With the upcoming release of Onirim in the next month or so being the most recent in a slew of board game apps, it’s safe to say that Asmodee Digital have had quite a busy last few months or so! While Asmodee’s consumption of a number of publishers under its umbrella helps with the amount of titles available for them to port to apps, their digital division has also partnered to produce apps for other publishers like CMON (Potion Explosion) and White Wolf (Mage: the Ascension & Vampire: Prelude). I’m going to focus on 4 specific board game apps in this overview – Colt Express, Mysterium, Potion Explosion & Onirim (in its final beta!). Read on, and if you’re interested in grabbing the first three for mobile (along with other terrific titles), Asmodee Digital is having a great Spring sale until March 26th, 2017!
I’m not Colt Express’ biggest fan, because I’m just not that into programmed movement games. No, not even the cool 3D train can sway me on that. However, I’ve been quite impressed with the app version. It’s slick, the animations are really nice and the art is a great transfer from the cardboard version – even without the cool 3D train.
One failing of Colt Express is its lack of pass ‘n’ play multiplayer – I feel like for any app port for a game that is great for 3+ players should really have this as an option. However, there’s a solid ‘Classic’ mode in which you can create a ‘quick play’ game that’s randomized or create a game from scratch – including playing online. Below is a quick gameplay video (no sound, due to recording issues).
Story mode is a slightly more interesting step up from Classic mode, it mixes things up a little with certain goals to achieve through play for each ‘chapter’. This brings out the flavour of the game a little more, which I find more engaging. Through achievements and completing characters in story mode there’s unlockable variants for gameplay, and little extras like unlocking extra backgrounds and the comics that give you background for characters.
For a grump like myself, who isn’t keen on the game to begin with, I can appreciate the production values of this game. If you like Colt Express, it’s safe to say you’ll be a fan of the app! (And if you’re not familiar with the game and want to check it out, there’s quite a decent tutorial to run through.) This is a cross-platform game available on iOS and Android as well as Steam now.
This is a fantastic digital implementation of the spooky cooperative game. I had my doubts when I first heard about it, but it’s super great. The artwork is just as high quality as you’d expect, based on the cardboard game – and I love the atmospheric feel and tone, especially from the background music! Like Colt Express, Mysterium offers a story mode to play through which can keep the app fresh for when you’re not up for a straight up game against the AI or online. The story mode is a great way to slowly get a feel for the game – playing as either a psychic or the ghost, and various tricks and hints – and ties it all together with a (slightly loose) narrative. There’s also a “how to play” section in the settings of this app which will help with any UI issues you might have that aren’t covered through the story mode.
The rest of the app offers a strong variety of game modes: a quick play, to join an online multiplayer if one’s available immediately; online, to play a custom game with others; blitz mode to play as a psychic in a shorter online game; and solo, playing against the AI in your choice of # of players, difficulty and if you’re the ghost or psychic. Playing online can offer a little challenge as psychics have only a basic way of communicating – “telepathy”, where you can pinpoint parts of cards with “beacons” for other players to see. I much prefer hopping on Skype with some friends to play as it makes chatting out the possibilities much easier! I love this sort of interactivity in a digital board game app, they’ve done a great job on it – and unlike Colt Express, I feel like Mysterium can get by without the pass and play due to the nature of the game. I can’t recommend it enough! This app is also cross-platform, available on iOS and Android as well as Steam now.
Here’s a quick taste of the gameplay in non-story mode for you!
I’m more than a little in love with this game. I’ve been playing it every day since it dropped, which is pretty unusual for any game app for me to be quite honest! Considering that Potion Explosion the actual physical game came out of inspiration from “match 3” mobile games, it’s fun to see the game come full circle and have its own digital implementation. With a quick, yet thorough tutorial, you’ll be mixing up potions in no time. Below is a quick example of offline game play.
Local play is basic, with the option to play against just AI (easy or hard) or other human players, or a mix of both – it’s great to have a pass and play for this game, and it works really well. Online play allows you to create a game against up to 3 other players, or be invited by someone else. Cross-platform play is available here, which I have appreciated greatly as an Android user of the app. Early days had some buggy server issues with games, but now with proper notifications and being able to switch between games directly rather than through a menu, the online game play experience is much smoother. Not without little hitches here and there (and I would like my avatar to sync at some point!) but overall I’m pleased. With the delightful soundtrack and eye-candy of the art and animation, this is definitely going to be up there in my top 5 apps for this year. Available on iOS and Android now!
I’ve never played the card game (released by Z-Man) as I’ve only just recently started giving solo gaming a whirl. Hopping in on the late stage beta of this app, I got to learn the game by taking the in-app tutorial, which was incredibly well-done. Once I’d gotten a grasp of the gameplay and the UI this way, I dove in to try a full game myself. And lost. Oh, how I had gotten lured into how easy it was to win, ha! I’ve now beaten the game a few times, and there’s a handy statistics section that keeps track so you can see how you might be improving (or not).
The iconography is well-done here, and is clear even on a phone-sized screen which is ideal. Due to the colour scheme of the app, I’m not certain how well this would go down with colour-blind or sight-impaired players, however. I had no issues with navigating around the game, playing cards and the like, and with just the straight up game mode it’s kept simple. It’s a nice quick game, too – I can play through on my commute home from work! Jump on this when it’s out, folks. Again, this will be cross-platform, which I can’t emphasise enough as being a huge boon for porting board games to digital.