Friday, July 25, 2014

Battle Fleet 2 Gameplay Review

I'm playing Battle Fleet 2, a turn-based naval strategy game by Capital j Media.

Featuring cross-platform (Windows, Macintosh, Android, and iOS) multiplayer, this top-down World War II game has a campaign where you must capture all territories on the map by moving ships one zone per turn. Prestige points earned from your captured territories can be spent on new ships with customizable weapon layouts. Although you cannot attack from multiple zones simultaneously and there is no indication of unmoved ships, the campaign mode can be entertaining. Battleships, carriers, cruisers, destroyers, and frigates take to the high seas equipped with standard artillery, anti-air weapons, and torpedoes. Battle Fleet 2 uses angles and power adjustments to fire the weapons, producing tense gameplay reminiscent of Scorched Earth or Worms. Location-specific damage, airstrikes, fog of war, and strategic command cards round out the turn-based battle features. The AI is woefully passive on the campaign map, but does put up a decent fight in the battles, although it handles terrain poorly. Battle Fleet 2 is a light, but satisfying, game with some thought-provoking gameplay.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Real Boxing Gameplay Review

I'm playing Real Boxing, a boxing game by Vivid Games.

The game features a career mode where you pick a boxer and enter progressively harder round-robin tournaments. Timing mini-games in the gym (or cold, hard cash) are used to increase strength, stamina, or speed. Quick matches and online play are also available. Real Boxing supports several control options to throw punches: cumbersome keyboard input, or buttons or the right analog stick on a gamepad. Stamina prevents you from punching too often, and two knockdowns when your health reaches zero usually results in a knockout. You can block punches or tap the same button to dodge and counter a blow. Clinching (hugging) an opponent to recover health wastes an incredible amount of time with its stalemating button-mashing mini-game. While the AI fighters are challenging opponents, the repetitive commentary and knockout-heavy results inhibit realism. While the button-mashing mini-games and other assorted oddities of Real Boxing prevent it from being the world champion, the fan-friendly price does make it a contender.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Z Gameplay Review

I'm playing Z, a real-time strategy game by The Bitmap Brothers, TickTock Games,  and Kavcom.

This reissue of the classic game from 1996 offers absolutely no enhancements: low-resolution graphics (720p), no windowed mode, and no multiplayer make the game feel incredibly old. The campaign consists of 20 levels where you must capture territory and eventually the enemy base. The huge mini-map (thanks to the low resolution), while useful, takes up a large portion of the screen. Right-click commands are removed entirely, so selecting units and issuing movement commands are commonly confused. The game also does not support the mouse-wheel, there are no tool-tips of any kind, and there are no construction queues for buildings. Infantry and vehicle units will attack nearby enemies automatically. The pace is extremely slow with tedious unit movement and production rates. Pathfinding issues are also present, with units moving into buildings or forgetting orders. This terrible, money-grabbing edition of Z is outclassed by free, open-source tributes to the original game.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Deadstone Gameplay Review

I'm playing Deadstone, a top-down action game by Timeslip Softworks.

Featuring local two-player cooperative play, the action-oriented title involves defending a Martian colony against countless shuffling foes. The control scheme is conventional for a top-down game, and the minimap is useful in spotting enemies that are off-screen. Between missions, stats can be upgraded and perks can be earned from XP earned during each patrol; in addition, weapons and items can be purchased. Deadstone also allows you to place defensive mines and turrets on the barren landscape before a patrol begins. While pistols have unlimited bullets, rifles, shotguns, and other weapons have distressingly limited ammunition. A lot of time is spent reloading the weapons, and careful ammo management is a key to survival. The enemies are stereotypically slow, dumb zombie-like creatures, with the occasional exception. The methodical pace and repetitive action of Deadstone lessens the appeal of this top-down action game.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Instant Dungeon! Gameplay Review

I'm playing Instant Dungeon!, a dungeon exploration game by with the love studios and Flying Interactive.

The game combines a couple of ideas from roguelike games, randomly generated levels and permadeath, with puzzle-like enemy avoidance and maze exploration. There are five game modes that add extra lives, a practice mode, boss-only battles, more difficult levels, or quest-based progression to the formula. The objective in each level is to find the key and the exit; coins are used to keep score. Your character can only equip and use one one-use item at a time, which increases the tension when enemies lie between you and the nearest sword, shield, or magic scroll. Instant Dunegon! definitely offers $2 worth of entertainment thanks to its multiple game modes, use of maze and puzzle elements, and incorporation of roguelike mechanics.