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Tycho / 3 weeks ago

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Fighting Time

Grob emerged from Call Of Duty: WWII with a lot of good things to say.  I don’t know about it, because instead of playing a AAA game that costs tens of millions of dollars I’m playing a Nintendo Switch port of a two year old PC matching puzzle game.

The takeaway should not be that I have rarefied tastes.  The negative space around this game’s design is just compatible with the shape of my consciousness, somehow.  Ironcast is like Puzzle Quest in that a gem board informs a metagame of resource investment, but you don’t share a board with your opponents here.  And it’s functionally speaking a Permadeath Roguelike, so it’s got all the buzzwords.  You complete missions with various parameters, get blueprints to build new mech parts, and invest an earned metacurrency called Commendations to grant you permanent upgrades, new pilots, and new Ironcasts - that is to say, mechs.  It’s also hard as fucking hell.  It’s a very nice addition to the roster, and if you’re playing it in handheld mode you can use the touchscreen to do all your matchin’s if’n you wanna.

  I’m trying to figure out why I have so many hours in this thing, and I think it’s down to the balance.  It’s turn based, so I only get two matches on my side per turn.  Each Ironcast can only hold so much of a given resource.  In terms of attacking or increasing my defenses, I can do as many as I can pay for - so instead of doing both of my matches and then spending the generated resources, as you would in a normal execution of these concepts, there’s going to be scenarios where I

- Generate Ammunition for attacks, up to my maximum storage
- Expend my maximum storage on attacks
- Generate additional Ammunition with my second match
- Expend Ammunition on a second onslaught.

The hard limits the game places on you turn a relatively trodden conceptual space into a tense, taut thing.  Don’t judge it by the screenshots.

Hey!  We did a stream a thousand years ago for Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, and then when the Goaty edition hit PS4 Pro we hit it up a few more times, establishing and then embroidering The Legend Of Kuga Blood-Licker.  The Nemesis System they put together, one that algorithmically creates imaginary rivalries that somehow feel meaningful, was something we all expected to be copied shamelessly and that didn’t really happen.  They’re still the ones doing it.

Via a unique celestial configuration, we’re in a position to do another sponsored stream - this time for Middle-Earth: Shadow of War.  I will try my best not to call the game Shadow of Mordor for the duration of the stream.  It would be very embarrassing to do so, and not only because it would raise the ire of my paymasters at Monolith and WB Games.  No: it would be mortifying because we will have Monolith’s Design Director Bob Roberts with us on the couch.  Would it be a situation where he tries to correct me, creating tension within the very heart of the marketing tool?  Or would it be a thing where he simply says the correct name of the game, every time, under his breath?  Hopefully we won’t have a chance to find out on today’s stream, which goes from 2pm-4pm PDT today on our precious channel.

(CW)TB out.


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