“In the game of chess, you can never let your adversary see your pieces.”
Venerable Dreadnaughts who have been reading Pocket Tactics since the Emperor was young will remember Heroes of the Revolution, a 2014 wargame that made my tiny black heart grow three sizes. Heroes was bold enough to jump off the tired old wargaming bus that shuttles back and forth between World War II and the Napoleonic Wars, presenting us with an inventive Cuban Revolution wargame fitted out with fresh ideas and gameplay mechanics. We deemed it one of last year’s most under-rated games.
Heroes developer GamerNationX (never was there a studio with a name more suited to inscribing on a Mead Trapper Keeper) have shown us their next title. It’s called Sentinel Command, and it’s a turn-based sci-fi starship fleet combat game. You are the commodore tasked with the defense of the province of Kernwall, the sector of space where noble House Sedaris maintains its mines and refineries and its fabulous selection of serif fonts. The other great Houses send raiding parties to capture your precious supplies of neo-platinum (used to make commemorative records for neo-Taylor Swift).
Your job is to assign fleets for the defense of Kernwall, intercepting the enemy where possible and employing the unique abilities of your fleets’ officers to prevail — but committing your best officers to a tough fight isn’t without risk, as injuries can take them out of the battle. At the strategic level, your House War Council will periodically ask you to allocate your neo-platinum stocks to other provinces, which can net your new abilities and advantages.
I love absolutely everything about this. I love the look and feel of the game, which is a big step up from Heroes of the Revolution’s homespun aesthetic. I love the Dune-flavoured sci-fi gothic setting. I love the narrow focus of the setup, which suggests that GamerNationX designer John Ellenberger has another clever scenario to let us loose upon. I’m champing at the bit to play this.
After the jump, there’s the very first gameplay trailer for Sentinel Command awaiting your attention. GNX tell us that the game should be out very soon on iPad — possibly before the end of July. The game will be $6.99 US with no IAPs when it hits.
If you look closely, you can see Hayden Christensen laying on the side of that volcano.
When Out There hit the App Store last year, it was already one of the year’s best games. Developer Mi-Clos Studio figured they could do better, and thus was born the Omega Edition of Out There which arrived for iOS and Android earlier this week.
Arriving as a free update for current owners, the Omega Edition adds more of what we already loved about the original: over 50 new interactive stories, new endings, new aliens, and new spaceships. The most striking addition to Out There, however, is the graphic overhaul. The original Out There wasn’t a terrible looking game–simple, perhaps–but the Omega Edition looks downright dreamy.
There’s more, such as better localizations and more music from Siddhartha Barnhoorn, but all you really need to know is that the game is bigger and better and it didn’t cost you a thing.
Now, if you haven’t tried Out There yet, you can snag it for iOS Universal or Android for only $5. Check out the Omega Edition trailer after the break.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.