iOS Gaming with Hero Academy and Pocket Planes

Hero Academy steam

We said it was going to be kind of dead around here, and boy, we weren’t kidding. I can’t really speak for the other dudes, but summer is kind of the time where real life takes precedent over other things, so sorry about that. When the weather turns grey and people retreat back into their homes, that’s around when gaming news picks up again.

That said, it’s not like there’s nothing to talk about, as my iOS devices have been getting a fair bit of use recently with some newly discovered games I’ve been playing: Pocket Planes and Hero Academy.

Pocket Planes is made by NimbleBit, who struck it big with their tower management sim game Tiny Tower. Those rascals are back at it, but this time you’re trying to turn a fledgling airline into a global powerhouse. You start off with small planes in one region and eventually expand your operation to be global, gathering bigger and bigger planes and opening new airports. It functions on the same “hurry up and wait” mechanic that Tiny Tower did, where you have to just let the game sit while your planes travel from point to point, but you can use Bux to speed them along their way. It lacks the same inherently addictive quality that Tiny Tower had, but hearing the little “ding” notification whenever one of your planes arrives is a Pavlov’s bell that’s hard to ignore. You have the ability to join a flight crew to earn aircraft parts and Bux, and there’s a minimal amount of jobs you need to complete for each challenge to be elegible for the reward. It’s a great way to get a little boost if you can participate and helps make Pocket Planes feel less isolated than Tiny Tower did. Continue reading iOS Gaming with Hero Academy and Pocket Planes

GamerSushi Asks: Your Summer Backlog?

Tropico 4

Hello, GamerSushi gents and ladies. You might not remember me, since I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks, but my name is Eddy. How do you do?

Me, I’ve been a bit busy recently, which has left me with very little time to both write for the Sushi and play some games, but hopefully all of that is changing very soon. Part of the issue is that this is a slow time for gaming news, because frankly it’s just a slow time for games. Thankfully we all have our backlogs and a ridiculous Steam Summer Sale to keep us busy.

Before the Fall arrives (which I’m considering to be the release date of Borderlands 2), what games do you think you’ll be tackling in the meantime? As for me, my plan of attack revolves around Walking Dead, Tropico 4, Civ 5, Day Z and more Diablo 3. I also finally plan on putting Skyrim to rest after many months of sitting on the expansive main quest. And who knows, maybe I’ll rent Spec Ops: The Line after all the great things I’ve heard.

So what are you guys playing? Let us know your Summer backlog. Go!

15 Gaming Mash-Ups That Surprisingly Worked

pokemon conquest

One of the most bizzarre crossovers of this year is Pokemon Conquest, a game that mixes up the creature-catching RPG with the tactical turn-based strategy of Nobunaga’s Ambition. If Pokemon in Feudal Japan sounds like your kind of game, then I’ve got good news for you, because apparently this title is pretty dang awesome.

I haven’t played it personally (yet) but this crossover got me thinking about what other games have blended two genres or universes and got away with it. Thankfully, Games Radar was thinking along the same track as me and put together a list of 15 of gaming’s most famous crossovers. There are a couple of obvious ones like the Capcom VS fighting titles and Kingdom Hearts, but there are a few in there that I’m puzzled over how they got the green light.

How many of these mash-ups have you played? Are you going to try Pokemon Conquest? What crossovers would you like to see in the future?

Source – Games Radar

The Pain and Suffering of a Ten-Year Long Civilization II Game

ten year civilization 2 game

Civilization games are famous for taking a long time to complete, but even your most hardcore marathon doesn’t compare to Reddit user Lycerius’s ten year slugging match between his communist Celtics and the Vikings and Americans.

In the year 3991 A.D., the remaining super-powers have weathered over 1700 years of war and are huddled in dilapitated cities surrounded by infertile marshes and radioactive wastelands.

The stalemate comes from the fact that Civ 2’s late game is perfectly balanced and the Vikings attack every round regardless of cease-fires. Every nation is 100% comitted to war manufacturing as any attempt at peaceful rebuilding means that your nation will be crushed by the other armies. Late-game building units are used only to build roads that take units to the front lines and then rebuild them when the infrastructure is destroyed.

While it’s cool that this guy managed to keep a save file for ten years, The Eternal War is also an awesome post-apocalytpic tale. Commie Celts? Spies slipping nukes into cities? Ice caps melting and reforming 20 times? Sounds like a recipe for a good novel.

A whole fandom has sprung up around this man’s tale and there’s a subreddit dedicated to finding a way to end the war. What do you guys think of this?

Source – Reddit

BioShock Infinite Steps Up the Difficulty with 1999 Mode

BioShock Infinite 1999 1

Some of the other writers here at GamerSushi may fall into the category of gamers who would agree that developers “just don’t make ‘em like they used to.” With plenty of respectably aging gamers out there who grew up on games that made today’s “Veteran” difficulty look like child’s play, it’s no wonder a change was bound to happen. The crew over at Irrational Games, makers of the BioShock series, is introducing a new level of difficulty in BioShock Infinite with “1999 Mode.” This mode is designed to “challenge players in a variety of ways – each requiring substantial commitment and skill development.” But what does this mean exactly?

I’m an old school gamer. We wanted to make sure we were taking into account the play styles of gamers like me. So we went straight to the horse’s mouth by asking them, on our website, a series of questions about how they play our games. 94.6 percent of respondents indicated that upgrade choices enhanced their BioShock gameplay experience; however, 56.8 percent indicated that being required to make permanent decisions about their character would have made the game even better.” – Kevin Levine, Creative Director

The idea behind 1999 Mode is to make players think much harder about the decisions they make while playing the game. Gone will be the day of rushing in like Rambo without thinking. Players will have to deal with each and every one of their choices – sometimes permanently. This new game mode will also force the player to pick specializations and focus on them. The new mode will also have “demanding” stat requirements including health, power and your weaponry. Respawning will also be much tougher, with players experiencing the old school “Game Over” screen if they don’t have sufficient resources to get back into the action.

So what do you guys think of this new game mode? With games like Call of Duty, where players can charge through recklessly, will BioShock Infinite’s new approach change the way we approach single player campaigns? I can certainly see this sticking with certain types of games. How about you guys? Will we see more of this in games, or can today’s youth not handle the challenge?

Source – Business Wire

Heart of the Swarm Preview Trailer Stampedes out of BlizzCon

BlizzCon is going down right now in California and there’s been some new developments concerning Blizzard’s world-renown franchises. World of Warcraft has a new expansion called Mists of Pandaria, Diablo 3 is going to be free for WoW subscribers and StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm has a new trailer. Since the majority of the GamerSushi staff is kind of obsessed with StarCraft, you can imagine what I’m going to post (if the title didn’t clue you in already). Sit back, relax, and enjoy your look at Heart of the Swarm and all the new units.

Personally, I can’t wait for this new expansion and getting to play the campaign and try all the new units, even if the Terran stuff looks kind of silly to me. I mean, the transforming Hellion is cool, but the Warhound looks like a Gobot. What do you guys think of the Heart of the Swarm trailer? What about the other BlizzCon news?

Hyrule Total War’s Intro Cinematic Brings Zelda to the Battlefield

I’m kind of a sucker for awesome mods and sadly they’re kind of going out of vogue with the video game industry. While there is still the odd company that still has mod support in their games, these are few and far between. Even though active modders can’t really look forward to new releases and the possibilities there, they can go back to older games and create some really neat stuff. Take this video I found of a Total War conversion that puts Legend of Zelda skins on the various armies as an example. There’s a ton of attention to detail here, and it’s guaranteed to make you nerd out at least a little bit.

Pretty cool, right? I really hope that Nintendo lets this guy continue with the project because they’re notoriously harsh about the use of their IPs. What did you guys think of this mod? Pretty sweet? Would you try it out?

StarCraft II: Year One

As you know, if you listen to the podcast, a few of us here at GamerSushi enjoy a little game called StarCraft II, and a about a month ago was its 1st Birthday (grunt birthday noise!). To celebrate this, the guys over at WellPlayed put together this fantastic little 35-minute documentary from a series of interviews they conducted with 9 progamers and casters while at MLG Anaheim in July.

So turn up your speakers, or grab your nice headphones, crack open a drink, sit back, relax and enjoy…

[youtube width=”500″ height=”310″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3h6NA9O9jQs[/youtube]

Source – WellPlayed

Did You Catch the Action at MLG Raleigh?

mlg raleighGamerSushi weekend may have come and gone (and with it the knowledge that Canada will never has as good a fare as the Tex-Mex I had in Houston), but in addition to this meeting of the minds, and PAX, MLG Raleigh was also going down, right in the middle of Hurricane Irene.

Despite Mother Nature’s wrath bearing down on the Eastern Seaboard, the good folks at MLG sacked up and brought three straight days of gaming goodness featuring Halo: Reach, League of Legends, Gears of War 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops and of course, the current GamerSushi game-crush StarCraft 2.

While I did miss most of the event, I did manage to catch some StarCraft 2 last night and today when I was waiting for my flight at the Seattle airport. The fact that I could watch a decent quality video on my phone was super cool to me, and it really speaks about the lengths that the folk at MLG are going to to get these games to the people. It was also kind of surprising to see Gears of War 3 at MLG, even though I know that Epic Games had been touting their product’s appearance at the show for a couple of weeks. Given how good the Beta was for Gears 3, the fact that it’s being used for competitive play makes me want the full version even more.

So what about you guys? Did you tune in to MLG Raleigh? Did you watch it on the streams or go to one of the BarCraft nights that happened this past weekend? Any thoughts on how big MLG is getting? If you don’t comment, you’re killing esports!

Why I Love Emergent Gameplay

starcraft 2 emergent gameplay

One of the best parts of gaming is finding new ways to make an old favorite fresh and new again. While it’s always easy to play the game that the developers packed into the box, it can sometimes be a rewarding challenge to make new types of games out of an existing framework.

The Halo series are full of some great examples, with things like Zombies, Grifball and many others besides, but this phenomenon is by no means limited to Halo (although the wealth of tools built into the game by Bungie do make it easy to invent your own ways of playing). For example, during a gaming session today, my friends and I cooked up a StarCraft 2-themed drinking game by adding in a bunch of handicaps (like only attacking someone who attacked you first, or not being able to upgrade your units) and game-long missions (using the dance command in everyones base or making someone rage quit). We then dolled out drinks based on whether or not you stuck to your handicaps and if you completed your mission or not. While StarCraft 2 is still a blast for us to play normally, we spent most of the afternoon and a good part of the night playing this game and having a great time.

Over the course of our games, we started talking about how making up your own game within a game is a very old tradition for gamers and can lead to either hours lost trying to make up new things or playing a game you haven’t thought about in months. I know this is kind of a random topic, but have any of you done something similar? Any custom-made gametypes that you want to share?

GamerSushi Asks: What Are You Playing?

FF Tactics

Greetings, gamers.

As I said in the podcast post, you should notice that there is more going on around here than there has been in the last few weeks. We were taking a break because of the post-E3 news drought, and because we just wanted to chill a bit. It’s funny, because for some reason, I took a break from gaming in general, save for the daily StarCraft 2 ladder match.

So, now that the gaming season is kicking back into high gear, I’ve been trying my hand at a few games lately. For one, I picked up Bastion, and have played just a bit of that lately. I’m really enjoying the presentation, and it helps that the gameplay is solid, too. On top of that, I’ve been knocking out some Civilization V, which I’m enjoying as well.

But for me, though, the crown jewel of my gaming life the last two days has been Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions on iPhone. For those unaware, this is the PSP remastered version of Final Fantasy Tactics, one of my favorite games of all time. The idea that it’s in my pocket whenever I want to play it is kind of incredible, and already I’m sucked right back into it. Seriously, if you have never played this and have an iPhone, get it.

So what about you guys? What are you playing? Go!

Civilization 5 Makes Me Miss Other Genres

civilization 5

Over the past weekend, Steam had a sale where Civilization 5 was on offer for seventeen dollars. At that price, you would have to have a very good reason not to pick that up. I tried Civilization 4 on my laptop a while ago, but I never really got into it. After hearing all sorts of great things about the game from when it released last year, I decided to tuck in and seen what it had to show.

I played a few games over the weekend and I have to say that Civ 5 is quite addicting. Once I got a hang of the mechanics and how everything gelled together, I was really digging the nation building aspects and avoiding combat whenever I could. The Barbarians can’t be avoided, but other Civilizations will parley with you peacefully if you’re not too aggressive (small City-States, on the other had, will hate you unanimously if you go around conquering them willy-nilly).

The first game I played like this was Rise of Nations, a real-time game (Civ is played in turns, if you didn’t know) that was as much about building a strong country as it was building a strong army. Civilization is a little bit more focused on the cultural aspects, but it made me miss the hours I spent playing RoN all the same.

Since so much of what I’m playing these days are shooters, Civilization 5 and Bastion were a great one-two punch combo of different genre hotness. It’s nice to play a game where the main objective isn’t “kill all the dudes” and it kind of makes me wish I had bought it earlier.

Did anyone else grab Civilization 5 during the sale? Have you been playing it since release? What do you think of it?

Somebody Please Explain Frozen Synapse to Me

frozen synapse

On a whim yesterday, a friend and I purchased Frozen Synapse on Steam to ward off the gaming drought we currently find ourselves in. The game was 50% off and it even comes with a second free copy, so it seemed like a steal.

I had seen a couple video on the YouTubes explaining the basic concept of the game, but when I tried out the game proper, I was a little taken aback. For the uninformed, Frozen Synapse is a turn-based tactical game, sort of in the vein of the planning phase from the old Rainbow Six games. You tell your troops what to do, down to the direction they face and where they’ll run, and hope that your choices lead to victory.

While I do get the basic mechanics of the game, I’m a little unclear on the multiplayer aspects. Since the game came with a second free copy, I had thought that there would be an AI vs mode, or maybe a co-op campaign. Unfortunately, the game has neither of those, but at 50% off it was hard to pass up.

Since Frozen Synapse is sitting on my hard drive, I’m turning to you guys for advice. How do I get my money’s worth from Frozen Synapse? What modes would you recommend for anyone who’s been interested in this game? What are your thoughts on it? The game has been getting pretty good reviews, so I’d like to give it an honest try.

Poll: What’s Your Current Game of the Year?

Seeing as how we’re almost five months into the glorious year of 2011, and given that we’ve already seen a slew of quality releases, I thought I’d conduct an informal poll (TWSS) and find out what your current Game of the Year is.

While we do have a few luminary titles coming at us in a few weeks, the recent release of Portal 2 gave us undoubtedly one of this year’s critical juggernauts. Gaming is for all types though, so maybe you liked something else? Let us know which game you’re rooting for in this handy-dandy poll we cooked up. Chances are, you’ll like a game with the number “2” in it. Just a guess.

For anyone wondering why I picked these games, I basically selected big ticket titles over a score of 87 on Metacritic. If you’d like me to add something else, please let me know in the comments!

What's Your Current Game of the Year for 2011?

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Today’s Hilarity: Total War: Shogun 2 Has Ninja Fails

I don’t know how many of our readers are currently playing the new Total War game Shogun 2, but I had a chance to see it in action over the last weekend and I thought it looked really cool. It is the epitome of hard-core PC strategy gaming with its giant, micro-manageable battles and the complicated over-world. Since the game is based in Japan, you have access to a few unique units such as the ninja, which can be sent into enemy camps to assassinate opposing Shoguns and give you a bit of breathing room. They’re not always successful, and they sometimes fail…hard. Total War: Shogun 2 actually treats you to a vignette of your ninja’s shameful display, and they’re really quite funny. Have a look!

Being a ninja is not for everybody, it seems. I think it’s pretty neat that the developer would include a little Easter egg like this. Is anyone playing Total War: Shogun 2, and what do you think? Does this video pique your interest?

Review: Dragon Age 2

dragon age 2 review

Dragon Age: Origins was a strange sort of game when it released back in the Fall of 2009. Not to say it was bad by any means (Eddy gave it a good review), but the game seemed to draw on more of the old RPG conventions than newer ones. It still retained that BioWare dedication to character and story, but for those of us who got most of their RPG experience from games like Fallout 3 and Mass Effect, it was a little difficult to get into.

Regardless of what you may have thought about the original’s mechanics, the success it obtained meant that BioWare launched head-first into a sequel, dropping Dragon Age 2 a year and a bit after the original and all of its expansion. A lot of things have been changed, re-vamped or just plain dropped this time around. Does BioWare work their magic again, or should we call the Templars?
Continue reading Review: Dragon Age 2

Why Your Multiplayer Needs Soul

There are those certain types of games out there, the ones that have you discussing for days or weeks on end how you totally stomped your opponents, or some random happenstance that blew your mind. These are the games that get you back together with your friends on a nightly basis to trade blows and throw grenades, striving to be the best, to get the next unlock, or just compete for bragging rights.

Just by imagining these scenarios, you probably conjured up a list of your favorite experiences and the games they were connected to. Whether its the exact right combination of tight mechanics and engaging gameplay, or just the fact that you can destroy your environments in real time with your friends, there are multiplayer experiences out there that stick with us through different consoles and generations. Conversely, there are certain ones that, no matter how much they try to emulate the successful models, just can’t achieve that level of notoriety. This is a sort of nebulous aspect about multiplayer games, a “soul” for lack of a better term. Which games have it, and which games don’t?
Continue reading Why Your Multiplayer Needs Soul

GamerSushi Top 10 Games of 2010

Another year of gaming has gone by, which means it’s time for us to reflect on the games that really made 2010 stand out all its own as one to be remembered. This trip around the sun has produced some clunkers, disappointments, triumphs, wins, fails, works of art and everything in between. We saw quality releases from January through December, and a few surprises that threw us for a major loop in the best way possible.

To create this list, the GamerSushi staff (myself, Nick, Anthony, Mitch and Jeff) all made our own individual top 10 lists. From there, Nick used the powerful science of magicmatics to conjure up a final list, based on some mumbo jumbo he did with a point system. What you see is something like an average of all of our lists together, and one that we’re all happy with, minus a few honorable mentions of course.

So, without further ramblings from myself, I present the Top 10 games of 2010!

Best of 2010

Continue reading GamerSushi Top 10 Games of 2010

The 2010 Sushis: A Year Honored and Belittled

If everyone else gets to make “Best of the Year” lists, then by golly, so do we. Only, instead of the trite awards that every other site dishes out, we try to be a bit more creative with our end of year awards, bestowing unique honors that bring both shame and glory. That’s right: it’s time again for the annual Sushi Awards.

For those with a keen memory (or that know how to use our search bar), you’ll recall that we did this for 2009 and 2008 as well, so feel free to go over those to remember how awesome those years were, prior to this one.

As with those previous entries, keep in mind that the Sushi awards represent our goofy and snarky take on the year in gaming, for better or worse, chosen by the GS dudes. A proper “best of” top 10 list is coming next week. But for now, enjoy these custom awards and tell us what you think!

Enjoy!

Continue reading The 2010 Sushis: A Year Honored and Belittled

Enslaved Goes Behind the Scenes With a New Video

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is a new game coming out from Ninja Theory, best known for the PS3 launch title Heavenly Sword. I’m not sure if we’ve ever posted about Enslaved on the site, so I’m going to do a quick recap for those who are unfamiliar with this game. Taking place 150 years in the future, the game follows two of the few remaining humans as they attempt to find their way home through a decimated North America past the various combat mechs that still plague the land. Sort of a different spin on the old post-apocalyptic yarn, and it borrows some design elements from the show Life After People, if I remember correctly. Check out the new behind the scenes video for Enslaved: Odyssey to the West which also stars Gollum himself, Andy Serkis!

It’s kind of a shame that I haven’t been following this game more closely, because it looks very intriguing. The game is actually coming out on October 5, so it’s hitting right at that perfect time before Call of Duty: Black Ops and Fallout: New Vegas dominate the market. Anyone here thinking of picking this up? Also, I want my title to be “Chief Creative Ninja”.