A very interesting read.. gonna just add my 2ct's because... well *reasons* ;p
Imo the problem with Shattered Haven
was the lack of a demo. Even after watching a gameplay video I had absolutely no clue whatsoever what the game was about. And even reading about it here didn't help. Of course, had someone told me it's pac-man with exploration, dialog, combat and inventory i'd have laughed and called em a madmen ;p
And A Valley Without Wind
..... well lot's of talk about that in the past. AVWW1 was *fun* if slightly unpolished, and AVWW2 was something I don't think should even have been made. What that added in polish it basically lost because by the time people were aware of it.. well we had seen Dust: Elysian Tail
Not particularly identically games but after that I will never again want to read "We can't do idle animations"
Dust is one of the prettiest and smoothest 2D-Sidescrollers there is. And it made me, who doesn't much like (modern) Sidescrollers, appreciate the genre.
Imo AVWW2 could have been a better (and it's own titled) game with a more unique mechanic, maybe a simulation style town building element where rescuing people and finding cool stuff in a random dungeon and world for the town would have been the main drive. Alas, it has a strategy element very much unlike that... I didn't like it ,/ Now AVWW1 owners got AVWW2 for free, and that was very nice. But I would have bought
a new game with a much more unique take on the idea.
AI War and Skyward Collapse are by far the most interesting games in the bunch. I like both, although I don't own Skyward Collapse simply because the gameplay style itself doesn't appeal to me. The game seems very well balanced and fun though. It just isn't for me. AI War is for me, and I love it. Though I still didn't get the last expansion.... ought to get around to that at some point.
And Tidalis... I loved Tidalis. But I hope nobody was surprised that this didn't sell so well. It was a hardcore puzzle game at heart and a very good and unique one at that. But not a lot of people want to puzzle with a reflex element. And some of Tidalis' puzzles require reflexes and precision that no casual player will ever have. Which is why I loved it
Either way, I hope to see more strategy/tactics/dynamic/emergent games from Arcengames.