October 11th, 2015

John Ross

A post from Pocket Tactics that I liked enough to share.

This is my comments found in this post here.
Less than a week ago
@gosenbach called me to this thread by name. The calling was completely unrequired as this specific thread sits both on the discussions link as well as my own personal wheelhouse of interest.

Yet I was called indeed here. To learn of two games of madness and cannibalism, two games that promise to let you explore the edges of a persons limits. Is it worth the risk to reach out for that possible gem just beyond the next door or safer to turn back while you are just bloodied and not yet fallen.

Here, should I reach out and pluck these up like two orbs from the face of time or acknowledge the whispers of a weakening sanity that my promises to the cold unthinking every rolling time (present and future) hold no space for two more.

They do sparkle so. And in just the right way to promise a rush of blood and glory that also calls to me. But a distant village on that same river of time guided by the ferryman echos the cries of others. Cries of being portable and free rather than tethered to a small desk in the living room.

Oh! If only the mancave still held the throne set before the four glorious monitors and three computers that it had at its' height. There one of the three was a masterpiece of engineering. A rig fit for the catalog of distractions it held so tightly. Even the lesser of the three would still be a fine holder for these orbs.

But alas all of those three have also fallen to the claws of time and abuse at my hands. My PCs of old are but scraps recycled into who knows what. The remaining digital amusements are much lesser constructs. A castoff from my wife's place of employment services as my main data entry port. For which it does well enough but it is no machine to enter the virtual realms as freely or as deeply as I did of old.

Apple by way of their prophet Jobs have given me freedom to roam on machines that just now are approaching the points I knew of old. There is much to be said to be able to sit upon many a different throne while fighting off Thin-men, lizard men and other distractions. Indeed the fact that when I really seek a deep escape I have multiple of these devices in front of me attempting to recreate the four windows into the digital I once had speaks of their success. Or my own desperation.

Even on such journeys they are best when I lose myself completely to one window above all others. Then and now I ache for a story, a narrative or a feeling, that consumes all of my thoughts and power for a time.

These two do offer to let that happen. As with most things there is no way to reclaim success if the promise fails, nor any sign that these two have dropped their promises like so many before.

But to wait, to count out the days and weeks and months before they might yet reach the mobile sphere against the knowledge that right now I could capture these and bind them to an aging relic like myself and use them as I see fit...

Such things keep me awake and ranting on the internet at the early morning hours while I prepare the valentines gift for my wife. The same who keeps me to a budget that would be broken should I give in here and now.

But still the call goes on.
John Ross

Two more comments posted on Pocket Tactics that I would like to share here

This thread is about the game The Walking Dead: Assault

I was one of the few that picked this up as soon as it was available and here are my thoughts on it.


It made for an amusing lunch half-hour anyway. The game play isn't perfect. You cannot tell your guys to attack a specific zombie (or at least I haven't found the way yet) so the crawlers will be shot before the fast walker coming at you if they are closer. But for a real time tactics game I am liking the interface so far.

The graphics are cell shaded to look like the comic. That results in a very nice visual effect as you have the usual pinch zoom, two finger twist to look around the map. It also uses the comic book characters, so if you only know the series from the TV show they don't quite look the same. With it being top down they are already fairly abstracted anyway so it likely isn't going to be much of an issue for most people.
So far (map 4) damage seems to stay on the characters so wounds early on can catch up with you.
The only downside is the minor one of the game begging you to tweet, like or link it to as many social media sites as possible. 'I cleared the hospital in 3 minutes, can you do better? Buy the game now' sort of tweets. I am not so I am not getting the extra stars (used for unlocking things) which may catch up to me on a game balance side. More thoughts after I play at bit more tonight and sleep on it.

Bottom line? I've spend more money on worse.

Another possible issue is that the core game has only 9 or 10 maps. They look like they are planning to release more maps based on each comic book season, with no clue as to the price of the additional content.

One other note, I see that the game center score board shows all the other players who have signed into the game. So far only 1603 people have got involved, but this is also day one.

Then a second post on the same thread

Final thoughts on this app for now:

I finished all the maps, giving it a to finished game play time of about two and a half hours. The leaderboards encourage you to go back and play maps again to get a better time, which leads to more supply/star points for unlocking characters or buying upgrades, which makes the game easier to go faster. If you are not a perfectionist however, the replay value is low. While on the later maps you do get some randomized elements, the major events stay the same each time. Enter this crossroads get ambushed by seven zombies. Walk towards that pile of supplies six zombies come out of the building.

Being real time there is some tension on moving your characters correctly. You cannot pause the game and plan out just where you want them to walk. They will also move up when they run out of ammo to engage in close combat if you are not watching for it, sometimes getting them into deep trouble.

For game balance they have done a nice job of mixing strengths and weaknesses on the first 9 characters. Weapon speed, strength, range and sound are all factors that are weighted against character speed, ammo and special power. The medic, which can heal all your characters, comes with a short range, weak but loud weapon. So if she gets into a prolonged fight there is a good chance that all that noise will summon more zombies getting you into an even bigger mess. The sniper is slow, making him a poor choice on most speed runs. Other characters have no ranged weapon at all, because their special power is worth it. (In theory, I haven't tried all the mixes yet)

Each character additionally has some effect on the group as a whole. Some make them move faster, have increased range or get a faster rate of fire. These factors do give you a lot of space to explore mixes. Again this is for the perfectionists who want to get up on the leader boards.

The maps offer up bonus rewards if you do them with some restriction. Finish the map in 4 minutes or don't use any special powers kind of limits. These usually require some planning on how you want to complete them. One map has you either keeping all the hunters alive (NPC's that shoot both you and the zombies) or allowing the zombies to eat the hunters to get the bonus. If your sniper gets off a shot at a hunter that could cost you both options leading to replaying the level again. If you are that sort of person.

I quite enjoyed playing the game and as I am that sort of person (#25 on the leader boards right now, with a plan to get up 10 spaces with a new team on the forest map) I know I will be playing it for the rest of the weekend at least. But there is also some questions to be asked.

New characters to be unlocked and added is a big one. As I said they did a good job balancing the first nine characters. But there are a lot of characters in the comics, balancing all of them will be quite challenging.

The unknown cost of the additional maps and no published release schedule for them makes them a big question. Frequent cheap updates would be good, but also push the cost of the app up towards. Slow, expensive updates might be a deal breaker for many players.

It isn't a bad real time tactical game, but if you are not a perfectionist the limited number of original maps will be a problem. The $1.99 price tag feels about right for the game, but they do say it is an introductory price.

For me a 4 out of 5. Not perfect, but quite playable.


It turns out I was right to be concerned about the additional maps and no release schedule. Last time I checked they never did release any of those additional maps, and that was after giving them two years.