Approach Vector - April Edition

By Alex Connolly 01 Apr 2016 0

No fools here on April 1st, friends. Only those with an eye on the prize. Approach Vector brings you a rundown of released and inbound pocketbook emaciators. If you've anything to add to the list, providing it fits the beige box/strategy criteria, sound off in the comments and we'll add to this embarrassment of riches. 

Order of Battle: US Marines

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Put boots on tropical ground with the new expansion to The Aristocrats' fresh Pacific theatre hexer. Great Helmsman Dave recently covered the inbound DLC, so have a look to see if it floats your Higgins. Order of Battle: US Marines is due to land April 7th.

Combat Air Patrol 2: Battle of Hormuz

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Dipping curiously below radar after buzzing the Steam Coming Soon column, this AV8B Harrier II sim has left 'Spring 2016' on the TRACON. Either way, the four-odd year development cycle on Britain's iconic and versatile chubster draws closer to deployment. Looking to fill the simucade gap, the developers appear confident there will be much to love when it finally vector-thrusts onto the release deck. We'll keep you posted.

Oriental Empires

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Strategic examinations of the Middle Kingdom have largely been the domain of Koei up until recently, so it's all hěn hǎo to see Shining Pixel Studios step in with Oriental Empires. Looking to take inspiration from Kou Shibusawa and Sid Meier, as well as bringing a swooping scale prior reserved for the likes of Eugen Systems, Oriental Empires should slake those thirsting for báijiǔ, diplomacy and conquest. Due out on Early Access this month.

UPDATE: In a move to ensure greater feedback, the developers have canned the Early Access release in favour of a closed beta.

"After much analysis, and having discussed the best road forward for the title, lead developer Bob Smith and Publisher Iceberg Interactive have chosen to opt for a controlled closed beta program for Oriental Empires, instead of the initially planned Steam Early Access process. 

The closed beta program will enable a fixed-sized and fully controllable environment, where feedback is more manageable and easier to digest for the relatively small indie team. The beta program will consist of several different phases/waves, introducing a fixed number of new players to the beta program at different development points. Once the closed beta program for Oriental Empires is complete, the title will be launched as a solid and finished product, created together with the ever-growing 4x community."

Starship Corporation

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Another long haul project inbound, retro-boosters flaring and expectations high. Engineering suite, business sim and crisis management all rolled into a crisp, cool blue ball of vector aesthetic, Starship Corporation looks to caress the dopamine gland of folks who really want to design their very own spaceliners, down to placement of minuscule subsystems. After tooling up a vessel, shunt them into the starlanes and deal with life in commercial hard vacuum. Another Early Access deployment this month.

Xenoshyft

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Great Helmsman Dave gives this offworld card game the almighty thumbs up aboard our sister ship, and I've no qualms in guessing that the same level of quality continues on Planet PC. A flexible sci-fi drafting LCG with all the trappings you enjoyed on touch devices. That also means cross-platform multiplayer, so you'll never be short on comrades nuking the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure, particularly for the princely sum of a tenner at most. Out now.

Ashes of the Singularity

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Having just graduated from the Supreme Commander College of Unit Count Overachievement, Stardock's DirectX 12-powered RTS is in the wilderness, showering us all in its impressive scale. Ashes of the Singularity seems to have been fondly received, half-nelsoning the doubting Thomases who decried the genre moribund and beating them with its quad-core-driven gameplay. Out now. 

Democracy 3: Africa

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Cliffski is taking Democracy to the African continent, a place ripe for political examination and simulation. The post-colonial climate should prove as interesting as challenging for armchair democrats and despots alike. Ten countries with unique positives and problems to utilise and solve, Positech's expandalone goes to the proverbial polls on April 13. 

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada

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We've certainly enjoyed soaking up the ongoing beta for Tindalos' take on starship combat in the 41st Millennium. If you missed both our chat with the developer or a field report from the beta itself, make amends, lest you be drummed out of the admiralty. Originally, this dark ship-to-ship RTS was set for release in March, but developers and publisher Focus Home Interactive did the right thing in letting the balance and bug-busting servitors clamber over the hull a little further. Battlefleet Gothic: Armada rolls down the slipways on April 22.

Endless Legend: Shifters

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Endless Legend is all sorts of good, this much we know. It has received some great updates since its release in 2014, and another is set to drop in a week. Shifters adds interesting new mechanics to the frozen months, including a new resource to spend in a variety of ways - including the ability to freeze rivers for a quick winter shuftie into enemy territory. Beyond adding this Raymond Briggs-esque delight to the snowier season, Amplitude have unveiled a new race will come parcelled with the DLC, which is awfully nice. The best gets better on April 7. 

So there you have it. Enough to make a wallet, a simple article of leather and stitching, weep human tears. A great month stretches before us. The consumer watchdog Approach Vector will be back next month to help you through another trying release window of beautiful strategy and wargames.

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