Wot I Think: Planetary Annihilation

By Brendan Caldwell on September 17th, 2014.

Planetary Annihilation is best enjoyed if you are a robot. A cold, cybernetically enhanced supercomputer capable of thousands of thoughts per nanosecond. No emotion, no mercy. Just a deathly, speedy logic and a finger that clicks like a woodpecker’s beak. It is a brilliant, ludicrous RTS and I will probably never try to play it again. Because I am a frail, fleshy human being whose idea of multi-tasking is using a fork AND a knife at the dinner table. But you may not be like me. You may be one of the Machines.

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Wot I Think: Train Fever

By Tim Stone on September 17th, 2014.

After a series of ghastly accidents, train jousting was banned in the UK in May 1866.

In Train Fever you don’t play Basil Batchley-Lytton, a Holmes-style epidemiologist investigating a gruesome skin disease sweeping Victorian Britain. Pressing ‘h’ doesn’t hail the nearest hansom cab. Pressing ‘m’ doesn’t bring up a microscope view. The climactic scene doesn’t take place in the horsehair storeroom of the GWR upholstery shop in Swindon. Accept these crushing disappointments – recognise that £20 has secured you a compelling Transport Tycoon replacement with a few annoying yet surmountable flaws, rather than a fog-wreathed microbial mystery – and enjoyment is almost inevitable. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wot I Think: Risen 3 (aka The Risen 3 Report Finale)

By Alec Meer on September 17th, 2014.

What did I think of Risen 3 – Titan Lords, Piranha Bytes’ low fantasy, pirate-themed roleplaying game? I wrote nine diaries about it, primarily focusing on the absurd, and I was variously accused of sneering unreasonably and giving too much attention to something that didn’t warrant it. Both were probably correct, but my riposte to either is that I did it because I was enjoying myself. It’s just that sometimes I was laughing with the game, and sometimes I was laughing at it.

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Cardboard Children – Golem Arcana

By Adam Smith on September 16th, 2014.

Hello youse.

Golem Arcana is a weird one. It’s certainly cool. There will come a point, during the game, where you will go: “Haha! Cool!” You will have moved one of your wee men on the board, and moved him on your tablet, and you’ll see him fight and all the stats stuff will just happen. And you’ll go: “Cool!”

And then you’ll scratch your head and say: “Um.”

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The Masterplan Early Access Impressions

By Alec Meer on September 16th, 2014.

The Masterplan is a real-time, top-down, strategyesque game about casing the joint then robbing it, using a small handful of silent, surly crooks to smash, grab and take hostages. It’s out on Steam Early Access & Humble now. Clowns to the left of it, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with it.
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Wot I Think: Hatoful Boyfriend

By Laura Hudson on September 15th, 2014.

At one point during the dating simulation game Hatoful Boyfriend, I found myself walking through a park with the guy I had a crush on as he confessed his profound grief over a lost love—how her absence had broken something deep in his heart that he might never be able to put back together.

The catch, of course, is that he wasn’t a “guy” at all; he was a bird. But here I was anyway, getting legitimately choked up over whether or not a quail was ever going to love again.

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Editorial: Some Subjective Thoughts On Objectivity

By John Walker on September 15th, 2014.

A topic of conversation that is frequently revisited in discussion of gaming and games criticism is that of “objectivity”. It’s an important topic, and it seems worth exploring the subject a little, and in doing so we’ll try to outline RPS’s position on the matter.

First: Rock, Paper, Shotgun, has no desire or aim for objectivity.

If this sounds surprising, then please do read on. We want to explain why our our driving goal is not objectivity, but honesty. Here’s why.

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Why Fuel Is Still A Showroom Of Videogame Possibilities

By Jim Rossignol on September 14th, 2014.

Starting today, every Sunday we’re going to pull out one of the best moments from Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s 141-year history. This week, Jim’s road trip around post-apocalyptic racing game Fuel, first published June 22nd 2009 with the title, “Fuel: Around The World In Eight Hours”. With The Crew just around the corner, a Mad Max game in-development and open-terrain survival games on the rise, the musings below are still relevant today.

When it was announced that Fuel, Asobo Studios’ apocalyptic open-world racer, boasted a daunting 5,560 square miles of terrain (14,400 km²), I immediately made a mental note to go mental, and drive around the entire world. Last week, having received some PC preview code from publisher Codemasters, I did precisely that.

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The Sunday Papers

By Graham Smith on September 14th, 2014.

Sundays are for looking. Scrabble around your brimming shelves until you find it down the back of your Gamecube games. A lighter, still full. Flick it on and hold it underneath your monitor till the heat warps the plastic, the frame cracks, and liquid crystals start to dribble on to your desk. Trepanning is the only way to get the madness out.

  • Mark Johnson is working on Ultima Ratio Regum, an ambitious procedurally generated 4X roguelike. Before that, he once tried his hand at making a living as a poker player, and he writes excellently here about the power games have when you invest in them fully. It’s a story about losing.
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    The RPS Bargain Bucket: Flash Frustration

    By Cassandra Khaw on September 13th, 2014.

    I wrote about three games today that were, quite sadly, part of flash sales. In my pizza-birthed delirium, I made the mistake of forgetting to check if the deals would last long enough for me to transfer ownership of this column to an editor. They didn’t. So I am writing this introductory paragraph right now with my eyes carefully narrowed and a frown like thunder. Why, Gods of the Bargain Bucket, why have you forsaken me? I was aiming to introduce an authentic, one-of-a-kind Papa Moomin today as the plushie of the day, but that plan fell apart thanks to a lack of time. Instead, I am going to filch a photo from MadKatrina and show off this awesome snake on a bucket. Honestly, people, why have we not made this wonderful lady into a millionaire yet?
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    S.EXE: Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis

    By Cara Ellison on September 12th, 2014.

    Indiana Jones and the Fate of HIS FACE

    A long time ago, when I was just a fledgeling writer who had just attended her first Game Developer’s Conference and only accidentally brushed shoulders with Tim Schafer at a bar, I was surprised to get a message on Facebook from Noah Falstein. He had noticed that my cover image was of the 1992 LucasArts point and click adventure Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. He saw it on my page thanks to a connection of a friend of a friend. He ‘liked’ it. And I realised: Noah wrote that game.

    I guess that was the moment I knew I was privileged to be able to talk to the people who make the things I care about, and that I should spend my time critiquing their work. This week’s S.EXE is about the ‘team’ narrative strand of Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis. It’s got clinches worthy of Hollywood. I’ve not seen a kiss in a game that’s ever topped Sophia and Indy’s frequent tonsil-scraping embraces.

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    Wot I Think: Runers

    By Alec Meer on September 12th, 2014.

    Runers is a top-down, roguelikelikelikelike/shmup hybrid which plays a little like The Binding Of Isaac, but without the nightmare foetuses and with DIY spells instead. It’s out now, and I’ve spent a little time fiddling with its fireballs. Here’s what I made of it.
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    The Flare Path: Bedtime Games

    By Tim Stone on September 12th, 2014.

    Bedtime games are the games you reach for when the cocoa is steaming and the duvet is beckoning. They make allowances for weary hands and tired minds They don’t punish you for over-indulging in the pub. They don’t lead you on and on by leaving long breadcrumb trails in the forest. The perfect bedtime game isn’t loud, gory, or coldhearted; it’s a softly spoken sandman, a ludological lullaby, a sweet dreams seeder. Right now, my bedtime game of choice is Volo Airsport. Read the rest of this entry »

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