Friday, August 29, 2014

Lethal League Gameplay Review

I'm playing Lethal League, a projectile-based fighting game by Team Reptile.

The objective is to make the ball hit the opponent; the last player to hit the ball cannot be hit by it. The game supports one to four players locally or online; capable AI bots can take the place of human opposition. Each character, with varied special attacks, can swing at the ball, bunt to slow it down, or jump. Each time the ball is hit, it moves faster; swinging downward while jumping will rapidly increase the ball speed. The fast pace of the game, especially with four players involved, leads to intense matches of timing, skill, and luck. Lethal League offers a nice alternative to the typical fighting game.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

To End All Wars Gameplay Review

I'm playing To End All Wars, a turn-based grand strategy game by Ageod and Matrix Games.

Featuring only two campaigns (with either historical or user-directed warplans), one short scenario, and a tutorial, the Central Powers, Western Entente, or Eastern Entente can be commanded. The interface and game engine are showing their age, with diplomacy conducted in funky off-map boxes and slow turn resolution. Resources can be spent purchasing new units, which are grouped into containers as with other Ageod titles. Units can be ordered around the map, issuing different postures and special commands. Supply lines must be kept, and eventually new technologies can be researched. Simple diplomatic options and other decisions are also made during the course of the war. Combat has a new feature: a battle planner that allows various choices in army arrangement and strategy during conflict. The AI is competent given the complex nature of the game. To End All Wars is exactly what you would expect in an Ageod title about World War I.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Golf Club Gameplay Review

I'm playing The Golf Club, a golf simulation by HB Studios.

The fantastic course designer allows you to create an entire course in seconds, or designate waypoints for each hole while placing obstacles and scenery. Courses can be shared within the game, creating an immense library of user-designed content. The game is best played with a gamepad: there is no support for multi-click swings, and mouse input is bulky and sluggish. Shot adjustments can be made to fade or loft the ball. Driving and iron play is done well, but flop shots and chips offer underwhelming options for the short game. Putting is done purely based on feel and takes practice to master. The strong, flexible course designer highlights a competent golf simulation that needs more refined controls and better shot options when near the green.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Clockwork Empires Early Access Alpha Gameplay Preview

I'm playing the early access alpha of Clockwork Empires, a colony management game by Gaslamp Games.

This early version of the game allows you to assign work crews and designate tasks (gather resources, construct buildings, run a factory) that will be automatically undertaken by your colonists; a potentially detailed supply chain keeps your new colony afloat. Native fishpeople will attack on occasion; further supernatural forces are to be added before release. Clockwork Empires has a while to go, as it needs to add many promised features (detailed colonist memories, cults, violence, objectives, native factions, multiplayer, combat, monsters, vehicles) before its release next year.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Victory at Sea Gameplay Review

I'm playing Victory at Sea, a naval real-time strategy game by Evil Twin Artworks and Mongoose Publishing.

Featuring three campaigns set around the world during World War II and six historical battles, Victory at Sea also has custom battles where you can choose the ships in your fleet (destroyers, corvettes, submarines, cruisers, battleships, carriers, and torpedo boats). Ships can either be given generic move and attack orders or controlled directly; weapons have specific ranges and orientations that must be accounted for. Aiming is very imprecise and the AI doesn’t adhere to naval tactics and simply rushes towards the opposition. There is location-specific damage, but not until a ship is almost destroyed. The shortcomings with the AI and aiming mechanics make Victory at Sea hard to recommend.