When I first reviewed Aliens Versus Humans I found it to be full of promise, but the lack of a Geoscape and base maintenance of any kind sapped some of my enjoyment. What’s already there is great stuff, but in the back of my mind – and most likely in the back of everyone else’s – it just wasn’t the complete experience. However, Leisurerules has been hard at work since the initial release and are preparing to hit the App Store with their 2.0 update early next month. Just in time for XCOM: Enemy Unknown if all goes to plan. I’ve had the fortune of being able to check it out early, and I can honestly say it’s not going to disappoint.
So why is Aliens Versus Humans 2.0 special enough to warrant such attention? Because it’s essentially a totally different game. The original AvH missions are being sectioned off as “Training Missions,” while the real meat of the game has been designated “Onslaught.” In Onslaught players can expect the kind of portable X-COM experience they’ve always wanted. The Geoscape, ‘pedia, recruitment, research, staffing, manufacturing, and base construction (with multiple bases) is all present and accounted for. It’s practically perfect X-COM in all its immaculate and frustrating glory, only now you can play it whenever and wherever you want. And I helped.
Jim Coughley (coding, artwork, sound, music, testing), contacted me after my review of AvH had gone live, we had a brief back-and-forth regarding our mutual love of the original series and thoughts about what AvH could use in terms of various improvements, then before I knew it I was asked to help out as an advisor for future versions. In other words I take a look at various builds and offer feedback. According to Jim, this was largely due to my love of the series as well as the way I “…didn’t hold back in [my] comments and criticisms and [my] feedback came with sound reasoning…” And now I take a moment to blush (seriously). The lack of a Geoscape was a major (and fairly obvious) issue but we’ve also discussed smaller things like interface tweaks and menu layouts. As someone who loves video games, and especially X-COM, this has been an awesome and surreal experience all-around.
I’m obviously proud (and possibly a little biased) about how Aliens Versus Humans is turning out, but that shouldn’t keep you X-COM fans from checking it out. It really is fantastic and once the 2.0 update goes live it should fill that strategic alien-fighting gap quite nicely. But if you’re still not sure there’s always the free version, limited to early missions only and no Onslaught mode, to try out which is slated for the same release window as 2.0 (early October).
It feels like it wasn’t all that long ago when Samurai Bloodshow (the rest of the title is too confusing so I’m leaving it off) managed to take me completely by surprise. The combination of strategy, card collecting, and over-the-top arterial spray brought a huge smile to my face. And now Sega is poised to do the same thing to me all over again. Albeit without the surprise since I know what’s coming this time around.
Alexandria Bloodshow is the official sequel to that other fantastic genre mash-up. This time players can take control of two separate armies – the Egyptians and the Greeks – as they attempt to collect, cut-up, and conquer. With the requisite art styles (Greek pottery, Egyptian hieroglyphics) to match of course. All the engrossing card gathering and deck building is still on offer, now with a whole new set of units to strategize with. Over 120 in all, actually. And with the two selectable armies, five difficulties, and seventeen stages it makes for a total of 170 campaign levels to conquer. And that’s not even taking the two player versus mode (via WiFi or Bluetooth) into account.
Alexandria Bloodshow is available on the App Store now, and it’s only $0.99. Okay, it’s actually free to download but it’s $0.99 to unlock the full game. Not a bad deal.
It’s been a long time coming. At least, it probably seems like a long time to all those disgruntled iOS users. Anyway, at long last, Plants vs. Zombies has gotten a major update that includes a number of features that many have been missing (i.e. taking issue with their absence). Read on for the nitty-gritty.
More mini-games are being added to the already robust list, including the Zombiquarium, Portal Combat and Beghouled Twist. Anyone unfamiliar with these mini-titles should know that they’re all interesting and fun in their own ways. Especially Beghouled Twist, with its hybrid of classic zombie-on-plant carnage and match-three puzzles. Of course, Portal Combat is interesting, too. The addition of reality-bending gateways that let plants fire across multiple rows (careful that the zombies don’t use them to get closer!) make for some cool overkill moments.
A new puzzle game has also been included in addition to I, Zombie (which itself has received an Endless Mode). Vase Breaker is now a particular favorite of mine as it takes the random “card” distribution used in many other extra modes and hides it underneath a grid of unmarked vases. Some may contain plants, some may contain zombies. Players have to play conservatively and smart if they’re going to have any chance of making it to the end. And yes dear iPad users, at long last the Zen Garden has also been included. Raising oddball plants like our PC counterparts is finally, blessedly, an option.
It’s not all mini-games, however. Popcap has also included support for several languages (Spanish, French, etc), as well as some new items in Crazy Dave’s shop and the expected Game Center achievements. Take note: some of the extra stuff such as bonus I, Zombie levels and the like are gated behind purchases via in-game coins. These coins are earned fairly regularly through simply playing the various modes so it’s not a big problem, but players should know that they won’t be able to jump right in to all the new stuff immediately. Worst case scenario; they get to sample the first level of a given mode or game type, then spend a few rounds of doing whatever to earn enough cash to unlock more stages.
Once this update goes live tomorrow (4/19), the iOS version of Plants vs. Zombies will finally be comparable to its PC counterpart. Both for the iPhone and the iPad. Rejoice, fellow iOS users! Rejoice and stop all the bellyaching!
Okay folks, time to get ready. Start clearing off some space on that iOS device and set aside plenty of alone time because Hunters 2 is looming on the horizon. And not one of those “further away than it seems” horizons. I’m talking the kind of horizon that’s really, really close.
The original game was something of a smashing success, but it wasn’t exactly perfect. Many users took issue with the somewhat limited arsenal, the lack of much variation for the contracts, the repetitive environments, and so on. Well Rodeo Games has taken the criticism to heart. Hunters 2 will feature the same ridiculously awesome strategy gameplay, but also includes more. As in more of everything. More weapons, more environments, more gear, more environments, and even more features. Such as a full-blown campaign mode (*SQUEEE!!!*) It’s also looking pretty spiffy with the new real-time lighting effects. And are those new enemy types I see in those screen shots? I think they are.
Regrettably there still aren’t any real specifics about the launch, but Rodeo Games estimates that we can all look forward to seeing Hunters 2 on the App Store in just a couple of weeks. How much it’ll cost is still up in the air, but honestly, does it really matter? I’m fairly certain there are a ton of iOS users that are anxious to jump on it as soon as it’s available, no matter the price. Myself included.
Dungeon crawlers as a genre have certainly seen much success over the years, but that doesn’t mean that everyone loves them. It takes a certain kind of mentality to find joy in gathering tons of loot through repetitious fighting in order to fight stronger things (repetitiously) for better loot. Now assuming there was something else added to the proceedings to keep things from feeling less monotonous, something like that could draw in a bit more of a crowd. That is to say, draw in even more of a crowd. And what usually sells like crazy regardless of medium or platform? Humor.
With that in mind (I think), Ayopa Games and Drowning Monkeys have decided to unleash Dungeon Crawlers on an unsuspecting App Store. The game itself is a combination of more typical dungeon crawlers with multi-floored dungeons, loot and experience grinding and turn-based strategy RPGs. Players will control a team of four adventurers (an alchemist, priest, barbarian, and dwarven warrior) over the course of five chapters, each with their own distinct environments. They’ll also be going toe-to-toe with plenty of nasty monsters as they scrounge for stuff.
Dungeon Crawlers is slated for a January 26th release. A universal release, might I add. For a special “introductory price” of $1.99 no less.
I’m obviously excited about Legendary Heroes. It’s got me all in a tizzy, so to speak. But why is it so noteworthy? Read on for a better explanation than “it’s looking freaking awesome!”
First of all, it does indeed look awesome. It’s another iOS strategy game, which tend to fit the platform quite well. It features some pretty impressive-looking graphics. It takes the typical 2D castle defense genre and adds a third dimension, so there will be multiple paths to take in order to reach the enemy’s tower. Lots of power-ups can be used to bolster the team’s stats. And then there are the heroes.
Eight different heroes, each with their own abilities. Smaller units are still around, but it’s the direct control of the hero unit that really sets Legendary Heroes apart. Plus it sort of fits with the name. Anyway, it’s looking like an iOS mash-up of castle defense strategies, the fodder-pounding available in games like Dynasty Warriors and the inclusion of unique player-controlled hero classes that has been all the rage lately thanks to League of Legends.
Really now, how could someone not get excited about that combination? Oh but don’t just take my word for it. There’s a cleverly placed trailer sitting down there that should close the deal. Legendary Heroes will be out sometime in early 2012 and will be free-to-play.
Zombie Invasion HD, previously known as Defense Craft, has just seen an update for the iPad. Why any of this required a name change, which subsequently led to a bunch of time wasted trying to figure out why the heck the game I was trying to link to didn’t exist, is completely beyond me. However, it’s a thing and it exists now. Best to talk about it.
Whatever it’s official name is at this point, the game is primarily about tower defense. Players fend off hordes of weird floating zombies using even weirder towers. The original release offered up close to 25 levels, multiple enemy and tower types as well as a handful of themes. This update increases the amount of stages on hand, giving players even more zombie-fighting goodness.
As some added incentive, Zombie Invasion HD will be free for the next few days. Why not take a look? Try out some of those new levels perhaps?
Pocket Gamer reports that two new free-to-play Final Fantasy games from Square Enix have sneaked their way onto the App Store in Japan – Final Fantasy: Record Keeper and Final Fantasy: World Wide Words. In Record Keeper, players take on the role of an Apprentice that jumps into paintings that take them to famous scenes from previous […]