The TBoD Podcast – 72 – Barry Gibb Looks Like a Lion

Hello again friends,

We’re back again for your weekly dose of gaming news and banter. This week:

Destiny ships $500 milion on day one

Microsoft to buy Mojang?

Embarrassing sales figures for XBOne Japan release

What’s the future of mobile gaming?

PS4 and XBOne GTA V release

And finally……this guy completed Dark Souls, using a Rock Band controller…

Right-click here and choose ‘Save as’ to download

As usual, leave a comment below, or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter.

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Play-Mobile: Two for one

Recently we at TBOD towers have been playing an insane amount of GTA V. Alas there are times when we simply cannot be attached to our consoles and thus cannot become lost in the world of Los Santos, during these moments it is absolutely vital that we keep our thumbs exercised and I’ve been doing so with a couple of real quality titles on my mobile.

I don’t usually like tower defense games but Ironhide studiosKingdomRush” was one of the best in the genre in terms of flash efforts, the mobile port was excellent and the new to android sequel “Frontiers” is an absolute delight.

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It’s pretty much your traditional build, kill, earn, build, upgrade format but with a slight twist in that you can deploy soldiers from your barracks to block the path of your unyielding attackers. The theme of the game is taken pretty much straight out of fantasy epics like Lord of the Rings or World of Warcraft, fully equipped with Dwarven explosives experts, Elven archers, stout Paladins and crafty Wizards fighting for the side of good against waves of Goblins, Orcs, Lizardmen, Undead, Giants and overgrown insect pests.

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What makes the “Rush” franchise so engaging is it’s upgrade system, not only do you have the opportunity to upgrade your towers as you go but each round see’s you acquire stars which you can use to bolster your troops abilities permanently. There are also hero characters available, these heroes can level up and improve their abilities through a basic talent tree upgrade system, one gripe I have is that despite having paid for the game there are still micro transaction to unlock further hero characters. It’s a massive pain but I can understand the dev’s desire to do so and can’t think of another example where IAP is handled so un-obtrusively.

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This sequel improves drastically on the original in many ways that wont be immediately obvious, this isn’t a bad thing as the format of the first title was pretty much perfect but as you go through the levels you unlock extra tower upgrades, all of which are intelligently designed and oh so satisfying to use.

The second title I have spent some time with this week on my Android is a reworking of an all time favourite of mine, manage your planes, trains and automobiles in the triumphant return of “Transport Tycoon“.

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I have spent way more time than I would care to admit with “Open TTD” and have loved every minute of it, when I was younger I was really into “Railroad tycoon” and “Sim City“, OTTD provided me with even more ways to interact with my city and meticulously plan train routes and station placement. I know it may sound boring to some of you but hey …. I don’t grief any of you for loving “My Little Pony” do I? Each to their own when it comes to entertainment eh?

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So you can pick up an OTTD port on Android, but that’s all it is … a port. As impressive and achievement as that is it’s still somewhat buggy and the touch screen controls are pretty much non-existent. As such a genuine touch screen version is a welcome addition to the Play and iOS library. Add to this the cooperation of the original games developer Chris Sawyer and surely we must be onto a winner? In short yes, the game feels every bit as immersive as it’s PC counterpart which is an impressive feat. The interface has been simplified somewhat but just enough so that it is manageable on a four-inch screen you never feel like your missing out on anything. The game-play is almost identical to what you would expect from a tycoon game and despite the edited touch screen controls being a little tricky to get to grips with you will soon be joining towns with all the efficiency of the Japanese rail system.

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I may be somewhat biased due to my love of this classic game but I cannot fault this port, it has a bunch of great challenges to complete and even the ability to play a sandbox mode. If you love city sims, strategy games or if you just have a penchant for playing with trains then this title is a must have.

To sum up, it’s really nice to see some titles coming to mobile that clearly have a lot of heart and soul poured into them and it’s refreshing that they aren’t hampered by ridiculously over the top price tags (*ahem* Square-enix)  or riddled with in game adds (everything ftp on the Play store) hopefully this will usher in a new era of games that are priced well and play amazingly.

While we are on the subject of Mobile games with pure class…. please, please, please go check out Nicoll Hunt of I fight Bears debut title “Fist of Awesome” , I had a brief love affair with it at eurogamer and am off to go play it to death right now as it’s just come out for both Android and iOS. Review to follow.

You’re welcome.

– eremenko

Ticket to Ride

Howdy,

You would be forgiven for thinking I’d given up the writing game but alas I am back once again to delight and amuse (read: annoy and bore) you all with another little review of another lovely little title that has captured my heart.

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A Ride into the Mountains

Android & iOS

Chia-Yu Chen & Lee-Kuo Chen

69p/99c

Those of you who listen to the podcast will already know I have been struggling to find a game worthy of sinking my teeth into after beating “The Last of Us”, little did I expect that the game to snap me out of my funk would be such a simple little gem.

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The premise is not an original one, you play a young man, an evil has been released … you must stop it, hardly ground breaking stuff but it’s the presentation and the execution which has won me over. It’s always nice to stumble across a title which tries to do things a little differently, not satisfied with being a just another build and go title or a rehashed  puzzle game or a blatant rip off of another succesful title, a game that takes on and brilliantly utilises all of the functionality of our ever-present pocket pals is difficult to find …. this is one of those games.

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The core of the game play surrounds guiding our pixellated hero through a series of levels taking down evil shadow creatures with your bow, whilst dodging their attacks with the maneuverability granted by your trusty steed, it all feels rather easy at first but the learning curve proves pretty steep. Every shot counts and the game can be brutally punishing should you let yourself down with a mis-timed loosing of your bowstring. The enemies get smarter, faster and more aggressive as the ride goes on and the end of stage bosses can and will destroy you time and time again.

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Being both simple and brilliant at the same time is a feat few manage to achieve but here we have a game that pushes the boundaries of mobile gaming, which all the while retains a strong sense of familiarity kind of like an exotic oriental tea in your favourite old mug. By combining elements from all kinds of genres the Chens have come up with a formula for guaranteed success, I think I have figured out that formula have a look for yourselves and see what you think.

Can you figure this one out? I’ll give you the cheat sheet at the end.

As with another of my favourite mobile games (Super Bros “Sword and Sworcery”) this game opts to go with a pixel art style rather than attempting to create console level graphics on your smart device. This coupled with another excellent midi soundtrack lends the whole thing a delicious vintage gaming feel which I suppose is part of the reason it feels so familiar to me, but this familiarity should never be confused with a lack of imagination because the world created here is one of much mystery and intrigue. Anyway what are you still reading this for? The game is less than a buck/quid go buy it and see for yourself.

eremenko

P.S. For those of you who are interested and didn’t already figure this out the formula…. it means nothing it was just an obscure way to reference a load of games that this one is influenced by without actually naming names as such, the rundown of the games is below.

If you take the epic adventure nature of SotC (Shadow of the Colossus) and divide it by the serene peaceful surroundings of JnY (Journey) times that by the simple controls of aBrds (Angry Birds) add the square root (side scrolling beat em up mechanic) of SoR (Streets of rage) and take away the shitness of build and go games like  FVil (Farmville) you’re left with x i.e something marvelous like “A ride into the Mountains“.

Thanks for reading.