Posts Tagged: Sci-fi

To boldly go: Pixel Starships another try at mobile starship management

Not exactly LCARS, is it.

Not exactly LCARS, is it.

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.

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Overland gameplay video trades space for time

Pipe dreams.

Pipe dreams.

So wow — I’ve been really busy the last few weeks* and what I’m about to post has been out in the world for damn near a month, but I didn’t want it to pass without comment here at PT. Adam Saltsman has unveiled some extensive gameplay from the forthcoming Overland in a video feature he did with GameSpot a couple of weeks back, and wow does that game look great.

You might remember the gist of the big Overland interview we did with Adam back in February: a post-apocalyptic tactical game that took XCOM’s tactical combat and made it more approachable. That’s already a pretty damn good pitch, but there’s more revealed in this video that Saltsman didn’t tell us about. There’s stuff in this video that reminds me (at a high level, anyway) of Keith Burgun’s fascinating 4X experiment Empire: the world is completely hostile to you, and you’re constantly being pushed to move on. No wiping out the enemy and casually looting their pockets in Overland. In fact, it looks like a lot of what you’re doing won’t even be combat in Overland, just buying time to escape into the next scenario. It sounds exhilarating.

The game’s official website still has that coy “2015” plastered in the release date box, but we’ll let you know as soon as we hear more. In the meantime, set aside fifteen minutes to watch the video below.

*With what, you ask? I’ll tell you soon. It’s… awesome.

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Better late than never: Rogue Star set to arrive (finally)

Not quite up there with "your mother was a hamster" but we'll take it.

Not quite up there with “your mother was a hamster” but we’ll take it.

We first talked about the space shooter, Rogue Star, back in early 2013 with the story being that we could expect to see it by spring. Little did we all know at the time, but Owen was talking about spring of 2015. We just heard from developer, Redbreast Studio, that Rogue Star has been submitted to Apple and should be here soon, aka spring of 2015 or, as we like to say here at Pocket Tactics, Owen is always right.

Rogue Star started out looking like a sci-fi, 3D dogfighting simulator. In the past couple years, however, it appears to have grown into something a little bigger. The game now contains things like trading and salvaging, which sounds more like an open-world game than just a straight shoot-em-up. I guess we’ll see when Apple approves this thing and gets it out on our iDevices.

After the break is a trailer from just a couple months ago. It’s a fairly epic, depicting dogfights amongst capital ships and lots and lots of pretty explosions. Oh, and we have more screenshots back there, too.

Expect Rogue Star to arrive for iOS Universal sometime in the next couple weeks.

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Dream space nine: Halcyon-6 Starbase Commander a tablet possibility

Considering their homeworld, what other diplomatic tendency would you have expected?

Considering their homeworld, what other diplomatic tendency would you have expected?

Halcyon-6 is an upcoming rogue-like, sci-fi game that’s currently on Kickstarter for PC and Mac, which probably makes you wonder why I’m talking about it on Pocket Tactics. Well, much like another rogue-like sci-fi game that started out on PC/Mac, Halcyon-6 may be coming to tablets. If you read down on the Kickstarter page they specifically say that other platforms (iOS/Android) may appear as stretch goals depending on the success of the campaign and interest.

Now, Halcyon-6 is already well over-funded with 16 days left to go, but there’s still been no stretch goal indicating that iOS or Android are in the works. We need to change that. All the sci-fi stuff packed into this game looks absolutely fantastic. Don’t believe me? Watch the Kickstarter trailer after the break, and then head over the Kickstarter and let them know you’re looking for a mobile version.

Hat tip to Matthew Tucker 

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Revealed — Deathwatch: Tyranid Invasion bursts from the chests of Rodeo Games this summer for iOS

Are you feeling lucky, xeno-punk?

Are you feeling lucky, xeno-punk?

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.

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Buzz kill: Apple rejects Buzz Aldrin-designed game for featuring Buzz Aldrin

Touch-and-go landing.

Touch-and-go landing.

I was over at Slitherine yesterday talking to director Iain McNeil and–you’re gonna love this–he told me that Apple have rejected Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager because the game “contains well-known third parties”. Bwuh?

Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager has been in production at Polar Motion for a couple of years, with Slitherine publishing. The game is meant to be a spiritual successor to the classic space sim Race Into Space, and is being made with significant input from Buzz himself — America’s most storied (and pugilistic) living astronaut. So for maximum clarity: this is a Buzz Aldrin-endorsed game being made (in part) by Buzz Aldrin. How Aldrin can be considered a third party to a game he worked on (a fact that Slitherine’s App Store description trumpets all over the place) is beyond me. Meanwhile, just a week ago, Apple approved a game taking the mickey out of Kim Jong Un, so somebody tell me how this “well-known third parties” thing is supposed to work.

McNeil just sort of shrugged his shoulders about the whole thing. “We thought we were pretty safe this time,” he told me. “It’s one of the only Slitherine games I can think of with no violence or guns.” The game does feature flags, though — we know that Apple gets touchy about those sometimes.

After the “realistic violence” fiasco and the German/Soviet “enemies” affair, I feel bad for the Apple approvals people. They get mocked when they mess up and don’t get noticed at all when they do their jobs right. So let’s just thank them for giving Slitherine a reason to tell us that Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager will be out for iPad soon — assuming this nonsense gets cleared up.

Read my preview from last year to get a feel for what’s coming.

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Screenshots from Gambit, the first expansion for Star Realms, coming to iOS & Android later this week

Less than 12 parsecs?

Less than 12 parsecs?

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.

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Assets unfrozen: Tactical masterpiece Frozen Synapse is free on iOS

Standoff on CyberMexico

Standoff on CyberMexico

Mode 7 have sent a message back in time from the future cyber-dystopia where they live: Frozen Synapse, the simultaneous-turn tactical combat game that we deemed our 2013 Multiplayer Game of the Year Runner-Up is free for the next couple of days. That’s a very steep discount on the usual price of $10, so chop chop.

This sudden burst of generosity was inspired by the Oxford duo’s PC launch of turn-based robot football game Frozen Cortex — a title whose future arrival on tablets is all but assured.

Dev Paul Kilduff-Taylor shot over this note: “We really would like some new people to try out simultaneous turn-based gameplay because it’s fantastic.  We think Frozen Cortex is the next level of this so we’d love all of our new Frozen Synapse players to check that out.”

Frozen Synapse has a long and very enjoyable single-player campaign that I strongly suggest you meditate on for some time before attempting the online multiplayer: the dudes who are still playing FS online are super-mega-sharks from hell and they will shred the unworthy. But do pop over to the App Store and pick up Frozen Synapse for free — you won’t regret it.

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