Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tempest Citadel Gameplay Review

I'm playing Tempest Citadel, a strategy game by Aartform Games.


Similar in approach to X-COM, the game features a campaign with scripted events but (I think) randomized maps for combat. The interface presents a lot of information but organizes it well. While the game progresses in real-time, it can be paused at any time and will automatically when important events occur. The citadel base offers building slots for housing, food production, engineering (namely building structures and performing upgrades), medicine, and research. Crew can be woken from cryogenic sleep and placed in any available job; crew will level up with experience and can be given equipment and medical augmentations. Missions will regularly appear in the game world, and you can choose which crew members partake in the action. Combat is the weakest aspect of the game, as the action happens too quickly (in real-time) and is too automated (orders can only be given to the entire fireteam, not individuals) to make any tactics matter. Resources can be scavenged after combat. Despite the shortcomings in combat, Tempest Citadel offers feature-rich base and crew management options and a decent story.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Jalopy Gameplay Review

I'm playing Jalopy, a driving adventure game by Minskworks and Excalibur Games.


The game features a tour of Eastern Europe in a rustic automobile. Each day offers a choice of routes with randomized events (weather, road hazards) to the next destination. The car must be maintained and parts (engine, air filter, carburettor, fuel tank, battery, water tank, ignition coil, tires) can be upgraded. Money can be earned by finding boxes on the side of the road, and selling the goods they contain at gas stations in each town. There is limited storage space in the trunk, so everything needed to keep the car in working order cannot be hoarded. If things get too tough, the journey can be restarted but money and items are kept. While a simplistic game, Jalopy is effective in its limited scope.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Through The Ages Gameplay Review

I'm playing Through The Ages, a turn-based board game by CGE Digital.


The game features custom games, challenges, online matches against human opponents, and a tutorial. Despite being a port of the mobile game, the interface is modified to take advantage of a mouse; I also appreciate the ability to see the same information (how many workers are in each building, for example) or perform the same task (dragging workers, double-clicking cards) multiple ways. The goal is to accumulate the most culture points by the end of the game; this is accomplished by choosing cards from the card row and playing them by spending resources. These can be new buildings or upgrades to existing buildings; structures will produce food, resources, science, or culture based on the card properties and how many workers are assigned to the structure. More advanced cards are gradually introduced as new ages arrive. Other actions include increasing population, playing a leader, developing a new technology, declaring a revolution to switch government types, playing an action card, building or upgrading military units, or playing a military tactic. In addition, a politics phase allows for preparing future game events, declaring war against another player, or forming a pact. There are typically too many things to do each turn so you must make tough decisions on what to choose. You must also keep an eye on happiness (you need more food as you grow while staffing buildings that produce happiness) and corruption (stockpiling too many resources results in a penalty). Scouring the online forums for the board game version shows that there simply isn’t one viable strategy for the game, which is the hallmark of a well-balanced strategy title. The AI plays the game very well and uses varied strategies to achieve victory. Through The Ages succeeds at the two important aspects of any digital board game adaptation: a user-friendly interface and AI competency.