Out Now: Barbarians, Buccaneers & Ballplayers Edition31 Mar 2017 2
Another good week for new games is drawing to a close, capping off one of the better mobile-gaming months in recent memory. This week brought us a bounty of puzzles, boardgames, action adventures, turn-based combat, and big-time strategy games. If you can't find anything you like in this batch of games you're just not trying hard enough!
Arrrrrr, who be strong enough to defeat their foes and claim the title of Pirate King? That question lurks at the bottom of Buccaneers, Bounty & Boom, a new multiplayer, turn-based game of pirate-on-pirate battle from the creators of Neptune's Pride. Yes, the people who brought you weeks-long games of alliances, backstabbing, and betrayal—and inspired the creators of Subterfuge—are back with a new offering. Buccaneers, Bounty & Boom is faster paced, or can be, thanks to the ability to set turn deadlines as low as two minutes. It is a simultaneous turn-based system where all players submit their orders and then watch as pirate ships explore and attack all over the place. The game is free-to-play though some features require a $12 IAP to unlock, very similar to Subterfuge's monetization strategy.
Also out now is a new Meganoid 2017 game, the latest in a series from Orangepixel that are heavily influenced by arcade games of the 80s and 90s. It’s a side-scrolling action game with a number of roguelike flourishes including randomly generated levels and the inability to escape the icy grip of death to keep on playing. You die, you start over. Meganoid 2017 is also hard. Very hard. You get three life and that’s it. You’ll go through them quickly and die a great deal on the way to figuring out the ins and outs of this one and you will not be coddled. The game, like its predecessors, very intentionally features old-school pixel-art graphics and if retro-arcade action is your thing, Meganoid 2017 is likely right up your alley.
Commands & Colors: The Great War (iPad)
The Great War, Richard Borg's award-winning boardgame based on WWI, made the jump to Steam early this year and is out now on iPad as well. It's a turn-based strategy game that does a pretty good job emulating the give-and-take and nonstop attrition of WWI trench warfare as you take command of many of the war's famous battles. The game has a ton of rules, high complexity, a steep learning curve, and little in the way of a tutorial. It's definitely a game that will take a lot of time to really fully understand and to get fully invested most gamers should expect to seek additional information online. The Great War is a bit thick for me, but those in favor of deep, complex, warfare-based games may find this one a good fit for their tastes. Full Review Coming Soon!
Kami 2 (iOS)
KAMI, by State of Play Games, is one of my favorite puzzle games. Its simple gameplay holds just the right amount of challenge to feel calming yet give your brain a reasonable workout. Your goal is to digitally fold colored paper across intricate designs with the goal of reaching uniformity of color in as few moves as possible. Kami 2 is out now for iOS with over one-hundred new levels. The gameplay is what you'd expect in a sequel with a few twists to discover that make things fresh. There's also a global daily-challenge mode this time around along with a Puzzle Builder where you can design and share your own puzzles. Kami 2 also has some nice quality-of-life features including color-blind mode and a low-power mode. The game is free-to-play with no ads or other annoying freemium mechanics. There are IAPs for hints, however, but the game isn't in your face about it. This is definitely worth your time if you dig puzzle games.
If you're looking for more turn-based tactics in your life Militia, a minimalist tactical combat game, has you covered. In Militia your goal is to direct your team of units to clear successive levels of ruffians by defeating their captains (indicated by a star) in a certain number of moves before reinforcements arrive. Each of your units has a unique move and attack pattern—walk and cleave, leap and stab, ranged blast, etc.—as do enemy units. The key to success becomes figuring out where to move to get and not be gotten by the bad guys. Oh yeah, and friendly fire is very much turned on, so it is best not to whack your own guys…not a good strategy. As you clear levels your rank increases, which brings forth more challenging foes and scenarios. Militia has both a light, and more difficult dark mode, and is worth a look if you're looking for a minimalistic tactical combat game.
RBI Baseball 17 (iOS)
Forget about "take me out to the ballgame", RBI Baseball 17 once again lets you take the ballgame to you. The game's mobile and console versions launched on the same day this week and features pretty much the same gameplay as the 2016 version, with updated rosters for all teams. Both pitching and batting are pretty easy, certainly compared to other sports games that can get quite complex, and you can get through a full game in under 20 minutes (quite a time savings from a real baseball game). Baseball is known for stats and RBI tracks and updates them throughout your season. You can fully geek out on all the metrics and use them to manage your team.
Turn-based tactical combat, light RPG elements, and pixel-art graphics combine in Erin: The Last Aos Si. In it you play as Erin, a sorceress on a quest to defeat Balor, The God of Blight in order to save the world from destruction. The story is based heavily on Celtic mythology and set in Scotland, which is pretty cool in its own right. Add to that some intriguing combat twists and we've got a bit of a game on our hands. Twist one is that battle occurs on a combat timeline in which you select a spell, prepare that spell, and then cast it. If you are hit while casting you lose concentration and the spell will fizzle. Spells have different casting times and creatures have varying weaknesses, so deciding what to cast is an interesting tactical puzzle.
Twist two is that the efficacy of your spells are based on timing—you touch or swipe the screen to cast them and your accuracy makes a big difference. As you adventure through the world and defeat the dozens of different kinds of beasts you encounter—which you can identify and log in your bestiary—you'll gain XP, levels, and access to new spells. Your spell book will fill up with powers of the elements and you'll acquire new and powerful magic items along your journey. As this happens, your in-combat options will grow considerably just in time to face cleverer beasts and challenging bosses. Erin: The Last Aos Si is free to try and is fully unlocked through a donation IAP where you can pay whatever you think the game is worth. Just one more unique idea in a game full of them. Erin is well worth a try if you're a fan of tactical combat and light RPGs.
Rome Total War: Barbarian Invasion (iPad)
Follow up to the excellent iPad edition of Rome: Total War, Barbarian Invasion takes place three-hundred years after the original. The Roman Empire's reach has finally exceeded its and has split in two, ostensibly allied, sections. Meanwhile the warlike tribes long held at bay on the edges of the empire are increasingly emboldened by what they view as the waning of its power. You get to play on either side—the Eastern or Western Roman Empire, or one of several barbarian tribes including the Huns, Goths, Franks, Vandals, and Saxons.
All of the factions have their advantages and disadvantages and I find myself compelled to campaign with each, a good sign regarding replay value. Gameplay is pretty much identical to Rome: Total War—which means very good with excellent graphics—though some trappings of the game have changed, including religion, which now has a big effect on the happiness of your populace. One thing to be aware of is that once you download the game you're faced with additional downloads for English language support (for the in-game help) and audio. These take some time so work it into your expectations if you're raring to get in and conquering. Skipping these is a nice option for those who want to keep a slimmer footprint on an already crowded iPad storage drive. A full review is coming soon, but it is safe to assume if you liked the original you'll be happy with Barbarian Invasion as well.
That's all for this week's edition of Out Now - seen any other games you think people should take note of? Played any of the above? Let us know in the comments below! If you'd like your game featured in a future edition, please get in contact with us. Have a good weekend!