Pocket Tactics' Games of the Month: September 201330 Sep 2013 0
Quite a motley crew of picks for games of the month this time 'round: two super-hardcore sims, one slightly less hardcore sim, a platformer, a board game, and an app that isn't even a game -- but a tool for playing other games. Meta.
Our September games of the month await you below. Tell us what you've been playing this month in the comments.
Small World 2
Part of what I love about Small World 2 is that it makes me forget about winning. As much as it's a territory control game where players try to cobble together something resembling a strategy from the scraps of random chance, it's also a game where seafaring giants fight against bivouacking wizards while an ancient race of flying dwarves fades in the background, and I often find myself focused more on imagining the political backstory for these bouts than on, you know, points. So I also kind of suck at it. Regardless, Small World 2 is storytelling--flash fiction, even--and, consequently, Everything I Love About Games. Though it's a shame there's no "Tragic Hubris Aiding the Downfall of A Civilization" bonus. --Sean Clancy
iOS Universal, $1.99
Review: SimpleRockets, 13 September
3... 2... 1… liftoff! We have lift—wait. Oh no! Whose idea was it to build an asymmetrical rocket? It's spinning this way! Run! As you can see I've been playing SimpleRockets again. It's a rocketry sim with accurate orbital mechanics, and unlike real life it makes launchpad disasters fun. It's the closest thing to Kerbal Space Program that we're likely to see on mobile; anything more complex would demand a sit-down PC interface. SimpleRockets simulates all the planets and even some of their moons. Games on this scale always prompt me to deep thought. Our universe is such that it can simulate itself inside itself. Whoa. --Phil Scuderi
Pro Strategy Football 2013
Review: Pro Strategy Football 2013, 20 September
If one of the purposes of gaming is escapism, then PSF 2013 is creating a better fantasy universe than anything else I've got on the go right now. More fanciful than Warhammer Quest. More esoteric than 868-HACK. In my PSF-created alternate reality, you see, the Giants have a winning record.
In our review of PSF, one of the comments suggested that this tactics-oriented sim might turn football into a turn-based wargame -- and that's spot on. There's no reflexes being tested here, just wits -- it's the perfect mobile device football game. Developer Kerry Batts is working on new features, with a Universal update coming next. --Owen Faraday
Tactical Space Command
I've spent most of the month sitting outside Tactical Space Battles like it's the greatest Golden Corral in the America: everything I want is inside, in utterly daunting quantities. I'm nowhere near able to describe its depths, but I should mention how impressed I am at the number of systems which are modeled and will chug along doing perfectly well on their own, but which you could mess with if you wanted to. I like being able to effectively select the level of complexity of the game at will; it makes learning the basics easier and gives me opportunities to understand even those systems I'll rarely or never directly control. --Kelsey Rinella
I Am Level
iOS Universal, free
My phone is, by current pace of technological depreciation, an antique, but it's an antique that's always with me on the daily commute. When I don't have the iPad or a le Carré novel it's there for me with music and the occasional bouts of hardcore Drop7. It can't handle too much beyond that so there's much that I don't bother to try these days. IAmLevel's Speccy appearance made my phone say "I can handle this" and the combination of pinball videogame crossed with a puzzle platformer appealed to me as much as its initial free price. It's a simple game that makes the most of its ideas -- hey, a platformer that's actually playable with a single tap -- and provides some nice commuter reprieve from the frustrations of Drop7's inevitable walls of 1s. --Mike Nowak
The CardWarden isn't a game in and of itself, but it allows you to play card games that aren't currently available on iOS, and this month that's what I've been using my iPad for. After receiving Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, I started a project where I scanned every card in the game and imported them into CardWarden, and I've been playing Pathfinder on my iPad ever since. Not only is being able to play great games like Pathfinder or LotR: The Card Game on my iPad amazing, but the entire process of scanning cards, importing them, and sorting them into decks is as therapeutic as bagging up wooden and cardboard bits after you first open a physical board game. I was skeptical of getting games to work in CardWarden at first, but I'm a convert now. No way I'm deleting this off my iPad any time soon. --Dave Neumann