Archives for : Iceberg Interactive

Armada 2526 Gold Ed Random Giveaway!

Hey All, back in May 2011 I reviewed Armada 2526 and it’s Expansion Supernova. Now Armada 2526 and it’s expansion have been bundled together in a nice gold edition and guess what. Thanks to the wonderful folks at Iceberg Interactive, I have 2 boxed copies of the recently released Armada 2526 Gold Edition to give away.

Now this great 4x game with realtime battles is worth the interest of any 4x player or space game lover. So go read my review, then come back and follow these simple directions for your chance at winning a copy of this great game.

To enter the random giveaway you must do the following things

1.  Follow DarkstarMatryx on Twitter
2.  Tweet “@DarkstarMatryx @Iceberg_Int #PCGames I want to win Armada 2526 Gold Ed”
3.  Post this tweet on Friday or Saturday March 23rd-24th 2012 CST.
4.  Only one entry per person.

Two winners will be randomly selected from those who enter.  I will contact the winners via Twitter private messages for details on where to mail the product.


Family Farm Review

I know what your thinking, kiddie farm game. I know the title just screams it, but it’s really not. Family Farm by Hammerware is a surprisingly fun farm simulation for the PC published by Iceburg Interactive. This isn’t like Sim Farm where everything was horrendously serious and complicated though. This has more the feel of The Sims if it was played on a farm instead of a house.

When you start this game you set up a profile and as you play you gain experience that increases your game rank and allows you access to more variety as well as more difficult stages. The game is divided into Story modes and a Custom Mode. Story mode is 10 preset scenarios; 4 easy, 3 medium and 3 hard. Within each story you have a goal to complete the story, as well as a harder goal to earn a gold trophy. Each year there will be a simple goal to complete that helps you earn extra cash and experience to your rank. Not to mention that everything you do helps to increase your rank.

Custom Mode, allows you to set up a free mode of your own choosing to do whatever you please using whatever you have already unlocked. You set the time limit, the house, the map, and family size and you’re ready to start your game. One of the nice things about Custom Mode is once you’ve unlocked the first house and map at rank 5 you can use custom mode to increase your rank more if you don’t feel like playing any scenarios. Allowing you to test out the various plants and animals on your farm to see methods to make money faster all the while increasing your rank to allow for the use of other aspects in the scenarios without the pressure of a goal to accomplish within in a set time. A relaxing change of pace.

I’ve played the heck out of this game, and found that it balances the weight of a farm simulation game and a relaxing game well. Even in the story modes you may feel a little pressure to beat the scenario to get the gold Trophy or just the satisfaction of beating the scenario, but it never feels overwhelming. I found this a refreshing aspect to the game. While this game features a nice set of aspects as well. Such as raising a family, characters who grow in skill individually based on the tasks you set before them. Not to mention the ability to hire on extra hands when you need to accomplish more than your family can do on it’s own. It allows you to take out a loan, but as you start receiving money back it goes straight into paying off your debt.

In this game you won’t be worrying about buying new equipment for your farms. It’s more about having a functional and happy family running the farm. Push them to hard and they will get tired wait to long to get food ready and they will work slower. Increase your house size to allow your family to have a baby who will eventually join the rest of the family in maintaining the farm. Plant flowers and place decorations around the farm land to increase the moral of the hired help as well as the family. This does help increase their productivity. The game has a lot of little things you can do and it can be important to use the right family member to do certain tasks to be more affective.

The game allows you to zoom out for a wider view or in so you can get a good look at the family as they work. As the farm expands I found myself rarely zooming in since I had so many hands, both family and hired that I needed to keep moving. Sadly they don’t just go and do the next nearest job when they complete one. They instead will sit down and relax or if they are close enough to food they will go and eat if they are hungry.

With all this game has to offer and the hours of playtime, I have to give it a 4.5 out of 5. It’s not a five, but I think any gamer of any age can enjoy this game to some degree. It’s worth looking into and I am glad I played it. This is just one of those games you know you will come back to again and again when you want a little lighthearted fun.

Armada 2526: Supernova Review

Ntronium Games developed and Iceberg Interactive published Armada 2526 for the PC. With the expansion, Supernova having just been released, new life is being brought to this turn based strategy game. Armada 2526 is all about a bunch of races attempting to spread across the universe and accomplish their goals to win. While the Supernova expansion adds so many things to the game I will be splitting this review into two sections: Armada 2526 and Armada 2526: Supernova.

Armada 2526 without the Expansion:

Armada 2526 is a 4X space game reminiscent of games like Civilization. Everything is done in turns. You will meet other races and have the options of diplomacy as well as open war for dominance. This game has a fairly robust diplomatic set of options available to you, not to mention a large tech selection and a real-time battle system, on top of its turn based aspects. We’ll start with the tutorial because even for veterans of this genre you can always learn something new.

First off I have to say the Tutorial was very informative and helpful in a lot of ways. Like a lot of tutorials at first it forces you to follow certain steps. It pretty quickly moves you to the point where you’re doing more and more one your own. After you reach the end of the major lessons your on your own to finish the match. Which is you and two other races and your goal to win is to destroy one of those races. It still gives you helpful information as you find new systems and objects so you never get to lost even after it says now take out the enemy to finish the tutorial. This is a task I failed at miserably at, but I learned a lot about diplomacy, researching technologies, fighting battles, and even some strategies by watching how the enemy AI decided to stomp me into the ground. Now some people might wonder why a tutorial would be that difficult I thought it was great because it gave me a much better idea of what I would face in the other scenarios.

Selecting new game offers up 4 Scenarios; Kull 2 Players, The Rim 17 Players, Tutorial, 3 Players, and Twelve Races 12 Players. All are set to run for 500 turns. You can also start a custom game. The Custom game, allows you to set up 104 Players, The Difficulty, number of turns, The Map to use or to use a randomly made map. You control the star density as well as whether the stars are mostly centrally located or spread throughout the map. All the players you chose to have, You can pick their race and factions. Since there are some pre-made factions in the game and 12 races to chose from. You can also set which players are AI and which are players in the hotseat mode of play. Since the game is turn based all players can play from the same PC in with hotseat turned on. Without the expansion this is your only way to play with others.

All the races have different victory conditions. Some races even lose victory points for destroying other races. These differences force you to change tactics while playing these different races. It also effects how you will deal with them when you meet them amongst the stars. Armada supports a large selection of stars you can run into some of which you need special ships to create colonies on. With over 100 technologies to research you are pushed to focus on certain technologies to gain the upper hand against the computer AI’s. This is very important as that the AI’s are not push overs and really can be quite aggressive.

Building new colonies to expand your range of space you can view as well as colonize is how you progress across the star map. With a number of building types for your colonies to build some being dependent on the solar system your building them in. You are left with a number of options as well as reasons to transport people from one colony to another. To build the next building. It won’t let you build more buildings than your people can support So keeping a good population amongst your colonies is important.

When you go into battle you have two options. The first option is to just let the computer figure out who would win, for players looking to play a more speedy game this is nice and what I was used to in most games of this genre. The other option is more of a real-time tactile battle where you can select groups of ships and tell them what enemy ships to target as well as what formation to use. This is a fairly complex system to get used to, but can be very advantageous to get used to. The enemies battle tactics are usually pretty straight forward so getting good at this can definitely give you a better chance at beating the odds.

To top all this off the game has a map editor built into it, so you can build your own universes to play your custom games on. The map editor is pretty easy to use even with it’s many options available to select. If you’re looking to do more than just make a map, well the game supports modifications. With a majority of the game being in easy to read and edit XML documents you can add/remove a lot of things to this game and how it plays. Ntronium Games website’s forum helps you out with this and provides links to some mods already out there for the game.

Without the expansion this game is a 4 out of 5. I would have rated this a 5 out of 5 because it is just such a great game, but it is one that is not easy to play unless you are a fan of this genre. This difficulty curve and it’s lack of multiplayer support outside of sharing the same computer I think really hurts it and would detour many. Thankfully the expansion addresses the multiplayer issue.

Armada 2526 with the Supernova Expansion:

At first I looked at Supernova as something of a mod to the game, but it really is much more. It changes aspects of the planets, adds new races, more technologies, but above all it adds LAN and Play By Email support for those dying to play against other fans of the game.

So the two races it adds are a floral and a crab race. The crab race deals better with oceanic planets, but overall the races are more of a bonus than anything too special. I am sure a dedicated modder could add races to the game and have similar results. The expansion also adds a lot more technologies to pursue and changes up the tech tree a little, this allowed them to add a number of other features and tweaks to the game, like a new scenario the Triangle.

At this point the expansion doesn’t seem to be all that special, but it does a lot more. The planet changes are a huge change in my eyes. Now planets are oceanic, or a number of other types. These types of planets have more pluses in some areas and negatives in other areas. This isn’t all that has changed with the planets you colonize though. Now special events like solar flares in a system can stop ship movement, or a planet with old tech found on it could increase it’s ability to research certain techs on that planet. There are some planets that you people will believe are cursed and as a result buildings can be damaged for no reason, the rate of growth can slow down and other bad effects. You can also find planets that have features that speed up the population growth rate or attract tourists and can help increase you profits.

Visually some things have changed one of which is the colony window which shows you what type of planet it is from it’s background. This can be distracting when trying to read the number of units you have on a planet or what buildings you’ve already built. In a game with as many options as this one has it does help you see quickly what might be the best thing to build on that planet.

With the new planet system, and updates to the technologies and diplomatic aspects as well as the new races you are getting a lot out of this expansion. I can’t stress enough how much the new planet system improves the game though. Even with all this, when you install the expansion the original game is still remaining and available to play as well as the expansion is also moddable. So you can update any old mods to work with the expansion and get some of the best of both the old and the new.

Would I recommend getting this expansion, my answer is a simple, but emphatic yes. If you enjoyed Armada 2526 before the expansion, You will surely enjoy what the expansion brings to this game. Just don’t get it for the new races alone, they aren’t really game changing, it is all the other aspects that makes this expansion so worth getting. As far as an expansion goes I would say it is a must have for anyone who has the game or plans to pick it up.

With the expansion this game is a 4.5 out of 5. I love it, with the added functions this game only got better. The only reason I can’t give it a 5 is it is still a game that I feel some people couldn’t handle the sheer amount of things to keep track of or might get annoyed by the time the game takes.

I can’t wait to start working on my own mod to the game.

Starpoint Gemini Review

Little Green Men’s Starpoint Gemini published by Iceberg-Interactive is a space based action RPG for the PC. Starpoint Gemini features an interesting story in a for the most part free roam star system. With a few bonuses for people who just want to do their own thing or even create their own thing. That’s right folks the game is very moddable so as long as people are playing this game their will be more to do and see than what I’m going to talk about here.

In SPG you take on the role of a Captain who’s ship has been trapped in time. You are brought out of the rift to find out, you’ve missed a lot. That includes that the war you fought for ended up being for nothing. No happy reunion of lost pilots here. Sort of a strange start as your thrust into doing whatever you want until you find the next person you need to talk with. This is a good thing as you can hopefully get in a nice upgrade or two before going on your next mission (or Campaign storyline). Much like in real life no one seems to want to give it to you straight and they all seem to be holding information back.

For me, this gave me a bit of early on resentment towards the very people who saved me. Your character seems to be agitated by it as well. I could be wrong he tends to seem agitated by most things, as if he’s better than them. Anyways, into this new system you go to find your way amongst the stars, bandits, merchants, miners, researchers and militant folk. Early on your motivation is to find out what happened to you and the Gemini system as a whole and what is happening to it now.

Since I won’t ruin the story of the Starpoint Gemini campaign mode lets move on to the modes of play and the features of the game. When you start the game up, you can go to options and alter some settings like the difficulty as well as the sound. I recommend turning up the voice volume up. Alright, now once you start the game you will need to create the appearance of your character and his name. It lets you alter facial structure, hair style, skin color, and what primary abilities he will start with. After that bit of the game is taken care of its on to picking the mode; Tutorial, Starpoint Gemini, or Life Goes On.

Lets start with the tutorial. It’s long, so don’t start this until you can set some time to really work through it. This game is not a jump in and just go game. There are a lot of features and abilities to learn and options available to you in this game. Now I know this may scare some people off, but the tutorial took me an hour and a half to complete. I’m glad I did it though, as I learned a lot about how to play and what I was doing that just reading the manual would have left me wondering what I was doing.

Starpoint Gemini is the campaign mode of the game. This mode is a mix of free roam with story line progression. Your actions will affect how the different factions and organizations see you. You’ll also gain experience from doing storyline missions and taking commissions from starbases. It’s pretty important to save often since it isn’t that uncommon to start a fight only to find that more enemy ships arrive to make things more difficult.

Finally there is Life Goes On mode. This is a completely free roam mode. You have all the features of the campaign without the storyline to force you into specific paths. You gain experience and gain levels and abilities just as you would in the campaign mode. With 50 sectors to explore and do as you will in. Life Goes On mode offers that freedom you may want away from having to follow any storyline.

The rpg elements of the game allow you as the captain to gain abilities and stats that give bonuses to your ship and other aspects. With multiple choices each level as well as reasons to save level points to increase stats that follow your play style you can play the game a different way every time you start a new game. With that in mind the LGM team decided to make the game extremely moddable. They have on there site a community tab that will bring you to a forum that discusses mods to the game and will have User created mods on it as well.

If you’re like me you probably won’t go through the extra effort of creating any modifications, but it is nice to know I can and that as long as they help keep the community going they can continue to bring fresh ideas and ships to the game.

The downsides of the game are the learning curve and some bad voice acting. The incredibly long tutorial is a bit of a turn off.

Based on the initial content alone I give this game a 4 out of 5.

I think the games initial difficulty may turn away many players, but I recommend keeping at it. SPG definitely gets better once you get the feel of the game.