Friday, August 28, 2015

Satellite Reign Gameplay Review

I'm playing Satellite Reign, a role-playing tactical strategy game by 5 Lives Studios.

A spiritual successor to Syndicate, the game plays out in a large, detailed city with lots of missions to complete. Controlling the four operatives in real time involves using cover, picking out targets, and switching between numerous weapons. Each of the four classes (soldier, support, hacker, and infiltrator) have different abilities and a skill tree that steadily unlocks with experience. Weapons can be modified with augmentations, and prototypes can be researched. Regular citizens and be hijacked and cloned to provide a steady supply of replacement characters. Most missions involve going into heavily defended strongholds, hacking gates and avoiding security cameras and patrols. Until weapons are unlocked and upgraded, stealth is the optimal means of successfully completing missions. With an open world to explore and the option to proceed with action or stealth, Satellite Reign is a fine, updated homage to Syndicate.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Axis Football 2015 Gameplay Review

I'm playing Axis Football 2015, an American football simulation by Axis Games.

The game features a season mode comprising of twelve random games and the top eight teams making the playoffs. Quick matches are also available, either against the AI, another player on the same computer, or a coach-only mode where only plays are called. Games always have five-minute-long halves with substandard graphics and poor, repetitive commentary. There are only six plays per formation, greatly limited varied gameplay. The mouse-based passing system is novel, but difficult to execute consistently. Running the ball needs a gamepad for more precise control. There are no penalties, AI defensive backs are too good, and blocking is permanent for the entire play. The lackluster gameplay and limited features of Axis Football 2015 make it impossible to recommend in its current form.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Nightside Gameplay Review

I'm playing Nightside, a real-time strategy game by Omnidream Creations.

The game features a fourteen-mission campaign and twelve maps for one-versus-one skirmish against the AI or online matches that support up to four players. The three races feature two similar, traditional factions (Nova and Human) along with the Yx that spawn every building and unit from cells. The interface is well done, with one-click access to the mothership, unit producing structures, research buildings, and all units. Handy icons also show whether units can attack land or air units. Nightside features classic mechanics: extract resources, build buildings, make units (only air and ground, but no unit cap), research upgrades, and fight! There is little micromanagement, although pathfinding is poor (especially when a large group is given the same destination) and the lack of formations means units all move at different speeds. Units also won’t routinely attack enemies within their sight range, and the AI needs a resource bonus on any difficulty above “easy”. Nightside is an average real-time strategy game with a handy interface but little innovation.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

RymdResa Gameplay Review

I'm playing RymdResa, a role-playing exploration space adventure game by Morgondag.

Each chapter gives slightly different objectives, from visiting locations to collecting materials and gathering keys. The procedurally generated worlds provide some replay value. Resources are used for both moving and damage, and running out causes untimely death. Planets can be explored for resources, while materials are used to upgrade the home planet or mothership with new abilities. Experience points earned by collecting dust or simply surviving is used to unlock new abilities and increase skills levels. Items can also be found to change the attributes of the vessel. There is no combat, but space is a dangerous place filled with objects to run into. Death causes the ship to be destroyed, but items and upgrades are persistent. RymdResa is a relatively relaxing take on the space adventure game.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Cosmonautica Gameplay Review

I'm playing Cosmonautica, a space adventure game by Chasing Carrots.

The game features a campaign and randomized sandbox games with cross-platform save support. Rooms are added to ships to provide living space, recreation, weapon support, and satisfy crew needs; placement of the rooms matters for fluid movement. Crew can be hired that possess different skills (pilot, cleaner, medic, repair, scientist, hacker), and each are assigned a schedule to keep the ship operating at maximum efficiency. Missions involve delivering goods or passengers, smuggling illegal goods, or engaging in combat. The limited space for rooms in each ship (especially the beginning ones) means only one or two types of missions can be successfully completed, which becomes repetitive quickly. New rooms and planetary access can be researched, but this process is very gradual. Modest funds can be made through trade, and pirates must be fended off in the outer systems. The slow expansion and repetitive missions of Cosmonautica reduce the enjoyment of this space adventure game.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Call to Arms Early Access Alpha Gameplay Preview

I'm playing the early access alpha of Call to Arms, a real-time tactical strategy game by Digitalmindsoft.

Bringing the Men of War series to a modern setting, currently the game includes three game modes with two factions (the United States and an Insurgent opponent) on a handful of skirmish maps. A campaign is under development and available for those who purchase the Deluxe Edition. The matches include mostly infantry, with vehicles and tanks slowly added over time. Hallmarks of the Men of War series remain intact: detailed unit inventories, use of cover, realistic ballistics and field of view, destructible buildings, and direct unit control. Call to Arms is planned for release in Q1 2016.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

OlliOlli 2 Gameplay Review

I'm playing OlliOlli 2, a skateboarding platform game by Roll7 and Devolver Digital.

The game features a number of different game modes, including a career mode where levels are unlocked, shorter-length “spots”, online challenges, and local multiplayer. Tricks are performed by rotating the left stick on a gamepad and then letting go to perform the stunt. In order to land, the “A” button must be pressed right before reaching the ground. Holding the stick down will grind along a rail, while pressing left will perform manuals to string tricks together. Finally, the triggers can be used to rotate. OlliOlli 2 features a very challenging assortment of hazard-filled levels; simply making it to the finish is difficult, as almost constant perfection is required to avoid the obstacles. For the platform game connoisseur, OlliOlli 2 provides a challenging mix of skill-based, fast-paced action.

Friday, August 07, 2015

TREBUCHET Gameplay Review

I'm playing TREBUCHET, a turn-based strategic board game by iconical creative.

One or two players can play on the same computer; online multiplayer is planned for the future. The goal is to kill to opposing king by moving blocking pieces and tilting the board to slide metal balls around. A turn consists of three moves: each player must move and tilt once per turn. If two balls hit a piece, it is removed; three balls are required to kill another ball. The relatively simple rules still allow for strategic depth, making TREBUCHET an intriguing strategy game.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Colonial Conquest Gameplay Review

I'm playing Colonial Conquest, a turn-based grand strategy game by Argonauts Interactive.

The United States, Japan, United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Russia fight over victory points, accumulated by winning battles and controlling regions. Almost the entire map is neutral and ready to be invaded, so it is easy to accumulate territory quickly. The interface needs to display territory information directly on the map instead of requiring two mouse clicks. During the Spring, troops and ships can be recruited, forts can be constructed, information about regions can be sought, economic aid can be sent (not worth the investment), and enemy troops can be subverted (also not worth it). During the rest of the year, units can move and engage in automated combat. The easiest strategy is to pick one region to invade and then funnel all troops that way; the wide-open map makes conflict with other major nations rare. While Colonial Conquest lacks online multiplayer, the AI is decent enough at the game. Colonial Conquest attempts to expand the gameplay of Risk, but invading rarely involves conflict and the extra features are unnecessary.

Monday, August 03, 2015

The Viceroy Gameplay Review

I'm playing The Viceroy, a turn-based sci-fi 4X strategy game by Goatee Games.

The goal is to guide a sector of space after a major catastrophe; this is done by building projects on each district, planet, and solar system. New projects can be researched on the technology tree. The game provides two objectives to build each turn, and doing so adds influence points. Tax rates and policies can also be adjusted. Workers in each district, from three different classes, can be assigned to produce biological, cultural, or industrial goods (or a mixture of all three) to increase the wealth of each location. The Viceroy includes a lot of economic calculations hidden from the user. Having a well-run economy will result in approval from neighboring factions, providing a bonus. Rebels will appear over time, so it is important to have a military fleet to combat them. Battles are completely uninteresting. Although it has some uncommon ideas, The Viceroy suffers from repetitive gameplay.