Turn-based strategy game Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground will be releasing May 27th on Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, and Xbox One, according to publisher Focus Home Interactive and developer Gasket Games.
I’ll be honest, they had my attention at ‘Warhammer’ and it being a turn-based strategy game doesn’t hurt either. Adding in CCG (collectible card game) mechanics ratchets things up another notch… Customizable troops? Ok just take my money!
It doesn’t hurt that the game looks pretty sweet to boot. Check out the trailer about the Maggotkin of Nurgle, one of the game’s three factions, and watch for more on this one after it hits retail.
Black Legend is a turn-based strategy roleplaying game (SRPG) from Belgian developer Warcave, where the systems are the highlight and offer enough to overcome a lot of design shortcomings.
There’s not much to the story but, in a nutshell, you’re looking to overcome an alchemist named Mephisto who has taken over the city of Grant along with his army of henchmen and enough dogs to give ‘101 Dalmations’ a run for its money, all made evil by the alchemist’s poisonous fog. You’re not doing this by choice, as you’ve transgressed against the Crown and have been pressed into service – an interesting enough start to the story, but that’s about as far as it goes.
You’ll run the somewhat bland-looking streets of Grant, slaying groups of enemies and unlocking doors to open shortcuts for the next time you’re coming through the area, as you undertake quests for the people in the Merchant section of town while working towards your goal of clearing the town of evil. There’s no in-game map, so expect to be lost more than a few times even with the multitude of signposts on the streets. My early annoyance at the vagueness of the city layout faded as I explored more and opened more shortcuts, and there’s a late-game transportation change that eliminates almost all the ‘I have to go WHERE?’ concerns.
For as much time as you’ll spend trying to find your way from the Harbour District to the Slums, you’ll spend far more time engrossed in the character class system. Starting with access to only the Mercenary class, players gain access to more of the game’s 15 classes – and the unlockable skills they can bring to the battlefield – by finding or purchasing new equipment. Each weapon offers different attacks, and using them fills an experience bar to unlock the attack permanently, provided you have a weapon in the relevant category equipped.
In most games a player will find the class they like and stick with it, but in Black Legend you’re far better off to swap through all the classes and gather up as many skills as you can because, in addition to a class’ normal array of skills, you can also bring in a handful from other classes. This allows you to create amalgamations that ramp up your power, essential if you want to beat the game’s harder difficulty levels.
Having that array of attacks available is key because of the game’s other combat mechanic, which applies a debuff in one of four colours: red, yellow, black, and white, to the enemy based on the attack. Enemies can have up to three of each debuff on them at a time, which can be ‘catalyzed’ by a melee or ranged attack to do extra damage – particularly useful in boss fights or higher difficulty playthroughs.
With a group of four characters in your party, there’s really no end to the combination of skills you can bring to the battlefield – plus the benefits offered by equippable trinkets and usable items. I leaned towards having a duo of heavily armoured warriors able to dish out multi-hit attacks while also able to counter enemy attacks, supported by a ranged user who was my go-to for catalyzing attacks, and a mixed healing/assassin class who jumped in as needed.
What I Loved:
Great character class depth
Unlocking skills to create a merged super class
What I Liked:
Interesting city design, after the initial ‘where do I go’ frustration
Tons of weapons and armour to find
What I Disliked:
Some bugs, though mostly squashed by pre-release patches
Story doesn’t really go anywhere
What I Hated
The Final Word: Black Legend isn’t an SRPG that I’ll be talking about the graphics, the story, or the enemies in years to come, but the class and combat systems are something I’ll remember forever.
Black Legend is available March 25th on PC, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One. Xbox version reviewed on Xbox Series X using code provided by the publisher.
Phoenix Point piqued my interest from the moment it was announced, and the game delivered on that hype enough that I’m also interested in Phoenix Point: Year One Edition – which hit retail today.
The turn-based strategy game from X-COM creator Julian Gollop is familiar to fans of his previous work, but brings in new ideas and innovations that would have been hard to accommodate in X-COM. That’s the problem with working on an established franchise – even if it’s one that you yourself established – and the joy with breaking off to create something new.
The Year One Edition provides a new tutorial prologue to help ease new players into the game, new weapons and equipment, a new help system, and overhauls to menus and gameplay. It also includes all previously-released DLC for the game – and it’s 50% off for a limited time!
Phoenix Point: Year One Edition is available now on Steam, GOG.com, and the Epic Games Store.
Here’s the press release:
Phoenix Point: Year One Edition Out Now on Steam, GOG.com & the Epic Games Store
Snapshot’s hit turn-based strategy game arrives on Steam for the first time with a new major content update and special low price!
SOFIA, Bulgaria — Dec. 3, 2020 — Snapshot Games has debuted Phoenix Point: Year One Edition on Steam and GOG.com. This definitive version of the hit turn-based strategy game from X-COM creator Julian Gollop features all previously released DLC (including “Legacy of the Ancients,” “Blood and Titanium,” and the “Living Weapons Pack”) and is available for 50% off for a limited time on Steam and GOG.com, as well as the Epic Games Store.
Phoenix Point: Year One Edition’s launch today coincides with the game’s massive new Polaris update, which adds new content and features driven by community feedback, including:
A brand-new tutorial prologue that introduces new characters, cinematics, and maps while teaching the core gameplay fundamentals.
New weapons and equipment with their own research tracts, including a riot shield, shotgun, grenade launcher and heavy cannon.
A new contextual pop-up help system integrated throughout the entire game.
New menu screens with updated info, plus a wide range of gameplay improvements, balance updates and more.
Phoenix Point delivers a new breed of turn-based strategy and action against alien invaders. Build global alliances, manage your base, and command your forces in intense battles with dynamic objectives and destructible environments. Procedurally generated maps, branching storylines with multiple endings, and enemies that mutate to counter your tactics ensure no two playthroughs are ever the same. That experience has grown even further post-launch with new DLC and updates featuring bonus story missions, cinematics, maps, weapons, abilities, factions and more, all included in the Year One Edition!
Current owners of Phoenix Point on the Epic Games Store can upgrade to the new Year One Edition to get the “Legacy of the Ancients,” “Blood and Titanium,” and “Living Weapons Pack” DLC together for 50% off the standard price of $14.99 for a limited time.
About Snapshot Games Snapshot Games is a video game development studio founded in 2013 by Julian Gollop and David Kaye and headquartered in Sofia, Bulgaria. Gollop is recognized for creating the X-COM video game franchise in the 1990s with UFO: Enemy Unknown and X-COM: Apocalypse. Gollop also is the CEO of Snapshot Games. The company’s developers include industry veterans with years of prior experience working for studios like Ubisoft Sofia, Crytek Black Sea and more.
Star Renegades mixes strategy, rogue-like, and RPG to create a wickedly cool looking sci-fi game that hits PC this September. Console players will have to wait until the somewhat nebulous ‘later this year’ to try their hands at the turn-based battles.
I love turn-based battle systems, and I’m really curious how the procedurally generate campaigns are going to work. Past games to try procedural generation with campaigns have shown it’s a tough thing to get right, so I’m hoping Massive Damage Games can nail it.
I’m also a sucker for games that have unlockable alternate or advanced classes, so the progeny system also caught my eye. “Dozens” of alternate characters, you say?
Star Renegade launches first on PC via Steam and GOG.com on September 8th, with ports coming to Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One later this year.
Here’s the press release:
Star Renegades Launches September 8 on PC
Massive Damage & Raw Fury’sHighly Anticipated Strategy RPG Comes to Consoles This Fall Following its PC Debut
STOCKHOLM – July 22, 2020 – Rebellion has waged for generations to stop the Imperium’s control of the galaxy — now it’s up to you to lead the way. Star Renegades, the tactical rogue-like RPG from Massive Damage Games (Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander) and Raw Fury, is coming to PC via Steam and GOG.com on Sept. 8, 2020, for $24.99. The game is expected to come to Playstation®4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One later this year.
Star Renegades fuses a reactive, turn-based battle system with a procedurally generated campaign to ensure that every playthrough is unique and challenging. Lead a ragtag squad of rebels through richly detailed sci-fi landscapes, ruins and more on a mission to overthrow the overwhelming might of the Imperium. Your enemies are more than just trash to farm — they’re unique adversaries that evolve after each fight and move up the ranks as you play, forcing you to develop new strategies to survive.
Reactive Time Battle System: Outsmart foes with interrupts, counters and combos in fast-paced, turn-based, power armor combat.
Intelligent Adversary System: Survive the relentless onslaught of unique enemies that evolve as you play, forcing you to adapt your tactics to win.
Unlock dozens of alternate characters as your surviving squad members form bonds and create progeny.
Battle into the heart of the Empire: Star Renegades’s Rebellion Engine creates a unique experience with each playthrough via emergent gameplay and events, procedurally generated missions, shifting priorities, and tons of upgrades for your squad.
About Massive Damage Games Founded by mobile app pioneers Ken Seto and Garry Seto in 2010, Massive Damage is a proudly independent Toronto games studio that focuses on delivering compelling experiences that lean towards mashing up game genres in unexpected ways. Their first game, Please Stay Calm, released in late 2011 and was one of the most successful location-based massively multiplayer games on iOS. Shifting away from mobile, they raised $187K on Kickstarter for Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander, their space strategy RPG mashup that released to commercial and critical success in 2016 for Steam, Nintendo Switch and iOS. They are currently hard at work on Star Renegades, set to release in 2020.
About Raw Fury Raw Fury is a boutique indie (un)publisher founded in 2015 by Jonas Antonsson, Gordon Van Dyke and David Martinez. We don’t care about genres or mechanics. We care about experiences and emotions. We want to help developers make magic.
When Depth of Extinction hit PC in 2018 it was billed as a blending of a pair of classic games: FTL, a stellar roguelike, and X-COM, which is still one of the best turn-based strategy games of all time. FTL + X-COM is a tough billing to live up to, but – given the right expectations of a budget title like this one – Depth of Extinction somehow manages to be faithful to the legends it mashed together, even if it falls short of being truly amazing on its own.
Like FTL, Depth of Extinction tasks gamers with traversing a series of points on the map using their craft – this time a submarine, with each stop a different encounter: running into a merchant, finding enemies, or encountering an environmental hazard to name just a few. Not every node will need to be explored to clear the map, and on some of the larger maps a lack of fuel makes it impossible to explore them all – unless you’ve been lucky enough to gather up extra along the way.
Move to an encounter point and, if it’s an enemy-filled objective, you’ll disembark the sub and explore the area with your team of mercenaries – and here’s where the X-COM comparisons come in. The turn-based system and use of environmental cover will feel immediately familiar to XCOM vets, as will the ability to use overwatch to end your turn and provide covering fire on any enemies that move into the area. The combat is a bit basic compared to something newer like X-COM 2, Phoenix Point, or Gears Tactics, but you’ll still need to use careful movement and placement to ensure you can flank the enemy’s position while not getting surprised yourself.
Succeed in battle and you’ll gain experience to level up your characters in the class you’ve chosen from a list that includes the genre standards like snipers (Deadeye) and explosives (Wrecker). I found I was a huge fan of setting up a good Deadeye with my best weapon and Overwatch from a distance, then lure enemies into his range – just like in X-COM. It’s also a bit funny that there’s destructible cover, so when you’re moving from crate to crate, luring an enemy towards the ambush, every shot they take at you is destroying the very cover they’ll soon need…
The dialogue is well-written but the roguelike nature of the game, as with pretty much any roguelike, hurts the ability to tell a well-structured point-to-point story – the danger of giving players freedom. Personally, I’m willing to surrender a solid narrative to have the more creative freedom in character customization and deciding what missions to take and what to avoid, but I do wish I could have done more to customize my characters and make them a personalized squad.
What I loved:
Solid strategy action
Diverse character classes and skills
All this for under $20?
What I liked
Great pixel-art style graphics – simple, but legible
Every bit the solid mashup of FTL and X-COM they claimed it would be
What I disliked:
Some repetition in missions
Inability to create my own characters or rename existing mercenaries
A ton of potential left unrealized
What I hated:
The final word: Depth of Extinction works surprisingly well for a small team targeting a mashup of two of the top games in their respective genres, doubly surprising when you consider it’ll only run you $18.99 Canadian.
Depth of Extinction is available on Nintendo Switch, PC, and Xbox One. Reviewed on Xbox One X using code provided by the publisher. A PS4 version, originally slated to release June 11th, has been delayed.
Phoenix Point looks like exactly what it is – an all-new game created by someone intensely familiar with the genre, free of the baggage of past games and with the freedom to try something new.
Developed by Snapshot Games with studio co-founder Julian Gollop – creator of the X-COM series – at the helm, Phoenix Point looks like a fresh new take on the turn-based strategy genre, with branching storylines to keep the narrative fans happy, while procedurally-generated maps and mutating enemies will ensure there’s always a new encounter to take on.
The game is available now for PC and Mac on the Epic Games Store.
Here’s the press release:
PHOENIX POINT, THE NEW STRATEGY GAME FROM THE CREATOR OF X-COM, LAUNCHES TODAY ON THE EPIC GAMES STORE
Battle an enemy that adapts to your choices for the future of Earth in this hugely replayable turn-based tactical experience
LOS ANGELES — Dec. 3, 2019 — Snapshot Games has officially released Phoenix Point, the new turn-based sci-fi strategy game from Julian Gollop, the creator of X-COM. The standard edition of Phoenix Point is available today for $39.99 on Windows PC and Mac via the Epic Games Store.
Players can also pick up the game’s $59.99 Deluxe Edition, which includes a variety of digital and in-game bonuses, and the $79.99 Ultra Edition, featuring all of the Deluxe Edition content plus the Phoenix Point Season Pass. The Season Pass includes at least five upcoming planned DLCs. Phoenix Point delivers a new breed of turn-based strategy and combat. Manage your forces on a global scale: plan ops, research new technologies and build alliances to unite the planet — or crush your rivals. Then customize your squad and deploy into battlefields around the world with dynamic objectives and destructible environments. Procedurally generated maps, branching storylines with multiple endings, and enemies that mutate to counter your tactics create tons of challenges and surprises, ensuring no two playthroughs are ever the same.
Snapshot Games’ ambitious post-launch roadmap will continue to add new content and features to Phoenix Point beyond release. The first major DLC — “Blood and Titanium” — is expected to arrive early next year. Everyone who backed Phoenix Point (including all Fig backers) prior to March 12, 2019, will receive the Phoenix Point Season Pass for free! Phoenix Point is expected to launch on consoles in 2020. For the latest updates, visit https://phoenixpoint.info, and follow Phoenix Point on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Discord and the official Phoenix Point forums.
About Snapshot Games
Snapshot Games is a video game developer and publisher based in Sofia, Bulgaria, and Los Angeles, California. Founded by Julian Gollop and David Kaye, Snapshot’s first game was the crowdfunded and critically praised Chaos Reborn. Snapshot’s latest title, Phoenix Point, is a sci-fi strategy and tactical combat game which puts players in control of humanity’s last remnants against an apocalyptic alien threat.