Brad CummingsUnited States
The Week In Review
Here are some highlights and comments on some apps I have been playing this week. I got the chance to play many iOS titles this week:Defender Chronicles 2: Heroesof Alethia
Tower defense is an interesting genre that has found a strong home on iOS. This app fit squarely in the genre but changes some of the basic premise. Instead of a long path for enemies to run along, the map is a tower. As monsters attack they will engage with defenders on the tower. Rather than using towers to slowly whittle down your foes, you must engage them one on one with soldiers and then damage them more with your ranged attackers.
I have enjoyed it so far and it is a unique take on tower defense. The art style does not greatly appeal to me but may to you if you like a sort of retro Sega Genesis feeling. You can check the game out here.
Fortune Street Smart
Fortune Street is a long running Japanese series, but not one that I have ever played. Basically it is a Monopoly clone that allows you to earn money by buying stocks in groups of properties. There is a lot of roll and move luck in the game, but I really feel there is a strong strategy in when to buy and sell stock. By improving a building in a certain area you are increasing the rent if another player lands on it but you are also increasing the value of that area for owners of stock in that area. This means that you can buy stock in your opponents Monopoly and make money as they improve it. I feel like this addition really improves the basic mechanic of the game and makes it one that a gamer may enjoy. It will not be something you play all the time but I think it is worth checking out. You can download it for free and play the first map, deciding later on if you want to add future maps.
You can check it out here.
Soctics is really fun dexterity soccer game that I once mistakenly told Gabe would make a great table top game (it would not as the basic mechanic is simultaneous movement). In Soctics players have a team of three or four discs. These discs can be small, medium, or large and each moves differently, the smaller sizes move faster and farther. Players are trying to use their discs to knock a small soccer ball disc into the goal. Players draw paths with their finger to choose where the discs will go and then moves are carried out. This sort of movement allows a player to plan blocks and passes.
The game is very fun and the app is well designed. It has a low entry price and this is perfect for an app like this. It is very fun to play with two players on one device but the AI also offers a good challenge. You can also use game center to play online.
You can check it out here.
Sword and Sworcery
Sword and Sworcery is not a new release but it is something I just recently tried. It is a point and click adventures with some light combat elements. I have played through around half of the game and I really enjoy it. Much like Bastion it is more an experience than a game. A lot of the enjoyment does not come from making the right moves but from feeling an emotional change through the music and the scene presented. The soundtrack to this game is just plain amazing. The title is not for everyone and is more of an art piece than a game but in my opinion that makes it worth experiencing.
You can check it out here.Lucky Dice
Lucy Dice is a small app from Dice Hate Me Games, the makers of Carnival. The app has a simple premise: roll 9 dice, 3 at a time, trying to place the dice rolled in a 3x3 grid in a formation that will give you the most points. The app is simple and is intended as a promo for the Carnival card game.
I am not sure how I missed it when it first came out, but it is quite enjoyable. I do wish there was a high score system as this would give more motivation for repeated play and DHMG has hinted that they are working on this.
You can get it for free right now.
Draw Something Pics of the Week
It has been weeks since I posted so there are a few good submissions. This week we have pics from jasemills and lucapiu. As always, if you want to share your drawing please submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org, with your BGG username, and you may see them show up here.
The Diablo series has been one that I always enjoyed, especially multiplayer. As a teenager I remember enjoying Diablo more than Diablo 2 because I did not mind the more limited story. I tried Torchlight a few months ago and it seemed to bring back that old sense of linear progression and loot gathering. In the Diablo games it was always a challenge to manage your inventory and decide what was important to keep and what could be thrown away. It took me many years before I discovered anything about optimal builds as I was just a casual player. I really enjoyed Diablo most when I was adventuring with another player which may be why I always preferred multiplayer over solo.
Diablo 3 is then the game for me. It seems (despite lacking voice chat) to be primed for multiplayer. The game is constantly online so if you are playing, your friends know it and can jump in automatically. Health pots (not just potions) drop from some monsters so you can get a quick heal when you need. Another feature is that your skills are learned by level but you can choose how to combine them. Perhaps you must be more of a tank than DPS, you can customize your skills to be that way. All of these features make it easy to switch from single player to co-op. I find the multiplayer very fast paced and enjoyable. There are moments where tactics are required but often it is just hack and slash. It reminds me of a deeper Gauntlet Legends, something my brothers and I played for hours as kids.
Diablo 3 really focuses on the fun, in my opinion. There is depth and challenge there especially at higher levels, but there also is simplicity that can turn it in to more of social outing than a technical gaming experience. Inventory management is easy with items taking up either one or two blocks and town portals being always available (no scroll needed, just click a button). Likewise identity scrolls are out, you simply click the item and a timer displays. The focus is on more playing and less management. I am sure most of you have already put hours in to this game, but if not I would really give it a look. It is a great experience and even more fun with friends to play with.
You can check it out here.
Board GamesOrigins 2012
Origins was quite a blast and I was able to check out many games. I have a huge pile sitting at home waiting to be tried. Be on the look out here in the coming weeks. We also were able to shoot tons of videos which should be up soon. Some of the highlights were getting to sit down for a demo of Mice Mystics and meeting Richard Borg. Mr. Borg was tons of fun and a great person to interview.
I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of Samurai Battles which comes in a massive box which is filled to the brim. I have not yet had a chance to play it as I am still in the assembly process. The figures look great and can mostly be assembled without glue, but there are over one hundred to put together. It features two rule sets and pieces to play both are included in the box. It is an awesome looking game and a must have for people who love great components.
The other game I have had a chance to check out is Morels by Two Lanterns Games. In Morels players are collecting sets of mushrooms and attempting to cook and sell them to score points. it is a two player game and features excellent art. I have tried to game with my wife and it went over very well. There is definitely a mix of strategy and randomness in the game, but really the best planning will bring the most success. The game features very quality components. I would really recommend this to fans of the Kosmos two player lines or other two player games.
I have more samurai to put together and games to try, I will keep you posted in the coming weeks.
Thought of the Week
As we discussed before, conventions mean different things to different types of attendees. This may be especially highlighted by Origins 2012. For me, as a “journalist” the convention was great, there were many people to speak with and it was usually easy to make appointments. For others it may have not been successful.
So my question for the week: From your point of view (as a gamer, developer, publisher, etc) was Origins 2012 a success and how can it be more successful in the future?