Category Archives: Strategy
I fully expected an alpha or short demo when opening up Bronze Age. A good 4-5 hours later, when I should have been sleeping, yet another horde of rat riders was gnawing at my gate while my citizens decided to rebel against me and destroy that essential happiness-giving brewery. I knew I was in this for the long-haul.
Bronze Age is a work-in-progress civ style game, but there’s already a lengthy, challenging game here (admittedly helped in part by the steep learning curve).
With a few days left, time to slip in another set of picks for the Steam Summer sale.
Last time I pointed out a bunch of games I largely already owned or ended up buying and playing due to the sale, that turned out decent enough. This time, I’m pointing out some games that I haven’t yet played, and probably games that most people have never heard of – so this is a good chance to discover some new obscure games.
The Steam Summer Sale is currently on, running until July 5th, so another 10 days or so from this post, which means plenty of time to grab some bargains.
When 25 of my wishlisted items appeared on sale in my inbox, it was both a blessing and a curse for my wallet. I mean, sure, I spent a lot, but at these savings, it’d be losing money not to buy… uh, right? Double-mortgage aside, given the massive number of games on sale I thought this would be a good time to shortlist a few New Retro Games Staff picks.
Thimbleweed Park (40% off, ~12EUR)
An old-school adventure game throwback by Monkey Island brigand Ron Gilbert himself, Thimbleweed Park kind of gets thrown as Maniac Mansion meets Twin Peaks. Perhaps not totally inaccurate, but… to me, it feels a bit more like Zakk McKracken meets Twin Peaks.
The general impressions of the game were positive, and although while perhaps not hitting the highs of his earlier affairs, Thimbleweed seems to be offering some solid adventure so far. It sports some damn beautiful classic pixel artwork, and the five character + inventory swapping puzzles and bizarre town make it worth the discounted price for sure.
Cosmic Star Heroine (50% off ~8EUR)
I took a look at Cosmic Star Heroine back in Jan, and while I did enjoy it, I also had somewhat mixed feelings about it. A callback to 16-bit SNES rpgs brimming with modern potential, CSH had an interesting fast-paced battle system and creative cast, each with their own unique skillsets, but it tended to burn through everything so fast that it was hard to really dig in to. I finished it, including every side quest and achievement, in 17 hours, and that was at a relaxed pace. Still, sometimes we don’t want to invest 100+ hours into a game, and for less than a tenner, it’s pretty cheap.
Darkest Dungeon (70% ~7EUR)
This is a game I’d been on the fence about for a long time, persisting through numerous sales. The game brings some richly artistic flair to your dungeon crawling, mixed in with Dark Souls level punishing difficulty. As a fan of old-school dungeon crawls like the Gold Box games or even Nethack, this can be a good thing, but I also don’t quite have the patience I did those days. Nevertheless, at 70% off this sale convinced me to take the plunge and I can confirm that I have been enjoying the self-flagellation so far. Even playing on the (later patched in) easier mode, I find myself taking careful steps in combat and each trip feels suitably risky, yet rewarding. Worth the admission price, I think, even if you end up only spending 10 or so of the potentially dozens of hours the game offers.
Dungeon Warfare (66% off, ~3,50EUR)
Dungeon Warfare is a relatively simple but strangely addicting reverse dungeon crawler/TD-style game. Being some sort of sentient evil entity, you decide to fill your dungeons with an assortment of traps to put a stop to the encroaching horde of money-grubbing do-gooders from the inconvenience of killing you. Where the game really excels, however, is how well these traps work together in unison, whether it be pushing peasants into spike pits or pulling knights into an endless pit. Playing with combinations is fun by itself, but the game actively rewards you for doing so, and it gets addicting fast.
There’s a disappointingly increasing trend for browser games and mobile games to try and go big time by releasing a PC port. However, most of the time the leaving in of a horrible UI, dumbed-down gameplay and, in some cases, confounding “freemium pay-to-win” model in the game smells richly of cash grab. Luckily, this is not the case for Dungeon Warfare. It did indeed start as a free browser game (and is still available), and the Steam version simply adds a bit of extra polish and content. This may seem “low effort”, but the game itself is solid, so while technically you can get enough enjoyment from the free version, for me this really was a case of throwing a few deserved bucks the developer’s way.
Legend of Grimrock 2 (60% off, ~9EUR)
I bought this game for full price back in the day and still don’t regret it, even though it took me about 3 years to get around to finishing the thing. Grimrock 2 is an expertly-done modern take on the classic Dungeon Master crawl formula, and is also basically an improvement on its prequel in every way possible. If you like this sort of game at all, and don’t mind square dancing with giant turtles while unkillable air elementals push you into the water where a sea monster blocks the ladder while you drown to death, then hey, there’s no real reason not to get this.
Z-Exemplar (50% off, 2,50EUR)
Taking the spot of one of our games of the year back when we did that sort of thing, Z-Exemplar is a solid, if sometimes unforgiving, classical horizontal-scrolling shoot ’em up harking back, as the name would suggest, to the days of the ZX Spectrum. What helps the game stand out from its inspirations is its solid weapons system, with tons of combinations to choose from, all characteristic from branching vines to lasers to orbs of death, and all upgradable. Better yet, the game doesn’t take itself too seriously and sports a lovely british sense of irreverent humour. There are also over 900 levels to non-linearly explore. They are all very short, taking around about 1 minute to beat, but goddam if that’s not insane. I am still nowhere near finishing the game.
Phew, that’s enough for now. I might try to throw together another list in a few days, because hot dam, if this isn’t a disturbingly enticing sale I don’t know what is.
Fortify is a classic tower defense game, reeking of late 90’s indie. From the MS paint style graphics to the somewhat clunky interface, everything takes a distant backseat to the detailed gameplay and challenging learning curve.
As my hillbilly cowboy roundhouse kicked yet another boar rider off the edge of a cliff to his untimely death, I couldn’t help but think “this is weird.” More importantly, I also couldn’t stop thinking “this is awesome.”
About 4 years in the making, with a fourth and final chapter in the works, World’s End is an excellent – and I do mean really excellent here – strategy/tactics RPG that mostly flew under the radar: a crime that must be now corrected before karmic disaster befalls us all.
Do you remember Baldies? No,no – not the equally obscure band.,. the real-time strategy/disturbing Deliverance-style inbreeding sim from 1995? Still no? Well then, wWelcome, my friend, to a game where bald men fight to the death and also sometimes breed in a Battle Royale style sim game. Welcome.. to Baldies.
That’s right, someone thought it was a good idea to make a game exclusively revolving around bald men who live, work, and uh, procreate together. How? Just go with it. Also, be prepared for a fair bit of slaughtering their neighbours on the menu, because in the 90’s, it wasn’t entertainment unless mass extinction was the ultimate goal.
A few days ago – just in time for Christmas – we spewed out some of our best game picks from the blog. Now that the turkey carcasses have been picked clean and the hangovers have cleared (somewhat), it’s time to dip into Santa’s secret stash for more goodies from the past year or so…
New Retro Games’
Part 2: The Christmasing
Spend some quality time with underwater mercenaries and those giant sharks from Deep Blue Sea: Welcome to Depth of Extinction. A tactical 2D XCOM wannabe of sorts,
A tactical 2D XCOM wannabe of sorts, Depth replaces everyone’s favourite psychic murderous aliens with emotionless killer robots. It’s about as barebones as a roast turkey after thanksgiving, or a piece of otherwise inedible KFC after a drunken night out, but like said example foodstuffs, Depth is equally as strangely compelling.
I spent far too many hours having “just one more go”: a fully fleshed and well-stuffed Depth of Extinction is a game I’d happily chow down on.
Despite Final Fantasy Tactics being a favourite among lovers of the genre, few subsequent games have tried to evoke the level of complexity of that game. Now in steps Street Posse Showdown, a tactical RPG with a modern day setting with even more stats, affinities and compatibilities to keep track of.
This news roundup is full of retro themed goodness (the surgeon general recommends two servings per day), seeing re-releases and free releases:
- SEGA powers up: re-releasing collection on Steam
- Mojang-a-gang: Minecraft dev’s release free strategy game