This standalone expansion (half-price if you own the original game) features a new victory condition: defeat the Sorcerer King by becoming a god yourself. This is simply accomplished by casting expensive spells using mana, so the strategy is to try to capture as many mana shards as possible and save up for the ascendancy spells. In addition, the undead and dwarves are playable factions, and the game has support for quest editing and sharing through Steamworks. The remainder of the game is the same as before: explore the random maps, found cities and outposts, fight creeps, gather items to craft weapons and armor, research new spells, and fight tactical battles on your way to saving up enough mana to win. Because Sorcerer King: Rivals does not offer any significant gameplay enhancements (just another avenue towards victory through mana production), it is a tough sell as an expansion to the original game.
Friday, September 23, 2016
The game features a small campaign full of unbalanced missions (the AI is given powerful ships in greater quantities), more fair skirmishes against the AI, and asynchronous online multiplayer. Doomstar incorporates the basic game rules of the classic board game Stratego (simple attack ratings, unknown ship attributes until attacked, highest ship number wins) with a reduced number of units for faster gameplay. The goal is to destroy the enemy command ship with any vessel. Mines don’t move but destroy everything except light fighters and carriers. Fighters can move as many spaces as they want across the board. Battle cruisers and dreadnoughts are the most powerful units on the board. Black holes allow units to move multiple spaces in a single turn, and two set of fighters can attack the same enemy in the same turn. The AI is decent enough at the game to provide a good challenge, although online multiplayer is where the true action lies. Fans of Stratego will enjoy Doomstar, but the feature set is fairly basic.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Monday, September 19, 2016
The game shares a lot of similarities with Unreal Tournament, its obvious source of inspiration. TOXIKK has a free edition, which does not include all the maps, the ability to vote for maps, the level editor, Steam workshop integration, a server browser, or character customization, but does include everything else. While the game focuses on online multiplayer, offline bot matches are available as well. Typical game modes are included (deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag, and domination), along with a host of rules mutators. Weapons are also fairly uninspired: a melee attack, pistol, shotgun, assault rifle, sniper rifle, plasma rifle, flame thrower, and rocket launcher. All weapons have an alternate fire attack, and larger maps include vehicles (bikes, jeeps, hover jets, mechs) to get around. Game pace involves quick movement with double-jumps and dodges and expedient kills. Overall, TOXIKK is an acceptable substitute for Unreal Tournament that doesn’t add anything significantly new to the classic formula.
Thursday, September 15, 2016
The game shares a lot of similarities with FTL, offering the same basic gameplay and features: random maps, permadeath, high difficulty, ship management, and crew orders. Space Rogue feature quests, which are essentially scripted encounters with enemy ships and creatures. There are plenty of game options to tweak the difficulty, although the “easiest” setting is still quite challenging. Time is given to revisit past locations, and dynamic events can change game attributes slightly. The energy system has basically been removed, eliminating a strategic aspect of FTL, and the oxygen and medical bays have been combined into one precious location (which really causes problems when it is constantly targeted by the AI). Crew members can level up, improving stats and granting new abilities. Balancing the minor new features the game adds, oversimplifications in other areas negatively impact the gameplay, making Space Rogue an unnecessary tribute.
Monday, September 12, 2016
Thursday, September 08, 2016
The game features challenging (without being unfair) scenarios and a more free-form sandbox mode. The skyscraper can be designed by placing new floors, stairs, elevators, storage rooms, power and phone lines, offices, apartments, stores, and art. More sophisticated clients bring in more rent, but also require more services to be placed in the basement, using up precious space and money. Consultants can also be hired to take advantage of building prestige, influence, and buzz. Balancing the budget while steadily expanding is a demanding task that requires forethought and planning. Project Highrise is a compelling management game with thoughtful scenarios, engaging mechanics, and just enough options for expansion to keep interest levels high.