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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Review: Armored Hunter Gunhound EX

In case you hadn't noticed, almost all of the non-40k games I've reviewed on this blog have been for indy games. That's mostly because many indy games these days feature a lot of the SNES/Genesis era qualities that I have only grown more fond of as I have gotten older. I like pixel art. I like side-scrolling. I like quick, engrossing action. I like gameplay that rewards experience and dexterity. I like brutally hard games, the ones that make you really, truly angry. And I love the glorious, rewarding feeling that washes over me when I finally beat that boss I've fought two dozen times.

I like old-school games.

Armored Hunter Gunhound EX is a proper old-school game in all of those respects and even improves on the conventions I would have expected in the mid-nineties. I haven't met the creative people behind it, but it seems clear to me that they grew up on the same games that I did. They played those games and learned a lot from them. When it came time to make their own game they did what they knew and what they were passionate about making. They infused an old genre with some genuinely funny humor, characters that are refreshingly round and a plot with turns so mature I found myself questioning whether events were really unfolding the way it seemed. All of this comes across smoothly in the translated English, but if you're inclined you can also switch the settings to Japanese to get the original Japanese subtitles and menus.

Yet for all that Dracure Software innovated on a tried-and-true formula, the game still keeps close enough to its roots that it doesn't overstep the boundaries that attracted me to it in the first place. If you have ever played Target Earth, Cybernator or Metal Warriors then you have an idea of what the game plays like. It's a side-scrolling, mech-based shooter. You have infinite boost on the ground and a gauge for your thrusters in the air. Once you get used to it, you can scoot around the stages with the boost on all the time, wreaking havoc on everyone around you with an arsenal of unlockable weapons. All of the weapons I have unlocked have been useful and I find that no matter what setup I have, I use all of weapons constantly. It's really gratifying to unleash volleys of missiles in between auto-cannon and machine gun fire, and then to zoom in with a power fist to smash enemies in the face.

I did find that I had to set up my controller well in order to get the most out of the controls. There are a lot of buttons and you really need to be comfortable using them all in order to beat levels without dying. I use the MotionInJoy drivers and found out that I had to set it to a normal UID and then assign the buttons in the menu using the keyboard (Z for OK, X for cancel!) in order to play. If you're using an XBox controller, I hear it works fine without any fuss.

Gunhound EX is an excellent game available through Steam. It can also be found through Playism, the direct distribution service of the guys who localized it. Their work bridges the gap between the English and Japanese indy game markets. I know many of their in-house translators and editors and I also know some of the freelancers who translate for them. Their work is fantastic across the board. They've localized other excellent titles such as One Way HeroicsPapers, Please, AstebreedShadowrun Returns, Machinarium, Inside a Star-filled Sky, Jamsouls and the Pixel Junk games, just to give you a (brief) glimpse of their tastes and portfolio.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Rumors: 7th Vehicle Damage and Perils of the Warp Charts

Some new rumors (or perhaps leaks!) that I came across on BoLS a few moments ago. 

The vehicle chart is roughly what I would expect factoring in for the rumored 7+ explodes result. The thing that really caught my eye was (obviously) flyers crashing on a 1-2 out of d6 when immobilized. The old locked velocity rule never sat right with me when damaged mobility should logically make a plane crash. This is a welcome change in my eyes.

The perils chart is interesting, but I hoped it would be a lot more interesting (read: utterly brutal and unforgiving). Psychic powers seem like they're about to get even more useful than they have been. While perils is likely to happen more often with people rolling 5 or more dice and praying they don't double up on sixes, I don't see the need to reward someone for tempting the warp beyond casting the spell they were attempting. That's the inherent reward and it seems sufficient to me. 

I've seen people on the boards who think they're going to summon a million Pink Horrors with fifteen Heralds of Tzeentch. I think they are likely in for a surprise when they nuke themselves and their units too. When not casting powers Tzeentch has very low leadership. This chart would not be terribly friendly to them. Just a few days before 7th comes out (coincidentally on my birthday, though I'll be in Tokyo watching an Uematsu Nobuo concert[!]), so we only have to wait a little longer to see what truth lies behind these rumors. 

via Gary:

Vehicle Damage Table:

1-3 Crew Shaken: vehicle only firing snap shots like normal
4 Crew Stunned: vehicle only firing snap shots and cannot move or pivot. Zooming flyers cannot turn and must move 18". 
5 Weapon Destroyed: as normal and if all weapons have run out of ammunition or or already destroyed count as immobilized
6 Immobilized: Chariots count as Crew Stunned, Flyers 1-2 flyer crashes with Crash and Burn rule. 3+ it counts as crew stunned.An already immobilized vehicle suffering another immobilized result loses an additional hull point.
7+Explodes: D6 radius for a Strenth 4 hit on nearby units. vehicle destroyed

Crash and Burn: lg blast and scatters 2d6 for S6 hits.

Wrecked vehicles are those that lose all their hull points. becomes scenery

Perils of the Warp:
1. Dragged into the Warp: Psyker takes a leadership test, if passed suffers 1 wound or glancing hit no saves.if failed he is removed as a casualty and his unit takes d6 S6 AP1 hits. The hits come from the psyker for allocation
2. Mental Purge: Psyker suffers 1 wound/glancing hit no saves. randomly select one power from the psyker. its lost for the rest of the game. 
3. Power Drain: Psyker suffers 1 wound/glancing hit no saves. if its the psychic phase, both players lose d3 warp charge points 
4. Psychic Backlash: Psyker suffers 1 wound/glancing hit no saves.
5. Empyric Feedback: Psyker takes a leadership test. if failed Psyker suffers 1 wound/glancing hit no saves. If passed no effect.
6. Warp Surge: Psyker takes a leadership test. if failed Psyker suffers 1 wound/glancing hit no saves. If passed psyker gains a 3+ invul, fleshbane, armour bane, and smash until the next friendly psychic phase.

7th Ed Psychic Powers!

The new 7th edition psychic powers leaked today and there are a number interesting points herein. Of note is that the Sanctic Daemonology powers are really fascinating. On the whole they're easier to cast than the counterpart Malefic powers, although on the surface it seems they are not as incredible as summoning troops with wargear or summoning greater daemons. I do see that they match up well with many Grey Knight units, however. A 2++ on Draigo would be incredible. Or 4++ on Terminators would be very helpful. Teleporting slow-moving units like Terminators or Henchmen via Gate of Infinity looks like a powerful tactic as well. And then of course the big surprise is...Vortex of Doom with a Stength D profile! That looks very worth a possible failure and perils.

Other changes worth note are that Misfortune is much less useful now, especially to Eldar. I doubt I'd even keep it if I rolled it. Biomancy has some amazing powers and the ones that were good before only got better. Iron Arm is beyond amazing now that it gives a flat +3 to both S and T. Telepathy got worse in some respects, particularly Hallucination and the loss of Puppet Master, but Invisibility is still very good and Psychic Shrierk, which was my favorite anyway, picked up another six inches of range. Shrouding looks great, but if you read carefully it only buffs models within six inches of the psyker. I don't see it as a great option unless used to protect vehicles or unless used from inside a vehicle.

I like the look of many Telekinesis powers too. Again, some those would work great with Grey Knights. Using Levitation to position shooting units into their sweet spot 24" range stands out as a good option. Sorry for all the GK-centric thoughts, them and Inquisition are the only Imperial armies I really play. Anyway, have a look for yourself. There's a lot to gleam here.

Edit: to get the pictures to display large enough to read the text I'm finding I have to open them in new tabs first. FYI.