It isn’t often that the story behind a game is more interesting than the game itself. If you don’t believe me, try watching that documentary about Twilight Imperium.
Nyctophobia, though, is one of the few games that comes close. Created by Catherine Stippell as a way to include her blind uncle in the hobby — and possibly even grant him an advantage over those with functioning vision — Nyctophobia casts its players as teenagers fumbling through a darkened wood on a moonless night, navigating purely by touch as they scramble to rescue a friend who’s been bound as a vampire’s familiar.
As far as gimmicks go, donning blackout glasses is dang sexy. As a game? Well, let’s talk.
There’s an undeniable allure to the prospect of running your own dinosaur park, sure. Electrified paddocks packed with jumping velociraptors, automated cars humming past jungle exhibits, the occasional goat bleating its location to a beverage-rippling T-rex.
But right away, Dinosaur Island makes one crucial misstep that sends it hurtling into a ravine filled with hungry compsognathus. Because you see, it’s not merely that we want to operate a dinosaur park. It’s that we want to operate a dinosaur park while it’s teetering on the edge of full-blown chaos theory meltdown.
In terms of its table presence and visual sensibilities, Wasteland Express Delivery Service is unimpeachable. Its irradiated plains sprawl with stretches of desert and broken hilltops, cute-as-buttons raider trucks haul their loads wherever the reeking wind listeth, and goodies and baddies alike adorn their outfits, vehicles, and often crotches with tape. So much tape. If one morning every last roll of tape were erased from the surface of the planet, the apocalypse would fall apart. The apocalypse apocalypse.
Wasteland Express Delivery Service has a gritty beauty to it, that much is beyond dispute. But is there a similar grit to its pick-up-and-deliver gig?