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PC Indie Game Preview:- Empires in Ruins

The bastard child of 4X and Tower defense, with a black humor infused plot, set in a grim, disillusioned world. Quell the rebellion, tame the Western Marches, disobey your orders and save your brandy. Not strictly in this order.

 

 

Darsch Pugs here for Sanitarium.FM and today I am previewing Empires in Ruins. Empires in Ruins is developed and published by Hammer&Ravens and is a mix of 4x and tower defense set in a fictional medieval fantasy world where you are set to task quelling a rebellion in campaign mode or playing the freeplay sandbox mode to a killer soundtrack and humorous writing.

 

 

The core gameplay loop of the game is set up to manage your towns, research new tech, and then attack or defend nodes in a tower defense battle. A lot of the ideas and concepts are pretty common to all 4X games and tower defense games, but here we have a bastardized merger of the two that just seems to work, if in a somewhat clunky way.  You can set members of your army as guards in each providence, or nodes as I like to call them, and this weakens your army for battle but does not seem to be clear exactly how it effects the tower defense game and conversely you can take away guards to add to your army, which has a clear effect on the node but yet again not so much of a clear effect on the tower defense game.

 

 

The story of the campaign is fairly comical, if you enjoy dark humor or shit jokes, fart jokes, and dwarf jokes, it’s pretty low brow and low hanging fruit at times but there is something enjoyable about Sergeant Hans Heimer complaining about not being able to sleep or enjoy his brandy and belittling everyone around him as he deals with this rebellion he finds him self in charge of ending.

 

 

The graphics are pretty minimal, you have basic tiny units running along the ground towards your towers, visual fx are basic too, no major eye candy here.  But that’s not a bad thing though.

 

 

The game does however have an amazing soundtrack, one I find myself wishing I had a copy of for my weekly pathfinder and dungeons and dragons games. The music blends your typical medieval faire with subtle and not so subtle rock tones here and there in a nice blend of what I like to call medieval rock.

 

 

I recommend this title for people looking for something different than the standard tower defense or standard 4x title. The gameplay loop is fun if you like either 4X or Tower Defense and has plenty to offer to those looking for something with a different approach to each genre.

 

~Darsch

 

Empire in Ruins is available now in Early Access on STEAM, head over to the game page and pick up a copy, or join the community in their Discord for more info!


February 15th, 2020 by Darsch
Posted in Gaming, General, PC, Real Time Strategy | No Comments »

PC Game Review:- Spaceland by Tortuga Team

Incredibly dynamic turn-based strategy, reviving the traditions of the old school tactics. Lead a team of the most desperate fighters, destroy alien monsters and uncover the secrets of the lost planet.

 

 

Greetings inmates and true believers, this is Darsch again, and this time I bring you Spaceland. Spaceland is a turn-based tactical strategy game developed and published by Tortuga Team. The game is best described as baby’s first XCOM for it is a simpler version of classic titles like XCOM and Incubation. This does not make the game bad, it just lacks the depth of micromanagement other titles have.

 

 

The art in Spaceland is a delightful cartoony almost claymation style of art that is pleasing to the eye and fun to watch with amazing cartoony explosions and special visual effects, it at times is reminiscent of children’s cartoons with sound effects and music to match. I would love to see more games use this art style in the future as it’s just plain fun to interact with.

 

 

The writing on the other hand is some of the worst piss poor storytelling I have had the displeasure of reading. I felt like I was reading a terribly written toddler story book. Character interactions were forced and clunky, story elements were bland and the writing so simple it bordered on the side of insulting. I don’t expect Michael Crichton and R.A. Salvatore levels of writing in my games but I certainly don’t want it to be “Good Night Moon” levels of garbage either.

 

 

The gameplay is a simple balance of click where to move , click the enemy you want to shoot, manage your ammo and action points  which are used to move and shoot and use the limited special abilities like grenades to kill enemies in simple maps that take roughly ten minutes to beat. the gameplay loop is simple, solid, and entertaining. It is great for when you want to play something like xcom but with out all the hardcore in depth mechanics and micromanagement or story. The game has seven rangers to choose from to make your squad, each with their own unique play style and abilities, weapon upgrades and upgrade-able skills, and 20 different types of enemies to encounter and destroy.

 

 

Overall Spaceland is not bad, but its not great either, it suffers from a terribly written story that really holds back the game thus earning it a 3 out of 10 rating instead of a 5, the story and writing is just that terrible.

 

Spaceland is available on STEAM now, for more info, head over to https://store.steampowered.com/app/1021070/Spaceland/

 

 

~Darsch


November 7th, 2019 by Darsch
Posted in Gaming, General, PC, Real Time Strategy | No Comments »

PC Early Access Preview:- Encased

Encased is a tribute to “Roadside Picnic” and the original Fallout games. Fight enemies, explore anomalous wasteland, level up your character, join one of the forces in the ruined world in this new apocalyptic turn-based RPG.

 

 

Greetings inmates and true believers, this is Darsch again, and this time I bring you Encased: A Sci-Fi Post-Apocalyptic RPG developed by Dark Crystal Games and published by Black Tower Entertainment and currently in early access on steam. Encased is a tribute to “Roadside Picnic” and the original Fallout games and it shows from the turn based combat system similar to  the original fallout to the abundant dialogue options with npcs and event dialogue choices, some of which can kill you.

 

 

The very first thing you will notice in Encased is the deep character creation from choosing your color coded faction, tag skills, attributes all the way to your appearance. It’s deep, robust, and a real treat if you liked the character creation and level up systems of Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Fallouts 1 through 3 and New Vegas. Make no mistake, this is a very customizable build heavy rpg and that is always a good thing. For my first play through I decided to join the white, a scientific faction and focus on high tech weapons like lasers, the tutorial if you go white gives you a laser pistol for your troubles that does decent damage.

 

 

I dumped my muscle to 3, which is physical strength which affects carry weight and melee damage, guts to a 2, which is your health, brains is a 9, which is, as you might guess intelligence, luck is a 6 and works like you would expect with a small effect on everything in the game, Perception is 9 which is your character’s awareness of their surroundings, charisma is a 2 and is pretty self explanatory, it’s how well people like you, deftness is 9, which is a measure of your dexterity and reaction time, and psyche is a 1 which is your ability with psionics and resistance to psionics which currently are not implemented in game. There are too many skills for me to list off the rest of the build but I focused on all the science and tech gun savvy stuff with The idea being a big brainy laser gun hero. What I got was that but he dies in one hit,  so my next build won’t skimp on the guts or the muscle to be sure.

 

 

The art lends itself well to a late 70’s era futuristic post apocalyptic setting, similar to how Fallout’s art was inspired by the 50’s and 60’s. The story is pretty interesting, it’s the late 70’s and a mysterious dome has showed up, and you are a member of cronus the group investigating the dome for scientific gain. your choice of white, black, silver, orange, or blue determines just where in the hierarchical ladder you sit within cronus. There are plenty of social interactions with npcs and events like an elevator breaking down for you to explore through well written dialogue choices.

 

 

Actual combat is a nice fun turn-based affair with you spending action points to move or attack or take cover, or you can bank them to save some for the next turn, its is satisfying and there are special abilities you can unlock through attribute point allocation, skillpoint allocation, and ability points based on your chosen weapon or play style.

 

 

Encased is going to be a title to watch, so far every second of it has been a blast, just the rpg i been hoping to get for sometime now and the game is still a good ways off from being finished, about half the abilities are not implemented yet but I expect great things, If I had to rate this I would give it an 8 out of 10.

 

Encased is available now on STEAM Early Access, available here


October 11th, 2019 by Darsch
Posted in Game Review, Gaming, General, Multiplatform, PC, Playstation, Real Time Strategy, Xbox | No Comments »

PC Game Early Access First Look :- Phoenix Point (Backer Build 5)

Phoenix Point is a turn-based tactics and 4X grand-strategy game that puts you in command of a global battle against a terrifying alien menace able to mutate and evolve to adapt to your choices and actions. Phoenix Point gives players a huge variety of challenges on its procedural battlefield, as well as endless surprises in the strategic game. Research and develop new technologies and techniques, plan operations, build alliances to unite the planet or destroy your rivals, and deploy your customizable, upgradeable squad into conflict zones, featuring dynamic objectives and destructible environments.

 

 

Greetings, true believers! Darsch Pugs here with a sneak peek at Phoenix Point by Snapshot Games. Phoenix point is a strategy game with a tactical turn-based combat system from the creator of the original XCOM series. Everything I am about to discuss is subject to change.

 

 

The game features many of the same mechanics and concepts as XCOM, some of which have been expanded upon. Units all have specific armour unique to them for quick identification. You target enemy body parts through the scope of your units’ weapons in a first-person camera now to shoot off an alien arm holding a weapon to disable it. Your units have an inventory and loadout that can be set up before a mission and you can then modify equipped items like grenades during the mission from the unit’s inventory, adding an extra layer of strategy to your choices.

 

 

The overworld map is where you choose your missions, select your base and build it and its upgrades, build your gear and conduct research and perform diplomacy with the various factions of the game, and there are a few to choose from to ally yourself with to get their research shared with you, or you could just steal it.

 

 

Missions can be challenging if you do not think critically and plan ahead, sometimes they can be impossible without the right mix of units and loadouts, you need to experiment with your tactics and plan your moves as a team and not individual units to be successful.

 

 

Phoenix Point looks good, plays good, sounds good, and is just great fun if you like this style of game, and is a good jumping-on point for the genre if you have never played a game like this before. The best way to describe phoenix point is a more refined version of XCOM.

 

 

Phoenix Point will release in December 2019 on PC (Epic Games) and XBox One, for more info and to preorder the game, head over to the games website now!


September 30th, 2019 by Darsch
Posted in Gaming, General, Multiplatform, PC, Real Time Strategy, Xbox | No Comments »

#GameOfTheMonth Multiplatform Game Review:- Age of Wonders: Planetfall

Age of Wonders: Planetfall is the new strategy game from Triumph Studios, creators of the critically acclaimed Age of Wonders series, bringing all the exciting tactical turn-based combat and in-depth empire building of its predecessors to space in an all-new, sci-fi setting.

 

 

Planetfall is another 4 X game like civilization, where you explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate your way to victory, either peacefully or through war. This entry in the genre though mixes things up by giving you tactical turn based battles like X-Com. You can fit your units with special mods and weapons, and level up heroes and commanders with special skills.

 

 

The core gameplay loop is the same as most 4x titles, you set your production, move units, set your research, and then end your turn, ad nauseam, until you reach victory or defeat, and while that might seem like a slow paced snooze fest, I found myself losing track of time and having a blast with each and every time I played the game. Thanks to the ability to customize the look and skills of my commander I found myself more invested in the fate of my faction and its colonies.

 

 

The single player campaign is your typical generic fair, and an entirely forgettable experience. The story is bland at best most times and I found myself not really caring about it, and wound up ultimately abandoning it and just focusing on the free for all skirmish/scenario mode where you just go head to head against AI or other players. honestly 4x games excel when it comes to the multiplayer experience and Planetfall is no exception. Strategy and planning are key to victory in multiplayer and it’s a blast to see all your hard work pay off when you eliminate a rival.

 

 

The factions of Age of wonders can be broken down into various sub races of humans, and one alien insectoid race, which was my favorite. Each faction has its own gimmick and special units, the amazons are all female and ride alien dinosaurs and are one with nature, the Syndicate is a shadowy criminal nobility like faction, with lots of cloak and dagger style abilities and gameplay.

 

 

The vanguard are your baseline typical humans and one of two factions that can enter overwatch, they will be the most familiar and recognized as they feel the most like units from xcom, The kir’Ko are my favorite, they are psionic insect people that vomit acid and use psionic guns and are the second faction that can enter overwatch.The assembly are basically undead cyborg people out to get everyone else’s organs, and then finally we have the Dvar, the russian space dwarves of industrial steamrolling inevitability, these guys are all about softening the enemy up them ramming into them for the kill.

 

 

If you love 4X titles you will love Age of Wonders Planetfall, but if you find them to not be your thing then I’d avoid this title like the plague. while it is a great entry in the genre, it does not stray far from the typical 4x formulae which is both to its benefit and its detriment.

 

 

Age of Wonders: Planetfall is available now from Triumph Studios & Paradox Interactive, on PC, XBox One and Playstation 4, for more info or to buy, head over to their website here!

 

I give Age of Wonders: Planetfall a strong 8 out of 10 for great visuals, a great soundtrack, and being a great 4x title I could completely lose myself in.

~Darsch

 


September 18th, 2019 by Darsch
Posted in Gaming, General, Multiplatform, PC, Playstation, Real Time Strategy, Xbox | No Comments »

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