The real strength of Oriental Empires is that, while overall there’s a complex game at a glance, the complexity breaks down into multiple systems which pair into each other well.
To kick of proceedings, we thought it would be best to start off looking forward. 2013 was a great year and we have plenty to reminisce about, but let’s look forward to 2014 and the games we can’t wait to get our hands on.
Race The Sun has you dodging obstacles. Much like the initial state of the game, in the first region, they’re simple. As you advance regions, obstacles begin to move. Moving obstacles are coloured red and are easy to spot, but the direction or pattern they’ll move in isn’t always so easy to figure out. Moving obstacles isn’t the only trick the game has up its sleeve to ensure you fail. Some regions are based on shadows and will funnel you down difficult paths and fishing out a mistake, or pressuring you into the shadows where you’ll slow to a halt without sunlight. Shadows aren’t the only way to lose sunlight. As you are racing the sun, it can eventually reach the point where the sun sets, rendering you incapable of moving unless you manage to find a sun pick-up.
So the year has come to a close and it’s time for Game of the Year awards. I, like many others, have spent all year playing games, following hype trains and sometimes being disappointed — but I’ve also been surprised. For better or worse, the following twelve games are games that, to me, stood out the most in 2013. I hope you enjoy my list.
Survivor Squad takes place in a world in which a zombie outbreak has happened. You start as a single survivor, quickly building a squad of four and having the ability to expand even further. Your squad makes it their mission to find a cure and stop the outbreak – par for the course, really. You are tipped off about a doctor who is working towards a cure and it becomes your mission to find him and aid him in driving off the infection.
Guns of Icarus Online takes place after a large war which has run the earth barren. Humanity has developed technology which allows them to traverse the skies in airships. They do so seeking resources and trade to protect their livelihood. Rising from the ashes of a ruined planet, humanity has split into factions each with their own views, rules and aesthetic style. Ranging from the Mercantile Guild – seeking material gain, but never forgetting their origins – to the Arashi League – living in the harshest of environments, forced to co-operate with eachother.
One thing is true of every faction in the game; they’re fighting to survive.
When you hear “open world RPG RTS”, you probably wonder what the hell that means. Well, Kenshi has the general presentation and systems of an rts, allowing you to move units, build a base and battle from a higher plane of existence. Unlike an rts, you’re not controlling a bunch of no-name, replaceable lackeys. Each unit in Kenshi is treated as importantly as the next. This treatment doesn’t end with units belonging to you. Each unit you own and recruit starts no stronger than the weakest of NPCs – though you may be able to recruit some more skilled individuals, for a price. This is where the RPG elements come into play. Each unit has their own unique level, skills and inventory.
Dragon Commander throws you into a sibling feud that will have an effect on an entire empire. Your father Sigurd helmed this empire and was first to bring peace to the land, but peace never lasts. Sigurd has been murdered and his children all vie for the throne. You – his half-dragon bastard son – are one of the children aiming for the throne, but there’s a difference. You have the backing of Sigurd’s long-time friend and counsellor – Maxos. With his aid and his ship – The Raven – you aim to build up a team of generals and political officials to help bring the realm under your control. The war must be fought on two fronts; the battlefield and with your policies. You won’t last long as an emperor if your subjects hate you.
As previously mentioned in our PAX Prime Indie MEGABOOTH coverage, Dwarven Delve has now entered its kickstarter funding period. The Action-puzzle-crawler has already drummed up a lot of interest — and with good reason. With the ability to pick four of six dwarves each time you delve, it’s up to you to come up with a strategy to get in, get the loot and get out before the dungeon becomes the end of you. Dwarves are resourceful, and your party is no exception to this, with abilities ranging from damage buffs to misdirection to healing, you have the tools needed to make it, but do you have the noggin?
When you first start, there will be four trial ‘Mechs in your quick-slots for use. You get one of each class of ‘Mech; Light, Medium, Heavy and Assault. Each has its own strength and weakness in battle and the trial ‘Mechs will help you figure that out. The most important thing to remember is that you’re in a ‘Mech – but so is everyone else, so don’t be running out of cover like you’re John Rambo. That’ll only bring about your own death and some light scraping on the enemy team’s armour.