This is one of those rare cases where I let my objective reviewer guard down and thought to myself “this game is going to be great. After all, it came from the mind of Ron Gilbert, so how can it go wrong?” I was basically setting myself up for mild enjoyment, because we all know over-hyping something diminishes its “wow” factor, or utter disappointment. Thankfully Scurvy Scallywags not only failed to disappoint, but it actually exceeded my lofty expectations. I’m not going to dig myself into a hole by saying this is the best game ever, but boy is there a lot to love here.
I’ve always been partial to turn based strategy games because I tend to have difficulties processing everything that’s going on all at once when the action is real time. However, I began taking an interest in the real time side of things again when I was introduced to what I call “strategy lite” games where you basically have one screen full of stuff to deal with and the action is mostly relegated to simply trying to take over your opponents’ structures. With no resource management, no complex troop management and advanced quests providing fun but unnecessary diversions, games like Mushroom Wars still provide a decent level of strategy but supply it in a nice pick up and go package.
2K Games has finally released the anticipated mobile version of the bestselling Borderlands for iOS - Borderlands Legends. Unlike its console/PC sibling, you won’t find any FPS action, but rather a top-down real time strategy of sorts.
Borderlands Legends is the latest addition to the Borderland franchise, specifically designed for mobile and tablet. Control Mordecai, Lilith, Brick and Roland and take out the oncoming waves of enemies. Collect in-game cash by destroying enemies and purchase new weapons. Earn experience and level up your characters, unlocking new skills and abilities! Each character has their own set of unique skills and abilities, use them wisely to survive!
Fieldrunners 2, the sequel to arguably the most celebrated tower defense game on iOS and one that ushered in a wave of TD games onto the plaform, has finally arrived on the iPhone. Developer Subatomic Studios spent the past several years creating Fieldrunners 2 and it clearly shows, with gamers treated to over 20 new levels and 20 unique, upgradable weapons, along with 3 different type of levels (Sudden Death, Time Trial, and Puzzle) and Retina Support to show off the gorgeous hand painted artwork. Currently, only the iPhone version is available ($2.99), with plans for an iPad release in the future. I’ve only logged about an hour or so thus far, but have already found it to be terribly addictive. Perhaps best of all, there are no IAPs to suck your iTunes credits dry; instead virtual currency can be earned in-game to buy items. Check out the extended gameplay video after the gap.
Subatomic Studios, Fieldrunners 2 - $2.99
Everyone’s favourite squids have ridden their way back into our palms in The Game Bakers latest entry into the cult classic Squids franchise. Squids Wild West continues the story of the first game (TMA Review) and pulls the setting into an adorable underwater Western world. The Game Bakers have stuck to what they know, which in this case is a very good thing. While little has changed from Squids, subtle improvements have been made to the game’s fluidity, along with minor introductions such as mounted seahorses for your squid-slinging pleasure.
As someone who spends quite a bit of time with the many forms of iOS, I see roughly as many Tower Defense games in a month as there are base foot soldiers in any given TD game. However, every so often one of them is good enough to break through my defenses and march straight into my good books. Such is the challenge facing Gimka Entertainment with their offering of Defender Chronicles II: Heroes of Athelia.
When I first saw Rune Raiders I had a feeling it would be something different, and it turns out it really is. You’ll find it often referred to as a RPG, but it’s a slick little strategy game that might best be described as Fire Emblem for the iPhone, and that’s not even a good analogy. Suffice it to say that if you like the atmosphere of a dungeon crawl, the need to think instead of simply slash your way to victory, and game design that doesn’t fit the standard mold, Rune Raiders is a good choice for you.
I’ve never been so frustrated with tiny men lacking in necks, arms, and legs. Oddly enough I also can’t remember the last time I fell quite so in love with them. Such is life in the land of Quarrel Deluxe: at times an exhilarating dose of brain-busting competition, and at others… phone-throwingly frustrating. What is Quarrel, you ask? It’s an unfortunately overlooked game cast into a world in which games just like it have already planted their flags. There is little room to move on the map over which apps such as Words With Friends already rule. However, if Quarrel were to advance on their territories it would do so with the word value of SCRABBLE, and all the war strategy of RISK.
The tower defense genre is one that has always eluded me. Sure you have to construct towers (or some sort of defense) and possibly upgrade them during a level, but a bulk of each round is spent simply watching as hordes of monsters parade along a route and your equipment picks them off. Thankfully, though, over the course of time there have been a few that have bucked this trend, Kingdom Rush being one of them. Between constant interaction, interesting level design and a ranking system that allows you to buy permanent upgrades to your defenses, Kingdom Rush takes enough simple steps forward to push it ahead of the crowd.
Unlike my wife, I’m not a huge fan of seafood. All those tentacles and scales – yuck. But what I do like is tactical strategy games, especially if there’s a bit of RPG element tucked in. Well it just so happens that an indie dev by the name of The Game Bakers have cooked up something for me to make even all the slimy creatures quite acceptable, at least in digital form. I’m talking about the unique iOS action strategy game Squids.