Tag: Tactics »
[Not sure if you want to take on the Orks? Have a look at our Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon review.]
Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon is a super deep strategy game that can be quite a lot to take in. Here's how to make sure you're combat ready when playing.
I really like rymdkapsel. Not just because I'm a sucker for games that are cleverly simple or highly stylisitc, but because it's fun and challenging. Actually it's extremely challenging, which is why I was excited to learn that it's getting a couple of new gameplay modes in the near future.
X-Mercs: Invasion is a game about saving the world from evil aliens. And from evil mercenaries. You shoot lots of evil stuff in the face, really. You’ll slowly start to unlock new things to do as you progress, but your activities are mostly divided between four tasks: sending squads on missions, researching new technologies, manufacturing items and equipment, and building up your base of operations. If you’re looking around and thinking this sounds like a free-to-play XCOM, well, you’re not wrong. That’s totally what it is. Don’t write it off yet, however.
What really struck me is how much thought was put into these tasks and wait timers - yes, there are wait timers. Manufacturing items takes varying amounts of time, resources, and money, depending on what you’re putting together. Research follows a similar pattern, although you can only ever research something once so the initial cost is a bit higher. Of course building new structures and clearing out space also takes a certain amount of real time to finish, and should be familiar to anyone who’s played a free town builder before. Lastly there are the soldiers, who will take time to heal up if they’re wounded in combat.
I found that I really didn’t mind the waiting in this case. It’s not all that far removed from having to wait for wounded soldiers to heal or for new tech to be researched in XCOM, and in an weird way it actually works really well on a thematic level. I mean, if my shotgunner was inches from death when I extracted the team, it kind of makes sense that he’d need some time to get back into fighting shape. Severity is a factor, but in my experience heal times can take anywhere from a minute to 20. Fortunately you can also have soldiers waiting in the barracks, then put them on the team to fill any gaps and get back to fighting.
The tactical combat is also reminiscent of that other game I keep referencing, however there are only three main soldier classes and you won’t have to deal with figuring out what the rookies will eventually specialize in (although there’s technically a fourth class since any soldiers that have been KIA can be brought back as a cyborg, complete with a unique skill tree). Another key difference is that the items (just items, not equipment) you manufacture are consumable, so any one of your soldiers can chuck a grenade or two during a mission but you’ll need to remember to make more. Or you could just stockpile them like I tend to do, sine they’re really cheap to make. What’s also really interesting is that the items you need to speed up production (nanites) can be purchased using in-game currency. I’m curious to see how people will respond to such an approach.
I do have a few concerns about repetitive missions, PvP elements (I haven’t been able to try it out yet), tiny text, having trouble telling what can be tapped on in the menu and what’s just set dressing (it took me days to figure out what to tap on to access the Shop), and the ridiculous outfits and physical dimensions of the female characters, but I am currently messing around with a beta build. So who knows how much any of that may change for the final release?
Mode 7's Frozen Synapse is now available for free on the iPhone and iPad. Frozen Synapse is a challenging tactics game where you control a team of soldiers using simultaneous turn-based play to let you plan out your moves before you send them against the enemy. It includes 5 multiplayer modes, a 55-mission single player campaign, and a random skirmish Generator.
Frozen Synapse is pretty deep and intriguing, so you should definitely try it out now while it's free.
One of the bigger surprises for me coming out of PAX East this year was definitely A Druid's Duel. It looks like a fairly simple and cartoony strategy game, and it is, but it can also be incredibly complex and fun.
The basic idea is that players are fighting over territory. Every time one of their druids moves over a tile they lay claim to it, and it generates Mana on their next turn. Mana is required to summon more druids and to use druid special abilities, so it's kind of important. Each druid can move and/or attack each turn, as well as use their abilities if there's enough Mana to go around, and that's pretty much it. However, it's the interplay of all these elements - and the constant push and pull between players - that makes it so much more complex. It's kind of like Chess, if all the pieces could transform into animals and cast magic spells.
A Druid's Duel should be hitting the App Store this summer.
This week I was able to get a look at Travian Games’ Epic Arena, and it looks pretty cool. It’s an asynchronous hex-based tactical arena combat game with multiple factions to control and several arenas to fight in. There are also some new gameplay modes that are being added to the current Facebook version, which include a faster Blitz mode (each player has only 60 seconds to decide what to do on their turn, and there are ELO rankings) and solo Challenges (players are given a predetermined scenario and must figure out how to complete it), that will also be available once it releases on iOS.
The core mechanics involve using five actions per turn to make the most of the units you have available while attempting to either decimate the opposition or destroy their artifacts. Different factions (and their units) play differently, of course, and it’s also possible to use special one-off Power Cards that can do all sorts of different things - and come in different rarities.
Epic Arena should be releasing in the US in about a month or so as a freemium title, and will support cross-platform play.