Superpremium, Premium and Off-Brand: FTP Friday Engulfs our New Release Post15 Apr 2016 3
What? ...me? I have to do free-to-play Friday? But--ouch! That's sharp! Okay, okay, I'm going.
It's Friday, and judging by our coverage, you'd think Warbits was the only game released this week. Warbits should be enough for anyone, but there are some other releases worth a gander. Here are a few premium releases, free demos, and FTP titles that launched this week.
Unless you hate strategy games (in which case, what are you doing here?), you should play Warbits. It's a loving homage to Advance Wars, and Zac gave it 5/5 stars in his review. Zac didn't even give his mom's homemade double chocolate cookies 5/5, so you know that means something. Warbits is available on iOS for about 10% of what a new Advance Wars title cost back in the day.
Dungenious is a novel mix of roguelike dungeon-crawler and quiz game. The premise is that owls have long been guardians of knowledge, but one, Eradicus, went bad and stole all of it, every word, from the Great Library. You have to fight your way through hordes of monsters in this turn-based RPG that subs in multiple choice questions for to-hit rolls. The quiz topics are varied but not witty, perhaps the best use of Dungenius is as a learning reinforcement: you can create your own quizzes, be they on the times table or legal precedent. We almost missed this one: Dungenious launched on iOS and Android today and can be your for $1.36 + $1.63 = A) $299, B) $2.99, C) Three fitty, or D) The Horsehead Nebula.
Zenge is a curious little sliding-piece puzzle game. It starts out effortlessly simple and gradually becomes more complicated. Each puzzle, when completed, continues the mysterious journey of a small being. The colors are warm and soft-toned, and the art is semi-abstract in a way that reminds me of, well, Journey. Zenge is clearly intended to be a pacific experience rather than a brainburner. You can get your Om on for a buck on iOS or Android.
Dungeoneer's Academy: Trials
Dungeoneer's Academy: Trials is a "trial" edition of a turn-based 3D roguelike where you're in training to become a dungeoneer. The training consists of exploring real dungeons and having your performance on each level rated on a 3-star system. Keeping with the Angry Birds-styel setup, levels are discreet and set on a world map. You replay a re-randomized version of any level you've already beaten, and the monsters and loot level up with you. Dungeoneer's Acadmey is pretty forgiving for a Roguelike: if you die, you only lose the loot you accumulated on that level. You can unlock the full game for 99c, or buy the full version as a separate app. Either way, there's no further IAP. Dungeoneer's Academy is available on iOS and Android.
Cube Escape: Theatre
Cube Escape: Theatre is part of Rusty Lake's series of Cube Escape games and a direct sequel to their game Rusty Lake Hotel, which is not part of the Cube Escape series. Confused? Good, that prepare's you for the game's gothic surrealism. All of the games in this series are set at Rusty Lake, which is what Downton Abbey would have been like if it had been co-directed by Luis Buñuel and David Cronenberg. Cube Escape: Theatre is free... just free? really? on iOS and Android.
Spellspire is a free-to-play word game where you must make words out of letter tiles in order to zap monsters. It's a little... make that a lot... like Letter Quest: Grim's Journey, but with an significant twist: letters are not cleared and replaced when you use them to spell a word, and you can't use the same word twice in a level, so there's pressure to make the most of the "spells" you have. Unfortunately, it's easy to see how this will combine with the game's expansive upgrade system to create a hard paywall at some point. If you want to test your Scrabble chops against the machine, you can challenge the Spellspire...on iOS.
X-Tactics is an "episodic Turn Based RPG" that apparently incorporates local weather into your game. That sounds cool, but upon opening the game on my increasingly obsolete 1st gen iPad Mini, it showed me a galaxy-class WTF image of an anime girl in a bunny suit dual-wielding giant straight razors with revolver handles, downloaded additional assets forever, and then got permanently stuck on a loading screen. Fortunately, my Shield is made of sterner stuff, and I was able to get far enough in to see that X-Tactics features a cigar-smoking, suit wearing Grey Alien who is more fluent in Italian than English (I'm not making this up), and combines squad-based tactics with connect-the-dots minigames. If you can't afford peyote, this one's available on iOS and Android.
Elemental Rush promises epic PVP RTS action at prices ranging from free to $99.99 IAP. The game opens with a busty elvish woman in lingerie telling you that the castle has been hit with a surprise attach. That's nice, could you go put some clothes on now? I hope you weren't sleeping in that: with the leather straps and such, that's going to get uncomfortable really quickly. By the time she told me that I was a tactical genius and the kingdom's only hope, so she was going to show me the basics of combat, I was ready to let the forces of darkness destroy the kingdom. I got far enough in to see that Elemental Rush actually is a RTS before my iPad cursed me out and crashed. Then I cursed it out and crashed. You can get Elemental Rush on iOS and Android.