Stories by Bane Williams
My first ever memories of Talisman were with me watching by my mothers side as she sent her ‘big green dude’ (a Troll, I later found out) out on quests to tackle hordes of enemies, cross over the bridge guarded by the giant sentinel, and slowly make her way through to the centre tiles where the amazing ‘Crown of Command’ was kept. I didn’t know too much about the game, or how it worked, only that my mother would cackle with witch-like glee whenever she received the crown, and her friends would look crestfallen. It was the game that got me into games, moreso than Monopoly, RISK, Scattegories or any childrens game, and now that game has come to Android.
Infinity Wars does a surprising number of things well for a Trading Card Game (TCG). Firstly it’s multiplatform, allowing people to play against each other no matter if they’re on Android, iOS or PC. It succeeds in bringing on board the best aspects of many of the worlds top TCG’s in a brilliant marriage of form and function, and it is perfectly easy to get to know if you have played similar games such as Magic: The Gathering or Ascension. It rewards player skill and ingenuity while still letting a small amount of the game boil down to chance all while creating a game that is easy to learn, but hard to master… just like the greats should be.
When other developers start attempting to clone your game, that’s when you know you’ve made something unique. This was the case for 11 bit studios Anomaly: Warzone Earth, whose paradigm shifting ideals threw the Tower Defense community for a spin with a intriguing story, new gameplay elements, and various other features shunning the elements commonplace within the realm of Tower Defense. With such a radical pedigree, can Anomaly: Korea be considered a worthy successor?
This certainly isn’t your grandparents Tower Defense, that’s for sure. All the basic elements exist… there are towers there, and they definitely exist to shoot and kill things, but unlike traditional games of this genre you control the individual units having to work their way through a maze of deadly towers hell bent on their destruction. You direct them through this maze of towers with an overhead view, telling the units which way to go at any specific intersection. Overall it’s quite tactical.
Pure driving excellence. That is the feeling that Real Racing 3 wanted to create with its latest sequel to the popular Real Racing franchise. It’s a good feeling to capture, that moment when you step into a brand new Ford GT 500 and put the pedal to the floor… a feeling of unbridled joy when you slide it around the corner at 120 mph and overtake another equally impressive vehicle. Developer Firemonkeys came incredibly close to reaching this point, but at some point a rock in the road tripped them up and caused them to simply fall flat on their face.
A lot of the problems with the game come straight from the publisher. EA’s recent desire to catch up with the market and tackle free to play has left them pushing a little too hard on their developers to include a new facet to their overall design… and this has left developers sacrificing game design principles for potential game profits. The microtransactions in Real Racing 3 are not just poorly placed, but they are poorly designed, and show a studio who has little knowledge of what to do with the freemium model. If the only problem the game had was with these transactions, it could potentially be overlooked… but the problems with Real Racing 3 are deeper and much more insidious than that.
Cory and Andrew Trese are two brothers with a mission. These brothers in their spare time have managed to pull together three incredibly in depth, complex, and time consuming experiences – with a fourth on the way. We reviewed Star Traders RPG last week, and this week we get to sit down with the creators themselves for a comprehensive look at the challenges and inspirations in making their games come alive, as well as a look at their upcoming projects and whether they prefer cake or pie.
The term Role Playing Game has been applied to pretty much every interactive experience with even an iota of strategy and customization, and more recently even to games that have no story and no real character depth. Thankfully games like Star Traders RPG exist, which are single handedly able to rejuvenate a genre flooded with generic ‘tap to level up’ games and provide a deep, immersive, open, customizable experience that is capable of hundreds of hours of entertainment.
The games premise is a straightforward one. You play as the captain of a Starship, left to you by your father as his dying wish, and set out to the stars. You can progress through the game a number of ways, any of which are entirely decided by you. Do you become a Trader, only fighting in defense of your goods? Perhaps a Bounty Hunter, seeking down the Pirates of the galaxy. Maybe you want to be the Pirate, a Military Officer, a Researcher, or even a Diplomat, forging peace through the factions or causing controlled chaos. The choice truly is yours, and for the most part you can be any roles you wish within the games fairly loose confines.
Simply allowing players to forge their own destiny in the world presents the game with an almost dynamic difficulty in addition to the one you choose at the start of the game. This inherent freedom allows for players to set their own rules and ways of playing the game… I made an Explorer that abhorred combat and avoided it at every turn, and the game in no way punished me for this choice.