What happens when you take the look and feel of the interface in “Tropico 4″, add 1920′s scenery, and adopt a combat system similar to that of “XCOM: Enemy Unknown”? Why, you end up with “Omerta – City of Gangsters”, of course! The former comparison to “Tropico 4″ doesn’t surprise me much, considering that ”Omerta – City of Gangsters” was published by the same folks who brought you the most recent games in the “Tropico” series. I was half expecting Penultimo to pop up at one point and start spouting loyalist propaganda all the while wearing a cheesy gangster hat. If you don’t know who that is kids, then play your “Tropico” and be a better man/woman for it.
I promised myself that I wouldn’t get involved with yet another sandbox game, namely because I spend more time on them than I probably should. “Minecraft” nearly filed for a divorce when it heard that I had begun playing “Terraria” and later, “Block Story”. “Darkout” is more like “Terraria” than any of the aforementioned games in that the playing field is two-dimensional, but I have to admit that it’s quite different than what I had expected. It’s almost like a cross between “Terraria”, “Alan Wake”, and “A Valley Without Wind”, if you can wrap your head around that. Before we get started with the review, I’d like to thank Derek Reeve from Plan of Attack for providing me with a free press copy.
Artillery-based strategy games almost come a dime a dozen nowadays, but I have to admit that “Interplanetary” pushes the boundaries far beyond this planet (pardon the pun). For those of you not familiar with the genre, these turn-based games task players with launching their projectiles at the other players in an attempt to wipe them out. If you’ve played any of the games in the “Worms” series, you’ll know what I’m talking about. In this case, you and your opponent(s) each control a planet in the same solar system. By earning and spending resources, you can build various weapons and send their projectiles flying through space. Will your resources be plentiful and your aim be true? Before I briefly touch on this project, I’d like to thank Sasu Kemppainen from Team Jolly Roger for reaching out and providing me with access to the Alpha. As with all prototypes and games in development, it’s important to stress that they aren’t usually representative of the final product.
Oh level seven, thou art a heartless witch! The developers weren’t kidding when they said that the levels would get harder as you progressed from map to map…though I was expecting a gradual climb. Level one through three? Pfft…cakewalk. Level four and five? Eh…didn’t break a sweat, really. Level six? Okay, it’s sort of ramping up, but nothing I can’t handle. Level seven? HOLY MOTHER OF…AGGGHHHHH!!!!!
Just to give you a bit of perspective, I’ve already clocked about forty plus hours into “State of Decay”. I gave the game a 9/10 and for good reason…it’s one of the best open world zombie survival games I’ve ever played. Picking up the DLC (which released 11/29/13) was really a no-brainer, considering the amount of playtime I’ve already invested into the core game. The “Breakdown” DLC, for those of you who haven’t heard of it up to this point, introduces a new “sandbox” mode that tasks you with staying alive as long as possible. Want to know more? Of course you do.
This is admittedly a first…never before have I assumed the role of a taxidermist in any of the games I’ve played. “Body Builders: A Tale of Taxidermy”, a game that just hit the virtual shelves on “The Game Crafter” (link below), promises exactly that. In this particular case, each player is a lonely taxidermist who is aiming to create a friend for themselves…nothing out of the ordinary there. Before we go mashing things together, I’d like to quickly thank Brian Henk from Nevermade Games for reaching out and providing me with a press copy. It’s important to stress that I received the press copy before the game officially launched on “The Game Crafter” on 11/25/13, so the components featured below may or may not be representative of the final product.
There’s something to be said for the complexity of tactical simulators. While my busy lifestyle doesn’t always entertain games that take a while to learn and play, I sometimes come across a few that have depth but are still relatively easy to pick up. ”Hostile Takeover” has the characteristics of a deep and strategic experience, but manages to remain what my fellow gamers in the video game industry call “noob-friendly”. Before we get started, I’d like to thank Andrew McGrady from Not Dead Yet Games for reaching out and providing me with a press copy. It’s important to stress that because the game is still in the process of being funded through Kickstarter, that the rules and contents featured below are subject to change.
I’ve always maintained that knowledge (or lack thereof) is one of the reasons we often fail in our day to day tasks. As such, I think we can all agree that any game that has educational value is worth more than the sum of its parts. “CLEVER”, a card game that will hit Kickstarter in late November 2013, is one such item. Before we get started taking a look at this game in further detail, I’d like to thank Jason Santa Maria from IN8 Games for providing me with a press copy. It’s important to stress that prototypes are often not representative of the final product, making the below subject to change. My copy, for example, included all of the cards players would see in the final version but didn’t come packaged in the official box. I included a picture of the box (provided by the developer) at the end of this article for your viewing pleasure.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen an Indiana Jones-esque game. The last time I played anything remotely close to “Lost Cities” was the board game “Fireball Island” back in the late 80′s. You know, the one with the giant head that shot fireballs from its mouth down various paths on the game board? Its high production values…like the mountains, the artistic detail, etc…stays fresh in my mind to this day. Then there was “Legends of the Hidden Temple” on Nickelodeon back in the mid 90′s, talking totem and all. “Lost Cities” has a similar theme in the form of cards, expeditions, artifacts, bonus points, and adventurer / researcher playing pieces. Before we begin with the review, I want to quickly note that this is NOT the two-player card game version. You can learn more about the card game version by checking out my separate review, here.
Pop Quiz! What does Snow White, Red Riding Hood, Siegfried, and D’Artagnan have in common? Why, they all happen to be some of the heroes featured in the latest game published by MAGE Company…the same folks who brought you “Wrong Chemistry”. In “12 Realms”, players will take on the role of various heroes who must band together to stop the Lords of Darkness. It’s advertised as a fast and lighthearted cooperative experience, two qualities I always look for in the games I play. That begs the question: “How does it fare when the smoke finally clears?” Before I answer that, I’d like to thank the folks at MAGE Company and Game Salute for providing me with a free press copy.
Sadly, it’s been a few years since I’ve managed to play the original “Creeper World” released back in 2009. I do have fond memories of playing it, not to mention that it was addictive beyond belief. The original “Creeper World” was a mix of real-time strategy and tower defense. Every map featured multiple levels of terrain, starting points for the “creeper” to spawn, and a base that you had to protect at all costs. Unlike other tower defense games, you only had to face one enemy…though it oozed throughout the map like a cascading waterfall and your towers were the only thing holding it back. Your goal? Extend your power network to the energy totems scattered around the map so that you could advance to the next level. I missed out on “Creeper World’s” sequel, though I’ll be rectifying that by reviewing the third game in the series titled ”Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal”. Before we roll up our sleeves and get to work, I’d like to thank Virgil Wall from Knuckle Cracker, LLC for providing me with a free press copy.
It’s extremely rare that I come across a game in which I’ve pumped more than forty hours of my sweat and tears. “Skyrim”, “Fallout 3″, and “XCOM: Enemy Unknown” are probably the biggest contenders on my personal list, though I’m ALWAYS searching for some type of open-world zombie survival game. In most cases, I’ve been very disappointed with the crap that’s hit the virtual shelves in that regard. “The War Z” was so bad that it ended up changing its name to “Infestation: Survival Stories”, as if it had entered the witness protection program weeks after releasing. I’m pleased to report that “State of Decay” is nothing like that…it’s actually a ton of fun to play! With the release of the “Breakdown” DLC coming November 29th, 2013 (retailed at $6.99), I figured that now would be a good time to formally get my thoughts about this game down on paper.
No matter how many times I attempt to understand the back story behind “Quest for Destiny”, I come up short and end up reaching for my Tylenol bottle. From what I was able to gather, players will assume the roles of Pathwalkers on a quest to find the Dawn of Zegon. There’s mention of a group called the Scryers who found the special shield within the Great Forest of West Span, which happens to be guarded by one Dragon Lord Kathar. Oh, and mindless thralls. To be fair, there is a “Story Behind the Cards” section at the end of the manual, but my eyes glazed over in the same way as when I attempted to read Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”. That begs the question, will the gameplay mechanics be as convoluted as the story? Before we explore that answer, I’d like to thank Desmond Ong from Destiny Makers LLP for reaching out and providing me with a press copy.
Seriously, who wouldn’t enjoy trekking through a dungeon with your friends and slaying bad guys? “Escape From Monster Mansion” promises exactly that while being dynamic at the same time. Players reveal new rooms as they explore, making each and every game a unique and exciting experience. As you’d expect, players can choose between different characters with unique abilities and equip weapons to give themselves an edge. Of course, there’s no shortage of monsters…where else can you find a giant roach, an alien, and a kill-bot all in the same quote unquote “dungeon”?
“All of his co-workers were gone, what could it mean? Stanley had decided to go to the meeting room, perhaps he had missed a memo.” These are the first words you’ll hear and ironically, you’ll be hearing them more than once. ”The Stanley Parable”, an adventure game that is unlike any other I’ve experienced, is rather difficult to explain. You’ll take on the role of Stanley, and while your adventure begins the same every time, your choices will determine how the story ends. Think of it as a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book, something that you kids of the eighties and nineties can relate to. It also bears a resemblance to “Portal” and “Anti-Chamber”, but without the mind-bending puzzles and with heavier emphasis on the narrative. Before we explore the game any further, I’d like to quickly thank Davey Wreden from Galactic Cafe for providing me with a free press copy.
Spiders are sneaky little devils. Just last month I was in bed reading a book, reached over to check my phone, and BAM! An eight-legged creature was camping out on my shirt staring at me from behind the book. The scream that followed would have impressed Wilhelm, for sure. ”Spiders!”, a game currently seeking your support on Kickstarter, puts players on the other side of the fence. This time around, you’ll be spinning webs and attempting to catch flies, all the while trying to hide from the humans lest you incur their wrath.