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Tropico 5 released on PS4 today

Dictatorship simulator finally sees PS4 release, almost a full year after its PC counterpart. That’s communism for you.

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Tropico 5 released on PS4

Dictatorship simulator finally sees PS4 release, almost a full year after its PC counterpart. That’s communism for you.

Tropico has always been a fun series. Simulation titles generally either go one of two ways: they follow the ultra-serious Sid Meier/Civilisation path, of heavy stats and tightly-woven politics; or they go down the Maxis/Sim City route, of llamas and comedy apocalypses. Alas, the modern iterations of Sim City have become flabby about their midriffs – hence the uproarious reception for spiritual re-birth Cities Skylines – and if you want your simulation to still be a bit wacky, then you’re going to want to charter a flight to the fictional Caribbean República de Tropico.

Kalypso Media’s latest banana republic ’em up in the series – Tropico 5 – has you occupying the shoes (and moustache) of beloved tyrant El Presidente, and as is often the case with countries of its ilk, everything you say goes. If you want to open the island to tourism to improve the economy, and generally build a better life for your subjects, then you can be as progressive as you choose. Or you could have them all living in ghettos, working on your plantations. Swings and roundabouts. At least being a despot who seized power through military force (and is likely to rule until death, or someone assassinates them) makes more sense than being a disembodied omnipresent being in the sky; as if simulation games ever needed a reason.

Tropico 5 is a lot of fun for it, too. It’s intricately designed and the look and flavour of the game really lifts it above other strategy titles. It’s easy to make an absolute mess of things though, but given you’re playing the role of a corrupt dictator anyway, nobody is ever surprised!

Now Tropico 5 is available to buy on PS4 today. Is it greatly improved by playing on the PS4? Not really. Strategy games are always better with a mouse, and if you’ve got one handy, you’re probably going to want to use it. But it’s still an absolute riot and well worth purchasing if you don’t already have the PC version. You can also pick up a natty limited edition Tropico 5 bundle with a stack of DLC included. Not that anybody is trying to bribe you, El Presidente. We’re just going to leave the DLC on the table in plain sight and turn around, and if it’s not there when we turn back, let’s just say we won’t ask any questions.

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Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.

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Pokémon Home hits impressive first week numbers

Pokémon Home reaches 1.3 million mobile installs in its first week.

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Pokémon Home art
Pokémon Home

Pokémon Home reaches an impressive 1.3 million mobile installs in its first week.

New data from Sensor Tower estimates that Pokémon Home has generated 1.3 million installs on iOS and Android since launch.

The Pokémon Home mobile app – and its companion Nintendo Switch app – lets users organise and trade their Pokémon collection. The apps sync with Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee and Pokémon Sword and Shield on Switch, and the mobile version be updated to work with Pokémon Go in future.

In the week following release, Sensor Tower estimates that the Android and iOS app was installed by 444,000 users in the US, 299,000 in Japan, and 74,000 in the UK.

Although the app is free to download and use, a subscription is required to access the full suite of monster management and trading tools. Sensor Tower says the app has generated approximately $1.8 million in mobile user spending so far. Subscriptions are priced at $2.99 for one month, $4.99 for three months, and $15.99 for a full year.

Unfortunately, as Pokémon Home is not included in the Nintendo eShop’s chart listings, we don’t have any indication of how well it’s performing on Switch. We expect it’s doing just fine, however.

Via: Sensor Tower


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Save up to 70% in the PlayStation Big in Japan Sale

More than 500 PlayStation 4 games get discounts in the new PS Store Big in Japan sale.

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PlayStation Big in Japan Sale
Square Enix / Sony / Thumbsticks

More than 500 PlayStation games get discounts in the new PS Store Big in Japan sale.

Following hot on the heels of the PlayStation Essentials sale comes yet another PS Store promotion. The Big in Japan sale begins today and focusses on PS4, PS3, and PS Vita games from Japanese publishers and studios.

Highlights include some of Square Enix’s biggest titles, headlined by Kingdom Hearts III and the upcoming Kingdom Hearts All-In-One package. Other games to catch the eye are Final Fantasy XV – in both full-fat and Pocket Editions – and Platinum’s NieR: Automata.

Other recommendations include Sega’s tactical RPG Valkyria Chronicles 4, the long-awaited Shenmue III, and the acclaimed Dark Souls III. Capcom is also bringing the goods with Okami HD, Street Fighter V, and Resident Evil 7 all getting tempting price cuts.

The PlayStation Big in Japan sale ends on March 3 in Europe and March 3 in North America. Head over to the PS Store before then to see the full list of discounted games in your region. Here are some more highlights.

PlayStation Big in Japan Sale Highights

  • Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
  • AI: The Somnium Files
  • Dark Souls III
  • Dmc Devil May Cry
  • Dragon Quest Builders 2
  • Dragon Quest XI – Digital Edition of Light
  • Dynasty Warriors 9 Complete Edition
  • Earth Defense Force 5 Deluxe Edition
  • Final Fantasy XV Royal Edition
  • I Am Setsuna
  • Kingdom Hearts All-In-One Package
  • Kingdom Hearts III
  • Little Nightmares Complete Edition
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Definitive Experience
  • Nioh – The Complete Edition
  • Okami HD
  • Oninaki
  • Pixeljunk Monsters 2
  • Resident Evil 7 Biohazard
  • Resident Evil Revelations
  • Resident Evil Revelations 2
  • Secret of Mana
  • Shenmue III
  • Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition
  • SNK Heroines
  • Star Ocean First Departure R
  • Steins;Gate Elite
  • Street Fighter V
  • Tekken 7
  • The Silver Case
  • The Ultimate Sonic Bundle
  • Thief
  • Trails Of Cold Steel III Digital Deluxe Edition
  • Valkyria Chronicles 4 Complete Edition
  • Windjammers
  • Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap
  • World of Final Fantasy
  • Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma

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The brilliant SteamWorld series is coming to Google Stadia

A quartet of SteamWorld games head to Google’s game streaming platform, with the best two titles free with Stadia Pro at launch.

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SteamWorld Dig 2 - Google Stadia
Image & Form

A quartet of SteamWorld games head to Google’s game streaming platform, with the best two titles free with Stadia Pro at launch.

Thunderful Publishing is bringing the most recent four games in the popular SteamWorld series to Google Stadia. All four will be available to purchase soon, with SteamWorld Dig 2 and SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech free for Stadia Pro members. The first SteamWorld Dig and turn-based strategy shooter SteamWorld Heist round out the lineup.

The only game in the series not included is the oft-forgotten 2010 Nintendo DSi release, SteamWorld Tower Defense.

Developed by Image & Form, the series has become one of the most enduring and popular indie franchises, with its distinct blend of steampunk and wild west aesthetics providing a canvas for the studio to experiment with a range of game genres.

At the time of writing, we don’t have an exact release date for the four games. Like most Google Stadia news, it’s all a little vague. That said, each game is excellent and well worth playing. SteamWorld Dig 2, in particular, is a big favourite at the Thumbsticks office and narrowly missed out on top ten placing in our best games of 2017.


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Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is free on the Epic Games Store

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and card-based strategy game, Faeria, are free through next Thursday.

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Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
Ubisoft

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and card-based strategy game, Faeria, are free through next Thursday.

For more than half a decade, new Assassin’s Creed games have been released on an annual basis. Beginning with Assassin’s Creed 2 in 2009, each year brought new violently edutaining historical adventures. However, that all came to an end with the release of the Industrial Revolution-set Assassin’s Creed Syndicate in 2015.

Though it scored well with most critics, Syndicate had the unenviable task of following up 2014’s Assassin’s Creed Unity – which released as a buggy mess. As a result, Syndicate debuted as the second worst-selling game in the franchise’s history. After eight years of honing in on an open-world collectathon formula, Ubisoft reevaluated and took the series in a new direction. The results were Assassin’s Creed Origins (2017) and Odyssey (2018). These new entries took Assassin’s Creed in an RPG-influenced direction and reinvigorated interest in the series.

But, that doesn’t mean that Syndicate isn’t worth playing. In fact, it may be more interesting as a result; the evolutionary end-point for one version of the series. Anyway, it’s free. Go see for yourself.

Additionally, you can grab Faeria while you’re at it. The card-based strategy game introduces an interesting twist to the CCG formula. Players alter the map as they play. Per the game’s Epic description:

“Raise mountains, build forests, fill lakes, or harness the sands of the deserts. You choose your own path to victory.”

Now that Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and Faeria are available, Epic has unveiled next week’s pick. On Thursday, you’ll be able to pick up 2018’s InnerSpace.


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Animal Crossing: New Horizons gameplay details revealed

The latest Nintendo Direct reveals a torrent of new information for upcoming Switch exclusive, Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Nintendo

The latest Nintendo Direct reveals a torrent of new information for upcoming Switch exclusive, Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Today’s Nintendo Direct featured more information about Animal Crossing: New Horizons than you can shake a shovel at. The video takes a closer look at island life, showing off the game’s seasonal and day/night cycles, comprehensive crafting mechanics, and the new in-game aid to desert island survival, the NookPhone.

The game’s customisation options certainly look to be the most full-featured in the series yet, with new interior design options, item crafting, and the ability to redevelop parts of the island itself. The game will also link to Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer on Nintendo 3DS to allow for the transfer of existing custom designs.

Other features include an in-game goals and rewards system called Nook Miles, and he ability to choose whether you want to live on an island in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere. The game also supports online play, with up to eight players able to visits an island at once.

The 25-minute long video features much more information and is well worth watching if you’re interested in the game.

Nintendo promises a series of free updates for the game, starting on release day with the Bunny Day special event. The game supports the existing range of Animal Crossing amiibo figures and cards and will connect to mobile game Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp later this year.

The most worrying news from today Nintendo Direct is that Tom Nook has ousted Isabelle to take over the game’s official Twitter account. Ouch!

All in all, it’s more Animal Crossing, and aside from the slightly irritating decision to restrict the number of islands on each Switch console, the game is shaping up nicely.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is released worldwide on March 20, 2020 and available now to pre-order from retailers including GameStop, Amazon, Best Buy and Game. A limited edition Nintendo Switch console bundle is also available.


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