RPG of the Year 2013

By Owen Faraday 11 Dec 2013 0
Rollin' on 20s. Rollin' on 20s.

In a year where you couldn't throw a broadsword without hitting half a dozen Games Workshop-licensed titles, our RPG of the Year managed to stand out from the crowd.

Fly, you fools. Fly, you fools.

Where fellow RPG of the Year consideration Shadowrun Returns lays down story so thick you can insulate your loft with it, Warhammer Quest gives you just a thin coating of it: a text pop-up here, an item description there. Part of that stems from Warhammer Quest's board game origins, but it's also because the game doesn't need any more than that. Like the Julian Gollop creations that inspired Rodeo Games, there's just enough fiction to scaffold your own story.

Traipsing through the dungeons and villages of Warhammer's Old World didn't get old for me this year. In my review back in May I predicted that the game would be on my iPad for a long time and that's held true. When you look at as many games as I do in a given week, megabytes of memory come at a premium and good games are unsentimentally deleted to make way for new contenders. Warhammer Quest has tenaciously held onto its spot and I don't see it being displaced anytime soon.

For sure, not everybody is as keen on Warhammer Quest as I am and even among PT staff there's disagreement. For some there's not enough meat on the skeletal story, and conceit of flipping your device's orientation to access the inventory is one of the most divisive UI features I've ever seen in a game. But there can be no arguing the game's extraordinary craftsmanship. There are few developers of mobile games that work as much detail into environments as Rodeo Games. Every time you fight your way through a dungeon you notice something new. I can't think of another dungeon crawler that puts as much work into the giant rats that have plagued every fantasy game since Gygax put pen to paper.

Surely one of the reasons that Warhammer Quest is so accomplished is that it's the third broadly similar turn-based tactical game in a row that Rodeo have made -- they're starting to find a groove, one that a more restless studio might want to break out of. When I visited Rodeo Games back in March, co-founder Laurent Maguire told me that he would happy for Rodeo to keep making strategy games forever. I hope they do.

Runner-up: Shadowrun Returns

Honourable Mention: Knights of the Old Republic, Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition

To see all the games recognized in the Pocket Tactics Best of 2013 Awards, visit the awards index page.
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