Out Now: Kia Ora Koutou Edition20 Jan 2017 6
Today is an incredibly important day, a day you will remember for the rest of your lives. Today is the day I tell you that I’m moving to New Zealand and will have to suspend my usual capsule reviews for a little while my family and I are in transition. Don’t worry, I’ll send you a slice of lolly cake once we’re settled in. “But what about the games?” you ask. The weekly roundup isn’t going anywhere, it’s just that I won’t be able to get hands-on with everything for now. We’ll bring back the mini-reviews as soon as we can.
Super Gridland was the surprise late-breaking release of the week. In this YMBAB-like match 3 game from the Doublespeak Games (A Dark Room), you spend all day building up your village and all night defending it from monsters, thus proving the truism “there’s no rest for the survival-crafting puzzler.” All Super Gridland is missing is a Warren Zevon soundtrack.
Blade of Conquest
Blade of Conquest is a fantasy strategy game reminiscent at moments of SSI’s Warlords and Warsong/Der Langrisser, but its strongest influence is clearly Heroes of Might and Magic. Instead of turn-based combat, units fight in real time, but the player issues only sweeping orders: attack, hold, retreat, etc. Each side has a HOMM-style commander who can cast spells. The game’s aesthetic is inconsistent and sloppy: it looks like a mish-mash of prefab fantasy art assets, but it's easy to recommend giving it a try: Blade of Conquest has been temporarily marked down to free (with no IAPs) on iOS.
This dimly-lit 3D top-down adventure game promises randomized puzzles, an engaging story about a senior citizen, and running for your life. You wake up in a ditch only to realize that something’s trashed your home town. Sounds like this one’s equal parts Goethe, Donny Darko, and Bubba Ho-Tep, but that may just be wishful thinking on my part.
Endless-A Lost Note
Endless is product of China’s small but growing indie game scene. This 2D Adventure Platformer is more about exploration than twitch. The game’s English translation is, unfortunately, more hopeless than endless, but there’s a boy, a dog, and time travel in there.
Endless-A Lost Note is available on iOS.
Red’s Kingdom is an isometric puzzler with ridiculously cute art. There are boxes to push, switches to flip, baddies to beat and acorns to hoard. There’s an element of timing to many of the puzzles, but it’s not a twitch-fest. Red’s here to eat nuts and kick buts and he’s all out of… hey look, acorns!
Red’s Kingdom is available on iOS.
I usually pass on side-scrolling space shooters, but Z-Exemplar is going to hit some of you right in the nostalgia. Z-Exemplar isn’t another R-Type-alike or bullet-hell imitator, it’s a game that would have been right at home on the Sinclair ZX Spectrum back in the 80s. If the C64 was your jam, just squint a little and you’ll feel at home.