For those of us that used to dump quarters into arcade machines at the mall or the corner store, there are some games that will always stand the test of time. These sorts of games are priceless, and they followed us home from the arcade and hung out with us in our living rooms and family rooms on the early consoles. One of these timeless classics is Gauntlet (1985), which could, within the space of an hour (or less), reinforce and/or erode even the strongest of friendships – and yet, we would go back for more every chance we got. With the “reboot” of Gauntlet, Arrowhead Game Studios seems to be trying to be many things to many people by modifying the original formula – but does this new version retain the same amount of fun as the original?
The first time I tackled an “Endless” game from Amplitude Studios was 2012’s Endless Space. I was generally positive about the game and its DLC, though I sharply criticized the combat – a core component of any 4X game – as being woefully insufficient. Rock-paper-scissors in space? Uh, no, thanks – no matter how shiny the guns and ships are. I want my games to be deep, tactical and replayable with as few “oh-please-no-don’t-make-me-play-this-part” moments as possible. Two years later, Amplitude is back with Endless Legend – a game set in the same universe as Endless Space1 except instead of a galaxy-conquering space epic, you’re fighting over the planet Auriga. How does the lure of Dust and the glory of conquest translate from a galactic to a planetary scale? I break it all down in my latest video review.
A few months ago, I played the beta for Hidden Path Entertainment’s Kickstarter project, Defense Grid 2. Long story short: I really enjoyed my time with the beta. Now, a few months later, I have experienced the full version of this title, and it is even better than I had hoped it would be, which just goes to show that you don’t need a bazillion dollars to create an extremely fun and entertaining game – and in the tower defense space, no less.
The reveal of the new features, changes and/or omissions in each year’s edition of Football Manager is an event of great anticipation for the discerning sports game nerd like myself. What made the cut from last year? Did they finally fix that one thing that bothered me to no end? How many more shiny bits did they add to the match engine? And, most importantly, will I still be able to play as a lower-league English team using nothing but free transfers and good luck to try and eke out an existence? Thankfully, the answer to most of those questions came on October 7th as Sports Interactive released a video starring gaffer Miles Jacobson with a plethora of details on the upcoming Football Manager 2015. Check out the full video above (if you haven’t already), then read on my for reactions.
The toughest question when it comes to writing a review of any Football Manager game is the first one: where to start? This is a game series that puts you in a position of power over any one of thousands of soccer teams from any number of prestige levels, be it a semi-pro club in the sixth division of English football, a contender in the South African Premier Soccer League, a mid-table Major League Soccer squad in North America or a powerhouse in Germany’s Bundesliga. You can even rise to the heights of coaching a national team from the tiniest of minnows to the largest of giants. To call entry into this series daunting is an understatement – and yet, at the time of writing this, 40,000 people are playing Football Manager 2014 in Steam. That’s a healthy chunk of people devouring a game dominated by stats and spreadsheets with the occasional animated soccer game to watch. This brings us back to our tough question: where to start?
The gaming sphere is a wonderful place thanks to contributions from studios both large and small. At Toronto Thumbs, we love to play games from both sides of the coin. Sometimes, due to scheduling issues, there are titles that need exposure that we can’t get to in time – and it tears us up when we can’t help out a game that needs some extra publicity to get the support that it deserves. Fishing Cactus’ Algo-Bot is one such PC game. While this title has been green-lit on Steam, it recently missed a Kickstarter goal (that is actually quite reasonable), which is a shame since this puzzle game goes a long way to educate in the mystical ways of programming logic.
When last we checked in with Amplitude Studios’ Endless Legend, it was in a playable alpha preview. The core of the game was intact though many features and gameplay options were either blocked off or simply not created yet. Still, what I saw was enticing enough to get me excited for the next phase of development. Lo and behold, here we are with the beta preview! Three new factions, new special terrain tiles, updated diplomacy and fleshed-out markets for resources, heroes and units are all great additions but the biggest shiny feature to be enabled – one previously un-clickable from the title screen – is multi-player. Naturally, I had to test this out for the next phase of Toronto Thumbs’ ongoing coverage of Endless Legend. Of course, I’d need a suitable opponent to put the game through its paces; thankfully, it just so happens I have a younger brother who has been brought up to appreciate the finer things in life like Daft Punk and turn-based strategy games. Thus, I proudly present the following three-part preview featuring me and special-correspondent-and-playtester-for-a-day Brayconn. Enjoy!