Fluxx Out for iOS

Fluxx, the latest iOS game board joint from Looney Labs and Playdek is currently available in the App Store for the low, low price of $2.99. I haven’t paid much attention to this game while in the toy section at Target, my eye unerringly drawn to Transformers and Skylanders but the mix of weird cards and shifting rules sounds interesting. Offline and online modes support between two and four players with a single player mode against AI opponents, pass and play local multiplayer and asynchronous online play. No idea if all of the expansion decks will be coming to iOS but I wouldn’t be surprised.

Christmas time is soon upon us. Plenty of time to spend at home ignoring one’s family to play iOS card games. Hmm…

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask Mini Review

I had planned on doing my usual long form review of Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracles, but alas, I just don’t have it in me. I apologize to my fellow Laytonites out there who feel I’m giving them, and the game, a short shrift.

I know this guy who once said that he’d love Halo if Bungie would only change everything about Halo that makes Halo Halo. That’s kind of where I am with the Professor Layton games right now. The Layton games follow a pretty strict formula of whacky characters, a semi-mystical story that ends up being explained away through non-mystical but no less fantastical means, great puzzles, interesting mini-games and beautiful, hand drawn animation. The puzzles change, the mini games change, the story changes, but everything else remains the same, which is great if you really like the established formula.

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Space Hulk!

Seeing that I am out of the videogaming news loop these days, I have no idea how much play this is getting elsewhere but for me — and Barnes and Matt — this is a big deal. Space Hulk is coming to PC and iOS. I know nothing of the developer , Full Control, but Space Hulk is coming to PC and iOS!

Feature set:

Based on the best-selling board game and set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, Space Hulk is a 3D digital turn based strategy game that recreates the classic claustrophobic board game experience for single player and multiplayer cross-platform play between PC, Mac and on iOS.

Space Hulk is set in the isolated corridors and tomb-like chambers of an ancient vessel lost in the graveyard of space. Players lead a small army of fearless Space Marine Terminators to battle in a ferocious fight for survival against hordes of predatory alien Genestealers.

The main features are:

Blood Angel terminator squad
Fearsome Genestealers with challenging AI (sorry, still no free rides)
Thematic 3d environment
Single player campaign based on the “Sin of Damnation” hulk
New coop multiplayer levels against the Genestealer AI
Multiplayer head-to-head recreating the board game experience against a friend
Cross platform multiplayer between PC, Mac and iOS
Level editor with ability to share creations
Game expansions in the future as DLC

In. Oh, so in.

Guardians of Middle-Earth in Review

Being a relative newbie to the world of MOBAs (Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas), one of the most interesting thing about this kind of grassroots genre is that it really is an evolution of the hero-based real-time strategy game that Warcraft III represented. But the surprising thing is that these games- at least as evidenced by the two I’ve played- more or less do away with all of the boring, tedious, and repetitive clutter of the RTS, automatically cranking out cannon fodder along just a couple of set paths while you and a couple of teammates do the heavy lifting. Awesomenauts was the first game of this type I’ve played but Guardians of Middle Earth is the best that I’ve played. And from what I’ve gathered from other players and writers is that it’s a more accessible, more streamlined, and more refined, version of games like Defense of the Ancients and League of Legends. Oh, and it’s on consoles instead of PCs.

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #154

No High Scores Podcast Logo

Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The gang is all here for Jumping the Shark #154, which makes two episodes in a row with a full house. Don’t look now, but it could be a trend. This week Mr. Abner brings you more details on Tomorrow, including the launch of its already successful Kickstarter campaign. The group takes a stroll with The Walking Dead, what with Mr. Binky having completed the final chapter of TellTale’s incredible episodic adventure. Brandon also spends some time with the new Borderlands 2 DLC, Torgue’s Badass Crater of Badassitude. Seriously, that’s the title. I decide to put my time with Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition on hold in order to wait for the iOS version (unbeknownst to me, it would arrive the very next night), but in the meantime I’m very excited about my new Windows Phone 8 and forthcoming Pathfinder campaign (it’s a D&D like pen-and-paper RPG). Finally, our apologies for the quality of Bill’s audio this week. His mic has been spotty for awhile, we know, but a quick plug and unplug has always done the trick… until this week that is.  Be sure to send him some hate mail for it as encouragement to pick up a new headset for this week’s show! (No, really, you should absolutely do that. Be as vulgar as you want to be. He likes that!)

After the break, an Honest Trailer for Dark Knight Rises, just because it’s awesome…

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Past Episodes
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(The embedded feed is after the break.)
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VGA Trailer Explosion

So I guess the VGAs were this weekend. I had no idea. I tend to tune that stuff out, not because I’m morally opposed to them or because I think it represents the selling out of games. Marketers gonna market. I just don’t need to spend my evening taking part in it when I can watch all of the trailers in the following days.

Speaking of trailers, there was some interesting stuff shown. The above BioShock Infinite trailer has some people complaining about the frame rate and all of the shooting, but mostly it has me excited over the prospect of stabbing a crazed pig man with my skyline, arm hook thingy. I will say that I called the game not making their February release date some time ago. Yes, I am that good.

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Calendar Man – Week of 12/10

Ok, there’s pretty much nothing coming out this week. I mean, sure, there are some PC releases, a new map pack for Halo 4, some Assassins Creed 3 DLC and a terrible James Bond game for the Wii U, but the real reason to head out the store this week is the retail release of Telltale’s The Walking Dead. All five episodes are collected and sure, at thirty bucks it’s five bucks more than buying the episodes individually online, but hey, at least you get a swanky case for your game and, uh, I don’t know, the satisfaction of propping up brick and mortar establishments everywhere? Whatever. Go play it. It’s awesome and if you’re an achievement/trophy junkie, you can get all of the awards just by playing the game.

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Amnesia: The Dark Descent Review

amnesia-pigs

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a bizarre and contradictory experience. It compels you to explore further, play more while dreading every minute. It leaves you thankful for wrapping up in eight hours, but wanting more. It makes you want to divert your hands from quaking over keys and mouse to pressing the off button. But you won’t.

The plot stumbles over the usual threadbare horror clichés  an unreliable narrator, trapped in a crumbling ruin who must descend to murder his former tutor, piecing his chequered past together from diary fragments. A weak Lovecraftian pastiche. What sets the game apart is the uncanny skill with which the backdrop for the story is delivered.

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Time to Kickstart Tomorrow

Our third project is now online at Kickstarter.

This is the project that I have most likely had the most direct input in its development. I urged Dirk to do the game — it was a project he had on the shelf for a while and a few months ago when we were discussing the project schedule for Conquistador, I inquired about a game that was at the time called The Next Superpower.  When Dirk started to describe the idea behind the game I was immediately interested in doing it. It’s really unlike anything I have played before.

I strongly pushed for us to make this game and wanted to help develop it.  It’s right in my wheelhouse. It has a lot of tough decisions to make and almost demands that the players at the table talk to one another. I really don’t know how you could play Tomorrow quietly. It’s a game of, “You’re hitting me with Maelificum’s Whisper Flu? OK, here ‘s a nuke.”

You can try to play the game in the shadows, trying to appease everyone but sooner or later the players will look at your country and at your population and decide that it’s time some of your people need to die. And the thing is — they are probably right. That’s when the negotiation, the pleading, the deal making, and the backstabbing kicks in.

Anyway, I posted the first run of the rules on BGG. Give them a look.I’m really excited about it.

I’d also like to once again thank Jason McMaster for doing the video editing work!

Cracked LCD- Re-reading Knizia’s Lord of the Rings

With The Hobbit soon to hit the theaters and a pretty great Lord of the Rings-themed MOBA just released on the consoles (review forthcoming) it looks like Tolkien’s in the charts again, so to speak. I’ve had a touch of Hobbit Fever myself and I’ve been slaking my thirst for all things Middle-Earth chiefly by playing the decade-and-change old Reiner Knizia Lord of the Rings board game. I’ve had an unusual history with this game. I bought it when it first came out, one of the very earliest Fantasy Flight Games releases published under license from Hasbro. It comes from a time before the Jacksonian epic, before Viggo and Magneto would become a part of the Lord of the Rings story. The artwork is vintage John Howe, the components look old-fashioned by today’s standards, and it falls somewhere in the middle of Knizia’s greatest era of design work. And it was also co-op when co-op wasn’t cool. Continue Reading…