Approach Vector - July Edition

By Alex Connolly 30 Jun 2016 0

Another month, another payload. Spoiled for choice once more, here are eight retail therapy items to consider in the month of July. As always, release dates are fluid and are subject to change. 

Order of Battle - Winter War

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The Aristocrats' first European expansion for the retitled Order of Battle - Winter War takes the fight to the Finns this July (although Winter War did feature in last month's Approach Vector, so frigid fingers crossed). The markedly successful wargame platform has seen its share of Pacific plug-ins, with the developer now taking the path less travelled for a European theatre debut. Across the Winter War, Continuation War and the Lapland War, players can fend off foreign aggressors from sweeping through Suomi. Fine stuff, Finns!

Do red bears die in the forest? Find out sometime this month.

Warhammer 40,000 Armageddon - Da Orks

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Armageddon is upon us all. Again. The Imperium has received its dues, and now everyone's favourite warmonger fungoid is set to receive theirs. Armageddon is ostensibly Panzer Corps in the Grimdark future with a seven-strong pile of mission packs to sate the unquenchable thirst for WAAAGH, or however you spell it. Da Orks puts you in command of the tusked brutes for the first time. 

18 missions through 3 acts, players will muster the Boyz, the Nobz, Warbikerz and other Ork units with so many misplaced z's, it makes Ubisoft's Nintendo DS output quiver. Returning unit persistence ensures Armageddon generals command with aplomb, but don't let military doctrine get in the way of a good ol' greenskin charge. 

Interstellar hooliganism drops soon.

Democracy 3: Electioneering

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Perhaps you're weary of direct democracy. Or, recent events in the UK have irrevocably stirred the political engine within and Positech's Electioneering expansion for Democracy 3 is hitting at exactly the right time. Electioneering is the distilled exploration of machinations prior to the ballot box. Political hopefuls pork barrelling their way towards election day with meticulously-crafted campaigns. Speeches, over-promises, photo opportunity particulars; the grandstand machinery of getting into office and the tricks and turns you'll pull to stay there.

Democracy 3 has already received some great DLC in Social Engineering, Extremism and Clones & Drones, as well as the fine standalone Democracy 3: Africa. Electioneering looks like another erudite and intricate examination of political life and process. Ballots open July 9.

ArmA 3 Apex

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Bohemia Interactive's premier combined arms platform is set to extend its playground beyond its Mediterranean proxy in Apex. We covered news of the expansion in our E3 strategy and simulation search, but it bears repeating how exciting Apex sounds. Dipping below the equator to the steamy clime of the South Pacific, tapping in to a Solomons-esque fiction.

With an expanded cache of player equipment -- firearms and gear -- as well as an increased collection of military movers like VTOLs and LSVs, the touted four-player drop-in-drop-out co-op element looks to be a barrel of fun, or a hardened evening of whispers on the comms and furious hand-signals through monsoonal mist. Bohemia Interactive have done a great job with support and updates since 2013, and it looks like Apex will continue the tradition. Preorders will net prospective gun-jumpers instant access to the current Apex beta, so get oscar-mike if so inclined.

Apex dismounts July 11.

Crush Your Enemies

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Itty, bitty, gritty, grunty pixel-RTS Crush Your Enemies has a little in common with last year's sleeper gem Interloper. Don't sleep on this one, if the demo is anything to go by. Touchscreen-friendly for the curious, Crush Your Enemies is a zippy tactical blob fight. Herding your horde about a single screen level, encroaching on enemies by converting tiles to your colour, splitting and collating player mobs where seen fit. I was initially indifferent, but after playing it and seeing the influences worn on Crush Your Enemy's armlet, I implore the world-weary to try out the demo and see what they think.

It won't replace anything particularly meaty in a gaming diet, but as a side-order of territory control and twists of Galcon and the aforementioned Interloper -- which you really should play -- I'm calling Crush Your Enemies the surprise hit of the inbound month.

Get pulped on July 13.

The Away Team

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The Away Team is an enigmatic little adventure-strategy hybrid that I'm ever so curious about. Perhaps a mix of Weird Worlds and Out There, adding a twist of FTL here and there. 

Each of ten possible crew members has a distinct set of attributes, traits and flaws that will impact your chances, so choose wisely! With over 30 planets and stations to visit, over 700 choices to make, and near-infinite randomized sector maps to visit, there are countless paths to take across the galaxy. 

The only thing we have to fear is, well, our crew mates aboard an intergalactic tin can. The developers claim oodles of divergent narrative will ensure a distinct experience each time, which is always welcome in a world where 'choice' is often code for 'superfluous binary non-events'. If Underflow Studio can deliver, I'm prepared to be beamed up, Scotty, on July 23. 

RimWorld

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If you've ever wanted to give your fortresses of dwarves the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure, RimWorld will cater to your needs. A complex colony sim in all its super-granularity, RimWorld is the Prison Architect success story going forward, having knocked around in pre-alpha since 2013 and garnering quite a fanbase. From colonists forming relationships to biodiversity and ecological shifts, RimWorld isn't short-selling its inspirations. Moreover, it won't scare away the ASCII-allergic, and just may very well act as a feeder or gateway to something like Dwarf Fortress. 

But I've a sneaking suspicion RimWorld will be the one-stop shop for world simulators, so there won't be much call for squats nor their keeps. Are dwarves even any good at monitoring chemical compounds in closed-loop hydroponic modules? Time will tell. RimWorld hits Early Access on July 16.

Niche

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Niche is set to be something rather big. Irrepressibly cute, inexhaustibly scientific. That cocktail puts it in Creatures-territory, or where we'd end up if Peter Molyneux was still on his Bullfrog-era game. A sort of Black & White meets Spore. But enough of what might have been, the future is now. 

A genetic lab kit of sorts, the successfully-kickstarted Niche is a digital boardgame examining genes, heredity and evolution. There's a free demo available on the website, but if you're in the mood to throw a little pre-dawn lucre, you can preorder and receive a Steam Early Access key ahead of the game's launch.

Which is, incidentally, July 28. 

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