I realize it’s been a long time since my last update. My apologies; sometimes it turns out life gets totally and completely amazing, and things like non-paying gaming news blogs fall on the backburner over things like, y’know, working on things that actually pay me, prepping for Burning Man, and generally having the time of my life. You understand.
It being the Fourth of July, I’m of course writing this in my swim trunks on the shore of Newfound Lake in New Hampshire, sipping on a Corona in the shade. I hope all of you in the US are enjoying your holidays, and all of you outside of the US are wishing you were here, blowing shit up and being patriotic. Suck it.
That said, there have been a lot of developments in the gaming world, and I’ll do what I can to at least touch up on some of them real soon. In the meantime, here’s a snippet from a review I had sent in to The Escapist for publication after PAX East that didn’t get printed. No idea why. Oh well.
Either way, if you have an iPad, check out this game – it’s pretty awesome.
It ain’t easy being an indie game developer. Even with major strides being made in terms of digital distribution, there is still the question of market exposure. With a massive event like PAX East, it’s common and understandable for major industry players to dominate the scene. They have the money and the sway to purchase vast display booths in prominent locations, as well as the marketing clout to seed the minds of the general public, and thus exert a certain level of control to guarantee at least some press coverage.
In recognition of this, I made sure to check out the various indie games abound at PAX East this year. In doing so, I managed to find some of the more clever and enjoyable games I’ve seen up for release this year.
One of my favorites was New World Colony, an iPad turn-based strategy game coming from Cambridge, MA-based 82Apps. It’s considered a mash-up of Settlers of Catan, Risk, and Civilization, drawing on the unique benefits of all three to fill in the holes left by each. The board is a randomly generated hex pattern of land types, and the tiles are arranged in such a manner that no player will guarantee themselves an opening advantage. Each turn, players will seek to obtain and defend various resource types and then use said resources to build establishments (granaries, mines, shipyards and the like), defend, and attack.
The game contains a fairly interesting Market system, in which players can barter their own resources in exchange for others. The kicker in this is that the system is a starvation economy – there are only so many of any given resource available in the game. True to supply and demand, the less of a resource there is, the more expensive it becomes – going so far as the per-trade level. This allows a clever player to starve out his opponent of a given resource, possibly turning the tides in a battle.
The game is playable on a single iPad, and will recognize player orientation around a table and adjust its display according to who’s turn it currently is. “I want it to feel like a board game,” says Erik Asmussen, developer and founder of 82Apps. It can also be played online via game center integration.
New World Colony has three game modes – Normal, Pacifist, and Warlord, each catering to a different playstyle. 82Apps is tailoring Player Vs. Computer games to be somewhere between 20-30 minutes, with a little leeway with solely human players.
All told, the game looks engaging and promising. My only complaint, as expected, is that I can’t get it on the Android platform, and as a result, I can’t really play it (I don’t see myself buying an iPad anytime soon).
New World Colony is purchasable from the iTunes app store for $0.99.