Posts Tagged Tactical
For those of you who don’t know, the original X-Com: UFO Defense is one of the most beloved strategy games in existence. It was only fitting for it to receive a modern update of sorts, but XCOM: Enemy Unknown turned out to be a modern update that was treated with the utmost respect by Firaxis (Civilization IV, Civ. V). Now that same re-imagining of a genre cornerstone is coming to iOS. XCOM: Enemy Unknown’s lead designer, Jake Solomon, was kind enough to answer some of our questions regarding the upcoming mobile release.
148Apps: You and the rest of the Firaxis team obviously have a ton of reverence for X-Com and it shines through in Enemy Unknown. Has X-Com had any influence over other projects you’ve worked on?
Jake Solomon (JS): Since the first time I played X-Com, it has been one of game designs that exemplifies to me a great game, and that means that it’s also been a big part of how I think about game design to some extent. Specific influences are probably harder to point out, but I still crack it out and play the original from time to time.
148Apps: What’s your fondest memory from the original X-Com? Mine is making it to the point where I’m invading alien bases without having lost a single soldier on the way.
JS: Wow, that’s really hard to pick one memory. There are always a handful of moments from a game that you remember, and you take them together and you can tell these war stories about the game. For example, I remember this one game where I had this one rookie who was so useless and I was like: “Son, you’re going to Mars. I can make that happen for you.”
148Apps: How about the aliens? Any particular favorite or least favorite? I find I have a sort of love/hate relationship with Cryssalids.
JS: The Chryssalid is iconic for sure. I guess the one I don’t miss is the Silicoid. I mean, it’s a rock, and it spits at you, and it leaves a giant trail showing where it went. It’s such a non-threat.
148Apps: Deciding what to cut, keep, and change when streamlining X-Com’s mechanics for Enemy Unknown must have been pretty tough. Was there anything you all were actually glad to see go?
JS: I don’t think I was necessarily happy or sad about specific changes we made. We felt the mechanics changes were necessary because of the systems we wanted to include in the game, like soldier and alien abilities and the class system. We did want to make sure that all of the decisions you were making were meaningful ones that had real consequences within the game, and keeping that in mind was sort of a guidepost for the mechanics design.
148Apps: The iOS port of Enemy Unknown looks like it’s coming along quite well. Was an iOS version always planned or was it a result of the game’s PC and console reception?
JS: There was a discussion about whether the iOS version was even feasible at first. Unreal 3 does scale very well, but we still had to go investigate the tech side. And what do you know? It worked really well. After that it was largely a matter of adjusting the interface and making some changes for storage size.
148Apps: Please tell me the option to customize soldiers’ names and appearances is still in there!
JS: Yes, you can still fully customize your soldiers. That’s such a huge part of how people play XCOM that it wouldn’t have been the same if that wasn’t in there.
148Apps: Have there been any features for iOS devices that aren’t prevalent on consoles/PCs (camera, QR codes, augmented reality) that you’ve considered incorporating into this version of Enemy Unknown? Not necessarily as major elements but as little extras or something?
JS: We wanted to make sure that the game that we released on console and PC played solidly on the iPad, so getting that experience solid was our highest priority. I’m sure there are cool things we could do with the camera and location tools, but that’s something to think about for the future.
148Apps: I could see Enemy Unknown‘s multiplayer working quite well on iOS, especially if it was asynchronous. Any chance of that happening or is the focus entirely on the campaign right now?
JS:There will eventually be an update that includes multiplayer, and that’ll be a free update for people who own the game.
148Apps: Will the iOS version of Enemy Unknown include the “secret” characters and/or extra Council DLC missions? Or might the missions be available as add-on content?
JS: We’ve been focusing on creating the best release on iOS as possible – we hope this release like the PC and console will drive a lot of interest and community feedback!
We here at 148Apps would like to extend our appreciation to Mr. Solomon and the entire Enemy Unknown team for answering our questions and for making a remarkably excellent strategy game. No specifics on a release date or pricing are available yet but it’s due out “this summer” and will have a “premium” price tag.
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.
We at 148apps were very kindly invited to take a look for ourselves at the upcoming turn based strategy game Danger Alliance: Battles. Rather excited at the prospect, we were far from disappointed at what we saw.
Coming from the land of down under (Australia), Danger Alliance: Battles has some strong pedigree in its development studio with its two man team offering backgrounds in both mobile phone and console based development. It shows too with a distinctly professional sheen to everything about the title.
What also becomes immediately apparent is that Danger Alliance: Battles isn’t a gritty game. The general appearance isn’t quite full on cute but it does have a light-hearted vibe to it offering colorful and charming characters that commit to the many actions available. Variation is the key too. Provided before each Skirmish battle is the option to customize a squad. Players can then adjust tactics according to how their playing style is. Classes encompass a sniper, incinerator (flamethrower), grenadier, rocket launcher and commando, hopefully providing enough variety no matter how the player prefers to tackle the situation. They even offer their own quips mid battle.
In this preview build, we were only able to play the Skirmish mode but a single player campaign mode is promised in the future after the initial release of the game. This story is set to echo our own history at first with some subtle differences to ensure this is most certainly fiction.
Back to the Skirmish mode, things are looking pretty solid. Controls are easy to use with the ability to zoom in and out of the battlefield for optimum view. While on the iPad, things appear clearer, the game is far from muddled when viewed on the smaller iPhone screen. The Skirmish mode offers two forms of play with a Strategic Victory and Elimination mode available, as well as three different AI difficulty levels. The AI certainly plays a challenging game too with even the easy mode offering a solid match.
Danger Alliance: Battles is shaping up to be a pretty enjoyable game indeed. Developers Tome Studios promise that a Lite version will co-exist alongside the paid version offering one battlefield rather than a full selection like the full version, ensuring that everyone is able to give the title a shot when it arrives later this month. We’ll be keeping track of this progress as it nears full release.