The group of games I have for you this week is a bit varied. First up is a sequel to one of the greatest puzzle games on iOS. We’ve also got the latest game from Double Fine. Then we close out with the iOS version of a cyberpunk action RPG.
You Must Build A Boat – iOS(Universal)
You Must Build A Boat is a sequel to 10000000, one of my favorite iOS games of all time. It brings the same RPG and puzzle hybrid design. Instead of running to escape a dungeon, you’re running through multiple dungeons to outfit your boat and collecting monsters.
If you didn’t play the first game, the screen is split into two areas. The top area has your character running to the right, and the bottom is a match three puzzle grid. You match swords to attack, wands to use magic, keys to unlock treasure chests, crates to find items, and then there is knowledge and strength icons you collect as additional currency.
As you play through different areas you’ll unlock new rooms for your boat that acts as shops to increase your stats. You’ll also collect monsters that you fight, you then trade in strength and knowledge points to unlock them for your boat, along with a stat bonus.
What’s Good: Expands on 10000000 with enough new concepts to keep it fresh.
What Sucks: Just as terribly addictive as the first game.
Buy it?: If you’re a fan of 10000000, or just puzzle RPGs in general, pick up You Must Build A Boat. Download it form the App Store for $2.99.
Super Monkey Ball Bounce – iOS(Universal)
When I saw that Sega had reduced the Super Monkey Ball franchise to a Peggle clone, I was pretty upset. However as clones go, it’s a well executed one. In addition to mimicking the peg clearing action of Peggle, there are new mechanics like boss battles and more direct puzzle levels.
There are power up balls as well, and these are tied to the games free to play model. Though you unlock some power ups while playing, often after the level they’re introduced they become paid upgrades. The whole thing ends up feeling like a pay to win scheme. However, you can just continue playing and ignore this aspect. There are ads as well, which can be a bit annoying. You can remove these by buying any of the IAP.
What’s Good: Extends the Peggle formula with some interesting twists.
What Sucks: Pay to win feels a bit cheap, still would rather have a new proper Super Monkey Ball game.
Buy it?: Already beat all the Peggle games? Them try Super Monkey Ball Bounce. Download it for free on the App Store.
Massive Chalice – Mac
Massive Chalice was another experiment in crowd funding for Broken Age developer, Double Fine. I have repeatedly stated my adoration for Double Fine’s style. This game is no exception, combining the strategy of a game like XCom with the breeding of a monster rancher game. That simplifies it a bit much, but it’s the shortest way to describe the game.
You play an immortal King ruling a kingdom with the help of the titular chalice. Your kingdom is fending off a legion of monsters named the Cadence. You start with five warriors with different classes, then as you conquer areas and set up keeps where you then place pairs of warriors in charge and in return their children become your next generation of warriors. The stats combine, including any flaws they have. This means that you might find yourself with weak warrior set late in the game, but the game tells you early on to be prepared to start over. I am just not sure that anyone but big strategy fans will be that dedicated.
Like all Double Fine games, the art and design of this game is awesome. Though the game has a fantasy setting, it doesn’t look like a riff on Lord Of The Rings or other fantasy tropes. The game doesn’t have much of a story, beyond the basic concept, tutorials, and events. What is delivered is done by the Chalice which is embodied by a male and female voice. They put a tinge of the signature Double Fine humor into the game, but this doesn’t have the same punchlines of Brutal Legend, or Broken Age.
What’s Good: Fun mix of strategy and monster rancher genre.
What Sucks: Possibility of permanent failure might put off more casual players.
Buy it?: Fans of Double Fine or strategy games need to pick up Massive Chalice. Buy it from the Humble Bundle Store for $19.99.
Sunset – Mac
Sunset is an odd game, and it plays with some interesting ideas. You play as Angela, a housekeeper for a former general Daniel Ortega. The game takes place in 1972 set against a civil war in the fictional country of Anchuria. Sunset seeks to handle a lot of complex issues, most of it addressed via Angela’s inner monologue and diary.
Playing the game is simple. You have an hour of in game time to complete a to do list, and whatever other tasks you want to complete. Completing some of these tasks will allow for a close relationship between Angela and Ortega, choosing others will keep your relationship more professional. The relationship portion feels binary in how it’s tabulated, though I didn’t do too much experimenting. Though each decision you make feels well written, the results lack nuance.
The diary can be easily missed if you don’t take the opportunity to sit down for a few minutes at the end of the day, it’s odd to make such an important part of the narrative so easy to overlook. The game relies on the idea of being ancillary to the action, that people’s lives continue even in a war zone. The story is excellent but the gameplay seems secondary, strapped to a good short story.
What’s Good: Well written story, unique concept.
What Sucks: Gameplay gets in the way of the story, could be integrated better.
Buy it?: If you are looking for a good story and don’t mind a game light on gameplay, check out Sunset . Download it from the developer for $9.99.
Transistor – Mac
I really liked Transistor on the Mac I am going to avoid gushing over the newest iPad version, as I spent most of the last review talking about what a great game it was. If you were a fan of Bastion, Transistor is going to hit that same sweet spot. They story is a cyberpunk tale of a singer who lost her voice, on a quest for revenge against a racist government, the Camerata. Her only companion, a talking sword that absorbed the consciousness of a man that saved Red’s life also absorbs the personalities of victims of the Camerata’s process robots.
The personalities your sword absorbs become weapons and buffs. Mixing and matching these powers means that you can create unique combinations to suit how you want to play the game. The controls take a similar approach. By default you have a touch based system. You tap where you want to go, and your attacks are in a row down the side of the screen. If you prefer a more traditional approach, you can switch your movement to a virtual d-pad. The combat is pretty flexible as well. You can switch between a real time action-RPG battle, and a pseudo turn-based approach. You can set up your attacks in a row, but you will still need to dodge until your power recharges for you to set your next turn.
What’s Good: Excellent action-RPG with a good story, and lots of customizable options.
What Sucks: The game’s been out for almost a year on a bunch of other platforms, so many people may have already played it.
Buy it?: If you haven’t yet, you need to play Transistor. Download it on the App Store for $9.99.