Dramagame Technology: Velvet Sundown

By Adam Smith on July 24th, 2014.

a game about sentient hairstyles and their human hosts

As soon as I read the press release, it was inevitable that I would be spending time inside Velvet Sundown‘s ‘roleplaying game’/'social experiment’. It is the first in the ‘brand new genre of Dramagame‘ and I want to be one of the first actors in that genre. Sadly, I’m far too busy to dive in right now but the game is available, for free, on Steam. Set on board a luxury yacht, it’s a roleplaying game in all of the ways that The Crew isn’t. No action sequences, no power-ups, no collectibles – just a group of players attempting to perform the roles they are assigned. Like Spy Party, except up close and personal, and therefore open to all manner of immersion-shattering behaviour.

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Canada Route Zero: Highway Of Tears Demo

By Adam Smith on July 22nd, 2014.

Digging through the RPS archives can be rather alarming. Highway of Tears looks like the kind of game our keen eyes may have spotted so I dutifully typed the first few letters into the ‘tag’ search – ‘h-i-g-h-way To The Reich’, the form completed itself and waited for my approval. No. Bad form. Bad RPS. I’ll deal with this situation right away. I wonder what other innocent words produce a single disturbing response?

Highway of Tears caught my eye because it has a strong set of influences, including Kentucky Route Zero, True Detective and ‘the mythology of the Haida aboriginals’. That already makes for a more attractive point and click prospect than ‘comedy anti-hero’ or ‘rubbish [insert job title]‘. A demo is available.

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Grimdark Adventuring: Tormentum Demo

By Alice O'Connor on July 18th, 2014.

You bet that statue's a puzzle!

Talk is cheap. You may get people to give your game the old Steam Greenlight within 23 days, but that doesn’t mean they’ll chip in to raise $9,000 for it. And while you can say you’re making a fantasy horror adventure game, that doesn’t mean it’ll be any good. Hoping to resolve all of this, OhNoo Studio have released a short demo for Tormentum – Dark Sorrow.

It’s all grim stone fortresses, torture chambers, ornate sinewy armour, dessicated worshippers, and classic adventure game puzzles–certainly everything I expected. Grab it for Windows or Mac.

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Terratech’s Free DIY Sumo Tank Demo

By Alec Meer on July 17th, 2014.

Much as evoking robotic ball-based sci-fi puppetshow Terrahawks probably brings in a certain older crowd, they really should have called Terratech DIY Sumo Tanks. The world loves a prosaic title these days. Look out for my game ‘Little Dude Jumps On Things Simulator’ at the top of the Steam charts soon.

Terratech it is, though. We had a look at the jolly, Legoy vehicular combat game’s Kickstarter last month, but they’ve now added an appealingly ridiculous local multiplayer mode to it, and even released an updated demo to show it off. It’s The Incredible Machine does Robot Wars, basically.
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The Escape Is A Free Promotional FPS That’s… OK, Ish.

By Alec Meer on July 15th, 2014.

Is it a game? Is it marketing material for a game-creating tool? Dunno really, but you get to shoot some men in it, so there’s that. The Escape is a short, free, so-so shooter intended to demonstrate the capabilities of upcoming gamemaking-for-newbs application FPS Creator Reloaded. It looks a bit like someone made a rudimentary singleplayer game out an early version of Counter-Strike, but it has guns and men and keys and exploding barrels in it, and most importantly it doesn’t cost any of your Earth coinage to obtain.
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The Lighthouse Customer: Unturned

By Christopher Livingston on July 14th, 2014.

Can you smell what the chefs are cooking?

Each Monday, Chris Livingston visits an early access game and reports back with stories about whatever he finds inside. This week, surviving a few free-to-play DayZ days and Minecraft nights in Unturned.

Don’t let their looks fool you. Yes, the boxy zombies of Unturned are utterly adorable. On farms, they wear straw hats and overalls. In towns, they dress like chefs, construction workers, businessmen, and police officers. Creeping around a golf course in the middle of the night, I even spot one wearing a sweater vest and slacks. Adorable? Abso-cutely! Dangerous? Abso-deadly!
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Wonder At Space Wandering: Even The Stars

By Ben Barrett on July 14th, 2014.

CONTEMPLATE on GIANT COMPUTER never really made it into those classic Sierra adventures

After a hectic day of newsing all the best news there is to news, I need something to relax with. Today’s offering is Even The Stars, an esoteric exploration game lacking any real goals other than to live, die and try to enjoy it. There’s probably a message in there. Originally made for the space cowboy jam, solo dev Pol Clarissou and musician Nicholas Gaven are expanding it into a meatier morsel. It’s quite simple, you tap in coordinates for your ship to go and, if there’s a planet, you can land and spend some time there. There might be cities, a mill, cows – all the essentials. Eventually, you die, because that’s how life works, and can take a screenshot of the map of your journey, because that’s how life should work. It’s serene, pleasant and you can play it now. Venture forth to a trailer and my personal journey below.

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Breakout Most Muscular- Bubble Tennis: Infatuation

By Alec Meer on July 11th, 2014.

“Just feed her foie gras whenever she screams and don’t let her stay up later than 2am”, I bellowed to my visiting parents as I left them with my one-year-old for the evening. “I’m off to play INDEPENDENTLY-DEVELOPED VIDEOGAMES.” They started at my retreating back with awe. No-one in the whole wide world was as cool as Alec Meer, they thought, before offering my baby her bedtime pint of rum. They were correct, because I was off to the lovely Games By The Sea, an indie showcase/gathering held in Brighton earlier this week.

I played mad things that involved four people slapping a touch-screen monitor at high speed, I watched the magnificent Gang Beasts, I marvelled at the eternal splendour of Nidhogg, and I played a volleyball/Breakout/muscle beach mash-up called Bubble Tennis: Infatuation. Now you can play it too.
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Mount & Blade: Warband Saddles Up Steam Free Weekend

By Alice O'Connor on July 11th, 2014.

Have at you!

Mount & Blade: Warband is so very PC Gaming. Whatever that term means, whichever disparate games it tries to bind together, M&B is It. Or That. Or one of Them. You know what I mean. An action-RPG where you also control and equip an army and ride horses and swing swords and it’s sort of an RTS too and mods add everything from Skaven to Glaswegian gangs, oh, that’s definitely a PC Game. It’s a cracking game t’boot.

You can see for yourself, as a free weekend on Steam means all and sundry can play the full game until Sunday, and Warband’s on sale too if you want to keep it afterwards.

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Love In The Dark: Steenberg Releases Exo Test

By Alice O'Connor on July 8th, 2014.

I love it like EXO, You love me like EXO

You may think you’re something of a video games whizz. After a few minutes of button-bashing and mouse-waggling you’ll figure out any game, you like to think. No. Nope. Not with this. Love maker Eskil Steenberg has released a public test version of his next game, Exo (formerly Dark Side of the Moon), and you should read the helpful file named How_to_play.txt. Without it, you may not even twig that it’s a stealth RTS about heavily-armed exosuits hiding in shadows. I certainly didn’t.

Testing’s centred around a thread on The Crate and Crowbar’s forums (it’s some manner of cyberpod, I told), so grab the build and head over there.

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Blues On Rails: Hurry the Sorry Word

By Alice O'Connor on July 8th, 2014.

Very much on rails.

It’s funny how “on rails” is used disparagingly. I like riding trains. They’re pretty great. Hurry the Sorry Word is on figurative and literal rails, and both make it splendid. It’s icefishing v creator Nate Gallardo’s exploration of ‘Death Don’t Have No Mercy,’ a blues song by Blind Gary David.

It’s a walk along ghostly train tracks during a storm, nails rising out, sleepers falling away, and scenery blowing apart as the song echoes. If you have a few minutes, Hurry is free and takes about as long as the song to finish.

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When I Bounce Into: The Wild Wild Pixel

By Adam Smith on July 8th, 2014.

I do like it when Kickstarter campaigns come equipped with a demo. It’s like being able to take a car for a test drive before you buy it – except the test drive takes place a year before the car is finished so you sometimes have to make do with riding a trolley down a hill instead. Still, it’s nice to get out of the house.

The Wild Wild Pixel has a demo so prepare for a ramshackle soapbox derby. It’s an early alpha of the game’s first chapter (of five) but despite missing and incomplete assets, it gives a good sense of the game. That’s because the game is a point and click adventure, so it’s tone, characterisation, story and puzzles are more important than the state of its assets. Video below.

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YES: Ultima Ratio Regum Dev To Build Worlds Full-Time

By Adam Smith on July 7th, 2014.

We’ve written about Ultima Ratio Regum before. It’s an incredibly exciting project that could end up in the same rarefied sphere as Dwarf Fortress – a complex simulation of ASCII worlds that have history, detail and depth. The current release is capable of generating a world and the basic history of the cultures that have evolved upon it, but there isn’t a huge amount to do beyond the procedural riddle puzzles contained in scattered ziggurats. A typical early feature of many games, eh?

As for the rest, it’s all detailed in the development plan and a new announcement suggests it’ll be on the road to completion sooner than expected. Developer Mark Johnson will be working on the game full-time for a year from September. And there isn’t a Kickstarter in sight.

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