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.
Posts Tagged: RPGs
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
Turn-based dungeon crawler Loot & Legends has finally made its way to iOS, almost a year out from its formal announcement. You might recall the game by its original title, Card Hunter, which the developers changed last year to avoid the unfortunate spoonerism that you can arrive at with a little letter transposing. Yes, that one.
Way, way back in 2012, when we still rode penny-farthings and your last name indicated your profession, 100% of all free-to-play games were absolute irredeemable rubbish. A lot has changed in the ensuing three years — now merely 99% of free-to-play games are rubbish.
Today one can simply point to Hearthstone and World of Tanks Blitz for examples of F2P games that aren’t undignified money grabs, but that trail was blazed on the PC by Card Hunter, which in 2012 was one of the very first games to suggest that free-to-play could be done respectably. The turn-based tactical RPG does a fine job of retrofitting modern video game conventions into 1980s-era pen & paper RPGs — playing it really does feel like running a D&D campaign in your basement through an ocean of Diablo-style random loot. It’s genuinely pretty funny, which remains no rare feat for a video game. Importantly, the free-to-play monetization never gets in the way, or at least it didn’t when I played the game last year — you can pay for extra character slots, but there’s an ample supply when playing for free.
Loot & Legends should be a good fit for mobile. We’ve dispatched Kelsey to find out. Watch the trailer below, and you can download the game on the App Store right now.
No, that’s not a curse word in the headline. Cheeky monkey. That’s Xenoshyft. I don’t know, either. I do know that it’s a deck-building card game for iPad, and boy do we like those around here.
So let’s talk about AlienCoprolite (much catchier, no?) and all of tonight’s other notable releases after the jump.
One of the best games to come to iPad this year was the old school dungeon crawler, Legend of Grimrock. It has everything: massive dungeon layouts, tons of monsters, cool combat, great spell system, interesting character development, and fun loot. The only thing missing from Grimrock was the ability to play it when you left your iPad at home. Not a problem, it’s gone Universal now, which means that previous owners don’t have to repurchase the app but can load it up on their phones for free.
Legend of Grimrock is one of, if not the, best RPG experience on the App Store right now. Following the lead of games from yesteryear like Eye of the Beholder, you lead a group of adventurers through a dungeon via a first person interface, but do so in very Gygaxian 5-foot chunks. Each level of the seemingly endless dungeon becomes its own monster-filled puzzle that you need to unravel before descending another level.
If you haven’t tried Grimrock yet, head over to the App Store right now and snatch it up. For only $5, it’s a steal. Don’t believe me, check out the trailer after the break.