Posts Tagged: Sci-fi

Space opera in real-time: Haegemonia: Legions of Iron comes to tablets

Real-time touch controls...took me 20 minutes to get these ships to move

I love real-time touch controls. It took me 20 minutes to get these ships to move

Real time strategy games don’t have a storied history on touch devices. There might be an exception–I can’t think of one–but for the most part, the genre just doesn’t work as well without a mouse and keyboard or a controller. With that rousing introduction, let me introduce you to Haegemonia: Legions of Iron. Yes, it has real-time space battles, but it also has colony and resource management, technology trees, and all that good stuff we associate with the 4X genre.

Haegemonia is actually a port of a 2002 PC title that was actually around well before it’s closest, and better known, competitor Sins of a Solar Empire, and it sounds like it should tickle all my fancies: colony management, espionage, 40 different ships, 200 inventions to develop, and 50 types of planets. The game is available in a $4 version or a free version that lets you try out the game and then unlock the full title for $4. Sounds like there’s nothing to lose.

Haegmonia is out right now for iOS and Android. Check out the lengthy gameplay trailer from Touchgameplay after the break.

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The Crowdfunder: Galaxy of Trian, Star Traders 2, and more

Wearable tech: also hot in the Galaxy of Trian.

Wearable tech: also hot in the Galaxy of Trian.

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.

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Out Tonight: Card Dungeon, Naal Forsa, I am a Brave Knight, and more

These characters are so two-dimensional.

These characters are so two-dimensional.

Such an interesting batch of releases tonight — most of them wild cards that I haven’t played yet. The big release this week has been and gone (Galaxy Trucker, which Dave reviewed on Monday), and there’s some other notable stuff already available right this second like Tin Man’s Fire*Wolf and Gulf War veteran’s tale Pry.

But if your electronic boots aren’t already filled with App Store loot, there’s more games coming later this evening. I’ll tell you about the one that I’ve played and we can look at all the other stuff together. Pour yourself a drink and meet me after the jump.

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Take a deep breath: Hunted Cow reveals first collabo with VPG is Infection: Humanity’s Last Gasp

License to ill.

License to ill.

Hunted Cow impresario Andrew Mulholland has just sent us an exclusive early peek the first fruit of the Scottish studio’s licensing deal with tabletop publishers Victory Point Games. Infection: Humanity’s Last Gasp is a digital adaptation of the board game of the same name and it’s due out on mobile and PC in December.

Thematically, Infection bears a strong resemblance to Z-Man’s Pandemic, which was the subject of an excellent digital translation last year: in both games you’re running a team of scientists racing to everyone’s favourite bipedal species from a coughing, spluttering demise. But where Pandemic is intended as a co-op multiplayer game that also plays well solo, Infection is designed from the ground-up as a single-player affair. Managing your unique scientists is the key to the game, as they grow increasingly stressed and might even become flat-out unwilling to work with each other.

Victory Point announced earlier this summer that they were going to cease in-house development of digital games to hook up with Tank Battle makers Hunted Cow — and that looks like it was a pretty good call. These are static screenshots but already Infection looks more dynamic and self-assured than VPG’s homebuilt games like Zulus on the Ramparts ever did.

More screenshots after the jump. This game sounds like it will be iOS Universal and on Android, too.

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I’m the captain now: Vlaada Chvátil talks to us about Galaxy Trucker for iPad

Your cards ain't worth a dime if you don't lay 'em down.

Your cards ain’t worth a dime if you don’t lay ‘em down.

If you’ve been hanging out with us for the last couple of weeks, you know that we’re pretty well jazzed about Galaxy Trucker, the iPad adaptation of the board game of the same name that’s coming out this Monday.

After 2013’s flood of top-quality board games for iOS (Agricola, Pandemic, Brief History of the World, Lords of Waterdeep… just to name a few), this year there’s been barely a trickle. Dave and I have been playing a preview build of Galaxy Trucker, and it’s easily good enough to compete with that beautiful 2013 bumper crop.

Maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised. Vlaada Chvátil, the designer of Galaxy Trucker and the head honcho at publisher Czech Games Edition has a career that spans the worlds of tabletop and video games. Chvátil is a bona fide board game legend thanks to designs like Space Alert, Mage Knight, and Through The Ages on his CV, but his first notable game design was the 2001 PC RTS Original War, a cult hit that still has an enthusiastic following today.

After the jump, I ask Vlaada Chvátil about Galaxy Trucker and where he sees the intersection of board games and digital platforms taking us in the future.

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The coming of the machines: Legions of Steel in beta, due out on iOS & Android before year’s end

Tom Servo, why have you forsaken us

Tom Servo, why have you forsaken us

“Far in the future,” says the fluff for Slitherine’s forthcoming Legions of Steel, “factions from the Milky Way are forming a military coalition. Their target: The Empire of the Machines, a fearsome robotic authority that endangers the whole galaxy.” If you bought one of those fancy AI thermostats for your house, this is all your fault.

Legions of Steel is borrowing a page from Terminator there, but it’s borrowing the rest of the book from a semi-obscure board game of the same name from the early 90s. Tabletop Legions of Steel was a tactical miniatures game that developed a cult following but never broke through to the same level as Warhammer.

But some folks have never forgotten it — especially not the guys at French developer Studio Nyx, who acquired the rights to Legions of Steel a couple of years ago and have been toiling away ever since. The game is now in full-on beta for both PC and tablets, and unusually for a Slitherine-published game, it’s planned for a simultaneous release on all of those platforms.

Legions of Steel is due out before the end of the year, Slitherine tell me, and the turn-based sci-fi corridor brawls will no doubt be welcomed by those who were a little underwhelmed by Space Hulk‘s rough-around-the-edges adaptation last year. There’s both online multiplayer and single-player scenarios in the mix. Slitherine are looking for beta testers on all platforms, and you can find those details here.

More screenshots and a gameplay video after the jump.

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Out Tonight: Smarter Than You, Anomaly Defenders, Interstellar, and more

It's like Red Rover, but with lasers.

It’s like Red Rover, but with lasers.

We already talked about Anomaly Defenders this morning, 11-bit’s sci-fi tower defence game that casts you Ender Wiggin-style into the role of protecting the aliens you were once trying to exterminate. Edgy, but that’s not the most new interesting story on the App Store tonight. That crown belongs to Luca Redwood, the maker of the wonderfully original puzzle game 10000000.

Redwood has got a very unusual new game for us: Smarter Than You, which he’s calling a “social duelling game”. It’s a Game Center-driven asynchronous paper-rock-scissors game where the power of the attacks varies every round and you have the chance to deceive your opponent about your intentions. But that’s not the weird bit. I’ll tell you that (and show you the rest of tonight’s worthwhile releases) after the jump.

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Towering crescendo: Anomaly Defenders turns your coat tonight

"We're not putting up with those leafers this year."

“We’re not putting up with those leafers this year.”

Polish studio 11-bit’s Anomaly series of tower offense games was so popular that for a few years they were an Anomaly factory, steadily cranking out new editions of the game and little else. They’ve been broadening their horizons this year with announcements of the refugee survival sim This War of Mine and the multiplayer strategy game Spacecom, but before they move on they’ve got a good-bye letter to the games that launched them on their way — one where you fight on behalf of the “bad guys”.

The previous games in the Anomaly series imagine an alien invasion of Earth. These aliens have unimaginably advanced technology but — lucky for mankind — have never played a TD game, so they plop their base structures down in a labyrinth for your intrepid human special ops chaps to navigate. Playing as the creeps rather than the towers has always given the Anomaly games a distinct vein to tap in an over-mined genre: there’s multiple paths through the mazes, tactically interesting special abilities, and customisable unit composition. 11-bit’s titles have been the pinnacle of tower defense production values, with big Michael Bay effects and full voice acting.

Anomaly Defenders flips it all around. The humans are the invaders now, bringing the fight to the aliens’ world. The aliens have recruited you to fight a delaying action against your former comrades, giving them time to skeddadle and prevent your race from committing genocide in their lust for revenge. It’s the first “traditional” (if a seven-year-old game genre can have traditions) tower defense game in the series, and it’s got a hell of an interesting premise. You Benedict.

Anomaly Defenders is 11-bit’s final installment in this series, and it’s out on Android right this very minute; it’ll drop for iOS at midnight tonight. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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