However, before I get into new releases, I just wanted to highlight a couple of digital board games which received some nice updates this week. First, Asmodée Digital added Multiplayer support to its Splendor™ app. and Wizards of the Coast doing their annual Magic Duels app refresh, adding 167 new cards and Kaladesh content.
For new releases, let’s start with iLondon: The immersive Jack London experience, another brilliant interactive storybook app from the fine folks at iClassics Productions (iPoe, iDickens and more). Released in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of Jack London’s Death, the app celebrates three of the “White Fang” and “The Call of the Wild” author’s shorter works: Keesh, Moon-Face and The Law of Life. The stories themselves are as varied as the art styles. Thanks to the hard work of five talented artists and two composers, the stories come to life in visually stunning still and animated sequences, triggered by over 80 interactive elements as well as original soundtrack scores. I love these iClassic titles because they really enhance the works they tackle and in some cases, introduce readers to interesting works by famous writers; stories that they may have otherwise never been exposed to. This is another excellent title to add to your library. However, if Jack London isn’t your cup of tea, it appears that all of iClassic’s previous releases are currently on sale to celebrate the launch of iLondon, which itself is on sale as well for a special launch price of $2.99 (reg $4.99).
Sago Mini Planes is the latest adorable offering from Sago Sago. Your toddlers and preschoolers can have some high-flying adventures with Robin, Jinja, Harvey and all their Sago Mini friends as they climb aboard one of ten different planes and take off for adventure on the beach, the mountains, arctic and even space as they fly, lop-de-loop and interact with other objects in the sky. Kids are sure to love the colorful characters and general silliness of the app.
French game designer Jerome Bodin from Le Studio des Ténèbres has ported his solo deck-building survival card game Frost to iOS. A massive, lethal storm is wreaking havoc across the globe and you must try to keep your people alive. You start with a limited set of Resource cards and the goal is to reach the Refuge by traveling through various Regions (which are represented by cards). You play Resource cards (material, food and survivor) onto the current Region card, trying to fulfill the requirements listed on the card. Once you’ve met the requirements of the Region card, you can Travel to a new region. The Frost is always dangerously close behind you and each time you end a turn without traveling, it gets closer and closer. However, when you travel you put distance between you and the storm. You lose if the Frost catches up with you. Traveling also rewards the player with an Event card which offer unique effects, or opportunities to exchange cards for other resources or add Survivors to your hand. You could also run the risk of drawing a Contest type of event card, which forces you to beat some attacker, or suffer Damage each time you travel. Lose all your health, and it is game over. On your turn you have a choice of several actions, playing cards to the region, scavenging or resting. You may plat a Survivor card to scavenge, which results in you gaining a Food or Material card you need to fulfill a Regions requirements. Though by doing so, you run the risk of drawing a Fatigue card or killing off a Survivor. Resting removes all of the Fatigue cards in your hand, but this uses up all of your actions for a turn. At the end of a turn, any remaining cards go into your discard pile and you are dealt a new hand of cards. Frost is a well-designed strategic solo game with plenty of replayability, beautiful illustrations and an excellent tutorial to get you started.
Paperback: The Game is a great digital adaptation of Tim Fowers’ unique word-building/deck building card game. All players are give the same starting deck of letter cards and on their turn they draw five cards and try to use these to form a word. Words earn players money which can be used either to purchase new letters (which will be added to their deck) or to “finish” kitschy paperback novels, which are special wild cards which earn them end of game points. Some of the letter cards have special abilities when played which allow the player to draw additional cards on their next turn, discard cards to cull their deck, earn additional money for wild cards and more. The game’s variable setup means there is a good deal of replayability. Right now the app supports either pass and play multiplayer for up to 4 players or against AI players of two differing difficulties, or a combination of the two. Online multiplayer is currently in the works. If you like word games, or even if you don’t this is definitely worth a go, as the deckbuilding nature of the game makes it feel unlike any word building game you’ve played before and adds a fun new layer of strategy that helps even the playing field for wordsmiths of all skill levels.
ZEN Studios has just launched their brand new Marvel’s Women of Power Table Pack for both Zen Pinball and Marvel Pinball. Featuring some of Marvel’s most heroic and evil female characters including Black Widow and Madame Masque, the A-Force table thrusts players into an alternate reality where the Soviets dominate the word. The Champions table follows and original storyline which pits Ms. Marvel, Spider-Gwen and Squirrel Girl against Bombshell in wake of a bank robbery. You can check out all of the action these creative new tables offers and purchase them in a single $4.99 IAP pack for both tables (they are not available for purchase individually).
A bit of a departure from their usual fare, Atypical Games hits the battlefields this week with Infinite Tanks. I must admit that at first I fully expected the game to pretty much be a paid version of WARGAMING’s World of Tanks Blitz. In some ways the games are pretty similar, but it seems that Infinite Tanks really offers a much bigger and better tank battling experience as one would kind of expect from a paid title. As the name suggests, players have access to an arguably infinite number of tanks due to the game’s modular, card-driven tank construction kit where you mix and match all sorts of tank parts to Frankenstein your own metal beast. There is loads of content with a plethora of varied single player missions and drills, and the expected online multiplayer match ups where you can go head to head with teams of other players trying to blow up their tanks and blow them up good in a variety of classic game modes including King of the Hill, Capture the Bases, and Team Deathmatch. There are also a number of different battle environments, destructible environments, realistic weather and loads of different weapon types. Movement is fairly straight forward with movement controlled by the left side of the screen and the turret with the right or you can play on your Apple TV with an external controller. The pay once model is a welcome change from the nickel and diming micro-trasactions that tend to otherwise plague these sorts of games.
Concrete Jungle was a really nice surprise this week. Looking at it on the App Store, I kind of expected it to be some sort of city building simulation game, but instead it is a rather tactical puzzle game that almost has a board game like feel to it. Players are presented with a 5×5 grid of squares and they must place tiles on these squares to plan and build a city. The different tiles will often either increase or decrease the value of some or all of the other spaces immediately surrounding it, with the goal being to construct buildings with a total worth meeting or exceeding the target number of each column. When the left-hand column meets its goal, it is cleared and fresh column appears on the right-hand side. The game is brimming with strategy with a lengthy single-player campaign that introduces over 200 types of tiles and loads of twists to keep things interesting. There is also multiplayer as well. A real treat, this one will suck you in.
Burly Men at Sea is a new puzzle game from Brain&Brain, the development team behind the charming 2014 release, Doggins. I got a sneak peek at the game earlier this year at PAX East, so it was great to finally check out the full thing. This interactive, branching narrative game is a folktale set in the waters of early 20th-century Scandinavia about a trio of large, bearded fishermen who step away from the ordinary to seek adventure. You guide and shape the story of the Bearded Brothers using a neat, unique interface where you use a dragging gesture to reveal the story as you go. Once you’ve played through the story once, you can hit the seas again to discover new paths which will unveil a new tale. Beautifully illustrated with interesting characters, dialog and interface, Burly Men at Sea is an adventure you won’t soon forget.
Following up 2014’s award-winning viking adventure, this week Stoic released the highly anticipated iOS version of Banner Saga 2. The epic story-based role-playing game continues its emotional journey across a breaking world as players lead their Viking clans making decisions, managing resources and battling the evil Dredge. The came features gorgeous cinematic animated visuals and hours of gameplay. If you played the first game you can continue the story using the decisions you made in the first game, or jump right into this new adventure with a fresh start. A rich combat system, decision-based dialog trees and beautiful animations bring this wonderful story to life.
Finally that brings us to Microids latest release, Agatha Christie – The ABC Murders. A delightful mashup of puzzle, and adventure genres, players are put into the polished shoes of renowned Detective Hercule Poirot as he investigates numerous crime scenes trying to make deductions to solve a murder mystery adapted from the classic Agatha Christie novel. Search for evidence, solve 3D puzzles, piece together clues, interrogate witnesses and suspects and try not to get fooled by numerous red herrings as you track down your intelligent adversary known as “ABC”. Who doesn’t love a good murder mystery, especially one from Agatha Christie? The mix of elements from tapping, twisting and rotating objects to search for clues, to carefully selecting dialog trees to collect information, to “The Room”-like 3D puzzle boxes, not to mention some rather nice voice acting as well, this game has so many varying elements that work so well in pulling the player into the experience of investigating a murder and keep them engaged and interested throughout. Murder might be “most foul” but this game is a delight.
That’s all I’ve got for you this week…enjoy!