Showing posts from May, 2013

Rants and WIP

Lately I've slightly reduced the frequency of my reviews, for a couple of reasons.

The main one is that, sadly, the past few weeks on the App Store have been less than memorable for puzzle games. There's a deluge of Rush Hour copycats, and an annoying amount of apps that try to have titles and icons similar to the apparently very popular Candy Crush Saga, but I could find very few puzzle games of any interest.

A couple of games had pretty good puzzle mechanics. Too good, apparently, to be original. Indeed, I recognised Raf Peeters' style in one of them, and sure enough, after some quick research I found it to be a blatant copy of Hide & Seek Safari.
I had already published a positive review of another game, when Tom Cutrofello told me it was a clone of Lunar Lockout. That's not necessarily a bad thing per se, but certainly the origin of the puzzle should have been acknowledge by the author of the app.

The other reason for the less frequent reviews is that, after the re…

Nailing Down Terminology

One thing lacking in game design, especially when it comes to interactive storytelling, is a proper set of terms. While I do not think having a precise terminology will directly aid in making games better, it will help us communicate better. As proper communication is crucial for progress, proper terms are indirectly an important part of making better storytelling games. Because of this, I am going to go over some terminology that I find essential, what I mean by them and why I define them in a certain manner.

This is not meant to be a list of terms that I want everybody to adopt. Instead I want it to start a discussion so that we can come a bit closer at agreeing on the terms we use to discuss these matters. I have changed my terms quite a bit over the past few years and I am prepared to do so again.

I need to go over a few things before I start. When choosing a term and its definition I think that, if possible, one should use an existing word and to use a definition that is close to t…

Brain Twirler among the 50 best Italian games for iPhone

Today I was gladly surprised to discover that the editors of the iPhoneItalia website have selected Brain Twirler among the 50 games that will be voted by readers to choose the best Italian game of the year, for an event to be held on July 28th, 2013, at the Aquafan Riccione water park.

©2013 Nicola Salmoria. Unauthorized use and/or duplication without express and written permission is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicola Salmoria and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

And then it was the end of May...

Sometimes I just don't know where the time goes over here in the Purple Duck Games bunker. For a while I was really consistent on updating the blog at least once a week. Obviously I fell of that schedule so its time to catch up. 

Top Publisher List at Rpgnow
Today for the first time since we began publishing books, we have made the top publisher list on Rpgnow's front page. I say, we made it, but really, you made it happen with your support of our Pathfinder, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Labyrinth Lord, Icons, 4C, and stock art releases. 

To celebrate, I've put all Purple Duck Games products and all 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming products up for sale at Rpgnow and for 25% off. This sale will continue until June 1st only, so do not hesitate to pick up your missed items.

New from Purple Duck Games
From Purple Duck Games we have released three short products. 

In 2011, 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming released the Tome of Monsters for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game System. If there is …



Hidden in Plain Sight has been published for the Ouya.  The free version includes unlimited play of Ninja Party and Death Race (which I think are the two best modes, but others disagree).  For $0.99, you get the other three modes unlocked, as well as the customizable options to play with.

I'm looking forward to hearing how Ouya players like it...  if you happen to have played it on the Ouya, leave a note and let me know how it all worked out for you.

A look at the Eisenkern APC

I thought I would pass along some shots of the Eisenkern APC. When last you saw the design it was pretty much a roughed in hull, the final version received more details inside and out.
This kit will feature see through window sections so that you may view the interior, movable quad ‘Scorpion’ weapons system that provides enough arc, azimuth and elevation to clear unwanted guests from your doorstep. Linked and movable front suspension, doors and hatches that you may leave open or closed (Due to the scale I could not create full working hinges on the smaller doors and hatches, you may need to decide if you want to glue the smaller doors in the open or closed position, the larger rear hatch has full hinges). The Kickstarter backers will receive the full crew compliment, 10 riflemen, driver and gunner. I won’t know if we can include the ten riflemen in the general release until we know how many sprues we will need to complete the kit.

I was able to shrink the vehicle down a bit from the or…

Review: Qvoid for iPhone and iPad

Qvoid is a wonderfully presented puzzle game by +Raimon Zamora. The care and polish that has been put into it is unbelievable.

It was originally released in 2011, but has been updated several times and has now become free.
You control a smiling cube. The cube rolls over the playing area, beautifully animated, and when it ends over a colored tile, it picks up that color on one of its faces. Interestingly, after you've picked up a color, your moves are limited because the colored face can only touch a tile of the same color. When that happens, both colors disappear. Match all tiles, and the puzzle is solved.
You can pick up more than one color at a time, which will limit your movements even more. There's even an achievement to be earned if you can solve a puzzle picking up 6 colors at once.

Puzzles that use a rolling solid for their mechanics often tend to have large levels which take too long to solve, simply because they are large, not because they are difficult.
Qvoid doesn't…

Review: Takuzu for iPhone and iPad

Takuzu is a fake Japanese sounding name for a puzzle that has often been described as "binary Sudoku" (even if it's quite different from Sudoku). Indeed, it is also known as Binairo, or simply as Binary Puzzle.

It is played on a square grid of variable size; the iPhone version supports from 4x4 to 8x8, while the iPad version from 6x6 to 12x12.
The rules are:
1) Each row and column must contain the same number of 0s and 1s
2) There can be no more than two consecutive 0s or 1s.
3) There cannot be two identical rows or columns.

Rule 3) is not intuitive and is often unnecessary.

I didn't find the puzzles particularly enjoyable. The easiest ones felt like mechanical applications of the basic tips, which are trivial corollaries of the rules. In the harder ones, I got often stuck with no apparent way to proceed through logic deductions, the only way forward being to make a guess.

Of course I might have missed something, however it doesn't look like this puzzle has enough de…

Bruckenkophf's In Depth Review of the Leviathan Crusader!

Some time back I sent Dennis over at Bruckenkopf the last release of DreamForge kits.
For those of you that don’t know, Bruckenkopf is a premier gaming site over in Germany, they host discussion and review covering all aspects of the hobby. Google translate makes quick work of the site for those of you such as myself, who barely speak our native tongue :)
Last week I sent Dennis an email, asking if he had an opportunity to review the kit, he let me know it would be up in time for the German gaming events circuits that are now making their appearance.
I just wandered over, as I am apt to do, and I was blown away by the review they posted on the Crusader. They said this would be the most comprehensive review in their history… they did not exaggerate…Over 100 pictures and a wall of text, explaining the assembly and his thoughts, good and bad on the Leviathan Crusader. Here is what Dennis had to say in his closing remarks (translated by Google) We strive to critical reviews, highlight the adva…

The Leviathan Mortis is now in plastic!

The Leviathan Mortis is now production ready! This was actually the first of the new generation of Leviathan I designed back in 2002... I still have a soft spot for the Mortis. Unlike the old resin kits the fingers and scythe will remain completely poseable. Just like the Crusader, the Mortis is highly dynamic, arms move, legs move, waist moves.... great fun and ready for some smack down.

When will this hit retail? About 3-4 months, we hope... We will not make this available until all the Kickstarter backers have been shipped and are well on their way. Stay tuned for updates!
Cheers Mark

Right in the feels...

From a YouTube comment on a preview video a guy made Stephen made about Hidden in Plain Sight:
"I realize I must thank you Stephen. Because you showed me this game, my mother and father and sister and I can finally play a game together. ^.^"

Thoughts on Slender: The Arrival

Slender: The Arrival is the commercial version of a free game called Slender. The original was based upon a a simple concept: find eight pieces of paper before the Slenderman, a now famous creature that started out as an internet meme, gets you. I wrote a blog post about the game when it was released and as a short experiment I found it quite interesting, but wondered how one would make it into a longer experience. So when I heard a commercial version was in the works I became quite curious, and gave it a go soon after release.

My initial guess was that the game would essentially be like the original, but set in different locations. Each of these would have special collectibles, instead of the original's pages, and some form of modifiers, e.g. mud that makes movement slower. So when I launched the game, I was quite surprised to find out that it started out as an adventure game. Slender:  The Arrival began with my car having broken down somewhere in the forest; I was met by a beauti…

Update: Puzzle Retreat 1.9

The good Puzzle Retreat was updated recently, adding a new tile: the bonsai tree. They start as small plants, like these
and when and ice block lands on them, they grow to large trees, which cannot be crossed by ice blocks.
But the most interesting thing about this update is that the old puzzle packs have been rearranged and, as a result of this, all packs (except for the new "Garden") were unlocked for free.

So it looks like there are plenty of reasons to update to the latest version :-)

©2013 Nicola Salmoria. Unauthorized use and/or duplication without express and written permission is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicola Salmoria and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Review: Cubo di Coppo for iPhone and iPad

Cubo di Coppo is Italian for "Coppo's Cube"; Eugenio Coppo being the name of the Italian architect who invented it (as an aside, I like his sculptures too).

The game resembles Sudoku, but is played on three faces of a cube.
The rules are a bit more complicated than Sudoku, and are difficult to explain briefly with words, so let me use the game's built-in instructions (click the images to enlarge them):
The iPhone's screen is a bit too small to play the game comfortably, and it's difficult to tap the cell you want to select. This could probably be improved with the addition of zoom support. In the meantime, an iPad is recommended.

Due to the higher number of cells and values, these puzzles are harder to solve than Sudoku; not necessarily because they require more complex reasoning, but simply because it is more difficult to visually scan the playing area. I found them tiring more than enjoyable; but bear in mind that I can't stand Sudoku anymore, so I'm…