The Weekender: All The Things Edition16 Mar 2018 3
Welcome to the Weekender, your weekly look at the best new games, sales, and updates. We've got a couple expansions for one of 2017's best mobile releases, a long-awaited mobile port, and a bunch of great sales this week.
2017 was a huge year for mobile gaming and a big part of that was the release of Darkest Dungeon on iPad. The desktop-to-iPad port was not without issues, mostly of the user-interface variety, but it featured the same great and gruelling gameplay that brought Red Hook Studios both fame and infamy. Now, two of the game's expansions are out and available for purchase.
Crimson Court, $4.99, is meant to be played alongside the core game and offers up some new challenges at each difficulty level. Its story brings more clarity to the Ancestor's early days and opens up a new dungeon region, new enemies and bosses, and ten new buildings for your hamlet. The Shieldbreaker, $1.99, adds a cool new hero class with which to play and introduces new combat mechanics and new monsters to the game.
Armello (iOS Universal) - Full Review Incoming!
The king is sick with the Rot, a vile contagion, and the contest for the crown of the animal kingdom has begun in Armello. It's a made-for-digital board game that has been out on Steam since 2015 and is finally making its way to mobile this year. Now, iOS gamers get their turn, was it worth the wait?
First and foremost, the game is free-to-play rather than premium with two in-game currencies. As usual, you earn both kinds of currency as you play but in-app purchases allow you to get more and thus unlock extra goodies much faster. Those goodies include additional characters and clans, as well as fancy new dice with which to play. You'll come across loot boxes, called wyld chests, that can be opened with shards or gold and contain dice and other special items. The dice are cosmetic to be sure, and I haven't seen many other items to know how dramatically they would affect the game, but IAPs to buy "fistfuls" and "chests" of shards that can open these chests certainly provides potential for a pay-to-win scenario depending on what these chests contain. There's also a subscription service that gets you access to all of the extra characters and items, a bunch of cosmetic items, and a 10% discount on opening chests. It costs $4.49 per month, $8.99 for 3 months, and $21.49 for a full year.
The game itself is pretty good, but with some issues. You play as the hero of one of the five great animal clans, each a claimant to the throne, and each with its own strengths and capabilities to help it become supreme. There are multiple ways to win, which is cool, and a world full of quests to take and decisions to make as you explore it. Just about everything important comes down to a roll of the dice, which introduces a lot of chance to the game. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if you favor games where tactics outweigh luck, Armello may not be for you.
Another quibble of mine is that when zoomed out all the way the game map is quite bleary. I'm not sure if this is an intentional effect or an issue, but I find it distracting and it detracts from an otherwise attractive game. Also worth noting is that Armello features real-time multiplayer, rather than asynchronous, as you can play cards on your opponent's turn.
Those are just some initial impressions, and the upside of the game being free to play is the financial bar to get in and see what you think is non-existent!
One of the biggest releases of 2017 is now one of the best sales of 2018. Darkest Dungeon is part RPG, featuring challenging turn-based combat, part roguelike, and part death simulation. This is its first iPad sale and you'll never beat this price.
If you're one of those fast-twitch strategy types, there's two of the real-time space-based titles by Bugbyte are just a buck. Battlevoid: Harbinger and Battlevoid: Sector Siege have you in command of efforts to defend humanity and both games get you right into the action.
Another first-time sale, Bridge Constructor Portal features a lot of great bridge-building fun with a heaping helping of Portal humor. Get it now for two bucks off.
One of the better real-time-strategy games on mobile, Iron Marines just came out last September and is now two bucks off for its first sale. If you enjoy StarCraft and similar games grab it and give it a go.
One of the better builders and puzzle-game options on mobile, Mini Metro, is on sale for $3 right now in the App Store. I gave it four stars and the game has since added an Endless Mode and a bunch of cities.
Steamworld Heist was one of 2016's best games and earned four well-deserved stars from JP. It's normally $10, which is well worth it, but is half off right now. If you've been on the fence wait no longer!
It's a clean sweep for Darkest Dungeon, headlining all three sections. In addition to the DLCs there's also been an update that adds a new stealth combat mechanic to the game. Stealthed monsters cannot be targeted by direct attacks unless they have the "Bypass Stealth" keyword. Stealth usually lasts for the first two rounds of combat and has been applied to six monsters beginning at Veteran level.
Turn-based strategy board game Antihero's recent update added a new building, the powder house, which will appear in both multiplayer and skirmish modes. Infiltrate a powder house to buff up your saboteurs and traps!
The iOS version of the vacation-based tabletop-to-digital board game recently updated to remove the auto-save at each inn. Apparently, it was causing performance issues. If you're playing this one, beware, you'll have to save manually if you plan to leave the game.
One of mobile's best turn-based tactics game, Templar Battleforce just got an update that adds a new monster variation of the Carapace Tusk, new armor and weapons for templars, and re-balances a bunch of powers. It's great to see the Trese brothers keeping this old classic updated. The links are for the premium version - there are free versions available on both platforms as well.
What an action packed week we've had! Seen anything else you liked? Played any of the above? Let us know in the comments, and have a great weekend!