This was another strong week for paid games, with some common themes and mechanics appearing across an engaging roster of premium titles highlighted by Deus Ex GO, Legend of the Skyfish and Leap of Fate, but we’ll get to those in a bit.
First let’s start (as we always do) with a few freebies, beginning with a new multiplayer incarnation of an arcade classic…TETRIS® Battle Drop. Based on the popular Tetris Battle, Facebook application, players go head to head (or against an AI opponent) trying to create lines and combos on their own board to send them over to the opponent’s board, subsequently driving their lines closer and closer toward the top of the screen. One of the biggest changes here is an optional new “intelligent” one-touch control scheme where players just touch the screen to see where the falling <>Tetrimino (block) will land. Then they just drag their finger to move AND rotate the Tetrimino, releasing their finger to DROP the Tetrimino into place. It’s fun to revisit such a classic game is this quick and easily accessible version for the iPad. The release is perfectly timed for me, as I am just about to read through preview copy I was sent of Tetris: The Games People Play, an upcoming graphic novel by Box Brown about the creation of this beloved game from the early to mid 1980s. Queue that infectious Tetris theme song…
Next up is Outfolded, a new blocky shape shifting puzzle game from 3 Sprockets, creators of the popular Cubemen 3D strategy game series. Outfolded is a creative, casual puzzle game where you are given three 3D shapes and a winding, gridded play area. Your goal is to place (and unfold) these shapes onto the board (one at a time), connecting them in such a way as to reach the specified goal point. You can decide which order you’d like to use your pieces and in which direction(s) you would like to unfold them. Once a piece runs out, you can use any of the ending squares of the previous piece to start your next one. It is a nice little time waster, yet it still requires you to use your brain to unfold the 3D pieces in your head to plan things out. Levels just flow from one into the next and if you get stuck, there is a hint system and ways to earn free hints. The game also features an excellent (and handy) undo system that lets you easily undo either just the last move or undo all moves since the beginning of the level and start over. Outfolded is certainly worth a look.
A narrative tale, but a bit of a departure from their usual graphics-rich adventures, Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltrati0n.ipa is the latest offering from Telltale. Developed by Night School Studio (Oxenfree) is a a thrilling adventure game set in the Mr. Robot television series universe, taking place during the first season of the series. Darlene, a black hat hacker who is planning a huge world-changing cybercrime has misplaced her phone on the ground outside the Fun Society Arcade at Coney Island. You’ve stumbled upon the device and are now caught up in fsociety’s plans to “reset the world” and must use the E-Corp messaging app on the phone to communicate in real time with characters from the show, selecting from dialog choices which will directly steer the story. Every decision you make will have consequences, some of which may not be immediately apparent. The game appears to follow that now somewhat familiar Lifeline… in-game texting genre, but the fact that it is set in the Mr. Robot universe has me really intrigued and interested in checking this one out. I also love the added touch of the naming of the app, as it follows that same pirated software naming convention of the series episodes.
One of my favorite titles to date from Crescent Moon Games, Legend of the Skyfish is a beautifully illustrated adventure puzzle game, which tells the tale of Little Red Hook, a young girl whom, along with her Moonwhale companion, is on a dangerous journey to defeat the evil Skyfish. At her side is her trusty fishing pole which she uses as a both a weapon and a tool. She can cast the hook out (MK Scorpion style) to pull dazed enemies toward her to deliver the death blow with her fish slasher or use it as a grappling hook to pull herself to other locations or drag items to trigger gates. You can find upgrades along the way to improve your range, health and speed and different rods have their own special abilities. The game is set up in a series of campaigns, with a total of 45 levels, complete with some cool boss battle. You guide Red through each of the levels, battling enemies, avoiding spikes and triggering pressure locks to unlock gates and more. Skyfish is a well-crafted game with plenty of checkpoints to allow players of all ages and skill levels to enjoy it.
Leap of Fate is a game which I first saw way back at PAX East 2015 and I’m thrilled to see it finally get a release. Launched earlier this year on Steam, Clever-Plays makes its iOS debut with this brilliant isometric cyberpunk dual-stick roguelike. Set in New York City, players take on the role of a technomage, roaming dark rooftops, growing their powers and magical abilities as they try to take down demons, and other horrid and grotesque creatures as they confront the Crucible of Fates, “a mysterious testing ground that will magically pit them against their own psychological demons”. Players start off with a few basic abilities like the teleporting shadow walk, but over time they will enhance and upgrade these abilities which will help to push them further and further with each attempt. Levels are setup using a neat tarot card system, where locations (aka missions) are dealt out like a physical pyramid of solitaire cards and as one completes each level of cards in the pyramid, new sets of cards are flipped over, offering the player more choices. Leap of Fate has loads of replayability as well as several characters to unlock, each of which has their own unique (and rather large) upgrade tech tree. The combat is fast and furious with a lot going on and differing varieties of enemies, but with breaks in the action for you to catch your breath. Thanks to the game’s roguelike setup, should you perish, you can come back stronger with unlocked upgrades in tact. The PC version sells for $15.99 on steam, so $3.99 on mobile seems like a pretty sweet bargain.
Following in the footsteps of both Hitman GO and Lara Croft GO is SQUARE ENIX’s third and latest ‘GO’ puzzle platformer, Deus Ex GO. Set in Deus Ex’s futuristic dystopian cyberpunk universe, players take on the role of anti-terrorist agent Adam Jensen. Thanks to nanotechnology, Jensen has special augmented abilities which grant him superhuman hacking and combat skills which he must use to try to uncover and terminate an insidious terrorist plot. You don’t need to have played any games in the Deus Ex series to jump right into this, however those how have played other games in the GO series will see a lot of similarities, especially to Hitman GO. You are trying to navigate rooms, avoiding the attention of guards, robot death machines, automated turrets and more. Certain spaces allow Jensen to enter hacking mode, where you can drag a path from Jensen to certain spaces or turrets which active new navigation paths and or put the turrets in your control so that they fire on the enemy and not you. There are also special pickups which allow you to turn Jensen invisible for one move; a perfect way to sneak up on, or past a guard. All in all an excellent new entry in the GO series. While the game can feel familiar at times, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially when it’s more of a good thing. The new setting and the way the hacking figures into the puzzles, makes for some new and interesting level design. Fans of the SQUARE ENIX’s GO series will most definitely want to pick this one up.
Finally that brings up to Hero Generations is a neat, unique new game from Heart Shaped Games which mashes together the roguelike, strategy and building genres. Explore a mysterious world, fighting, looting, building and (hopefully) finding love before you die so that your legacy can carry on to a new generation. Each space you move represents a year of your current hero’s life. The clock is constantly ticking down and you need to make the most of it, earning fame and fortune and weighing risks and rewards, knowing when to fight, when to run and not waiting too long to find the mate who will instill your offspring with desirable traits to continue on your journey (and legacy). There are so many strategic avenues to explore in this game, from constructing buildings which allow you to provide future generations of your offspring with useful resources and abilities, to the strategy and timing of picking a mate before you unexpectedly perish in battle, prematurely ending your current bloodline. I found the game o be a rather interesting concept that in some ways reminded me a bit of one of my favorites from the previous week, Reigns. If you are looking for something different with loads of replayability, Hero Generations may just fit the bill…how long will your bloodline survive?
And that’ll do it for this week…enjoy.