Review: Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms

Find the game on Steam here.

The core innovation in Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms is the party composition system. Many of the heroes have abilities that improve the damage of allies or themselves based on the formation they are marching in the party. Further, as the heroes progress, they can choose new abilities to acquire, often with mutually exclusive conditions for their benefits. This changes the core gameplay of the game from passively acquiring progress to managing a party in order to optimize the rate of progress, which helps immensely with getting more entertainment mileage out of  a smaller number of mechanics.

It’s also worth noting that separating the progression into campaigns allows for resets that add different constraints such as formations or level goals to keep that aspect of the game novel as well. As more heroes are added through events and updates, the game is poised to become more interesting as experimenting for better party compositions for each type of formation gains more potential options.

Review: Vertiginous Golf

Vertiginous Golf is a digital mini-golf game. Real world golf is a game all about a player knowing how to hit a ball to get it to a destination. Players weigh how much strength, which direction, and moment by moment to attempt to get the best result for each swing. Those that train or practice, do so in hopes of becoming more consistent in their swings, cleverer in their routing and more accurate in their timing.

Considering these three skills, digital golf games are at a disadvantage when it comes the the pursuit of a consistent swing. To compensate, most digital golf games attempt the increase the depth of engagement with the other skills. For example, a filling power meter doubles down on timing skill checks, and adding more ways for wind and terrain to influence the ball adds to spatial skill checks.

Vertiginious Golf, on the other hand, embraces the digital medium and adds unique elements and level designs only possible there. For example, players can rewind their shots to attempt a different angle or timing or by using the influenza bug, they can influence the movement of the ball remotely even after they’ve made their swing.

Thus by adding skills of its own, Vertignious Golf succeeds at being its own game instead of a shadow of a real world game.

Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons

Also available on PC via Steam.

At first, Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons seemed like another gimmicky console game. Worse, given that I don’t own an XBOX 360, if I wanted to play the game I would have to buy a port to the PC, and the process of porting a game from one platform to another can sometimes leave very awkward and unfortunate gameplay vestiges.

An indie game with a new mechanic. It’ll probably just slip under the radar like so many other games, I judged. It looked kinda cool, but with so many other games out there to try and so much else on my plate, I figured I wouldn’t really get the time to try it out. However, as the existence of this post verifies, Brothers is actually quite the standout.

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Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions

The iOS “box art”

Back in my high school days, one of my favorite games for the Gameboy Advanced was Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced. It was an imaginative and playful game, and I really appreciated the opportunity it gave me to outsmart the meager AI. However, one topic that always came up when talking about that game with my friends was how “everyone” preferred the original Final Fantasy Tactics (released for the PS1).

When I heard that Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions (a remake for the PSP) was going to be ported to iOS, I was excited to give it a shot and I bought the game. Within the context of the iOS market, the $15 price tag is staggeringly high, but that’s around half-off the price of console games back in 1998 and it’s still cheaper than buying the original PS1 game. Now that I’ve just finished the main story line of the game, I’ve decided to write down some thoughts. THERE WILL BE SPOILERS Continue reading