Tuesday, May 3, 2016

One Weekend - Three Gamey Surprises

Sometimes, a weekend can be spent looking for something that sparks our interest even just a little bit. A weekend can find us returning to our tried and tested activities just to pass the time.

This weekend however I got to spend with three new games that were an absolute blast to play and I'd like to take a moment to write about them.

1. Banner Saga 2

This inspired my gaming weekend really, I had enjoyed the first one a lot and despite not really remembering any of the story I was excited to return to the beautiful and interesting world of Banner Sage.

I was not disappointed, this is a sequel in the sense that it's just more of the first game. The first game had me power through the whole experience in about 8 hours, not reloading even once. If I lost the game seemed to fit into the narrative just fine and it never falls into that trap a lot of turn based strategies do where you are forced to play the same scenario over and over.

The Banner Saga 2 just like the first game has a load of boring characters beat the crap out of each other in a world full of lore and brought to life with breath taking art.

Roll on Banner Saga 3!

2. Pathfinder Card Game : Android

This one caught me by surprise. I had tried other android versions of card games such as Sentinels of the Multiverse but had found them a little hollow. I think the difference here is that the Pathfinder Card Game is very well designed and has a lot of depth and automating the whole experience neutralises the biggest drawback, the need to set it all up.

It's tough too, just tough enough and if you lose you get to keep the cards you picked up during the game for each character so it always feels like you are improving. Even the story here comes across much better than in the physical version and I was able to pick up all of the available content for 25 euro which feels reasonable.

This will be one I will be dipping into for a while.

3. Offworld Trading Company

Another surprise, if anything even more surprising than finding a decent Android game.

I've long had an itch but was unable to find a game that scratched it, this was the need for a trading game where I make lots of money and get to manage a supply chain. I remember picking up capitalism from gog.com in desperation but found it a little dry.

This game does not have that problem, the graphics and music pull you into life on mars. Not only that but the gameplay is sublime. The systems here are the best I've ever seen in an economic game, there is a lot to do here when it comes to manipulating prices and boning your competitors but what it nails is that it's always fun. You are never staring at a spreadsheet or moving resources around piecemeal.

This game has you thinking "hmm, the price of steel is looking really good", then analysing the production capacity of your opponents and sizing up the cost of entering and hopefully cornering that market. The point is that it gets you into that cutthroat CEO mindset and it's wonderful.

And that was it, I spent so much time lying on my coach like a slug that I pinched a nerve in my arm and spent the night in agony. Worth it.

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