Attack of the Apps: Starbase Orion, Pinball Arcade, The Room, Elder Sign

It’s been a good couple of weeks for my favorite apps. Starbase Orion, Pinball Arcade, The Room, and Elder Sign: Omens have all seen significant updates.

Starbase Orion

One of the biggest updates was to Starbase Orion, 4X space exploration homage to Master of Orion. The game’s multiplayer has been reworked to rely on Chimera Software’s dedicated game server. This allows for continuous asynchronous turn taking which greatly speeds up multiplayer games; two people can now be taking their turns almost simultaneously. It also introduces time limits on multiplayer turns, which helps ensure you don’t get stranded in a game with do-nothing players.

The game has been rebalanced: research stations and orbital laboratories require you to actually staff them with scientists, shields are more than pretty bubbles, and racial attributes have been tweaked. It’s reinvigorated my interest in the game, and made things more challenging.

Pinball Arcade

Terminator 2, the classic pinball game based on the Arnold Schwarzenegger/James Cameron movie of the same name, is now available for Pinball Arcade (iOS, Android).

FarSight Studios raised the funds to make the table via Kickstarter, which covered the myriad of licensing fees.

Other notable speculative fiction inspired tables available in the app include Black Knight, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Twilight Zone, Attack from Mars, Creature from the Black Lagoon 3D, and Black Hole.

The Room

The Room was an imaginative, atmospheric game by Fireproof Studios in which players attempted to solve a number of physical puzzles. All of these revolved around trying to open boxes or pieces of furniture through a series of locks, tumblers, sliding pieces, and other mechanical riddles.

I loved the game and my only complaint was that it was over too soon. Fireproof is working on a sequel to be released later in Fall 2013, but I want more now. Thankfully they’ve obliged with The Room: Epilogue which includes an all new puzzle (or maybe more … I’m taking it slow this time and not rushing through this unexpected expansion).

Elder Sign: Omens

Elder Sign: Omens saw some bug fix releases over the summer, but the big update came in early summer with the Curse of the Dark Pharaoh. This is a new campaign that takes your investigators out of the museum on an expedition to Egypt. There they must recruit help in Cairo, wander the desert for clues, and finally delve into the tomb of the Dark Pharaoh himself.

It’s devilishly hard; I came close to beating it once, but most times I don’t even make it to the tomb. The expansion also came with the Hastur campaign, which was actually something of a disappointment — I was hoping for a much more King in Yellow vibe, and while there are touches of the dread play here and there, the campaign feels overly generic.

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