If you like competitive strategy games but don’t like to take hours to play them, then you might want to keep your eyes on Prismata from Lunarch Studios. Pitched as a deckless turn-based strategy game that distills real-time strategy down to a turn-based format, Prismata is all about strategic resource assignment and forward-thinking. Matches in Prismata don’t last very long, and there is a very thin margin for error, making it very challenging. Even though the game is in its early development phases and doesn’t look as great as it could, it is still compelling based on game-play alone and deserves some attention from the card-dueling set.
It won’t be news to you that 343 Industries ran a beta of Halo 5: Guardians featuring an online multi-player preview. It launched just after Christmas for gamers with a copy of Halo: The Master Chief Collection on Xbox One, and was available until January 18th. While the game won’t be released until fall 2015, gamers are getting a chance to try out the next-gen Halo experience and, more importantly, give developers a chance to crowdsource some debugging and a bit of consumer feedback. Given the cultural moment we’re going through with regards to the launch integrity of AAA releases, this is a pretty good move on the part of the studio, but I’ll get to that later. First off: the game.
Space Hulk: Ascension is attempt number two by Danish developer Full Control to translate the Space Hulk board game to the digital world. The first one, which I reviewed back in October of 2013 for Toronto Thumbs, can be summarized thusly: slow, inflexible, and did not take advantage of its medium. Fast forward a year later and we have Space Hulk: Ascension, a sorta-sequel that does what the first one didn’t – take the source material less literally.
Zoetrope Interactive’s point-and-click PC title Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder sounds promising enough, what with the H.P. Lovecraft mythos surrounding the plot and the ominous nightmare sequence we’re quickly introduced to. You play the role of a detective named Howard Loeid in the fictional town of Wellsmoth (which is supposed to remind us of Innsmouth, I’m assuming) who has recently woken up from a terrifying nightmare and can’t seem to make heads or tails of it. Worse yet, he thinks he’s only slept for a mere few hours when really he’s been asleep for days. Intriguing to be sure – but sadly, it doesn’t stay that way for long.
Over the holiday season I picked myself up and iPad Mini (with retina display), so when the opportunity came up to review Gearbox Software’s Brothers in Arms 3: Sons of War (iTunes or Android), I put up my hand. As a lover of first-person shooters, I was curious to see how this genre made the jump from the console systems and PC to the hand-held device. I must say that I was impressed with the game-play and that I have continued to play the game after the completion of my review. However, as fun and entertaining as this title is, the game-play is detracted from – but not for the reason that you may think.
Building a decent gaming PC isn’t a big deal to us nerds; it’s just a matter of pulling together a set of parts, after all. However, not everyone is savvy in the ways of desktop construction, and even us nerds have to invest a fair amount of time shopping around for the best deals on parts, so as to maximize the value of our money. Enter ASUS’ Republic of Gamers G20, a small form-factor PC that has been put together to simplify the process of acquiring a decent gaming PC. ASUS sent one to us to try out, and I found that it performed very well, though there are a few small items that need to be addressed.
There isn’t much time left to take the Hill. The Blue Team has been camping there long enough to erode your lead, leaving your team little choice but to make a desperate charge and hope for the best. You lean around the corner and hear the telltale sound of assault rifles, your vest shivering as your shield is being pounded into oblivion. You quickly pull back completely behind cover, making a mental note that three of the four Blues are hunkered down securely at the captured location. You wonder where their fourth member is – she was the one that seemed to give you so much trouble. Why, with all of the Reds covering the field there’s nowhere that she could hi-
Suddenly, you feel your vest shake, giving up the last of your recharging shield to the pounding force of a shotgun – and before you can react, she switches to an assault rifle and takes you down rapidly, causing mild electric shocks to the armband on your bare right arm – one pinching buzz for every quarter of your life. Then, you are dead. The buzzer goes, indicating the end of the match, and your team has the blues because you failed to make the other team see Red.
Welcome to Battlegrounds!