Friday, January 31, 2014

Strike Vector Gameplay Review

I'm playing Strike Vector, an aerial combat shooter by Ragequit Corporation.

The online title features several game modes: deathmatch, team deathmatch, domination, and bounty hunter, where you are awarded more cash for killing specific players. Before the match, you can customize your jet with a pleasing variety of weapons, perks, actions, and bonuses. Controls are quick as you fly through the detailed 3-D environments; you can switch between “jet” and “hover” modes, the latter of which allows for strafing. Various items (like health) are scattered around each clastrophic level, where collisions with the environment are common for beginners. A challenging and chaotic game, Strike Vector offers a unique take on the online shooter.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Castle Doctrine Gameplay Review

I'm playing The Castle Doctrine, a home burglary defense game by Jason Rohrer.

In the first phase of the game, you construct a house, protecting your vault and family from intruders. A number of different items can be placed in the tile-based map: walls, doors, traps (like pits and electric floors), wiring with switches, and guard dogs. You must test the design first before it is submitted online for others to rob, and the attempts of others are recorded so you can improve your design. If you choose to invade other homes to earn money (you earn some money from burglars that die in your house), you can take up to eight items to disable the various traps and cut down walls. The free-form home design and tense robberies are hallmarks of this well-designed game.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Munchoid Gameplay Review

I'm playing Munchoid, a turn-based battle action game by Simple Path Studios.

Your regional settlements grow based on the cures you are able to find through five tournament events. Randomly generated creatures are captured before battle, and you can consume additional creatures to gain bonuses to your abilities. There are six total attacks in the game, four of which can be used during a single turn-based battle. Enemy creatures are vulnerable to different attacks, so specializing in a single powerful attack is a poor tactic. Once victory is earned, you can either improve your existing attacks or merge with the defeated creature and gain new attack types. Munchoid is a very light action game that has some replay value due to the randomized creatures, but suffers some a large degree of repetition overall.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Insurgency Gameplay Review

I'm playing Insurgency, a first person shooter by New World Interactive.

The online game features several game modes: cooperative play against AI bots, objectives to capture that respawn your teammates, a linear set of locations to attack or defend, and an escort mode. Squads have specified roles with weapon restrictions, and you can customize your loadouts using supply points earned during a single match (thankfully, there are no persistent unlocks unfair to beginning players). The pace is deliberate with no hip aiming, prone shooting, and one-or-two-shot kills. Overall, Insurgency strikes a nice balance between ultra-realism and accessibility, offering nice features and pleasing gameplay for fans of military shooters.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise Gameplay Review

I'm playing Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise, an expansion for the real-time grand strategy game by Paradox Interactive.

The expansion comes with three main features. First, a plausibly randomized North and South America is available if you start your game before 1492. In addition, new Native American buildings and available for minor advances and bonuses that give these nations something to do with limited budgets. Also, single province Natives can migrate away from pesky Europeans and towards more profitable regions. Finally, five or more adjacent colonies will create a colonial nation that works much like a vassal: you can declare war on Native Americans, conduct diplomacy with other colonial nations, and break free from the motherland. If you spend a lot of time focusing on the New World, the features of Conquest of Paradise are a worthwhile expansion to Europa Universalis IV.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Starlight Inception Beta Gameplay Preview

I'm playing the beta of Starlight Inception, a space combat flight simulation by Escape Hatch Entertainment.

The game features a single player campaign, single missions, and multiplayer where you control a spaceship armed with guns and missiles. The missions are action-oriented with the focus of the game placed squarely on shooting. You can customize your loadout before each engagement, and your space vessel can be controlled with the mouse and keyboard or a gamepad. Starlight Inception is scheduled for release sometime in 2014.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Maia Early Access Alpha Gameplay Preview

I'm playing the early access alpha of Maia, a space colony management game by Simon Roth.

Instead of directly interacting with your astronauts, you issue orders to dig walls, construct rooms, and place items in those rooms. The game has the framework to support managing power, food, water, medical care, and other necessities, although little of that actually works in the current alpha build. Maia is scheduled for release in late 2014.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Star Lords Alpha Gameplay Preview

I'm playing the alpha of Star Lords, a turn-based 4X space strategy game by Arkavi Studios and Iceberg Interactive.

The game features eight main races, plus single-planet minor ones and pesky pirates. A randomly generated universe is created each time you play. Managing your colonies involves ordering up buildings and units and dealing with happiness, crime, and tourism. Diplomacy, trade, and espionage can take place with other races. Research on a randomized tree will unlock new units and bonuses, and ministers and generals can appear to grant empire-wide bonuses or a military leader, respectively. Ship design can be customized, choosing researched engines, weapons, and armor. Combat is accomplished through turn-based battles on a hex map. Star Lords is scheduled for release later this year.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Frozen Hearth Gameplay Review

I'm playing Frozen Hearth, a real-time strategy game by Epiphany Games and Immanitas Entertainment.

The game includes a twenty-mission campaign that can be played cooperatively; this online component means you can’t save your progress mid-mission. You can also play skirmish games against the AI or online as well. The interface falls short in several areas: fog-of-war is not clearly indicated and resource point control is not color-coded on the minimap, it is difficult to select units during combat, there is no master unit list, and there is no attack move order (units ignore nearby enemies when moving). Resources are gathered by capturing nodes; there is no reason to have three separate resources since each node supplies all three resources at varying degrees. Your main building can be upgraded with six sub-structures, and unit ability upgrades can be researched as well. Units include melee, ranged, cavalry, support, and magic types; heroes gain experience over time and can unlock new spells or upgrade existing ones. The AI is passable in skirmish mode, but the heavy scripting during the campaign can make things difficult. Overall, Frozen Hearth heavily borrows mechanics from other real-time strategy games (especially the Dawn of War series) and combines them into a less accessible game.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Ultimate Space Commando Beta Gameplay Preview

I'm playing the beta of Ultimate Space Commando, a turn-based tactics game by Creatio 49 and Mordavian’s Games.

Your four-person squad is first equipped with various weapons and items. Then, a randomly generated, fully destructible map teeming with enemy life forms is explored. While the current beta already includes competitive and cooperative play both on the same computer and over TCP/IP, the full version, which will include a campaign, is planned for release in Q2 2014.