From the developer that made Advance Wars and Fire Emblem, two of the most perfectly balanced turn-based strategy games ever, comes Code Name S.T.E.A.M., a game full of surprises.
The first is that while it is indeed another turn-based game of war, requiring you to move your team members and shoot at colourful aliens as they attempt to invade a steampunk, late 19th-century Earth, it plays like a third-person action game where your aim actually matters. Unlike most strategy games, there’s no overarching map, and the game’s levels conspire to limit your view, forcing you to use your warriors as cameras to pinpoint the next set of multi-tentacled monstrosities. Maps quickly get complex with multiple routes to the goal, meaning you need to split your teams to get anywhere near successful completion. Fast, messy and challenging, Code Name S.T.E.A.M. is refreshingly different from other strategy games.
ALSO OUT THIS WEEK
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, PS4, Xbox One & PC
In a world beset by supernatural terrors, The Witcher is a kind of fantasy-historical Ghostbuster hired to chop up spectral interlopers before they eat relatives and livestock. In a departure from past outings, The Witcher 3 has a mellower learning curve, and rather than starting by grinding your face into the dust, it gently steers you in the direction of easier kills until you’re beefy enough to take on bigger game. More story-driven than most role-playing games, its biggest draw is how consequential your actions feel, with each choice you make having ramifications that affect the story and others around you. And while you can’t choose what he looks like, your Witcher can be a mildly sarcastic pragmatist or an arrogant monster-dicing douchebag depending on how you respond to events. Set in a rich and startlingly lovely-looking world, The Witcher 3 is utterly enthralling.
Namco Bandai, £19.99-£44.99
Lifeline, iPhone & Apple Watch
As well as providing a handy way to know who’s texted you a split second before friends who have to resort to the unthinkable tedium of actually glancing at their mobiles, Apple Watch is also a new platform for games. With a screen so tiny that your finger obscures a large portion of it, making them work needs some original thinking. One of the most successful games of its maiden batch is Lifeline, a text-only adventure about a student astronaut who has crash landed on a remote moon, alone and confused. You’re his only link with mankind and it’s your job to help guide him to safety by advising him on what to do, which inevitably boils down to a binary choice: head for a distant mountain or investigate the crash site; sleep next to the nuclear reactor and get mild radiation poisoning or risk dying of exposure. Well written, emotionally affecting and witty, Lifeline is a promising start for Apple Watch games.
3 Minute Games, £2.29
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