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Best of GDC 2015: ‘Crashlands’, ‘Does Not Commute’, ‘Sorcery! 3’ and ‘Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon’

As you all know, last week was GDC 2015 and it was a week-long whirlwind of developer meetings, game demos, walking and Denny’s. Everyone is in town all at once and we try to meet with as many people and see as many iOS games as possible. It’s exhausting and overwhelming and fun all at the same time, and that’s without ever even setting foot on the actual show floor. With all of our GDC coverage finally out there in the open (save for a couple of demos that are held up with embargo silliness) it’s time to go back through and highlight the games we found to be our favorite. Here are four games from GDC that you can look forward to playing this year that stood out to us and why.


 

Crashlands

GDC 2015: ‘Crashlands’ is a Grand Adventure with a Hefty Dose of Humor – The three brothers that comprise developer Butterscotch Shenanigans were content making mostly smaller, mostly silly games for the past several years. However, when one of them was diagnosed with cancer, he began to ponder his legacy and ultimately decided that if god forbid their next game were to be his last he wanted to go out making his dream game. That dream game is Crashlands. It’s an absolutely massive adventure based around exploration, crafting and combat. There is so much to see and so much to do, but somehow it’s all been streamlined down into a super mobile-friendly package. Whereas similar crafting games are heavy on the menus, Crashlands intelligently handles the more mundane tasks so you can simply enjoy your adventuring.


 

Does Not Commute

GDC 2015: ‘Does Not Commute’ Isn’t Just a Clever Name, It’s Also Hilariously FunDoes Not Commute from Mediocre Games, at its most basic level, is about navigating a vehicle from a start point to an end point, and doesn’t sound very exciting. However, once you successfully get one vehicle where it needs to go you’re given another vehicle to guide, and the catch is that your original vehicle is now following the path you previously set for it while you’re trying to navigate the new vehicle to its destination. This cycle repeats over and over until eventually you’re dealing with a map full of vehicles driving the routes you laid out for them, and now must live with for better or worse. It’s tricky to explain, but should make perfect sense if you watch the video above. Does Not Commute was easily the most fun I had with any game at GDC, so make sure to keep an eye out for it.


 

Sorcery! 3

GDC 2015: ‘Sorcery! 3’ Takes Digital Gamebook Adventuring on a Trip Through Time – If you’re only casually interested in iOS gaming, you may only be familiar with Inkle Studios for their open-ended gamebook adventure 80 Days ($4.99), which has received praise both inside and outside of the gaming community. However, the foundation of 80 Days was laid with Inkle’s excellent digital adaptations of Steve Jackson’s classic 4-part Sorcery! gamebook series. Both Sorcery! ($4.99) and Sorcery! 2 ($4.99) are incredible adventures for your iOS device, and the third entry looks to maintain that high bar of quality while introducing a couple of big, new features. One is that the game is totally non-linear now, so you can tackle its many quests in whichever order you like, creating your own adventure along the way. The other is a time-travelling mechanic that lets you visit parts of the world as they were in the past which can in turn affect the world of the present, creating all sorts of opportunities for puzzles and interesting storytelling.


 

Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon

GDC 2015: ‘Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon’ is Finally Near Completion – The original Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor ($1.99) was our Game of the Year pick way back in 2009, which is practically the Stone Age in the world of mobile gaming. We’ve been dying for a sequel ever since, and after seeing it at varying levels of completion over the past couple of GDCs, that sequel, Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon, is at long last nearly upon us. The intuitive touchscreen gestures of the original which made movement and web creation so much fun return here, as does a heavy emphasis on story and puzzles. The game will also incorporate some real-life data to further the immersion factor; like using your device’s location data to determine the time of day and weather in the game, or having certain options or abilities become available during certain phases of the real-life moon cycle.