Out Now: Run Silent but Deadly Edition09 Dec 2016 0
Hey Ed., are fart jokes beneath the dignity of Pocket Tactics? [I guess not. -Ed.] So, if you’re really dying for a taste of Super Mario Run, you can go to your local Apple Store to play the demo. If you’re one of the hundred thousand or so souls in Billings, Montana, that’s a short jaunt of 550 miles to Denver, or, if you prefer, about the same distance to Salt Lake City. True Mac Evangelists, of course, will travel the extra seventy miles to Boise, just to lord it over the Denver and Salt Lake slackers. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend eight hours on the road to pick up this week’s new releases, included the long-anticipated Silent Depth, the Lite version of Panzer Corps, Rockstar’s Bully, Galaxy on Fire 3 and a pair of releases from Choice of Games.
Silent Depth is a serious WWII submarine sim, set in the Pacific theatre and (for now?) only allowing the player to play as a US Navy commander. Despite being serious and realistic, it’s not hard to get started. In fact, Silent Depth’s tutorial features minimal hand-holding. That’s possible in part because of the game’s original design: everything you can do is represented with a period analogue control and feedback about what the controls do is very good. A number of the smaller details of submarine operation have been smoothed out of the game: you don’t have to manually switch from diesel to battery power, for example, or order torpedo bay doors open and shut. That said, Silent Depth expects you to figure things out, google it, or RTFM. There are a little over 6000 feet in a nautical mile, by-the-by, and nautical miles are often abbreviated sm (for sea mile)... you can thank me later. Graphics are not the primary focus here, but I was surprised to find much of the on-screen text pixelated and/or blurry, occasionally to the point of illegibility. Even so, it’s easy to recommend this game to anyone who wants a sub sim on their phone or tablet: if you’ve been waiting for this one, don't hesitate, get it.
Bully: Anniversary Edition
Rockstar’s Bully is situated somewhere between then general antisocial tendencies of the Grand Theft Auto games and the abject horror of serial-killing snuff-film game Manhunt. In it, you play as poor little rich boy Jimmy, the prototypical angry young man, on a quest to become the biggest bully at a boarding school for maladjusted little snots. At first I thought the writing was terrible, but then I started thinking of it as what Jimmy hears, not what is actually said, and it all started making sense. Bully is an interesting game if you can take Jimmy as an unreliable narrator, the hero of his own story… but only in his mind. Like all Rockstar games, Bully has a substantial virtual world, a number of RPG-lite systems, and allows for free ranging sandbox play, including a wide-open potential for accidentally starting fights and breaking things. I was soon bored of the fistfighting mechanics, and didn’t like being inside Jimmy’s head, as when it comes to playing as a villain (I won’t call Jimmy an antihero), I’m more the death-ray and opera cape type.
Empyrean is a flying ace gamebook that has some of the fixtures of steampunk but also is more late gilded age in style, and while there’s clicking, whirring clockwork to be had, the living, alien “deep tech” is the source of this world’s greatest wonders. You play as a pilot, the scion of power, and must choose whether to climb the golden stair to your father's side, take part in the worker’s rebellion, or pursue the thrill flight as an end in itself. I missed this Choice of Games release last Friday, but Empyrean is not to be missed, especially for fans of pulp adventure or period aeronautics.
The latest in Choice of Games’ signature series is another game that could be considered alternative history. In Cannonfire Concerto, you are a musical Genius. That’s Genius with a capital G, because in this world Genius describes a quite-possibly supernatural talent. You will need to apply your aptitude for the concert hall in less than conventional ways as you face political intrigue, physical danger, and the man who may become your nemesis, Fox Bonaventure, the world’s greatest military Genius - a dictator who bears a certain resemblance to a short French General who was able until he saw the island of Elba. Like other recent Choice of Games titles, Cannonball Concerto allows the player to select masculine, feminine, or gender-neutral terms of reference for their character, to which this nonbinary reviewer says “Bravo! Encore!”
Panzer Corps Lite
Less filling! Blitzkriegs great! If you’ve been wanting to try Slitherine’s WWII tank battle opus Panzer Corps before committing twenty bucks to the war effort, this is your chance. The 2014 Pocket Tactics Wargame of the Year is a big game, and when you add in all of the additional campaigns and expansions available as IAP, it may be both the most expansive and most expensive premium game on mobile. Panzer Corps Lite offers a perfect little petit four for you to taste before deciding if you’re ready to place that order with Buddy Valastro. Yes, I always compare tanks to cakes - why do you ask?
It’s a Tiger tank in the shape of a tiger (tank)! Exclusively on iOS. It's worth noting that, as of Thursday, Panzer Corps is only being sold in a 'Gold' package which bundles all of the DLCs together in a one-off purchase. This is only available to new customers though - existing customers can purchase the DLC's as normal.
Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore
Wing Commander II was my favorite game when it came out. Of course, that was in 1991, back when games came on floppy disks. A lot of floppy discs. A quarter of a century later, space dogfighting games still consist mostly of spinning in circles, trying to line a blip up with your targeting reticle. Fishlabs makes the formula work in a game so pretty it comes with a digital selfie stick (pauses the game and lets you move the camera around your ship to for screenshots). If you’re not immediately put off by the buy-better-stuff FTP monetization, it’s worth a look.
Fight fire with laser blasters and barrel rolls on iOS.
What else? Oh, yes. Throwing a bone to Android users (I believe the bone in question is the femur of an animated skeleton, but it’s hard to tell through the chain mail), Boomzap has released Legends of Callasia on Android just in time for the 4th Callasia Tournament. See you next week for the release of Super Mario Run, plus some games I’ll actually be playing.
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