Stellaris captures the craziness and fun of sci-fi in an engaging, infinitely replayable strategy game.
Grand Strategy games have been around for awhile – a genre coined and perfected by Swedish developers Paradox Interactive. Previous Paradox titles dove headfirst into Medieval and World War history, and Stellaris finally takes us to the stars.
Managing European provinces is trite compared to large-scale galactic conquest, allied federations, and playing god to lesser beings. Stellaris isn’t just Paradox’s most accessible title; it’s also the best space empire management game I’ve ever played.
Thanks to numerous modern conveniences and relatively easy and linear puzzle designs, Heaven’s Hope is an enjoyable, light-hearted adventure.
When Tim Schafer put out his Kickstarter video for the 2012 Double Fine Adventure campaign, he jokingly mentioned that all the good Adventure games were being made in Germany—he was not wrong.
While many American studios are creating narrative-focused Adventure games (like Telltale), a number of European developers continue to release Point and Click Adventure games. These games revel in the nostalgic Golden Age of the 90s with hefty inventory puzzles, whimsical humor, and beautiful art work. Heaven’s Hope is a wonderful example of these qualities, and a particularly effective entry point thanks to its keen puzzle organization and variety.
The concept of a magic-filled world of complex animal societies that sprung from a dystopian sci-fi world of humans is absolutely fascinating.
My experience with anthropomorphic animal-creatures is mostly positive, but also rather childish. I loved Saturday Morning Cartoons like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ducktales. Creating humanoid animals and assigning them familiar human traits and livelihoods is a classic story-telling device that speaks especially well to children and young adults.
The Autumnlands: Tooth and Claw eschews most of the familiar trappings by throwing its huge variety of creatures into a far-flung future of magic spells, floating cities, and racial divides. The new series from Image Comics also contains a decidedly mature tone with language and violence akin to your favorite swords and sorcery HBO show. While the story-telling feels more suited to a traditional novel format (complete with mini-short stories accompanying each issue), the incredible artwork and intriguing world-building create a visual feast and a fun introduction to this strange new world.
I’ve always hated MOBAs but leave it to Blizzard to craft the most enjoyable team hero brawler I’ve ever played.
I hated MOBAs. These weird games that called themselves Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas have all but supplanted my beloved Real Time Strategy genre. Requiring minute micromanagement, synchronized teamwork, and a critical familiarity with dozens of heroes and hundreds of abilities, MOBAs are not exactly known for their accessibility.
Leave it to Blizzard, the masters of gameplay iteration, to create by far the most accessible and enjoyable “Online Hero Brawler”. By leveraging their famous stable of larger-than-life characters and streamlining every single aspect of the genre, Blizzard have crafted one of the most enjoyable team multiplayer games I’ve played in years.
Despite the aging Adventure Game Studio engine, Technobabylon succeeds thanks to an intriguing story, diverse cast, and satisfying puzzles.
Wadjet Eye Studios have quietly been carving out a stalwart niche among traditional Point and Click Adventure game fans. In recent years, the genre has grown and segmented to include more narrative-rich, dialogue-heavy adventures, spear-headed largely by Telltale’s successful licensed Episodic Adventure games. Fans of old-school Adventure games, however, ones full of complex puzzles and creative worlds, can still turn to studios like Wadjet Eye and their latest release, Technobabylon. Despite the aging Adventure Game Studio engine, Technobabylon succeeds thanks to an intriguing story, diverse cast, and satisfying puzzles.
The story opens with Latha, an orphaned young woman living in poverty. Like many people in 2087 she’s addicted to the Trance – Technobabylon’s equivalent of a virtual internet of the future. Escaping her apartment after a power surge serves to act as a tutorial as you learn how to manipulate the game’s most unique gameplay hook – downloading and rearranging programs of the various electronic devices around her.