Out Now: Always Deliver Edition05 May 2017 7
Happy Friday and belated Star Wars Day. We've got a host of new games to vie for your time and money this weekend, including a couple space-based games, a couple sims, and a backyard battler.
I’ll lead off this week with a game that is unique, intriguing, and definitely worth a look. SPACEPLAN is parts resource-management, exploration, and clicker game that—in the words of the developer—is “based partly on a total misunderstanding of Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time." You are an intrepid explorer orbiting an unknown planet with only your trusty AI friend, companion, and tech adviser for company. You find yourself in need of more power (watts, or joules in the game’s “scientifically accurate” mode) to improve your spacecraft’s operational and exploration capabilities. You start out generating power by clicking on the “Kinetigen”. The more you click the more watts are added to your power supply. For those that groan at the thought of a clicker, fear not, you quickly grow out of the need to click. The watts you generate can be used to build things via the "Thing Maker" or improve systems based on your AI buddy’s suggestions found in the "Idea Lister." These often improve your watts-per-second (or per click) generation and before too long you’ll be pulling in big-time power. The goal of the game is to explore the planet below and unlock its mysteries, as well as to gain a better understanding of the galaxy and universe along the way. There’s a story to explore, when you’re ready for it, but you may find it hard to turn away from the acquisition of more wattage.
If you’re not sold, you can check out a browser-based prototype to see how gameplay works. The mobile version doubles the story, introduces new items and mechanics, and adds some music into the mix. It’s fun, clever, and quite compelling. If you like games where you can pop in and out throughout the day and make meaningful progress, this one is for you.
Like sim games? Like baseball? Home Run High by Kairosoft combines the two and in it you must build a high-school baseball juggernaut. There's a few different objectives to juggle in this one—games, practice, education, and the general happiness of your players. Gameplay feels a bit like The Escapists but with baseball instead of prison. So, you know, less violence and thievery.
Empire TV Tycoon (iPad)
Baseball and high school not your thing? How about TV, do you like TV? If so, Empire TV Tycoon is this week's simulator for you. In it, you manage a TV station and battle for audience share and advertisers with two other stations. You set the content direction (I'd go with that fireplace channel that pops up around Christmas time), manage production, deal with the talent, and seek industry awards and accolades. It's all about making the fickle audience happy to drive up those ratings. The game plays like most tycoon-style games and feels fairly realistic, though admittedly, it's not like I'd know any different.
It’s a battle in the backyard and the ants are under siege. An alliance of creepy crawlers is assaulting the ant hill and it’s up to you to beat them back. Ants vs. Bugs is a turn-based tactical shooter where you fire rocks at the encroaching bugs, magical rocks that ricochet off bugs and walls before returning to the ant hill. Bugs have varying levels of health, which is reduced with each hit. The bugs move one step closer to your ant hill with each turn and if they reach it, game over. More appear on each turn and your goal is to beat them back. You gain more and more rocks with each turn and can target special items to help clear the board. Things can get pretty frenetic with projectiles bouncing everywhere. The game is free-to-play with relatively non-invasive ads. There is a $2 IAP which makes the game premium by unlocking all the unlockables and removing ads.
The headliner of the week is Race for the Galaxy, a decade-old board game that now has a digital version. The game pits budding space overlords against each other to build the best empire. You do this by settling planets and conquering rivals, all in a race for the all-important victory points which determine the victor. Race for the Galaxy features single-player games against a reportedly solid AI and asynchronous online multiplayer (huzzah). It has been racking up rave reviews across the galaxy, including our very own Matt Thrower who gave it five stars.
That's all for this week's 'Out Now' round-up. Seen anything you think we've missed? Want to post some impressions from any of the above? Let us know in the comments, and have a good weekend!