Friday, September 19, 2014

Cannon Brawl Gameplay Review

I'm playing Cannon Brawl, an action strategy game by Turtle Sandbox.

Fast-paced matches on destructible 2D levels, where players attempt to eliminate the enemy base, can be enjoyed in the twenty-level campaign, AI skirmish battles, or online multiplayer. Each pilot has a different ability, and your roster of five structures must be chosen before each match, adding a layer of strategy to the game. Controls use either a gamepad or the keyboard; the mouse is not supported, a significant limitation for a speedy strategy game. Resource collectors, support buildings (shields, healing, boosters), and projectile launchers (cannons, lasers, missiles) can be placed in territory captured by floating balloons. All structures must be placed manually from your dirigible, and the weapons must also fired by flying around the map, leading to frantic gameplay where building placement and unit firing occur in quick succession. Cooldown timers do decrease the pace ever so slightly, and guns can be upgraded for more powerful and more damaging ammunition. Cannon Brawl is a very quick game that supports varied strategies, appropriate for those who enjoy frenzied strategy games.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Planetary Annihilation Gameplay Review

I'm playing Planetary Annihilation, a large-scale real-time strategy game by Uber Entertainment.

The game retains the massive scale of Total Annihilation and Supreme Commander. The single player Galactic War campaign mode features randomized galaxies where the player navigates across the stars, engaging enemy commanders in each system and gathering new technologies that unlock additional units. Skirmish games are also available against the AI and online. Currently, the game cannot be played offline (even in single player mode) and a match cannot be saved mid-game. A robust system editor allows custom systems of planets and moons to be created. The interface allows for quick camera movement to other planets; it also displays unit icons when zoomed out, supports continuous build modes, and actions can be queued using the shift key. Metal is collected from fixed points on each planet, while energy can be produced anywhere. It is important to maintain a positive balance of both metal and energy, or production will be less efficient. Fabricators can be used to assist in the construction of buildings and units, allowing for the use of excess resources.Vehicles, bots, air, naval, and orbital units are made at factories; more advanced (and expensive) versions can be built at advanced factories. Defensive turrets and shields can be placed, radar can display enemy positions, and teleports can allow for quick movement between planets. Games rarely stalemate, as rockets can be strapped to smaller moons to slam them into larger planets and annihilate everything in their wake, or a metallic Death Star could be constructed to vaporize and entire world. The AI is competent and provides a good challenge offline. The fast pace, huge battles, unique end-game destruction, and varied strategies supported by Planetary Annihilation make it a very satisfying large-scale real-time strategy game.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

SPACECOM Gameplay Review

I'm playing SPACECOM, a real-time strategy game by Flow Combine and 11 bit.

Featuring a fourteen-mission campaign and eight standalone maps for AI skirmish or online multiplayer, the goal is to capture the enemy systems by invading resource-producing, unit-producing, and repairing systems. There are three ship types: battle fleets that attack enemy ships, invasion ships that capture systems, and siege fleets that disable a system for both sides. The fleet population cap is increased by capturing more system. Resources for fleets and defenses are automatically transported to the systems that need them. Fleets more faster through friendly territory, and attrition is experienced in enemy zones. Battles are all automated, so its simply a matter of having more ships. The mechanics of SPACECOM are easily approachable, but the limited strategies decrease replay value and long-term enjoyment.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

McDROID Gameplay Review

I'm playing McDROID, an action tower defense game by Elefantopia.

There are a decent number of scenarios and arena survival modes to choose from (unlocked in a linear order) that can be played alone or cooperatively online. Your manually-controlled droid can collect resources (strawberries, obviously), place turrets on fixed locations, repair and upgrade towers, or assist in destruction by mounting a turret itself. McDROID features automation in the right places (collecting resources, attacking enemies, repair), which cuts down on heavy micromanagement while still requiring interaction to be successful. Tower types are fairly basic (lasers, missiles, area spells), and tasty strawberries can also be spent on upgrades for your droid, mothership, or the towers themselves. Researched upgrades are earned across the campaign by collecting diamonds, unlocking new items to use. The game can get frantic, and the terrible minimap can result in a distinct lack of useful information at the worst times. Still, the interactive nature and relative flexibility of McDROID takes it a step above your typical tower defense game.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Train Fever Gameplay Review

I'm playing Train Fever, a transportation management simulation by Urban Games.

The game features elaborate, large randomly generated maps filled with interesting terrain, roads, towns, factories, and mines. Roads and tracks can be placed, along with depots, stations, signals, and road upgrades. Operating functioning, profitable lines requires tedious vehicle replacement that should either be automated or more streamlined. The game’s resource flow is very simple: four resources are found at mines, and then manufactured into generic “goods” at factories. The passenger and cargo simulations (they will use mass transit if its faster) are more complex. Towns will grow in response to your development decisions, although the simulation runs slowly even on the fastest setting. Train Fever is a relatively simplistic simulation that lacks the sophistication required for long-term enjoyment.