Monday, February 19, 2018

Empires Apart Beta Gameplay Preview

I'm playing the beta of Empires Apart, a real-time strategy game by DESTINYbit and Slitherine.


Currently, the game features skirmish games against the AI and online, plus survival matches. Randomized maps are available in several themes (desert, polar, et cetera). Five factions are present, which are enough to have subtle differences in military and economic strategy options. Resources (wood from trees, gold and stone from mining, and food from farms, fishing, roaming animals, or bushes) are finite, so mid-game migration is likely. Structures can be built to increase the population cap, serve as resource drop-off points, sell excess goods, recruit new units, or provide empire upgrades. New buildings and units are unlocked through expensive development research. Empires Apart is scheduled for release March 29th.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Wartile Gameplay Review

I'm playing Wartile, a role-playing strategic board game by Playwood Project and Deck 13 Interactive.


The game features a campaign with generally repetitive missions (keep going until you find something at the end of the map); new characters and items can be purchased between scenarios. Wartile does not feature randomized maps or a skirmish mode. The interface can be cumbersome, with mouse dragging used to move units and cards. This method lacks fluid movement in real-time and a misclick can waste precious seconds. The scenery also obscured the view as it lacks transparency. Wartile is a real-time game where movement and attacks have cooldown periods. Units will automatically engage nearby units, but specific enemies can be targeted. Ability cards can be used on enemy units, but the process is tedious (all cards of all units are not on screen simultaneously). Battle cards can also be used by spending points earned by killing enemies. Strategy involves attacking from higher ground and from behind while using cards at key moments, although Wartile lacks true strategic depth. Though Wartile looks like a compelling title, the limited strategic options, repetitive scenario design, and plentiful interface shortcomings make it an ineffective game.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Islander Gameplay Review

I'm playing The Islander, a click management game by 7 Box Games.


The game features random maps onto which you place crops, bushes, trees, and livestock to make money. Simply mouse over each item when it is ready to harvest to earn cash. Placing decorations (like flowers and grass) will increase an income multiplier, and new items are (slowly) unlocked by leveling up. Helpers can automatically collect items, useful when the farm has grown too big for one screen. Every object requires the same interaction, as they will all grow on their own and simply need to be harvested, so the gameplay is repetitive. Items also grow in price exponentially, so past a certain point it’s not “worth” placing more of a particular item. Overall, The Islander is a relaxing click management game that lacks any major shortcomings.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Rise of Industry Early Access Beta Gameplay Preview

I'm playing the early access beta of Rise of Industry, a  business management simulation by Dapper Penguin Studios and Kasedo Games.


Currently, the game features a career mode with progressive building unlocks, a freeplay mode with no unlocks, custom games, and a brief tutorial. All game modes take place on randomized maps, which dramatically increases replay value, as town placement, resource locations, and city needs are different every time. A technology tree is used to unlock new buildings that gather raw resources, farm crops, produce goods, or transport items. The production chains offer many, many options for which goods to manufacture, and choices should be based on the limited, specific city demands. Goods are transported between factories with trucks, which can be sent out from depots to streamline logistics. Rail and boats can be used to transport goods further distances, especially later on when more complex, multi-step goods are being manufactured. Rise of Industry is scheduled for release by the end of 2018.

Monday, February 05, 2018

Wars of Succession Gameplay Review

I'm playing Wars of Succession, a turn-based grand strategy game by AGEod and Slitherine.


The game features five scenarios: a small tutorial that lacks instructions, three different start dates for the War of the Spanish Succession (1701, 1706, and 1709), and the Great Northern War of 1700. Apart from the very limited tutorial, Wars of Succession needs more smaller scenarios restricted in both theatre and time scale to welcome novice players. The game engine is the same as it was twelve years ago in Birth of America: sluggish. The vast majority of the game is as it has been in past AGEod titles: units placed into stacks lead by commanders, provinces to conquer and gain resources to recruit new units, automated battles based on stack postures and rules of engagement, regional decisions and events, limited diplomatic options, and passable AI. This iteration doesn’t bring any new features (apart from the setting) and highlights the limitations of the game engine as a whole. Despite the high level of historic detail, Wars of Succession lacks scenario variety and utilizes an increasingly outdated game engine.