Thursday, July 28, 2016

Defect Gameplay Review

I'm playing Defect, a spaceship design action strategy game by Three Phase Interactive.

The single-player only game features a branching campaign of repetitive missions where you must design a ship to defeat a series of enemies followed by the last ship you designed. Components for the energy core, crew, hull, engine, wings, weapons, and other accessories can be freely attached, scaled, or rotated in 2-D. Controlling the ship is performed using the WASD keys. While the crew automatically fires weapons, camera control is very inconsistent and it is difficult to aim precisely. You can take direct control of a component to repair it or improve the stats, but this usually leaves the ship vulnerable in other aspects. Scrap dropped by defeated vessels can be used to repair. AI ships is good enough to act as capable adversaries. Although Defect has a very novel concept, monotonous mission design and a cumbersome control scheme reduce enjoyment.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Soviet Monsters: Ekranoplans Gameplay Review

I'm playing Soviet Monsters: Ekranoplans, a flight simulator by Santa's & Co. and Merge Games.

The game includes twenty-seven single missions (all of which are unlocked) and an extraneous career mode with the same exact missions. Between each scenario, crew can be hired and items required for mission completion can be purchased through a tedious process. Missions can’t be saved and there is no time acceleration, resulting in lengthy real-time scenarios. A terribly brief tutorial and a lack of an in-game options menu round out the barebones features. Ekranoplans don’t actually fly: rather, they cruise along a few feet above the water, resulting in a boring simulation with sluggish controls and uninspired, repetitive combat. A general lack of polish permeates throughout the title. Despite a very unique subject, Soviet Monsters: Ekranoplans is a terrible simulation.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Crush Your Enemies Gameplay Review

I'm playing Crush Your Enemies, a real-time strategy game by Vile Monarch and Gambitious Digital Entertainment.

The game features two campaigns that gradually introduce new units and game mechanics. Each scenario is finished quickly (under five minutes, typically), and achieving specific side objectives will allow further missions to be played. Crush Your Enemies does have online multiplayer but lacks skirmish games against the AI. The interface was designed for mobile devices and doesn’t take advantage of the mouse; splitting armies is particularly cumbersome, as mouse wheel input is ignored. Each unit has a different purpose: simpletons gather resources and recruit new units, warriors use melee attack, archers attack from range, shield bearers deflect arrows, scouts move quickly, and wizards buff surrounding units. Ground tiles owned by the enemy must be converted to your side first, preventing surprise attacks. In the second campaign, food and wood must be gathered to recruit new units and capture buildings. Grouping more units together will perform tasks faster; Crush Your Enemies involves interesting tactical decisions regarding where to send units and how many to send. Crush Your Enemies has some intriguing mechanics but lacks the replay value required for long-term enjoyment.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

BOID Gameplay Review

I'm playing BOID, a real-time strategy game by Mokus Games and tinyBuild.

Online multiplayer and skirmish games are both free; purchasing the game grants access to the fairly standard campaign mode. There is a map editor, but no randomized maps (there are plenty of maps included, though). The interface could be improved: tool-tips appear entirely too slowly, counters are not indicated on the aforementioned tool-tips, the minimap is useless, and you can’t zoom in or out. Units are unique in appearance, although they fall into general categories (fast, ranged, healer). There are hard counters in the game for the basic units (guns beat crabs beat scouts beat guns) and turrets that can be captured to freeze, fight, or revert enemy units to their basic form. Units auto-attack while moving, but do not move as a group, resulting in a lot of micromanagement. Difficulty in managing units is compounded by the fast pace of the game; typically, one wrong move (such as losing a large battle, or losing units to a neutral location) is enough to do you in, as the AI is adept at the mechanics. While the campaign isn’t really worth the cost, those who can handle simplified, fast-paced real-time strategy games have nothing to lose in downloading the free skirmish and multiplayer modes.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Anarcute Gameplay Review

I'm playing Anarcute, a riot action game by Anarteam.

The single player game features four cities unlocked in a linear progression; Anarcute has low replay value as solutions are largely predetermined due to obstructions and it lacks procedurally generated levels. Boss battles are particularly tedious and difficult. Controls are better performed with a gamepad, for which the game was designed. The mob can be moved around, and they automatically pick up objects that can be thrown at adversaries. In addition, nearby enemies can be melee attacked, pushed away, or ran past. Continual attacks lead to super dashes or stomps, while powers are unlocked by increasing the crowd size. Enemies are typically too numerous to attack in a straightforward manner; instead, special abilities must be utilized. Anarcute has a unique premise, but features linear, tedious levels.

Poly Bridge Gameplay Review

I'm playing Poly Bridge, a bridge construction simulation by Dry Cactus.

The game features a 105-mission campaign mode with scenarios of good variety, thanks to the event system that triggers hydraulics (for drawbridges), ships, cars, and planes. Missions can also rely on “unrealistic” bridge structures like ramps and loops, further increasing diversity. Missions may also introduce checkpoints that require cars to pass through or turn around at specific locations. While scenarios are difficult, any mission can be freely skipped. A scenario editor and Steam workshop support are also included for even more content. The interface is done well, with the ability to copy-and-paste existing bridge designs and easily make arcs. Different materials (road, wood, steel, hydraulics, rope, cable) are used to construct each bridge, sometimes in limited supplies. Red static joints are used to fix the bridge to its surroundings, while split joints (formed by double-clicking) are used for draw bridges. The physics simulation is plausible. The elaborate event system, along with the ability to create multiple solutions, makes Poly Bridge stand out.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Brigador Gameplay Review

I'm playing Brigador, a mech action game by Stellar Jockeys.

The game features a twenty-one scenario campaign along with freelance missions where pilots, vehicles, weapons, abilities, and missions are purchased; both modes feature large destructible maps. All of the missions are difficult with plentiful enemies; the lack of difficulty settings can make the game frustrating to play. Each unit comes in three classes (mechs, tanks, and air) with a large variety of weapons; several special abilities are also available. Brigador is played from an isometric perspective; controls are handled using the WASD keys to move and turn, with the mouse reserved for aiming the weapons. Handy firing arcs are shown for both the primary and secondary weapons. The AI isn’t smart as much as it is numerous. Adept use of the controls, along with intelligent use of special abilities and weapons, is key to success. Brigador is a challenging mech game with lots of action that desperately needs adjustable difficulty.