Gilded Skull Games first update on the Galactic Keep Dice Battles website was back in September of 2012, but it’s been floating around since before Pocket Tactics was a glint in Owen’s eye. Many years later and we’re mostly still in the dark. Oh, sure, we’ve had preview builds played and other updates, but the official webpage hasn’t been updated since February.
Turns out I’ve been looking in the wrong place. Gilded Skull has been posting updates in the forums over at TouchArcade, the latest update popping up just yesterday. From the sound of it, Galactic Keep Dice Battles is nearing completion. All the maps and scripted events are finished with the only apparent issue being that the game doesn’t care for closing during a scripted event. They also need to tweak some of the graphical elements, but are expecting to head into the bug squashing and play balance phase soon.
After reading Owen’s thoughts about his time with the alpha version, I can’t wait to get my hands on this one as well. Trailer after the break.
One of the most anticipated titles announced at Gen Con was Obsidian Entertainment porting over Paizo‘s card-based RPG, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. Since the announcement, however, things have been dark on the Pathfinder front. In fact, we didn’t even have any official screenshots, just some pictures of the game on a monitor. Yesterday the darkness began to fade away when I spoke with Shane DeFreest and Nathan Davis of Obsidian Entertainment.
The slowdown in gaming Kickstarters that we could all sense in the air has been empiricized by some data collected by games industry consultants ICO Partners. The big crowdfunding gold rush of 2012/13 that spawned Banner Saga and El Alamein is no more: the overall take for video game campaigns this year is on track to be a little less than half of what it was the year before.
We’re still seeing successes of course, but it’s niche stuff like Yardmaster rather than big commercial projects, but I’m cool with that. If you’re reading this, you’re one of the 0.001% of video game consumers that spends time reading about games — I think that makes us niche. But clearly, Kickstarter projects for games will look different next year: less frequent, smaller dollar amounts.
After the jump, we catch up with the Trese Brothers’ Star Traders 2 campaign and look in on some new ones.
Ever notice that the Air Elemental looks like Mr Glitch from Math Man?
Veteran readers will recall this site’s torrid affair with Dream Quest, a goofily psychedelic and artistically unambitious iOS morsel that just happens to offer some of freshest and most interesting gameplay in memory. I don’t mean to suggest that this affair is over. Oh no.
Months after release Dream Quest still occupies an exalted place on my devices (protected from The Great iOS 8 Update Memory Clear-out of ’14) and is regularly fired up for another couple of runs. The unique combination of deck-building and roguelike is exquisite, and there’s so many cards, enemies, and character classes to learn. It’s a game you could spend months… years mastering.
We’re not the only ones enraptured by Peter Whalen’s gem: Dream Quest’s fans include Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic: The Gathering, Android Netrunner and a giant catalog of other great games.
“He actually sent me a very nice e-mail,” Whalen told me this morning. “Apparently he’s been really enjoying the game and even mentions it on his Facebook page. We’ve talked a bit and he had a lot of valuable feedback. Getting a chance to meet him and talk about design has definitely been one of the high points of my (fledgling) career in games.”
So what’s in this update, and what did one of the most legendary living game designers contribute to it?
I thought fighting was what you were *supposed* to do in the mead hall.
After a summer of teasing that the game was close to release, narrative-driven tactical RPG Banner Saga finally arrived for iOS overnight. Even if you didn’t play the PC version of the game, the name might be sounding a horn for you — it was one of the first wave of huge Kickstarter successes back in 2012.
The Banner Saga is an gigantic achievement of game — it’s all hand-animated and looks like a Viking XCOM produced by Don Bluth. It got mostly positive reviews earlier this year on PC, including a generally agreeable nod from our man Phil. I think it’s a remarkable artefact of the strategy games renaissance that we’re in. Not only are strategy games mainstream again, but they’re objects of extraordinary artistic effort — which isn’t really something you could have said about most of the tactical titles from the first golden age of the 1990s.
It’s been a good long while since I had a reason to write about God of Blades, which is a real pity because I love God of Blades. Our 2012 Action Game of the Year channels the late 70’s so hard it smells vaguely of leather and hair spray. It comes from a time when fantasy genre fiction was so tightly wrapped around psychedelia that you couldn’t pull them apart. God of Blades is Heavy Metal: The Game, basically.
You’re the Nameless King (or the Whispering Lady) called back from the dead to confront an evil that only you can defeat — and you defeat it by running around thwapping monsters in the puss with a giant sword longer than you are tall. There’s unlockable swords, subtly tactical duelling, and a soundtrack that gives me chills. Don’t you dare play this with the sound off or you’re missing the half of the appeal.
Here’s a game that only true App Store nerds might remember: Aralon, which was probably the most ambitious iOS game of 2010. New York devs Crescent Moon dropped us a line to say that Aralon has received its first update in two years, adding widescreen support for iPhone 6.
Aralon was mind-blowing for the time — it was a contemporary of Infinity Blade and though that game was much prettier, Aralon was bigger, offering an Elder Scrolls-style open-world RPG experience. It was the first hint that console-quality games could be done on mobile. Crescent Moon themselves have since outdone Aralon with the bigger, niftier Ravensword: Shadowlands, but Aralon is still a reasonably epic goblin-whacking experience today.
Watch the trailer for this bit of iOS gaming history after the jump. Aralon is on Android, too.
PT reader Nikos wrote in to tell us about Card Dungeon, a single-player roguelike due out next week on iOS from Indiana’s Playtap Games. You play as the Crusader, delving randomly-generated dungeons and collecting loot on a quest. There’s thousands of cards to find in the game, the devs say.
Now, Card Dungeon is going to look awfully familiar to anybody who’s played Card Hunter, Blue Manchu’s popular web-based free-to-play RPG that’s currently in development for mobile — they’re both doing this tongue-in-cheek channelling of 1980s tabletop games. I asked developer Fredrik Skarstedt about that today.
“There is no relationship between the excellent Card Hunter and our game,” says Skarstedt. “Both games use the same source material as inspiration: Dungeons and Dragons, board games such as Dungeon! and Heroquest from the 80’s, that I used to play as a kid, and collectible card games. I wanted Card Dungeon to look and feel like how I saw those games in my imagination when I played them as a kid.” Hmm.
There’s some substantial differences under that similar surface aesthetic: in Card Dungeon you control one character, not a party. It’s also a straight-up premium game that you pay for once and play to your heart’s content. There’s also that roguelike bit I mentioned earlier. “We also have corpse runs as a major feature,” says Skarstedt. “If you die during a run a grave marker will be placed at that location. If you make it back to your where you died, you gain all of your cards and money back that you were using the last run. If you don’t make it and perish again a new grave marker will be placed at the new location.”
Card Dungeon is a Universal app due out on October 1st for $3.99 — we’ll remind you next week.