Having learned a lesson about underestimating the quality of the mobile gaming scene, I’ve dabbled a little more into the options at hand. Here are a handful of the games I’ve been playing of late.
Ever play Star Realms? It’s that but Cthulhu themed.
Alright, fine, more info. A comically Lovecraft themed deck building game in which you gather resources, and endeavour to destroy your opponent’s sanity before they can wipe out yours. It’s a digital version of the physical game from Darwin Kastle, creators of Star Realms. There’s less of the faction-focus as there is in Star Realms, but the colours do have an inherent strategy focus, yellow cards are great at helping you draw cards from your deck and reaching the more potent ones, green obliterates cards from your discard pile to empower itself, and purple enforces your sanity while dealing hearty damage to your opponent.
The app game comes with sound effects, an easy AI opponent for free, and you can pay for a tougher one, and a short campaign that not only comes with a mildly entertaining narrative, but also has specific win conditions, or variations in gameplay style, and comes with achievements that change game by game. For example, in one game you might get an achievement for ending the game on a large sanity value, in another for gathering a certain number of coloured cards, others for winning without any of your starting cards. It lends a little variety, and certainly with only the easy AI to face it can lend a particular challenge to the game.
This is a seriously tough resource management, again with a Cthulhoid slant, in which you must manage a hand of resources to guide a cult to a dread pantheon of ancient and monstrous gods, through the day to day challenges of being a duplicitous criminal enterprise. Money, food, cultists, and prisoners come and go as you swerve taxes, rob banks, send expeditions, kidnap and subvert the minds of children, and appease the gods, all the while accruing suspicion, another resource that over-stuffs your hand and will eventually summon the police. Relics are all purpose items that can be used in any circumstance, while also being specifically useful to a few specific circumstances.
It’s a great thing to dip into every now and again, easy to pick up and play, but my gods it is hard work to get through a level. A good memory helps, but you can often be reliant on a decent shuffle every bit as much as your own decision making. The blessings for appeasing each god is great though, as they add blessings to your deck that make life easier, as challenges get harder.
One to play if you’re a fan of Hand of Fate, and maybe Cult Simulator, although I’ve yet to play it myself as yet, firmly on the to-do list.
Unlike the games above, this one’s a definite party game, one to make it worth keeping a charged battery for games nights, and definitely one for fans of Werewolf, Resistance, or similar games of subterfuge and deception.
A single phone is passed around a group of five to seven players, or up to nine if you pay for the full version, and each person in turn has their identity revealed to them, either Service, the good guys working in service of the… well the good… spies? Anyway, Virus are the bad guys and trying to get away with it, whatever it is. The phone is then passed around a second time, and everyone assembled gets a snippet of information about the people around the table. You might discover that they’re working for the same side, but not know which side that is. You might find that out of two people there is one traitor, and one loyalist. You might be forced to confess, or you might get something… else…
If you receive a Hidden Agenda, it might change your loyalty, it might change your win condition to wanting to be caught, or wanting someone else to win. Alternatively you might get a simple piece of information, but that information might also be a ruse on your part to throw suspicion elsewhere. The phone circles the table once more, allowing everyone the chance to nominate someone to be arrested.
Oh the arguments I have had over this game, I love it so much.
Mini-Review – Pinball Deluxe
I’ll keep this one short because there’s not a lot to say here. If you want a quick and quality pinball table on your tablet or phone, you can do a lot worse. You get a few tables to play for free, and a few available to purchase, which you’ll occasionally get a short period of time to play with during timed events. The tables have hidden layers of complexity, many of which I’m yet to reach, but I’m slowly but surely getting better at that game.
I mean, it’s no Windows XP Space Cadet, but it’s fine.