Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Kromaia Alpha Gameplay Preview

I'm playing the alpha of Kromaia, a six-degrees-of-freedom arcade shooter by Kraken Empire.



This preview version includes the “score attack” arcade mode that is to be included in the full game, planned to be released in 2014.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Gas Guzzlers Extreme Gameplay Review

I'm playing Gas Guzzlers Extreme, a combat racing game by Gamepires and Iceberg Interactive.



A campaign mode features several combative and non-combative racing events; finishing in the top-three will unlock new cars, weapons, and upgrades that can be purchased using race winnings. Quick races and online events are also available. Sluggish physics highlight the driving model. Gas Guzzlers Extreme has a good variety of weapons, but high car health and copious amounts of repair power ups make it exceedingly rare to destroy another competitor. In addition to the weapons, there are also power-ups to pick up on the track that generally provide defensive items (shields, smoke, oil, mines) and nitro boosts to give you that extra surge. The AI is competent but beatable, traveling in packs so your position changes rapidly. While Gas Guzzlers Extreme doesn’t add anything terribly innovative to the combat racing genre, it is a likeable title that covers all the basic tenants.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Democracy 3 Gameplay Review

I'm playing Democracy 3, a political simulation by Positech Games.



Choosing between a handful of countries, your goal is to get re-elected while (hopefully) improving the nation. Each voter is a member of different groups and weigh the importance of each group differently. Your cabinet generates political capital, the currency you need to change policies. The cause and effect relationships between the different policies and statistics of your nation are interesting and complex, but fairly intuitive thanks to the seemingly unorganized but eventually useful interface that utilizes a lot of icons with arrows that display how your policies affect national attributes and voters. Events and decisions will also appear during your term. Improving the issues most important to the most voters while keeping an eye on the budget is the best course to success. Political buffs should enjoy the multi-layered simulation that drives Democracy 3.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Spice Road Beta Gameplay Preview

I'm playing the beta of Spice Road, a trading city builder by Aartform Games.



In the game, you construct buildings in towns to collect and trade resources, keep the needs of your inhabitants satisfied, and fend off bandits and other traders. You can also research improvements to buildings (and unlock new structures) as you progress through the campaign. Spice Road is scheduled for release in 2014.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Airship Dragoon Gameplay Review

I'm playing Airship Dragoon, a grand strategy game with turn-based squad tactics by YorkshireRifles.



The game features two campaigns with six factions fighting over a randomized hex continent. Each province has food, workers, and income that are used to recruit troops and build airships that capture additional territory. A garrison protects surrounding territories, and additional dirigibles can be purchased to expand your empire. Conscript units are recruited and equipped right before battle, although experienced veteran units can be deployed with advanced weaponry.  The turn-based tactical battles take place on twenty battlefields; objectives includes clearing the area of all enemies or fighting over a flag. Each unit has a number of action points that can be used to move, shoot, or passively fire during the enemy turn. Basic morale and health values are kept, and you can pick up inventory items from fallen troops. The AI uses a randomly-chosen combat tactic decently well. The tactical battles could use a minimap, smaller maps, and faster unit movement resolution. While Airship Dragoon has some interesting ideas, the “indie” nature of the strategy title is evident with tedious unit management during tactical battles.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bionic Dues Gameplay Review

I'm playing Bionic Dues, a turn-based roguelite by Arcen Games.



You have fifty days to repel the growing robot attack with your team of four mechs; each mech class has a different arrangement of loadout slots. You are given a good amount of freedom when choosing the next mission, which slightly vary the type of enemy and objectives between them. Missions are full of new items to equip to your mechs, enhancing weapons, shields, reactor, propulsion, or computer with randomly generated attribute boosts. During each mission, your four mechs occupy the same square, and you use a turn (when enemies can move) to switch between them. Each mech can have multiple weapons and abilities, and concentrating them in the same location reduces micromanagement while preserving tactical depth. The randomly generated mission layouts feature numerous obstacles to overcome, and your map clearly displays unexplored territory. The robotic foes are difficult in numbers. With pleasing customization options, randomly generated content, and streamlined controls, Bionic Dues proves to be an amusing light take on the genre.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Planetary Annihilation Beta Gameplay Preview

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



The game takes the basic structure of Supreme Command and adds orbital ships, colonizing planets in the solar system, and crashing moons into celestial bodies. Planetary Annihilation is planned for release by the end of the year.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Rise of Venice Gameplay Review

I'm playing Rise of Venice, a trading strategy game by Gaming Minds Studios and Kalypso Media.



A somewhat story-driven campaign gives intermediate objectives and gradually introduces game mechanics along the way. Free play, scoreboard (scenarios with objectives), and competitive multiplayer modes are also available. The interface makes it easy to find convoys located in port and at sea, and also makes it very simple to identify goods that can be bought and sold for a profit. Cities are your hubs for trade, where you can also equip your naval convoys, store items at a warehouse, construct buildings to produce your own goods or increase town prosperity, choose missions, make donations to the Pope through the church, and buy or sell ships. You will also level up by accumulating money over time, unlocking the ability to trade more goods, marry, or become Doge. Trading is very simple: purchase goods that are produced at that city and ship them elsewhere. While this straightforward process makes trading a lot easier in Rise of Venice, it’s also a bit boring to shuttle the same goods back and forth. You can program automatic trade routes when your trading empire becomes larger, and neutral traders affect supply and demand, but the game has almost streamlined the procedure too much. Naval battles, where you can directly control escort ships, do break up the monotony of trade a bit. Despite the inherent repetition, Rise of Venice is a simplified trading simulation that should appeal to those looking to get into the genre.