GOG releases: “X-COM” classic series

Playing as the alien races in Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars can be quite diverse and thrilling, but with the DRM-free versions of the classic X-COM series, being on the side of mankind against the aliens can be a different experience on GOG.

Another bunch of games that completely passed me by back in the days but that I always wanted to play is this series that puts the player in the shoes of an agency fighting back all the terrors and horrors from the depths of space and sea. It all started with turn-based strategy simulation X-COM: UFO Defense in 1993 that set the template for the series. Combat and research went hand in hand to get back at the alien aggressors while managing troops in ground battle.

The sequel X-COM: Terror from the Deep brought the action to the seabed one year later, but made it even harder to succeed in an already tough tactical battle.

X-COM: Interceptor is quite a departure with first-person real-time battle that is more reminiscent of X-Wing, TIE-Fighter or Wing Commander and Wing Commander II.

Even more of a change in direction is the third-person action shooter X-COM: Enforcer that puts the Unreal Tournament engine to good use while of course being very different from the strategy titles of old.

Finally there’s X-Com: Apocalypse, a return to the tactical genre, but with the twist of having different companies fight each other in addition to cooperating with the alien enemy.

I didn’t even know that there were so many different genres tackled in the series, and even if the newest X-COM games celebrated the series’ comeback (without being DRM-free yet), it’s interesting to go back and see where it all started.

If you liked reading this article, make sure you pay a visit to Future Sack which kindly features it as well, and every LIKE or comment is appreciated on EMR’s Facebook page or FS’s Facebook page๐Ÿ™‚. Or FOLLOW the blog on EMR’s Twitter page.
Using the GOG links and buying the products also helps๐Ÿ˜‰.

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Game release: “Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars” (PC)

4X strategy games aren’t easy to get into, but NGD StudiosMaster of Orion: Conquer the Stars tries to be both accessible and demanding.

Being a reboot of the 1994 classic title, this should be something both newcomers and old fans should like, at least in theory. For those who’re not familiar with the term, the 4 Xs mean Explore, Expand, Exploit, and Exterminate, so basically one chooses 1 of 10 playable races to conquer the galaxy by any means necessary, either by peaceful trading or aggressive warmongering. This obviously entails being at the top of the technological advancement as well as resource gathering and managing space and ground fights.

The genre has always been about complex gameplay, and I have to say that I’ve not have much experience with it, already failing with the handbook of Alpha Centauri, a game by Sid Meier that was complicated and slow. Apparently, this is where Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars already divides the fan base that wants more difficulty and an experience like the old Microprose title. There also seem to be quite a few problems since its recent release, with bugs and online DRM multiplayer (even for the GOG version), so one should maybe wait a bit before diving right in.

As it is, the presentation with its epic soundtrack, great voice acting (including Michael Star Trek‘s Worf Dorn) and exciting CGI cutscenes, makes it more enjoyable than the pixel graphics of old. Attention to detail in the character portraits should be even more immersive, so it remains to be seen if the title manages to walk the fine line between modern user accessibility and old-school difficulty. The game is available for PC in a standard and Collector’s edition, the latter comprising the original three games, an art book, the soundtrack, an additional race, and more. A 15% discount will last until September 4, 4:59 PM UTC.

Buy the base game for PC on
GOG
Steam

Buy the Collector’s Edition for PC on
GOG
Steam

Official Website

If you liked reading this article, make sure you pay a visit to Future Sack which kindly features it as well, and every LIKE or comment is appreciated on EMR’s Facebook page or FS’s Facebook page๐Ÿ™‚. Or FOLLOW the blog on EMR’s Twitter page.
Using the GOG links and buying the products also helps๐Ÿ˜‰.

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Game release: “Pan-Pan” (PC)

Artful adventure games with an emphasis on environmental puzzle solving receive another addition with Spelkraft/Might and Delight‘s Pan-Pan.

The aesthetics of the game might seem familiar to those who’ve played the Escher-esque title Monument Valley, and while this is a different experience, the look and feel are similar in both presentation and minimalist storytelling. Being about a small individual who looks for tools to repair his ship, there are also a few other alien characters to interact with. One shouldn’t expect a very deep story or long conversations (as there aren’t any dialogues), as most of the time is spent on traversing the open world and finding solutions to problems.

I’ve always liked simple games that aren’t overloaded with unnecessarily long dialogues if the style fits the atmosphere (something a lot of point-and-click adventures don’t get right). Simple gameplay ideas without a long playtime aren’t a problem as long as the journey is worth it, so hopefully Pan-Pan delivers on that, as it looks and sounds beautiful. Of course pushing buttons, using items to open areas isn’t particularly original, and there are way too many games in the genre that have done this before. But maybe the game offers memorable conundrums and set-pieces to set itself apart from the Monument Valleys of this world.

The game is now available for PC with a 10% discount that will last until August 26, 2:59 PM UTC. There’s also the Planetary Pack including the soundtrack and an explorer’s guide if one wants to pay a little bit extra.

Buy the base game for PC on
GOG
Steam

Buy the Planetary Pack for PC on
GOG
Steam

Official Website

If you liked reading this article, make sure you pay a visit to Future Sack which kindly features it as well, and every LIKE or comment is appreciated on EMR’s Facebook page or FS’s Facebook page๐Ÿ™‚. Or FOLLOW the blog on EMR’s Twitter page.
Using the GOG links and buying the products also helps๐Ÿ˜‰.

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GOG release: “Knights of Pen and Paper +1 Edition”

There was a time when RPGs weren’t about long cutscenes, action sequences and other AAA content, with their stories being much simpler but not as much meta-fiction fun as Paradox Interactive‘s metagame simulation Knights of Pen and Paper +1 Edition.

The game has already been out for a while on Steam, originally being released in 2014, but the +1 Edition is now DRM-free with most of the additional content like new dungeons, a tavern where one can put heroes and change party members, and even more character options in addition to an extended campaign. For those (like me) who haven’t played the original or don’t really know what to expect, here’s a quick rundown of the gameplay.

The most intriguing part is that one plays at a table as in the good old Dungeons & Dragons role-playing games (before the advent of computer games), making for a much funnier approach to what one would expect in turn-based battles. Constant wisecracking by the protagonists, the players and dungeon master are as prominent as loads of monsters to fight, quests to complete and treasures to find in addition to real-life environments to traverse and pop culture references to spot.

What sounds quite weird and very old-school feels also very fresh and down to earth, even if it means that the environment moves around a table that doesn’t. Choosing how many monsters to fight is done by the dungeon master, so there’s always a way to escape certain situations. If one wants to experience even more of the game, there’s also the Deluxier Edition with a new character, setting both in and outside the fantasy world, and the Haunted Fall expansion. It’s also available with a 60% discount that will last until August 28, 12:59 PM UTC.

Buy the game for PC on
GOG
Steam

Official Website

If you liked reading this article, make sure you pay a visit to Future Sack which kindly features it as well, and every LIKE or comment is appreciated on EMR’s Facebook page or FS’s Facebook page๐Ÿ™‚. Or FOLLOW the blog on EMR’s Twitter page.
Using the GOG links and buying the products also helps๐Ÿ˜‰.

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Game release: “Worms W.M.D.” (PC, Xbox One, PS4)

Celebrating its 21st anniversary this year, Team17‘s comic strategy multiplayer series receives its newest addition with Worms W.M.D..

It’s amazing to think how long the franchise about worms battling it out in a turn-based way has survived, with various different genres like golf or pinball added to the mix. I have to say that I already stopped with the second game, because the weapons were too powerful so that the iconic rope swinging and pushing opponents off precipices straight into mines or the sea were sadly neglected. However, the art style and humor stayed true to the original, and this installment doesn’t seem to change that formula.

The trailer already shows how great the hand-drawn backgrounds and characters look, how funny the fluid animations are and how many tools are at the players’ disposal to get rid of their enemies. With 30 campaign missions (is there actually a story? I didn’t even know the worms could speak and had personalities), 20 training missions, and 10 challenges, longevity isn’t an issue, while 80 different weapons and tools that can also be crafted on the fly shows enough variety in strategies.

Inventive fun weapons like the holy hand grenade, a gas-fueled flying sheep as well as the concrete donkey make a return, while it’s also possible to build houses to hide and drive/fly vehicles, making this crazy mayhem experience even better, which should obviously be enjoyed in multiplayer, preferably local with up to 6 players with 8 worms each.

Buy the game for PC on
GOG
Steam

Buy the game for Xbox One on
the Xbox store

Buy the game for PS4 on
the PSN store

Official Website

If you liked reading this article, make sure you pay a visit to Future Sack which kindly features it as well, and every LIKE or comment is appreciated on EMR’s Facebook page or FS’s Facebook page๐Ÿ™‚. Or FOLLOW the blog on EMR’s Twitter page.
Using the GOG link and buying the product also helps๐Ÿ˜‰.

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