The Weekender: Oh Look Here's Battleheart 2 Edition13 Jul 2018 8
Welcome to the Weekender, your weekly look at the best new games, sales, and updates. We've got a few new releases to go over and a whole lot of sales. Let's get to it!
Battleheart 2 (iOS Universal) - Full Review Coming Soon!
Battleheart was one of the first real-time strategy gems in the App Store, and remains a fun game, if a bit dated. It's seven years later and Mika Mobile just released a sequel on iOS and…well, not much has changed. Battleheart 2 definitely took the if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it approach and features the same real-time, squad-based combat of the original. While it is true Battleheart wasn't broken, it definitely needed some freshening up. Unfortunately, there's no advancement of game mechanics or a new, compelling story within which the action takes place. In fact, there's not much of a story to speak of, and combat consists of cycling through a few repetitive fights until you're ready to take on a boss. Once you beat him it's off to a new area on the world map to rinse and repeat.
Combat that felt fresh seven years ago will leave many feeling a bit bored these days. Characters and enemies still sedately trot from place to place in Battleheart 2, which makes micro-managing four characters easier, but is far from the pace of today's RTS titles. The graphics, sounds, and effects are also about the same as they were seven years ago in the original game, and while reusing some assets is certainly to be expected Battleheart 2 lacks the polish and pizazz of many of its contemporaries.
The biggest change in the sequel is supposed to be the inclusion of a cooperative multiplayer mode. Mika Mobile cites the ability to split your party among up to four players, each controlling their own hero. This sounds really cool and lots of ways to make use of this spring to mind, but I can't figure out how it works. You pick a region and are asked to select a room name and once you've done that, nothing really happens. Maybe if two or more players enter the same room name something happens but I wasn't able to test it and I shouldn't have to guess as to how it works.
The bottom line is that Battleheart 2 is a new game with more of the same. This will appeal to many fans of the original, and there’s certainly something to be said for nostalgia, but for the rest of us there are better options out there.
Fighting Fantasy Legends Portal (iOS Universal and Android) - Full Review Coming Soon!
Fighting Fantasy Legends' Portal brings three more books from the legendary writing duo Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone to mobile life. It covers the Deathtrap Dungeon trilogy—Deathtrap Dungeon, Trial of Champions, and Armies of Death—three adventures full of choices, tests of luck and skill, cards to collect, and of course combat. The gameplay is similar to the previous Fighting Fantasy Legends adventures by Nomad Games. You move through the adventure making decisions about which way to go and what to do at certain points.
There are a number of event locations throughout where you stop and draw a card from a deck full of monsters to fight, treasures to claim, traps to bypass, and other events. Fighting monsters and surviving traps and other trials are all dice dependent. You have a bunch of six-sided skill dice and luck dice. You start out with one success on each die and are able to improve them over time. When you're faced with a challenge you have to get a certain number of successes out of your dice which varies based on difficulty. It's a fun system but obviously prone to chance, both positive and negative, so keep that in mind if you're not a fan of big luck swings. Fighting Fantasy Legends' Portal is a lot of fun and Nomad Games has once again done a great job evoking the feel of the old-school books. If you're a fan of those books, the first game, or the RPG/Adventure genre definitely check it out.
Nightmarium is a tabletop game about bringing nightmares to life in the form of creepily combined monsters. You assemble head, torso, and legs from four different fearful genres and unleash them upon your foes. The first player to Frankenstein up five creatures of doom wins. The game is fast and simple to understand with some relatively simple tactics. It's good for those easy-breezy gaming needs but won't satisfy a hard-core strategizing itch. It also only offers pass-and-play multiplayer, no online action, so it's more of a tabletop-game replacement at this point.
Trism II (iOS Universal)
The App Store turned 10 years-old this week and Trism launched on its very first day. It became a star on the fledgling store with its bright colors, easy touch controls, and intuitive gameplay. It's sequel, Trism II, launched this week into a vastly different App Store, one overflowing with puzzlers and games in general. It's much tougher to stand out so Trism II introduces weird RPG/adventure-like wrapper with walking and talking triangle people, the trisms. You pick a hero and adventure through a world rescuing trisms and defeating bad guys through beating levels of the puzzle. The puzzle gameplay is a bit different as well, rather than sliding rows of the triangles you tap to add new ones to blank spaces and attempt to match up three adjacent same-colored triangles in order to remove them. I found the early game pretty easy and the adventure story a bit distracting, but then I prefer my puzzlers to be largely unhybridized. If you're into puzzle/adventure mash ups Trism II may be right for you.
Warbands Bushido (iOS Universal and Android): Free (Review)
Warbands: Bushido is a digital collectable card and miniatures game with a look, feel, and play style that evokes tabletop miniature war gaming. It's also free right now on iOS, though it does have in-app-purchases.
Medieval Merchants (iOS Universal): $.99
Hanseatic League trading sim Medieval Merchants has been around since 2013 and is hitting a mere $.99 for the first time ever. It's only been on sale one other time, so act now if you're interested!
Dust and Salt (iOS Universal and Android): $.99
Text-based adventure, turn-based combat…Dust and Salt just came out last May, looks quite intriguing, and is on sale for the first time for a mere $1. That's probably worth checking out, right?
Knights of Pen & Paper (iOS Universal and Android): $.99
Old-school meta-RPG Knights of Pen & Paper is down to its lowest price in four years, just a buck.
Asmodee Digital Sale
A large selection of Asmodee Digital games are on sale this week. We've only linked to the iOS store below, but the discounts are also on Android as well.
- Agricola: $4.99
- Colt Express: $3.99
- Harold: A Game of Influence: $1.99
- Mage the Ascension: Refuge: $1.99
- Mille Bornes: $1.99
- Mr. Jack Pocket: $1.99
- Mysterium: $3.99
- Twilight Struggle: $6.99
- Vampire: Prelude: $1.99
MLB Manager 2018 (iOS Universal and Android): $1.99
Act as GM and coach and lead your favorite baseball team to success in MLB Manager 2018, on sale for the first time for $2.
The Quest Games
Classic role-playing game The Quest and the Islands of Ice and Fire expansion are both on sale. Check out our five-star review of The Quest and then get going with some old-school adventuring.
- The Quest (iOS Universal): $3.99 down from $7.99
- The Quest Islands of Ice and Fire (iOS Universal): $1.99 down from $3.99
Planescape: Torment (iOS Universal and Android): $3.99 (Review)
Classic post-apocalyptic RPG Planescape Torment is normally $10 but on sale for 60% off.
Seen anything else you liked? Played any of the above? Let us know in the comments!