Posts Tagged: Squad tactical

Bioshock creator Ken Levine: My favorite iOS games

Booker, catch.

Booker, catch.

To celebrate Pocket Tactics’ second birthday, we’re handing the mic over to some of our favorite developers to ask them what their favourite iOS or Android games are.

Ken Levine may be the single most influential American game designer of the 21st century. His first work in the games industry was writing and design on the genre-redefining Thief, which he followed up with System Shock, Freedom Force, and the Bioshock games — the guy’s hit percentage is Ted Williams-esque. And he reads Pocket Tactics. Coincidence?

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Closer quarters: Frozen Synapse heads to iPhones “by the end of this year”

Closer quarters.

Fresh out of the vat.

With the slow deliberation of a man clipping the toenails of a velociraptor, Mode 7 Games are introducing Frozen Synapse to every relevant mobile platform. After debuting on iPad and Android last year, the simultaneous-turn tactical game that we anointed our Multiplayer Game of the Year Runner-up is coming to iPhones before the end of 2014. One imagines that Chumby is next.

Now I love Frozen Synapse and I love Mode 7 — their next game for PC is Frozen Endzone, a turn-based American football game with robots that would be amazing on a tablet. But I have a hard time visualising an iteration of Frozen Synapse that works on a phone. There’s an awful lot of interface that needs to get crammed onto a relatively tiny screen. But let’s see what Mode 7 come up with. I’ll nag them for screenshots in a couple of months.

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I cannot self-terminate: Slitherine to publish Legions of Steel for iOS & Android

Come with me if you want to be published.

Come with me if you want to be published.

Slitherine are embracing the role of Troubled Game Development Fairy with boa constrictor-like vigour. Now that the venerable wargaming house have shipped Da Vinci’s Art of War after rescuing it last year, they’ve moved on to play white knight for another title.

Readers with eidetic memories may recall Legions of Steel, an iOS and Android sci-fi tabletop game that whiffed on its Kickstarter funding goal. According to a Facebook post from today, missing that mark was not the end for French devs Studio Nyx, who have sought refuge in Slitherine’s warm, cordite-scented embrace.

Based on a 1990s-era miniatures game of the same name, Legions of Steel will be a turn-based solo or multiplayer tactical game set in a world where machines have risen up to destroy mankind. This is apparently a universe where nobody saw Terminator 2.

I’ll keep you posted about a release date as soon as I hear one. The pitch video for Legions of Steel’s ill-fated Kickstarter is below.

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The Crowdfunder: Duelyst, Chaos Reborn, and Run an Empire

Wizard Burr, Warlock Hamilton.

Wizard Burr, Warlock Hamilton.

Developer Keith Lee got in touch with us the other day about his Kickstarter for Duelyst, a beautifully realised multiplayer squad tactical game that I fell in love with from the very first gif. I can’t overstate how pretty the game is — it looks like Heavy Metal for NES produced by Don Bluth.

What gave me pause about his pitch is the multiplayer-only tactical part of that. That particular elephant’s graveyard is full of ivory: Outwitters, Finest Hour, RAD Soldiers. What does Lee think he can do to success where so many other game’s haven’t?

“If you’re making a game for mobile, I think async must be the primary use case,” Lee told me. “Synchronous is too tough to maintain attention on your mobile device since you might get interrupted. It’s very hard to have a deep [turn-based strategy game] that can be played in a very short time without losing lots of tactical options.”

Duelyst’s killer app then, if you subscribe to Lee’s line of thinking, is the asynchronous gameplay, combined with a one-of-a-kind aesthetic and a lofty skill ceiling. “The emphasis is on unit positioning, understanding your squad’s capabilities, anticipating your opponent, and maintaining board control,” the Kickstarter pitch says. “At its core, it’s a tactical tabletop board game without all the manual math calculations.”

How are we going to pay for it? The old-fashioned way. “We want to be very clear that our game is buy once, up-front. We will not be free-to-play nor do we intend to have monthly fees.”

I’m sold — and so are two thousand-odd others. Duelyst has already hit its $68,000 Kickstarter mark, and Lee & Co. working towards stretch goals. The game is going to be on desktops first, but mobile is coming, Lee assures me. “Our entire codebase is built off HTML5 / OpenGL / Javascript, which means the porting to mobile will be much easier — plus tablets would be great for this game.”

Duelyst’s pitch video and more Kickstarters worth looking at after the jump.

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Chroma Squad takes us under the helmet

This is where you end up with an MFA in dance.

When the devil came, he was not red. He was chrome.

When Clancy named Chroma Squad as one of Pocket Tactics‘ most anticipated games of 2014, he did so on the strength of the game’s memorably weird set-up (run your own Power Rangers-esque TV production company) and the promise of developer Behold Studios’ first game, Knights of Pen & Paper – because we hadn’t actually seen much gameplay footage of the game since it was revealed last summer.

Behold released this new video over the weekend which packs a lot of gameplay into a comedy Japanese infomercial for the game. I love the X-Com-esque blend of gameplay styles: on the strategic level you have to profitably run your TV production company, and on the tactical end you fight the turn-based battles between your actors and stuntmen to record for the show.

Still no solid release date for this one but it can’t be too far away — the game is going into beta soon. It’s bound for PC, Android, and iOS. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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Take stock: Card Hunter coming to tablets later this year

I put on my robe and wizard hat.

I put on my robe and wizard hat.

Way back in the nebulous past of 2012 we heard that well-regarded browser-based CCG Card Hunter would be making its way to iPad & Android. The Flash version of Card Hunter, which combines deck-building and tactical combat with a delightful tabletop game-within-a-game art style, won over a lot of fans last year — including Adam Smith at Pocket Tactics spirit guide RPS.

The time for that long-promised tablet version is upon is, says Card Hunter producer Joe McDonagh. McDonagh’s Blue Manchu Games will be working with the newly-created Dropforge Games in Seattle to bring the game to life. Blue Manchu are notable for their cast of ex-AAA devs from studios like Origin Systems, Irrational, and PopCap. But Dropforge is no slouch: they’re being bankrolled by Wargaming.net, the Eastern European outfit responsible for World of Tanks (and the forthcoming mobile game World of Tanks Blitz).

I asked McDonagh how soon we could expect the port but his answer was cagey. “We’re not announcing a release date yet but this is not a an epic development project.”

If you want to get a feel for what’s coming, you can play Card Hunter right now in your browser, assuming your boss isn’t standing over your shoulder. Watch the trailer below.

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Russ and shine: Space Wolves arrive for Space Hulk

The Space Wolves never get sent anywhere warm, do they? The Salamanders get sent to all those tropical space hulks.

The Space Wolves never get sent anywhere warm, do they? The Salamanders get sent to all those tropical space hulks.

Full Control’s Space Hulk for iOS got off to a pretty rocky start in 2013, but a lot of the bugs and annoyances that fouled the launch edition have been subsequently rooted out. With the game steadied to a degree that satisfies the Emperor, the Danish devs have turned to releasing more content.

The Bloods Angels chapter of the Space Marines have hogged all of the action in the digital translation of the classic sci-fi boarding action board game so far, but a new expansion released this morning lets the Space Wolves take a tour. It’s more than just a re-color of existing assets: there’s 11 new Space Marine Terminators including a Rune Priest (Space Wolves don’t have librarians) and new weapons. There’s three missions in the new campaign.

The Space Wolves expansion is five bucks on Steam or as an in-app purchase within Space Hulk for iOS. I still wish Full Control would release an army painter for this game. I’d probably pay five bucks for that.

The trailer for the expansion is below.

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Galactic Keep update reminds us that the future is still coming

A galaxy far, far away.

A galaxy far, far away.

There was stirring today in the fell fortress in the ruins of Nova Jersey where Gilded Skull Games have been labouring over Galactic Keep. A new development update on the game’s website details advancements made in enemy AI and the game’s map system. It was eons ago that we declared the pen-and-paper RPG-inspired iOS game on of our most keenly-awaited games of 2012, and we’re still a-waiting.

I’m perfectly content to wait, myself. I love the setting: a far-flung galaxy where a band of displaced humans are leading a multi-species rebellion against their alien captors. I love the graphics, which look like they might have popped out of a garage-printed ‘zine. I love the tabletop RPG-style dice battles. I don’t see any other games on the horizon like it, so Galactic Keep might as well take its time.

Gilded Skull have done for-hire app development jobs before, including a SpongeBob game for Nickelodeon. I asked producer Rob Lemon if Galactic Keep’s protracted development was due to contract work competing for time.

“For now it’s ‘all Galactic Keep, all the time’”, he told me. “It’s a big idea. We are still using a game design doc that was written when the project re-started. We’re fine working on it, at our own pace, until our vision has been made a reality.”

That said, the impatient among us might just have a chance to get early access to Galactic Keep somehow. “We’d also like to get it out there, into people’s hands already,” says Lemon. “We’re thinking of ways to get it out sooner… maybe an Alpha/Beta program. We’re speaking to some people who might partner with us on that.”

If you want to make your own mark on the Galactic Keep universe, Gilded Skull are running a promotion on the forums of an obscure games website called Touch Our-Cade where you can design an alien creature that will appear in-game.

You can follow Galactic Keep’s progress on Twitter. You won’t be overloaded with tweets, trust me. There’s a relatively recent trailer after the jump.

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