Jump Dash Roll's Mobile Roundup #16 - June 2019
Summer’s here and if the Sun has not rendered your personal black onyx slab too hot to touch, there are mobile games aplenty worth a look-in!
Knights Of The Card Table (iOS, Android, PC)
Blending the hard tactics of card battling with a gentle comic roasting of the old D&D tropes from a child’s perspective has been done before in the likes of The Guild of Dungeoneering and Knights Of Pen & Paper, but this newcomer is perhaps the most colourful and expansive example of this nascent genre. Narrated by a cloaked figure who delights in breaking the fourth wall, your chosen adventurer is faced with a series of cards representing enemies, power-ups, spells and other useful things. Encountering the enemies in the order you desire is essential for the maximum tactical advantage.
If you feel luck is on your side, sequentially collecting matching cards will yield a monetary bonus that will pay off at the weapons and armour shop later, if you make it that far.
Starting off simple, new concepts like critical hits and magic items are introduced, and can all be referenced in the manual. Not especially complex, but for a genre that many can find complex and off-putting, this is a fun introduction to the core concepts.
Nuclear Inc 2 iOS, Android)
The new HBO series Chernobyl has brought the tale of the terrible disaster back into public discussion, but for every person praising the show there are many more asking ‘so what actually happened then? How do nuclear reactors work??’ The physics are pretty complex but it’s ultimately all about balancing the rate of reaction, and Nuclear Inc 2 puts you in the position of a power plant engineer responsible for exactly that.
Dials and gauges galore display the current temperature, pressure and radiation as you gently adjust the position of the control rods and manage the steam pump. You’ll be assigned certain tasks such as to generate an amount of power or money. A game of patience with a tense piano and electronica soundtrack that might teach you a thing or two.
Where Shadows Slumber (iOS, Android)
Using a similar isometric view to Monument Valley, this offering from developer Game Revenant tells the tale of an old man journeying through an uncertain landscape, with only a dusty lantern for protection. The shadows cast in areas where the lantern’s glow cannot reach can change the surrounding area, creating a path to the exit, or sometimes unveiling a threat to be avoided. Multiple platforms need to be arranged in order to ensure the shadows fall in the correct spots as you move about each area.
Enemy creatures lie in wait in the forest, continually assaulting you and stealing your lantern.
Despite being animated in pastel colours, it’s thematically a very dark game, with the ambient voice acting in particular being very menacing: hurried footsteps, hard breathing, and the mysterious growls and chirrups of unseen animals. The shadow mechanic proves to be trickier than you might think in places, as where you move affects where the darkness falls. Perhaps not as accomplished as its award-winning predecessor mentioned above, but a good puzzle experience nonetheless.
Astrologaster (iOS, PC)
As the totally-above-board doctor and astrological consultant Simon Forman, you must interpret the signs of the stars to advise your procession of patients on how to cure their ills and solve their problems, both medical and metaphysical. Based on real casebooks from the 1600s, and presented in the charming manner of a pop-up book, this narrative tale of the eager but inept Dr Forman’s administrations is a little light on gameplay elements, but makes up for this with an extremely wry sense of humour, great voice casting and even choral singing to introduce each new client.
Each diagnosis which meets with your charge’s approval is another step toward a letter of recommendation, that might make your doctor status official in the eyes of the College of Physicians. Set as it is in medieval times, expect the social attitudes to be appropriately unenlightened, the bawdy and lavatorial humour somewhere between Chaucer and Blackadder. As you might expect, astrology was and continues to be not an exact science, and at times you may be outright guessing what result the patient will approve of, but it’s all fodder for the comic mill.