quick. Instead, it looks far closer to a traditional solitaire game, albeit with a deck of monsters at the top that affect card play. It’s not just solitaire, though, it has a touch of roguelike in it as well. Players will battle a never-ending string of monsters, but you will get to level up and add new skills and special abilities as the game wears on, and those will be different depending on which class you’re playing.
Look for Solitairica to hit the App Store in early 2016, but first check out the teaser trailer after the break. This looks like it will be a good one.
If nothing else, it should help me explain rotary phones to my kids.
On the surface, Eon Altar appears to be just another action-RPG that looks a lot like Diablo or Baldur’s Gate. Of course, I say that about every action-RPG, so it’s not their fault. Watching the trailer for this one, you’d think it’s going to be a console game, what with everyone gathered around the TV. Ha! Fooled ya, it’s actually for PC/Mac. This brings up a couple interesting questions, such as, why is everyone sitting on the couch playing a PC game, and what the hell does any of this have to do with getting a post on Pocket Tactics?
Eon Altar’s gimmick revolves around smartphones, specifically using one as a controller. This seems strange because one of the biggest knocks on touchscreen gaming is that touchscreen controls generally suck. It’s not just a controller, however, it also allows for some hidden information to be passed along to players during the game which sounds cool until you realize that any online-multiplayer game could do that, and it’s simply the fact that these people are playing together on their couch which makes it seem different.
I know I sound down on the whole thing, but I’m truly hoping it works. Using your phone as a character sheet and being able to receive messages that remain secret from the other PCs in a cooperative game sounds like a DM’s dream come true. Plus, anything that innovates in the RPG genre is, what I like to call, cool beans.
Eon Altar is currently available via Steam Early Access and the controller app is free for both iOS Universal and Android devices. Check out the trailer after the break. The game does look really cool, and it’s getting some good reviews so far, so hopefully it catches on.
Back when Knights of Pen and Paper 2 landed earlier this year, we lamented the fact that the game consisted of doing the same thing over and over again, without any reward. It was grinding for the sake of grinding, which turned out to not be very fun. That’s not to say it was a terrible game, it just needed a little more variance and some end-game content that would mix things up a bit. Hopefully that’s what we’re getting in the just released expansion, Fists of +1 Fury.
The expansion brings in new monsters and loot, as well as a new character class, the Monk. More importantly, the expansion includes an entirely new campaign based in “the East” which, of course, means talking pandas. I’m not sure whether we should blame Jack Black or Blizzard Entertainment for that one. My biggest concern is how this all plays with the original content which ended…well, ended with your RPG group not getting along very well.
The expansion is currently available for both iOS Universal and Android and costs $2 as an IAP. Check out the expansion trailer after the break.
The wonderfully original Galactic Keep is more than just a pretty, multi-mandibled face — it’s also an RPG whose combat requires a little more nous than might be apparent at first. In the interest of preserving the temporal integrity of this timeline, I asked Galactic Keep creator Rob Lemon to write us some tips on keeping your Coalition agents alive. There’s a heck of a lot going on under the hood of this game, and Rob lays a lot of it bare for us. –O.F.
I always preferred folders in school. Three-ring binders seemed needlessly baroque, loud, and treacherous (I must have been pinched by one once, and have ever after been prejudiced against the entire race, like my grandfather who would never buy a Japanese car after being wounded on Guadalcanal). But there was one product I was ashamed to find utterly alluring: the Trapper Keeper.
Back in 2009 when Galactic Keep was first announced, NASA’s New Horizons probe was only halfway to Pluto. In the time it has taken for Gilded Skull Games’ inimitable pen-and-paper-styled RPG to complete development, you could have taken a trip to a moon of Jupiter and LARPed your own Galactic Keep.
After years of on and off development, Galactic Keep: Dice Battles is finally sitting in Apple’s approvals queue. The wait, I’m pretty sure, will have been worth it. The preview version of the game that I played last year was a very rewarding turn-based RPG that felt utterly unique. It’s almost disturbingly detailed. The number of man-hours spent on this game makes me want to have creator Rob Lemon involuntarily committed. He’s obviously a loon. But the game plays wonderfully — or at least it did last year. Fans of Rodeo Games‘ exquisitely hand-crafted tactical games are going to feel right at home with it.
Rob Lemon tells me that the last year has been spent on obsessive balancing, as well as adding new maps, new secret locations and items, iCloud saving (so you can play the same game across multiple devices), and a full technical Q&A done with a 3rd party to ensure that Galactic Keep is as bug-free as possible on launch day.
There’s a hot-off-the-presses trailer after the jump, and my extensive hands-on preview from last July should still be mostly accurate. We’ll let you know when Galactic Keep is ready to go live, but it should be within the next fortnight.
Zombie holocaust-themed management sim Rebuild 3 won’t be dropping for iOS tonight as originally planned, developer Sarah Northway told us yesterday. A final round of pre-release testing caught a show-stopper of a bug.
That’s a real pity, but Northway takes quality control as seriously as this site takes gag headlines. Can’t fault her. As an olive branch to disappointed fans, Northway will be running a wide-open beta for the next couple of weeks on iOS, aiming to get it as many users as possible. The details are over at the Northway Games blog.
We previewed Rebuild 3: Gangs of Deadsville last year, and our man Davy Lane will have a review of the mobile version ready to go for the new launch date in a couple of weeks. Watch the trailer for Rebuild 3 after the jump.
Anyone who’s played Luca Redwood‘s peerless match-3 puzzle adventure You Must Build A Boat has surely noticed hints of D&D complexity lurking around the edges of the game. Every object in the world has a slew of RPG attributes, from the swords and staves to the monsters and the dungeons themselves, but the game mostly obscures all of that cruft so you can focus on the tile-matching.
One mystery of the game is the Hammerhorn, a macguffin your character picks a quarter of the way into YMBAB. Every once in a while, when your character is just about to slump over in defeat, the Hammerhorn blows and summons your boatload of allies onto the screen, where they blast every visible enemy and give you a final desperate chance to prolong your run.
The Hammerhorn is a great example of YMBAB’s playful deeper complexity: you can intuit some of its mechanics, but why and when the Hammerhorn blows is hidden away from you. This philosophy is one of my favourite things about Redwood’s games: you can’t ever fall into analysis paralysis. Redwood invites you to just play his games by feel and gut instinct. The uncertain universe you find yourself in casts you back to playing as a kid, where the world of a video game felt boundless.
I’ve coerced Luca Redwood into revealing a little bit of how the Hammerhorn actually works — a rare peek behind the curtain of You Must Build a Boat, which Redwood tells me still contains secrets and collectibles that no player has found. –Owen