In ATVG’s part of the world, it was a Sunday. On Saturday I posted this list of 30 games that were yet to come to Apple Arcade, and less than 24 hours later, I was already updating the story, crossing a couple of them off.
Two of the games – Redout: Space Assault, and The Bradwell Conspiracy – I was eagerly anticipating, while the other two – Pilgrims and Nightmare Farm – weren’t even on ATVG’s radar.
While it’s not unprecedented for games to release to the App Store on a weekend, it’s certainly unusual. Years ago it became the norm for studios to release on a Thursday, and while other weekdays would see new titles, Thursday became the most common by far. But Saturday or Sunday? Get outta town!
Not that I’m complaining. Who doesn’t like waking up on a Sunday morning to find four new games had come to the subscription service you’d already subscribed to?
I’d mused in Saturday’s post on what sort of release schedule new Apple Arcade titles would follow. Is this to be the start of a new patten, in which each weekend new titles will be delivered to waking gamers? Maybe there will be no set pattern. Maybe small batches of new titles will just come when they’re good and ready, having been baked to a lovely golden brown by master chefs in studios around the world.
Remains to be seen.
For now, let’s have a look at this quartet of freshly baked goods, in which we have a first-person narrative adventure, a gorgeous looking story in which farming seems to be the main mechanic, a puzzle adventure from the makers of Machinarium and Samorost, and a space shooter.
It’s nice to get four such disparate genres all at once. If only one new game had arrived, chances are it may not be in your wheelhouse of favoured styles, but getting four new releases which would barely overlap on anyone’s Venn diagram, chances are much higher that players will find something to enjoy, possibly even more than one.
The Bradwell Conspiracy – A Brave Plan (developer) – Bossa Studios (publisher)
With the pedigree of those involved with The Bradwell Conspiracy, expectations have been high with this release.
Made up of team members with credits such as Assassin’s Creed Origins, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Tomb Raider, voice acting by Jane Espenson (Battlestar Galactica), and music by Austin Wintory (Journey), it’s a team that certainly seems qualified for the job.
The somewhat tongue-in-cheek genre descriptor of ‘walking simulator’ feels a little overused and derogatory, but that’s what will be used for The Bradwell Conspiracy. The term has really just been a lazy attempt to categorise a style of game that’s evolved from the point-and-click adventures of yesteryear. The modern additions of freedom of movement and greater interactivity have fleshed out the much loved classic genre, in-turn adding more substance, depth and immersion.
Players in The Bradwell Conspiracy awake following a disaster of some sort while experiencing a solstice at Stonehenge, and proceeding to attempt to solve a mystery uncovered by the event.
There looks to be some interesting mechanics put to use here, with in-game AR glasses employed to enable puzzling, and a relationship with the game’s NPC that A Brave Plan promises will be charming and meaningful.
Nightmare Farm – Hit Point Co. Ltd.
Lovely handcrafted visuals feature in this interesting looking combination of heartfelt narrative and farming mechanics.
Not much to say about this one until ATVG gets some hands-on time with it. The very poetic App Store description of a girl with a wounded heart looking to heal her pain and sadness, suggests an artful experience mechanised with the symbolic activity of tending to Mother Nature, and attempting to grow that which sustains us.
Pilgrims – Amanita Design
Back in my days as a staff writer for Grab It Magazine, I had the pleasure of playing and writing about Amanita Design’s Botanicula for one of the publication’s app episodes.
While doing so, I had the realisation that if ever mankind were to make contact with extraterrestrial life, the minds at Amanita Design are the ones we should employ to attempt communication.
The studio’s mastery of communicating non-verbally, through the use of symbolism, aural cues, and expressive characterisation is unsurpassed, and it looks as though those same techniques are all being deployed once again in Pilgrims.
Half the pleasure of Amanita Design’s releases is experimenting with the tools laid out before you by combining items, making symbolic connections, and just simply touching and prodding for the fun of seeing what the studios’s minds – minds that seem to operate on a wholly strange and elevated level – have come up with in this outing.
Headphones or a decent sound system are always a must for Amanita’s games, as so much thoughtfulness always goes into the crafting of the sound design.
I look forward to setting myself up in a moodily lit room with no distractions to see what sort of mind-expanding treats Pilgrims has to offer.
Redout: Space Assault – 34BigThings
I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I expected Redout: Space Assault to be a 3D space shooter with full freedom of movement, as opposed to an ‘on-rails’ guided experience. Players have freedom to traverse the screen, while the action is funnelled through a pre-set path (at least for the first two missions I’ve played, and I’m assuming this will be the overall style).
From what I’ve seen so far, production values are high in 34BigThing’s release, with a cel-shaded, anime-style presentation.
Shooting in the first two missions I’ve tried is handled automatically by guiding your ship towards enemies, until a site locks on and fires a salvo, while you’ll still have to dodge incoming fire, made easier with the use of a left and right dodge roll.
Currency is available to be found and collected, no doubt for weapon and ship upgrades. Collecting currency in Apple Arcade games is not the free-to-play drag that it can be outside of the service, given that it’s all there now to enable better gameplay, rather than monetise. It will take some time for my head to adjust to this new way of thinking when collecting coins in-game. And it will be a very welcome adjustment.
It will be interesting to see how the missions evolve in Redout, and what sort of scenarios the studio will be dropping players into. It’s certainly very pretty.
If you’re new to The Apple TV Gaming Blog (ATVG), or just new to Apple TV gaming in general, or both, then the best place to get acquainted is our Best Apple TV games of 2018 article. You’ll find a great collection of games to play, and a bunch of useful links to our previous site content. Welcome aboard. Enjoy the ride.