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AstroNest: The Beginning

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  • Graphics and Sound – 4.5/5

  • Strategy - 3/5

  • Fun - 3/5

  • Re-playability - 2/5

  • Overall - 3/5



Free - Developer Website - v2.1.2


by Meg Stivison

Developer's Promotional Video

AstroNest is an iOS sci-fi resource management and space combat game from ANGames. There’s a lot to discover in the AstroNext galaxy, with a massive tech tree of upgrades for your fleet of starships, many different resources to harvest on your planets, talented heroes with a variety of skills to recruit, and endless forms of in-game currencies and power-ups. Fans of resource management games have a lot to enjoy here. The length of play sessions, though, is still defined by either IAP or waiting for action points to recharge.



Science fiction in general requires good writing to keep it from becoming a meaningless technobabble story. With “trons” to build and “cosments” to collect, good writing could take AstroNest from spreadsheets in space to a vivid and exciting sci-fi adventure. Unfortunately, the combination of typos, spelling mistakes, and poor localization in the game’s text makes directives hard to understand and really destroys any world building intent a player may have in the process.



AstroNest players can send their fleets into battle in campaign mode, pursuit mode, raids, or big server wars against other players. Different modes offer different bonuses to achieve, but players are still basically grinding for materials to improve their fleet. Completed campaign battles are replayable for extra grinding. Space battles are repetitive, and so underwhelming that the developers included a fast forward option, but at least the background galaxy art here is beautiful. In fact, the stylish futuristic UI, the attractive space backgrounds, and just the art in general might be the strongest selling point of this game.


A fan made video that shows the game experience

With so many oversexed female NPCs appearing in strategy games, it’s worth mentioning that in AstroNest, I recruited loads of skilled female heroes and I didn’t see a single battle bikini. Fully clothed ladies commanding space fleets and managing planets? Yes, please!

Pros
  • Beautiful space art

  • Fully dressed female heroes

  • Lots to explore and discover

Cons

  • Poor text localization

  • Lots of grinding

  • Uneven difficulty in campaign mode

Walking Dead: No Man’s Land

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  • Graphics and Sound – 5/5

  • Strategy - 3.5/5

  • Fun - 4/5

  • Re-playability - 4/5

  • Overall - 4.5/5


ReviewStars-5
Free - Developer Website - v1.5.0
by Meg Stivison

In the Walking Dead: No Man’s Land from Next Games Oy, high production values and solid combat mechanics help this stand out from the crowded field of freemium zombie battles. The zombie apocalypse setting will be familiar for fans of the show and comic, players will send survivors on dangerous missions to gather materials, XP, weapons and more. Meanwhile, players use a familiar system of resource gathering and upgrades to improve base camp. Camp improvements include a weapons workshop, a training camp for survivors, farm plots and so forth, to give your survivors the best chance of defeating the zombie hordes. 


Fans of The Walking Dead will enjoy recognizing characters and outfits straight from the series, while players just looking to slay some zombies will wish for some character customization. In a zombie game, blood and gore is almost a requirement, but fortunately most of it are just splatters of dark blood or contained in skippable cut scenes. It is just perfect for gamers, like myself, who enjoy strategy and suspense in a combat game, without seeing internal organs.



Gameplay video from the developer

Missions can be replayed on “Hard mode,” allowing for a bit of replayability, but I wasn’t particularly tempted by redoing locations with tougher zombies, especially with new locations to explore and new strategies to try out.  


Like most freemium games, Walking Dead: No Man’s Land relies on the common click-and-wait mechanic. Players can either wait for an upgrade to complete, or pay to speed it up.  Without a premium purchase to recharge, players will quickly run out of energy to perform actions. There are plenty of worlds to be explored, but the freemium mechanics will keep play sessions short. 




Pros
  • Missions require thought and strategy, but aren’t too difficult for newcomers

  • Good for short sessions on the bus or subway

Cons

  • Usual freemium mechanics like “click and wait” or energy recharging keep play sessions short

  • With such attractive & detailed art, character customization is a real missed opportunity

Battle Fleet 2, WW2 Naval Strategy for iPad, Android, Mac & PC

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Battle Fleet 2, the sequel to the hit WW2 naval strategy game from Capital j Media is now available for all platforms. The game brings together tactical simulation and grand scale strategy in an awesome turn-based format that brings some much needed variety to the naval warfare genre.  Preview trailer and screenshots after the break.

Battle of the Bulge

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botb15
  • Graphics and Sound – 3/5

  • Strategy - 5/5

  • Fun - 3.5/5

  • Re-playability - 4/5

  • Overall - 4/5



ReviewStars-4$9.99 - Developer Website - v2.0
by Doggins





If you weren’t sleeping through High School history, you have probably heard of the Battle of the Bulge. Shenandoah Studio has brought that historic battle to iOS platform in this historic turn-based simulation. At first glance, Battle of the Bulge is reminiscent of the board game Risk. Don’t let that fool you though. This game has much more complexity, historic value and strategy than your every-day game of Risk.

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Just as the real battle played out, the game follows suit. On the first day of the battle, the Axis surprised the Allies by launching an assault. In game, this results as a bonus to the Axis forces and allowing them three turns before the Allies can respond. One of the best parts of the game is that you may play as either side. They seem quite balanced as well and you can tell Shenandoah Studio put a lot of working into getting that just right. In the game of Risk, you command single pieces; in Battle of the Bulge you control entire battalions of infantry, tanks and artillery. You may use nearby cities and artillery to your advantage and play a defensive battle. Or if you are feeling ambitious, you may venture out full-steam to launch an attack. In doing so you risk having your supply lines being cut off and surrounding by enemy forces. However you proceed, when the day ends you will be given a view of how the events of the day played out as well as what still needs to be accomplished.

When moving your units onto a combat grid, you are given a projection of how your units will fare in the battle.  If you choose to execute combat, the game factors in all the variables and calculations.  Unlike some boardgames you may play on your tabletop, there is no need to reference any guides or books.  All you really need to do is determine whether the move you just made will benefit you.

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I have played similar war games in the past, but none has compared to the gameplay, visuals and complexity that Battle of the Bulge has to offer. This game has a very clean look, great visual narrative and historically accurate events. You might go so far as to say this could be called an educational game. Unlike other games of the genre, I felt Battle of the Bulge has a steep learning curve. It took me a few play-throughs of the tutorial to really get a grasp on the game. Due to the game being historically accurate, you may be hit with advantages or disadvantages depending on what occurred in history; such as being unable to move your tanks on a certain day.



Pros

  • In-Depth, historically accurate wargame

  • Educational

  • Challenging

Cons

  • Steep learning curve

  • High price for an iOS game

Battle Fleet 2 In Development

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BF2-Fighters02 wide

It's been a few years since we've released Battle Fleet for iPad and Mac, and it's time to update the game with the development of Battle Fleet 2. This time along with gameplay improvements and lots of new features, we're focusing heavily on the graphics and moving into full 3D for the game. The concept and overall game mechanics will stay the same, so you'll still build a fleet and play turn-based top down naval battles, but here are a few of the changes:

  • Build your fleet from 5 different ship classes each with different hardpoint locations for mounting different weapons, different mobility, and different hit locations.

  • Use small caliber guns to pinpoint your shot and switch to devastating salvo mode, forcing all available guns in range and firing arc to fire at the same location.

  • Utilize or neutralize a variety of aircraft, including recon planes, fighters, and bombers, launched from island bases, aircraft carriers, or cruisers.

  • Assign captains to each ship with special skills and abilities, like additional command cards or better mobility.

  • Play the strategic USA Campaign mode, random skirmish mode, full cross platform multiplayer, or even hotseat multiplayer.

  • Use recon to clear Fog of War and defeat enemy ground based airfields and coastal artillery.

  • Battle Fleet 2 features full 3D models of US and Japanese WW2 era ships.
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Battle Fleet 2 will be coming out this year for iOS, Android, Mac & PC. To get more information about the game and to follow our development updates subscribe to the Battle Fleet newsletter or follow us on our Steam concept page.

Out There

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Out There Logo
  • Graphics and Sound – 4/5

  • Strategy - 5/5

  • Fun - 4.5/5

  • Re-playability - 5/5

  • Overall - 4.5/5

ReviewStars-5
 $3.99  v.1.0 Developer Website
 by Doggins

Yesterday while visiting GameFaqs’ site, I noticed their daily poll was, “What's your favorite science-fiction genre for video games?”  That’s like trying to choose your favorite Bruce Campbell line from Army of Darkness. There are just so many choices! However, one sci-fi genre I think that has been lacking lately is a pure sci-fi (think space travel and aliens). I think I may have the game to fill that niche!

The game is called Out There.  It’s the latest from the French-based studio Mi-Clos.  The game was released February 27, 2014 and is priced at $3.99.  It is available for both iOS and Android platforms.  It plays out like a survival adventure meets 90’s choose-your-own-adventure novel meets Star Trek.  In fact, after playing a few rounds it seemed very reminiscent of Star Trek: Voyager, which is definitely great!  The game starts with you awakening from cryo-stasis on what was supposed to be a routine solo voyage to Jupiter.  You come to realize that you veered off course while in statis and you need make it back home to Earth.  Along the way you need to manage your fuel and oxygen all while trying keeping you ship in running order.  That means you’ll be making some pit stops along the way.

The visuals and sound are amazing in this game!  The screenshots don’t do it justice.  It has that comic book feel artwork with the font to match.  The soundtrack to Out There is actually so good that Mi-Clos Studio has it available for purchase.  The score for Out There was composed by Siddhartha Barnhoorn who worked on Antichamber and The Stanley Parable.  Each time I have played the game, I’ve encountered something new.  There actually are over 350 random events that may occur during play.  It’s up to you to decide whether you should try to salvage that abandoned ship in the middle of a mine field in hopes of resources and technology or to take the safer route and proceed on your journey home.

Out there 02

Not much can be said on the negative side of this game.  It’s highly engrossing and has extreme replay value.  Each time you start a new game, the planets, stars, anomalies, events and resources are randomly generated.  My only complaint pertains to the amount of grammatical and spelling errors within the text.  I’m sure these will be fixed with patches down the road though.

Pros

  • Highly engrossing gameplay

  • Amazing sound and visuals

  • Scientifically accurate descriptions

Cons

  • Grammatical and spelling errors

First Strike

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firststrike1
  • Graphics and Sound – 5/5

  • Strategy - 4/5

  • Fun - 4/5

  • Re-playability - 3/5

  • Overall - 4/5

ReviewStars-4$3.99  v.1.0.2 - Developer Website



First Strike is a tablet real-time strategy game that places you in control of the nuclear arsenal of one of 3 superpowers, USA, Western Europe or... North Korea (really??) with additional superpowers being unlocked as you play. The objective is to destroy the other superpowers before they destroy you. The game is pretty fast paced and exciting as it forces you to make very quick tactical decisions. The graphics and sound are excellent and the interface works really well to allow you to control your territories around a 3D representation of the Earth. The real-time nature can sometimes become counter-intuitive to strategy gameplay as you have to tap through territories as fast as possible to give orders. The replay value is a bit limited as well as there is only 1 map and the same 3 factions for the first few times you play.

At your command is a selection of nuclear weapons and defensive cruise missiles. As the great leader of this superpower, you control which weapons are built, where to attack, what to research and which territories you expand to. Each of your territories can perform one of these actions at a time and each action has a cool down before the territory is available for a new action. The strategy comes in deciding what to do next, build more cruise missiles to better defend your nation, research new tech, stock up on nukes, or expand. Balancing these is pretty easy in the first game you play but gets more difficult as you play more battles on higher difficulties. There are no resources or money to keep track of, the only resource is the time it takes to perform an action.

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The visual presentation is simple, clean and well designed. The game is controlled by tapping on the various territories you control around a 3D globe that you can also spin around to view different regions of the world. The only downside here is that if you zoom in too much you might miss enemy nukes coming towards you, so a medium zoom level is best to stay in to make sure you see the approaching nukes before they get too close (but even then you'll probably miss a few nukes closing in until you unlock tech that warns you of impending destruction).

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This game definitely begs for multiplayer as the replay value pretty much ends once you've played each superpower once or twice. So hopefully the devs will add in multiplayer or more maps/scenarios in the future. Still, I recommend it and can't wait to see how the game grows over time.


Pros

  • Easy to learn, great interface

  • Fast paced

  • Challenging gameplay, well balanced

  • Unique and fresh take on strategy

  • Nice graphics

Cons

  • In-game tutorial is just a bunch of text pages

  • No multiplayer

  • Not enough variety in playable superpowers