Mini Metro

Mini Metro

Summary

Mini Metro is a strategy simulation game about designing a subway map for a growing city. Draw lines between stations and start your trains running.

It was first created during Ludum Dare 26, a game development competition in which you only have a couple days to create a game that fits the given theme. The developers liked their prototype and decided to develop it further.

Mini Metro map

Review

I love Mini Metro. It’s a brilliant game idea that is executed well. It is fun to play, the achievements are challenging, and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite Steam games.

It’s currently available as an Early Access game and will be released soon. Hopefully they’ll add a Seattle map. <3

Mini Metro map selectorMini Metro choose asset

You might like this game if you like…

  • Mass transit
  • Minimalism
  • Efficiency & optimization
  • Making decisions based on limited resources

Want to play?

$9.99 on Steam (Early Access)

Lionheart Tactics

Lionheart Tactics logo

Summary

Lionheart Tactics is a free-to-play tactical RPG for mobile devices that was also recently released as a web browser game.

Collect heroes and battle your enemies on 3D battlefields using turn-based combat. Upgrade your heroes’ skills and gear to improve their performance. There are currently over 30 classes (paladin, sniper, valkyrie, bombardier, etc.), which can be promoted from recruit all the way up to legendary.

Lionheart Tactics battle

Review

I’ve been playing this game for about half a year now, because it’s the type of game I get easily hooked on. It’s mildly amusing, but the battles can be pretty repetitive.

Lionheart Tactics is a free-to-play game, so they have a premium currency (crowns), which can be purchased with real money, but are also slowly earned in game. Crowns can help you acquire new heroes, upgrade existing heroes, and instantly heal your heroes, but they aren’t necessary to play the game. There is also a coin currency, but it is much more easily attainable in game.

Like I said, the battles can feel repetitive, especially after you’ve been playing for a while. The game gets frequent updates, though, which helps keep things interesting. There are limited time events for holidays and the introduction of new character classes, which usually come with store sales and daily battles that reward prizes.

While there are guilds and the ability to battle “other players,” Lionheart Tactics is pretty much a single player game. Guilds are mostly useless from my experience and when you battle “other players” in the arena, their heroes are controlled by AI — not by the other player.

Lionheart Tactics has its flaws, but it’s a pretty good mobile strategy game. There is a wide variety of character classes, each with their own skills to use in battle. The 3D battlefields make the game interesting. I really like how part of the strategy is where you position each of your heroes on the battlefields, especially because some classes give/get bonuses to/from nearby heroes.

Lionheart Tactics hero menu

Yes, all of my heroes are named after characters from A Song of Ice and Fire. 😛

You might like this game if you like…

  • Free-to-play games
  • Turn-based combat
  • Tactics
  • Upgrading your characters

Want to play?

Free on Google Play, iOS, and web

PixelJunk Monsters

The Steam Summer Sale started today! Be sure to check it out over the next 11 days for great deals on games.

PixelJunk Monsters Ultimate

I picked up a 2-pack of PixelJunk Monsters Ultimate today for $3.39 — a steal! If you only want 1 copy, it’s $1.99.

Summary

PixelJunk Monsters is a tower defense game that was originally developed for the PlayStation 3. It was ported to PC as PixelJunk Monsters Ultimate last year with improved graphics, more levels, and a random level generator.

You play as an island native (called “TikiMan”) who has to defend his home from waves of monsters. You stop the monsters by building various types of towers in the place of trees. There are the basic arrow, cannon, and anti-aircraft towers, but you can also unlock more towers (like the tesla coil). You spend the levels running around as TikiMan building towers, collecting the coins and gems dropped by monsters before they disappear, dodging monsters (if you get hit, all your coins go flying!), and dancing on towers to upgrade them.

PixelJunk Monsters Level
Playing one of the levels in PixelJunk Monsters Ultimate

Review

I first played PixelJunk Monsters on the PlayStation 3 5-6 years ago and it quickly became one of my favorite tower defense games. The graphics are cute and polished, the music is great, gameplay is entertaining and fun, and I love that it supports co-op.

I’ve only spent an hour playing the game on PC so far, but it seems to be more or less the same as when I played it on PlayStation 3. Using a mouse felt a bit clunky to me, but I was delighted to see that the game fully supports controllers. The controller experience felt a lot better to me.

Want to Play?

$1.99 on Steam (80% off during the Steam Summer Sale)

Dominion

I bought Dominion last month knowing nothing about the game except that lots of people love it. I’m now one of those people, too! 🙂

DominionDominion is a deck-building card game that supports 2-4 players. Players take turns performing actions with the cards in their hand, buying additional cards, and then discarding their cards and drawing a new hand.

The game initially seemed a little confusing (as one can expect when playing a new game), but that went away after a couple turns of play. Gameplay is actually pretty straight-forward, although some of the action cards (like throne rooms, which let you play a card twice) can make things complicated.

One of the things I like about Dominion is how quick it is. It’s easy to learn how to play and a game only takes about 30 minutes. It’s great for when you want to have some fun, but don’t have a few hours to devote to playing a game like A Game of Thrones.

Another thing I like is how the game isn’t the same every time you play.  There are 24 different types of Kingdom (action) cards, but you only play with 10 per game. You’ll find your strategy changes depending on which Kingdom cards are selected for the game. There are also plenty of expansions available that add all sorts of new and interesting cards, though I’ve only played the original game so far.

The only critique I have is that the game can feel like everyone is playing their own solitaire game since players concentrate on their own decks and there aren’t a lot of cards that affect other players (at least not in the original game).

Dominion has won all sorts of awards since its release in 2008 and for good reason. Dominion is totally worth picking up. 🙂

Stonehearth: Alpha 1

Lasy May, I helped fund a sandbox strategy game called Stonehearth on Kickstarter. A co-op multiplayer RTS RPG with town building, crafting, and epic battles?!? Yes, please!

Stonehearth workers sitting around a fire

They released the first Alpha release (Alpha 1) this week. The game is pretty basic and a bit buggy right now (as is to be expected with an alpha) and there isn’t a way to save your progress yet. Nevertheless, it was fun to play around with it and get a feel for the game. It didn’t take long for my workers to lose interest in building their house, stop following my orders, and gather up in a big pile, though! Yay bugs! 😛

Stonehearth: Setting up a base camp
Setting up a base camp
Stonehearth: Crafting menu
Crafting menu
Stonehearth: Worker pile-up
Uh oh! Worker pile-up!

If you want to play Stonehearth yourself, you can visit their store to pre-order the game (September 2014 estimated release date) and get access to the alpha.

Civilization V

Civ V: Taking a city-state

Summary

I picked up Sid Meier’s Civilization V (Gold Edition) during the Steam Winter Sale, which is going on through January 3rd. It’s a turn-based strategy game in which you grow your nation from a single settlement into a vast empire.

Civ5: Suleiman
Interacting with other civilizations

During your turn, you manage your civilization by directing troops, producing new units, researching new technologies, founding new cities, improving the land, adopting new policies, expanding your religion, building wonders, and interacting with other civilizations and city-states through trade and diplomacy.

Civilization V has five paths to victory:

  • Domination – be the last player in possession of your original capital city
  • Science – build and launch a spaceship (requires a lot of technological research)
  • Cultural – complete the Utopia Project by filling 5 social policy trees
  • Diplomatic – win a vote in the United Nations
  • 2050 arrives – if no one has won by the year 2050, the player with the highest score wins

Review

Civilization V is the first Civilization game I’ve played and as a big fan of Age of Empires, I was really excited to give it a try. The ideas are similar, but Civ 5 has a lot more depth and strategy than AOE. Well, and Civ 5 is turn-based whereas AOE is real-time strategy. 😛

Civ5: Spaceship victory
Science (spaceship) victory

The game might seem a little daunting at first, but the tutorial does a decent job of teaching you how to play and your advisors (economic, military, foreign, and science) help with decision-making. The game begins with micromanaging a few units, but as time progresses, you start playing the game on a larger scale.

I really like how Civ 5 accommodates different play styles, allowing you alternatives for winning besides just wiping everybody else out. As much as I like being warmongering, it’s fun to experiment with different play styles, too.

I love Civilization V and I keep learning and improving the more I play. Just a warning, though: you’ll lose track of time when you play and you might find that it’s 3am all of a sudden. 😉

Kingdom Rush

Kingdom Rush Menu

Hey, tower defense game fans! There’s a pretty awesome tower defense game on sale for $0.99 in the Google Play Store right now. It’s called Kingdom Rush, which might sound familiar because I blogged about the browser version a couple years ago.

Kingdom Rush LevelI’ve only played the first few levels so far, but it works really well on my tablet and it’s a nice, polished game. Definitely worth the $0.99!

Get it on Google Play Kingdom Rush HD

Apparently, they released a sequel called Kingdom Rush: Frontiers on iOS earlier this summer, so if you have an iPhone or an iPad, you might want to give it a try, too. Hopefully they’ll release it for Android soon. 🙂

7 Wonders Board Game

I picked up 7 Wonders when it was the Deal of the Day on Amazon a week or so ago. I had never played it before, but I had heard great things about it and it had a 4.8 out of 5 star rating, so I thought it was worth getting. I’m so glad I did!

7 WondersIn 7 Wonders, you control one of seven ancient cities. You gather resources, trade with your neighboring cities, and choose to build up military, commercial, scientific, and/or civilian structures to make your city powerful. You also have the option of erecting a wonder, which gives your city various bonuses for every completed wonder stage.

I played 7 Wonders for the first time yesterday with 3 other first-time players. The directions were a bit confusing at first, but once we started playing, the rules made sense and we all caught on quickly.

The game starts in Age I and each player receives 7 cards. There are 3 Ages in total and each Age consists of 6 turns. At the start of a turn, each player chooses a card from their hand and everyone reveals and plays them simultaneously. Then, each player passes their remaining cards to the player sitting next to them and the next turn begins. Because you’re always giving your unused cards to your neighbor, it makes the strategy interesting. Do you play the card that will help you the most or do you get rid of the card that would give your neighbor a distinct advantage?

The game is surprisingly quick, about half an hour in length. Because everyone plays simultaneously, it should even be a quick game with a large group of players. Although I’ve only played with 4 players so far, the game works with 2-7 players and it seems like it would scale really well.

7 Wonders is a lot of fun and I think I’ll get a lot of play out of it. 🙂

Age of Empires II: HD Edition

EEEEEEEE!!! An Age of Empires II HD Edition announcement trailer was published today:

AOE2 is one of my favorite games of all time, so I’m totally geeked that they’ve remastered it. Not only that, but it’ll have multi-monitor support, it’s on Steam, and it comes out in a month!

You can pre-order AOE2 HD on Steam for $17.99. It comes out April 9th, but if you pre-order on Steam, you’ll get to play it starting April 5th.

Orcs Must Die! 2

As it goes with Steam sales, I bought Orcs Must Die! 2 by Robot Entertainment during the Autumn sale a few months ago and hadn’t gotten around to playing it until this week. I really liked the original Orcs Must Die!, though, so I knew I’d get around to playing the second version eventually. 😉

Playing Orcs Must Die! 2

Genre

OMD!2 is a strategy tower defense game (which I love), but it’s also a third-person action game, which is a fun genre blend. Players use traps, weapons, and spells to defend fortresses from waves of orc attacks. My favorite feature of OMD!2 is that it added co-op, so Nick and I can play together.

Character selection
Character selection

Characters

When you start the game, you get to pick between a male War Mage (from the original game) or a female Sorceress (a new addition). For the most part, it doesn’t seem to matter which character you choose, but there are some unique items and traps for each character. In general, the War Mage relies more on weapons, whereas the Sorceress relies more on spells.

Upgrade system
Upgrade system

Upgrade System

What’s really neat about OMD!2 is that you can customize the game for how you want to play. OMD!2 introduced a new and improved upgrade system that awards skulls for completing maps. The skulls are then used as a currency in the spellbook, where you can buy and upgrade weapons and traps. If you like to have strong defenses, you can use your skulls to get better traps. If you prefer the action aspect of the game, you can improve your weapons. Or you can do both! 🙂 You can even use skulls to buy costumes for your character.

Overall Thoughts

Orcs Must Die! 2 is quickly becoming one of my favorite games. It added some really nice features like co-op, a new upgrade system, and even weekly challenges — not to mention the new campaign, enemies, and items. I highly recommend OMD!2, especially if you’re a sucker for tower defense games, like me. 😉

And if the $15 (game only) / $25 (complete pack) prices intimidate you, just wait for it to go on sale. I think Nick and I paid $10 total for 2 complete packs during the Autumn sale. The game is well worth the regular price, though!