Starting things off, it’s nice to see Bigfoot Hunter: A Camera Adventure Game finally make it out into the wild after first previewing it at PAX East a couple of years ago. Based on the same concept of the N64 game Pokémon Snap (a game which I can’t say that I’m at all familiar with), players are trying to snap photos of that most elusive of wildlife creatures, Bigfoot. Though he’s not the only thing that needs snapping as there are plenty of other animals, both big and small that need to be captured in your viewfinder as well. The different animal types each have their own movement styles, requiring slightly different tactics. It’s a fun and charming little game that both kids and adults will enjoy.
The game is afoot ad Sherlock Holmes: Lost Detective offers up some sleuthing and hidden object fun. Players take on the role of a rookie agent of Scotland, using their keen eyes to explore crime scenes to find hidden objects, gather clues, solve puzzles to catch the criminal. And as luck would have it, it turns out that your key witness is a hospitalized professor of English literature who claims to be none other than the famous Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes: Lost Detective is pretty much your standard free-to-play hidden object game with everything good (and bad) that that entails, but it has an interesting story line. Fans of the genre should enjoy this one as well.
To coincide with this week’s release of the new Peanuts feature film, Activision has launched Peanuts: Snoopy’s Town Tale. In similar vein as other quest-based simulation games like Minions Paradise™, Simpsons: Tapped Out and Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, this time players “join Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang as they build and explore their beloved town”. If you are a Peanuts fan, you’ll probably enjoy spending a good deal of time grinding and exploring with this one.
Simpulls is a fast-paced and different take on traditional match-3. Instead of drawing paths or simply swapping to adjacent pieces, in Simpulls, you are pulling the bottom block off one of the ever-lowering columns and flinging it back onto another column in an attempt to form groupings of like blocks which will then disappear and buy you a little more time to keep on matching. While yes, at its core it is a pretty traditional match-3 game, the pull and flick motions give it a little more of an arcadey feel which some may find more appealing.
Plaid Hat Games has just launched a great companion app for their very popular semi-cooperative survival horror board game Dead of Winter. The Crossroads Companion App is meant to take the place of the physical Crossroads deck of decision cards within the game. When certain game state conditions have been met, these cards get triggered and the players (as a group) must make a tough decision which has the possibility of shaking up the direction of play. Aside from the ability for Plaid Hat to push out new cards without waiting for physical print runs, one really nice feature of the app is that it keeps the consequences of the decision choices completely secret until the players have selected which action to take, adding to the suspense, mystery and theme of the game. Plus, as an added bonus, the app is narrated by none other than the Dice Tower’s Eric Summerer (who also recently lent his voice talents to the One Night Ultimate Werewolf companion app as well). If you own Dead of Winter, this seems like a no-brainer to pick up for a buck.
One of the most unique new games of the week has to be Progress to 100. Making excellent use of nearly every aspect of your iPhone from the touchscreen to the accelerometer, phone to the volume controls, this is a really neat puzzle game where you must decipher 100 riddles and interface with your phone is some way to satisfy the clue. I don’t really want to say much more as I don’t want to spoil any of the puzzles. This is a fairly brief, but really entertaining idea for an app.
Set during the Renaissance, Leonardo’s Cat delightful new physics puzzle game from the team at StoryToys in which players are helping Leonardo da Vinci recover the pieces to his latest invention, the Automaton, which has been stolen by his arch-rival Michelangelo. To do so, you must place a number of DiVinci’s ingenious inventions along the way such that his cat, Scungilli, can safely navigate his way through the obstacle-filled streets of 16th-century Ambois. The game features the voice of Patrick Stewart (Star Trek, X-Men) and is both fun and slightly educational and encourages experimentation. If one attempt should fail, you don’t have to start over from scratch, just move/replace/adjust the inventions until you figure out a combination that works. My daughters have really been enjoying this one and it has a nice gradual, difficulty curve which makes it easy for kids to learn and build on their skills as the puzzles get more and more complex.
Launched earlier this year on the PC, Phoenix Online Studios has ported Morningstar: Descent to Deadrock to iOS. It is an atmospheric sci-fi first-person point-and-click adventure. You and your commanding officer have just crash-landed on an isolated alien planet ominously called Deadrock. With your captain severely injured and other crew-members dead, it is up to you to find our what happened and how to repair your ship to get off of this godforsaken planet. The game’s first-person perspective puts you right into the heart of the story. Morningstar features some nicely illustrated locations and a couple of rather nice cinematic cut-scenes. There is voice-work and an embedded hint system throughout where you can radio your captain for assistance. It certainly kept me engaged for a couple of hours as I played through the entire game in a single sitting.
Speaking of puzzle adventures, Fireproof Games returns this week with a third outing of arguably one of THE BEST puzzle game series on any platform, The Room Three. Players are immediately drawn into the game by the narrative which plays out through a series of haunting notes left by the mysterious and unseen puzzle master. Building on the best bits of what the series is known for, the ornate and intricate puzzle boxes to manipulate, explore and solve. Puzzles embedded within puzzles, sometimes you have dive deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole to open hidden compartments or collect one small key which then unlocks some other piece of the puzzle on another side of the room or a different part of the elaborate ever-expanding structure in front of you. Tactile, immersive and beautiful, The Room Three is a gorgeous puzzle game that offers hours upon hours of gameplay and is a title that should be in everyone’s collection.
And we’ll wrap things up with a digital board game…
Over the next few weeks we expect to see a number of top-shelf digital board games launching on iOS and this week is no exception with the iOS version of Martin Wallace’s 2009 release, Steam™: Rails to Riches. An economic, tile-placement, role-selection, pick up and deliver train game with a little bidding for good measure, this mechanics mashup works beautifully and offers something for everyone. Players are trying to build railroad networks, using them to deliver goods, hopefully for the largest profits. I must admit Steam is not a game I was familiar with before playing this digital release, so I am quite thankful for the well-written interactive tutorial to help get me started. However, even with that and a link to the rule book I suspect I may need to consult some of my favorite YouTube channels for a little guidance as this game is a little more complex than something like Ticket To Ride. What I can say is that despite its initial complexity, I can already tell this is going to be a fantastic addition to my digital board game library. At launch the game offers a solo-play experience with three levels of AI. Unfortunately (as seems to be the standard these days) there is currently no online multiplayer, but it is in the works.
Look for even more digital board gaming goodness (including Le Havre: The Inland Port and another Martin Wallace title, Brass) next week as well as even more entertaining games in all sorts of genres and we seem to be flying through the month of November.