Out Now: Mostly iOS Edition14 Jul 2017 5
It’s Friday and time for our weekly games roundup. There are some great options this week, including roguelikes—both new and an expansion for a classic—as well as a new Minecraft story and one of the better 4x games I’ve seen. Check ‘em out and I hope you have a great weekend full of gaming.
868-HACK: PLAN B (iOS)
If you ask for a list of the best available roguelikes 868-HACK by Michael Brough is likely to be on it. It’s easily one of the best in the genre and holds up quite well after four years, especially with the recent 64-bit update. Now, there’s an expansion called Plan B, which is a new game mode that brings 8 bonus power-ups that previously only showed up after a few consecutive wins to the beginning of the game and lets you choose a class, each with its associated bonuses. It improves the variety of options for a game that already had very high replay-ability. Plan B is available for $2.99 as an in-app purchase and is a no brainer for fans of the original game, and roguelikes in general.
Voxel mega-hit Minecraft’s adventure spin off, known as story mode, has released a second season. Episode one, Hero in Residence, has the series protagonist Jesse and friends firmly established as heroes after the first season. This new status brings new responsibility, both politics—Jesse is now a mayor—and the need to protect their world from rising threats. Telltale Games applies their usual style to this title and it is very well done. Fans of the original will certainly enjoy this, as will fans of Telltale’s work in general.
2 For 2 (iOS)
2 For 2 is a simple puzzle game that works on a proven mechanic: you combine two or more circles with the same number and end up with a bigger number. Rinse and repeat to run up the score until you run out of moves. This is a high-score chaser, and the more matches you make the more points you score. It’s a fun and casual puzzler and is free to play with ads. A $.99 IAP removes the ads, however.
Seven Heroes (iOS)
If you’re looking for a roguelike, Seven Heroes is a solid option. It features characters based on the seven deadly sins, each with their own active and passive abilities. It’s a card-based game and you’re looking to take enemy damage and manage your health through armor and healing potions akin to Card Crawl. The game is nowhere as good as that title, but it is graphically pleasing and has some good gameplay. The game is poorly translated to English, so if that turns you off stay away, but it’s funny in places. Here’s the description of Gluttony, for example:
“Gluttony: He is the man praised as the strongest warrior. His weapon, the mythical ferocious animal, can swallow any demons. He has a bad temper, and he is a foodie. Certainly, as a foodie, he shall always suffer from the pain of getting starved or stuffed.”
Beware the foodie, folks! Sins aside, it’s an interesting little roguelike and just a buck to buy in.
Motorsport Manager Mobile 2 (iOS)
I’m not much of a motorsport aficionado, but I got Motorsport Manager at some point and really enjoyed it. The sequel is out now and is just as good. It does an excellent job with my favorite aspect of any sports simulation: roster management. You’ll need to navigate a driver’s market and hire and keep the best roster you can, which includes keeping your top people from leaving and replacing aging drivers. The simulation even factors in a driver’s patience with an extended negotiation process. You also manage your team’s cars, including buying parts in a marketplace and optimizing the configuration of your cars. There’s also, you know, racing with three different series to race in—each with its own championship—and sixteen different tracks. Motorsport Manager Mobile 2 is a very deep simulation and looks great. It’s a great option for racing fans and sports simulation enthusiasts alike. We’re lucky to have a game like this still freemium and not bogged down in a quagmire of IAPs.
I grabbed A Planet of Mine, a free-to-play 4x game of civilization development and space exploration, and figured I’d give it a quick go to see if it was worthy of inclusion here. Two hours later I stopped playing, reluctantly, because of life (stupid life). At first glance, it doesn’t seem like the type of game you’d get lost in, but I’m here to tell you, it is. You pick an animalistic species—The Space Chickens, The Cosmopork, and The Techno-Moles for example—and become their leader. You direct resource gathering, infrastructure build out, technological advancement, space exploration, and diplomacy with other species. Gameplay is very fun and super compelling, especially once you get a good sense of how things work, and A Planet of Mine hits all the right 4x buttons.
Free-to-play for this game really means free-to-try for this game, and you can play the time-limited Discovery mode using any of four initial species. The limit is very generous, I played for a few hours and didn’t hit it prior to deciding to buy in, so you’ll have plenty of time to decide. For $1.99 you can buy a pack that includes three additional species grouped by specialty: war, science, production, and progress. A $4.99 IAP unlocks all the game’s species. Any purchase also unlocks two additional modes of play, “Unlimited”, which takes place in a much bigger solar system than Discovery Mode and is not time limited as well as Builder Mode, where you can create your civilization without competition from other species. The game also has thirteen challenge modes which have specific goals like exploring every planet in the system or reaching a certain population. One challenge mode is free to try and the rest unlock with any purchase.
If you like 4x-style games it is well worth your time to grab A Planet of Mine and give Discovery Mode a try. There’s not much in the way of a tutorial, so be prepared to figure things out for yourself. The different species and modes of play make replaying the game a must and the free trial is more than generous.