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.
We don’t usually talk about price drops too often, but when the game in question is one of the best turn-based tactical games ever made we tend to pay attention. Today, 2K Games dropped the price of XCOM: Enemy Within down to only $5 from its usual $13. Getting XCOM for $13 is, frankly, a steal so getting it for $5 is pretty much like getting it for free.
If you haven’t played XCOM on your iPad before and you’re thinking, “This can’t be the same game that I have to pay $60 for on Steam,” then you’re in for a treat, because it is. Yep, the base game + the Enemy Within expansion will run you $30 a piece on Steam, but on iPad today you can get them both for $5. Now, sure, with the iPad version you can’t go back and just play vanilla XCOM, but that’s a small price to pay, wouldn’t you agree?
Other than Hearthstone, I can’t think of any game on my iPad that I’ve sunk more time into [What about me? –Pinball Arcade] and I cannot recommend it highly enough, especially if you’re using an iPad Air or Air 2. It runs like butter on those. Then again, I’ve even played it on my iPad 2 without too much difficulty.
XCOM: Enemy Within is for iOS Universal and Android, but the sale appears to only be available on the App Store. Trailer after the break.
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.
Now before you start clicking links from your iPad or Android tablet or Chumby — this current pre-release alpha build of The Curious Expedition is a weighty HTML 5 monster that runs best on a desktop browser. I got it running on my iPad once but the incantations required are much too dark to share on a public forum such as this. So take a break from House of Cards and play it on your computer for a bit this weekend. If you like it (and I reckon you will) you can shell out a few bucks to get early access.
The Curious Expedition is a crackerjack of a game we’ve talked about a coupleof times before: you take on the role of one of the great names of the 19th and 20th centuries like Nicola Tesla and Amelia Earhart and lead expeditions into randomly-generated (and increasingly more dangerous) jungles, testing the patience of the indigenous folks and avoiding wild animals to find lost treasures. It’s actually even weirder than that: there’s Toltec gold and valleys full of dinosaurs and a lot of other stuff that might have been mined from a drunk Jules Verne/Arthur Conan-Doyle spitballing session. The Curious Expedition will get a native tablet app edition once development wraps on the web-based game, German devs Maschinen-Mensch tell us.
It seems like the Game Mechanic of the Year for 2015 is going to be sanity: keeping your characters in touch with reality figures prominently in The Curious Expedition, as it does in Darkest Dungeon and Sunless Sea. Is that a sign of our growing preoccupation with mental health as a new generation of combat veterans reintegrates into civilian life? Or a murmur in our collective subconscious as the Great Old Ones awaken in the black depths of the Pacific? It’s gotta be one of those two.
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.
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.
It is an undebateable fact that Adam Saltsman is one of the most influential game developers still above ground. The creator of Canabalt single-handedly invented the infinite runner, a genre that (for better or worse) grew like kudzu over the App Store. I still get three or four pitches a week for new Canabalt clones, six years on from its release. And we don’t even cover infinite runners here — imagine how many the TouchArcade guys get. Saltsman’s big follow-up was producing the uniquely elegant Hundreds in 2013, which was probably the App Store’s most religiously-played puzzler until the reign of Threes began.
Saltsman’s been quiet for the past year or so, but not idle. He’s been lurking behind the scenes, collecting his various games under the single roof of his new games imprint Finji. The label’s first original production is planned to ship later this year; it’s called Overland, and it’s a turn-based tactical game that’s packing a lot of new ideas.
After the jump, my conversation with Adam Saltsman and the very first publicly released screenshots and concept images of Overland, which will be playable at GDC this spring.
Gypsy is actually the one you have to watch out for.
French devs Studio Nyx got in touch over the weekend with the first trailer for Legions of Steel, the iOS-, Android- and PC-bound digital resurrection of the eponymous cult hit tabletop miniatures game of the early 1990s. We’ve been following this one for a good long while: from the studio’s ill-fated Kickstarter back in 2013 to their rescue by Slitherine, who funded the remainder of the development.
Legions is a turn-based tactical game that’s very faithful to the miniatures game it emulates: you lead a squad of human commandos fighting an insurgency against the machines that rule our solar system in turn-based combat. Developer Romain Soulie tells me that the online multiplayer is going to be hot, and I believe him. The hook with Legions is the order system, which is more complex and nuanced than many tactical games, giving you granular control over how your squad provides cover fire and overwatch. I messed with a development build last year and liked it a lot.
Legions was due out end of last year — that clearly didn’t happen but the devs tell me that it’s almost go time for this one. Check out the trailer after the jump and keep tabs on Studio Nyx via Facebook.
Impossible to imagine, I know, but we missed Space Marshals when it dropped last week. And that’s a pity, because it looks like it might be up our street.
Space Marshals is a tactical top-down sci-fi shooter from Swedish studio Pixelbite — but this doesn’t look like a frantic twin-stick bullet orgy. The pace looks downright sedate, at least by shooter standards. There’s also a couple of different approaches to gameplay: guns-blazing or sneaky-sneaky. There’s also a lot of unique guns and variable loadouts.
Most importantly, Space Marshals takes place in a distant future where cowboy hats are back in fashion. At least, I think those are cowboy hats. Might be Pharrell.