When Craig Stern, the singular force behind Chicago video game developer Sinister Design, unsuccessfully tried to fund his Mac game Telepath Tactics at the tail end of 2012, he saw the result not as a closed door, but as an opportunity — a chance to refocus both the campaign and the game itself to better execute his battle plan. And now that the second Kickstarter has doubled its original goal and generated much more backer enthusiasm with a few days still left to go, he spoke with Mac|Life to discuss how initial crowdfunding failure doesn't have to be ultimately fruitless.
Combining a match-three puzzler with a role-playing game isn't an entirely new idea. After all, the popular Puzzle Quest series managed to accomplish as much over five years ago. But Dungeon Hearts adds a character party dynamic, tasking you with aligning jewels on a scrolling play field to launch attacks from four unique avatars. The concept itself is great, but the entire affair falls apart only minutes after the quest begins.
NimbleBit made its name on slower-paced simulations like Tiny Tower and Pocket Planes, which charmed with their retro-leaning pixel aesthetics and impressed with surprisingly friendly free-to-play models. Nimble Quest, the studio's perfectly-titled latest release, maintains those latter qualities but embodies a different and very active kind of spirit. The result is a mash-up of Snake and retro role-playing games that's uniquely enjoyable and ideal for one-handed amusement.
Bit Dungeon brings together The Legend of Zelda’s top-down dungeon stomping, Diablo’s loot lust, and the unforgiving difficulty of roguelikes within a slick retro-style quest. Fresh from developer Kinto Games, this hack-and-slash action RPG distills the allure of classic gaming into an addicting mobile adventure. Between the simple mechanics and incredible challenge, you may find Bit Dungeon's stat-building pull difficult to resist, even if a couple of issues rear their head at times.
The world would be so much more entertaining if a trip to the local cafe could be interrupted by goblins, and if chests of loot were stored around every corner. Life is Magic seeks to augment the real world by introducing location-based RPG elements, but in the process replaces our everyday grind with another kind of grind entirely. The game's location features are visually impressive, overlaying a fantasy filter over real-world maps wherein local stores become equipment warehouses and restaurants turn to taverns.
If you’re the type of fantasy role-playing gamer more accustomed to orcs and fearless paladins, sliding into the role of an anthropomorphic panda bear is admittedly difficult. But Blizzard has done a fantastic job of creating an engaging story around World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria's Pandaren race. And its new, Asian-inspired continent, with its detailed shrines and stoic monks, may be some of Blizzard’s best work.
Depending on whom you ask, there's a sentiment in some circles that the Japanese games industry is struggling to maintain relevance. While traditional Japanese role-playing games don't clinch the Western market quite as tightly as they once did, The World Ends With You stands as a prime example of the genre's staying power. Actually, it's one of the best role-playing games – regardless of region – we've played in years.