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Steam Link Spotlight is a feature where we look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link app. Our last entry looked at Fights in Tight Spaces. Read about how it plays using Steam Link over here.
For this installment, I decided to go back to a more turn-based title. Fights in Tight Spaces just hit Steam in early access and is a turn-based card game where you manage the choreography of intense fighting set pieces that wouldn't feel out of place in films like John Wick or The Bourne Identity. You do this by playing cards that execute moves on your turn that allow you to manage your spacing while dishing out a ton of pain on multiple bad guys that accost you in tattoo parlors, narrow alleyways, and other cramped environments.
[Want to know if it’s worth investing your time in Earthcore? Check out our review]
At first glance, Earthcore: Shattered Elements seems like a rather simple card-battling game. Once you’re introduced to skills that will change quite a bit. Even more so once you start to acquire hero cards. But it’s not so complicated that we couldn’t put together a beginner’s guide for all you Earthcore neophytes.
Monsu looks to be a cute and cuddly little runner/platformer from Angry Birds alum Boomlagoon. I was able to get my hands on it for a bit and I can confirm that it is, in fact, cute and cuddly. It's also got a lot of cards to collect and equip, which is a bit different for the genre. Good different, form what I've seen.
In between choosing a card to bring into battle, smashing houses while collecting coins, and generally laying waste to those who would oppose me, I had the chance to speak to Boomlagoon's CEO, Antti Sten, about the interesting hybrid.
148Apps: Would you say Monsu is a runner/platformer with card collecting elements, or a card collector with platformer/runner elements?
Antti Sten (AS): It's like a platformer, endless runner, with this card-collecting aspect. Basically you get to collect 40 different cards, and you can equip three of them at a time. All of them bring this really cool visual and helping aspect to the game, so you can run with these companions and buddies that make it like a whole different experience depending on what cards you choose.
The core game is the runner, of course. You can play the game without the cards but you can't play it without the running.
148Apps: What was it like to hybridize two very different genres? Were there any particular challenges? Anything easier than you'd expected?
AS: We thought we'd have trouble figuring out what the cards would be, because we wanted each of them to be richer than some power-up. There are some like that but most of them are really game-changing. It went pretty smoothly, really. We had a few challenges with other mechanics, like for example the social mechanics. We currently have leaderboards and you can share with other players, but we've been trying to figure out what would be the most convenient features to include.
148Apps: Where did the idea for a runner/card hybrid come from?
AS: It's always hard to say specifically when the game idea was born. At one point we were trying to figure out how to make a different kind of endless runner - we had all kinds of ideas, like what kind of controls could you have, should there be attacking - and at one point we started to wonder "What if it was more like a platformer?"
Of course with platformers you're thinking about Super Mario Brothers, and one of the key aspects of that game is that you can get these power-ups that really change the way that you play the game; for example, when you get the fire flower you play totally differently than when you get the star. We wanted to create something like that with Monsu's cards. And of course we went overboard and now we have around 40 of them.
148Apps: Did you learn anything from the development of Angry Birds or Noble Nutlings that helped with the development of Monsu?
AS: Simplistic UI is always something that we want to have - let users get straight to the game, and not have too many screens to handle. And of course there's the graphical style, which we've carried over from previous games.
148Apps: I imagine the climate of the App Store has changed a bit since releasing Angry Birds and even Noble Nutlings. Do you think that may have changed the way you approached Monsu?
AS: Yeah, I guess that one of the things that really has changed for us is that now we require much more depth. We wouldn't want to publish a game with just like one mechanic and X amount of challenges or levels, so there has to be some kind of progression - something to fiddle with. That's one of the things that's going to be very different from Noble Nutlings.
148Apps: Have there been any trends or reactions you've seen in the App Store lately that have you concerned about how Monsu will be received?
AS: The genre itself - really casual, easy to play games - there aren't many that have been all that successful. If you look in the App Store, the Top Grossing games based on revenue are usually like casino, resource management, and licensed games, which Monsu is not. But Monsu is a fun game, and there's always been room for these types of games!
Thanks to Antti Sten for his time. Monsu is available to download on the App Store now, for free.
In case you missed our previous coverage (shame on you), Toy Rush is a combination of tower defense and tower offense, with players collecting cards from packs in order to earn toys to send after other players or to earn new defensive towers. 50 solo missions will also be available so that players may hone their skills, and there will be daily challenges to complete for bonus rewards, but the real point behind all of it is to take on your friends in glorious toy-based combat.
Toy Rush should be coming to the US App Store next month for free.
Developer Wizards of the Coast has announced that its new game for iPads, Magic 2015 — Duels of the Planeswalkers, should be available in summer of 2014.
The game is the latest installment in the Duels of the Planeswalkers franchise, and puts the player at the center of the mythical Magic Multiverse.
Fans attending PAX East in Boston this weekend will have the chance to be the first to demo Magic 2015 — Duels of the Planeswalkers in the Magic: The Gathering booth, #462. Additionally, visitors to the show will have the opportunity to earn an exclusive Garruk Wildspeaker Pinny Arcade pin (while supplies last) by demoing the new game or participating in other in-booth activities.