One of my favourite aspects of the campaign in Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2 was that it allowed you to embrace your inner turtle. Or at least, hunkering down and building a powerful base to fight back the enemy was my favoured playstyle. The problem I’ve found with many RTS titles since those halcyon days is that single-player titles are focused on small-scale squad management, while multiplayer and RTS is an oxymoron in my lexicon.
All in all, when I finally got around to starting up Age of Darkness: Final Stand – having initially installed when released in Early Access last October – I found myself feeling very comfortable.
I do enjoy it when a mod reaches the big time and launches as a standalone game. Think of Counter-Strike and DOTA2 and you have two genre defining games that were born from mods. I’m not going to make an outlandish claim that The Forgotten City is going to be a genre defining release, but for something which originated as a Skyrim mod, it is an extremely impressive adventure.
Hit the break for some thoughts, but watch out: spoilers lie below.
I like fish, but I don’t like eating them, nor do I have any interest in trying to catch them. Yet when it comes to Moonglow Bay, I’m not only enjoying catching them, but I’m learning more about them, as well as making tasty meals from my catch.
This is a charming, voxel-art lightweight RPG from developer Bunnyhug and published by Coatsink, which sees you take a rookie angler to east coast Canada to restore the fortunes of the rundown town of Moonglow Bay. You open the game by creating your character from a small number of pre-set looks, complete with choice of pronouns. Should a game featuring the ability to choose your own pronouns be something worth having to highlight? No, it should be common place in games where you create your own character, but I’ll applaud Bunnyhug and Coatsink for producing an open and inclusive game.
Mini Motorways made its debut on Steam at the end of July, and will be coming to the Nintendo Switch next year, but it still feels absolutely like a mobile game at heart. Perhaps, though, I should correct myself there. It feels like a touch game at heart. This isn’t some in-app purchase driven knock-off, but a very smartly thought-out city builder that begs to be picked up and played, one which will undoubtedly find a very welcome home on the Switch.
Coming to Mini Motorways on the PC without having played it, or its predecessor Mini Metro, I was immediately struck by how clean and fresh it looked. I’m a sucker for good-looking art, and with Mini Motorways, where everything is fairly minimalistic, there is more than enough character to draw me in. I love the way the cities expand as the days and weeks tick by, but in such a subtle fashion that you don’t realise that you’ve progressed from managing the road network of a village at the start, to now trying to tame the sprawl of a megalopolis. A sprawl that is all your own doing.
Once a few in-game weeks have passed and your starting route between two houses and one work place has grown exponentially, it’s wonderful to take a moment to pause, delete your original road networks and create things afresh to best take account of how your city has evolved. A city that has evolved to grow around your roads, with houses sprouting in the most awkward of spots but able to be ignored. Meanwhile the new business that sets up on the other side of a river when you have run out of bridges to plop down will be what finally brings a game to an end.
It might not be your traditional city builder, and yes it might work best on a touch device, but Mini Motorways is a gem, and comes highly recommended.
Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, you’ll know it’s Olympics time, and Team GB have Sky Brown competing in the park discipline. Today you can (nearly) emulate Sky with The Ramp, an indie skateboarding title from Paul Schnepf.
Unlike Sky’s adventures in Tokyo, The Ramp features vert skateboarding across a handful of locations, and that’s pretty much it. On the Steam page, Paul describes The Ramp as offering you 15 minutes of flow for “the price of a medium sized cinnamon pistachio latte”.
The Ramp is out right now on Steam, and I’ll be putting down the price of a fancy coffee for 15 minutes of flow.
Going Medieval, a colony builder set during the 14th Century, has had a phenomenal first week in Early Access, selling 175,000 copies. It’s a charming little game which I sunk a few hours into over the weekend, and came away with all of my ‘Sims and SimCity in the dark ages’ fantasies fulfilled. Well, this is a bit more hardcore than those two behemoths. and selling so many copies in the first week is a massive achievement. Hit the break for my hands on impressions.
Since Dorfromantik released into Early Access towards the end of March, I’ve been playing a decent amount of this village builder. When I brought word of Dorfromantik a couple of weeks ago, I described it as a peaceful stress-free game that sounded like bliss. After a few hours of play, it certainly is blissful, and wonderfully relaxing.
Over the weekend, the team at Toukana laid out their plans for their time in Early Access in more detail. The first phase will see a number of updates squashing bugs and improving general accessibility and usability, but the second phase is more interesting.
The second phase will comprise two content updates, the first will see a creative mode land which I am very keen to see, while the second update will add new biomes, tiles and challenges. The team are still planning a full release in mid/late 2021, and I’ll be looking to deliver a Verdict at that point.
Back in January we wrote about Commanding Nations, the Command and Conquer: Generals inspired RTS that had been in the works at Seven Volts for two-years before breaking covers in January. The team are still quite some way away from launching their Kickstarter, and are currently focused on building their community and getting news of their game shared through word of mouth.
Here I speak with Seven Volts CEO, Pourya Arami, about how the Seven Volts crew came together, their love of Command and Conquer and details of Commanding Nations itself. Hit the break for the full Q&A.
Have you ever thought about becoming a restaurateur, but feared Gordon Ramsey himself coming along, shout obscenities at you and filming an episode of Kitchen Nightmares in your own domain? Put those fears to one side as Dapper Penguin Studios (of Rise of Industry) have unveiled restaurant sim, Recipe for Disaster coming to PC later this year.