The Tithe, Part Nine
The series wraps up on Friday - here’s the exquisite foyer you can wait in until it does. There were a ton of different forest beasts that auditioned for the role before this one, and I think my recently returned associate is going to break them down for you.
I mentioned Ironclad Tactics Monday, just off the cuff, but it deserves way more.
It’s from Zachtronics Industries, so named because it is the dauntless flagship of a person named Zach. He knows this is funny, I’ve asked him. He knows it’s what you would name your company in Junior High. The last game of his I played was called SpaceChem, which I think is fairly famous, but should link you to it anyway. I described it as a “harrowing embolism manifold,” because of the way it makes blood pool dangerously in the vein. It’s a game where you make tiny machines in order to origami little molecules and ship them to other machines you have also made to make more complicated molecules. I could figure it out, but it was way smarter than I was. It did not negatively color my assessment of it, being made to feel like a chimp striking the keyboard with one of my foot-hands; what it did was make me file him away as someone to watch.
Ironclad Tactics is charming as shit, with its steampunk Civil War thing, and its equippable cats, but in dork terms its a lane-based deckbuilder like everything else is now. And, like Hearthstone - the last deckbuilder I told you about - they’ve gone with a super restrictive twenty card limit that makes every one count. It’s a turn-based/real-time thingimabob, on some ATB shit, so timing is a non-zero consideration.
I very rarely play levels again, any kind of level, in any kind of game. When I get done with a mission in GTAV, and it tisks me with an empty box desirous of a check, and some other thing I didn’t do even though nobody ever told me I had to do it, I flip it the bird. Birds get flipped. I go back in Ironclad Tactics, because this game is about getting cards, and I get more cards for winning under different conditions, or playing with a deck they give me, or playing against a friend as the boss of the level, or any other Goddamned thing.
Cards also level up, or… advance, I guess, because it’s not like you might think. I don’t lose the old card. The old card, due to its lower cost, might still have a place in a deck. And the newer one isn’t always some linear improvement. I can mount a “trumpet” on one of my robots, a morale boosting device which confers armor in a cone, but the direct upgrade for the trumpet isn’t a bigger trumpet with a larger cone. It’s the body of the a trumpet jerry rigged to be a flamethrower. The Heavy chassis doesn’t directly upgrade into a super heavy chassis; its advancements are felt further down the line, in the form of more functional armor on a medium frame. They’re thoughtful, they sell the theme, and they represent the wayward course of “advancement.” This is smart stuff.
I could push it, push through, but I don’t even want to. I will tell you right now that I have left the game, exited the application entirely, because I wanted to “save some for later” which barely makes any fucking sense.