The game features a single player campaign consisting of tower defense levels, or you can play online or against the AI in rescue (escort), skirmish (multiple tower defense), capture the flag, and territory control modes. Each game mode has a wide range of customization options, and matchmaking is provided for online contests. Cubemen 2 also comes with a robust level editor, and you can easily download new levels from within the game. Cubemen 2 differs from more traditional tower defense games by allowing you to move your units: infantry with flamethrowers, mortars, rockets, sniper rifles, and mines can be moved freely around the terrain, playing more like a real-time strategy game and allowing you to change your tactics on the fly. Cubes, earned by killing enemy units, are used to purchase new units, and existing units can be upgraded to recover health and expand attack power and range. Units will automatically attack nearby enemies, although you can designate specific targets. The interface only allows single-unit selection (thus no box selecting) and the mouse camera controls can be sluggish. Map designs can have interesting features like teleporters, healing spots, and packages that can temporarily increase damage. The AI is pretty good, offering a good challenge during the competitive modes. Overall, Cubemen 2 is an enjoyable light real-time strategy game with a nice amount of content.
Friday, May 17, 2013
The single player story mode is a retread of the original game: playing offense only with scripted enemy encounters. The missions can be very difficult with lots of enemy towers. You still cannot save your game mid-mission, and the game also lacks a map editor. Multiplayer is new this time around, however, where one player controls the squad and another places turrets, both sides earning points by destroying enemy units. Collected resources can be used to purchase new units and improve the technology level, unlocking more advanced units. The interface allows you to change squad movement paths and purchase new units pretty easily. The ability to accelerate time reduces potential tedium. Both units and towers have various attacks, and Anomaly 2 has a nice strategic balance with good counters for different adversaries. The squads can now morph units for quick tactical changes, and the towers have complementary attributes. Both sides can accentuate their efforts with different abilities (health, decoys, damage, build speed). While the single player game is a lot of the same, the multiplayer of Anomaly 2 is a big draw: it adds a lot of replay value and solid strategic competitive gaming.
Monday, May 13, 2013
The goal is to survive as long as possible before the sun sets. The game features procedurally generated infinite maps divided into regions, each of which has many different paths to follow; these help to keep replay value high. Controls are very simple: left and right arrows to steer, plus a button to activate an ability (jump). Collecting triangles increases your score multiplier, and boosts increase movement speed while delaying the sun’s inevitable journey below the horizon. Completing specific objectives (like collecting a number of triangles) unlocks new items and abilities. The difficulty is unforgiving: one head-on collision ends the game, although you can side-swipe objects (which resets the score multiplier). Despite its simplistic nature, Race The Sun has appealing score-chasing gameplay at a fast pace, and the randomized levels extend the value of the title. Look for the game to be released near the end of May.
Thursday, May 09, 2013
I'm playing Leviathan: Warships, a urn-based naval strategy game by Pieces Interactive and Paradox Interactive.
The game features cross-platform (mobile and desktop) multiplayer skirmish and cooperative campaign options. You can also play the nine-mission campaign offline, but it is much less enjoyable alone. Leviathan: Warships has asynchronous turn-based gameplay where you can have multiple active matches at a time and switch freely between them (although most players seem to concentrate on one game at a time). There are robust ship and fleet customization options: you can place cannons, beams, rockets, mines, smoke, shields, and cloaking items on several ship hulls, and none of these components are locked from new players. A points limit allows you to design small, medium, and large fleets, and the results are somewhat balanced (railguns are too powerful when spammed) with many options. Controls are mouse-driven, with click-and-drag movement and targeting. The interface is limited in several areas, however: it is difficult to determine when items are active (such as radar), and inactive periods after weapons fire and their cooldown timers disappear are simply confusing. Action plays out ten seconds at a time, and since each weapon has effective minimum and maximum ranges, the tactics of Leviathan: Warships have some depth. Individual weapons and systems (vision, movement) can get damaged and are automatically repaired over time. While the interface shortcomings of Leviathan: Warships are discouraging, the ship customization and action-oriented gameplay are welcome features.
Sunday, May 05, 2013
The game has three surgeries (heart, kidney, brain), both in a hospital setting and in an ambulance (with randomized bumps and turns that move everything around haphazardly). There are very lenient objectives: you only need to place the new organ near the correct location, and can discard all other “unnecessary” organs. It would be nice if more operations were available, but there is some additional fun to be had in the main menu. The controls are awkward on purpose: separate keys for closing each finger, while the mouse moves your arm and holding the mouse buttons lowers your arm and rotates your wrist. The result is hilarity, as you fumble about trying to complete even the simplest task; objects will “stick” to your fingers (whether you want them to or not) to assist in grabbing things. Various surgical instruments are available (scalpel, saw, hammer) to expedite untimely death. The game ends when your patient bleeds out, but you can stop the bleeding by poking them (in the eye, preferably) with a green syringe (just don’t poke yourself). Your score depends on the time the surgery takes and how much blood is left; online leaderboards would have been a nice touch. The physics engine is good enough to make everything as clumsy as possible. There isn’t much depth or longevity in Surgeon Simulator 2013, but the humor that permeates throughout the game will be worth the $10 price tag for some.