Tactical Terraforming: Imagine Earth

By Adam Smith on April 17th, 2014.

Imagine Earth’s demo reminded me of Project Godus, which is a bit like having a face that reminds me of the kid who used to bully me at school and showed up a decade and a half later in the toilets of a dingy nightclub, horribly drunk and tearfully apologetic. In both situations, the unintended reminder inspires a mixture of anger and pity that I’m choosing to call ‘angety’. Initially, Imagine Earth was a catalyst for ‘angety’. I played on though, clicking and collecting resources through the tutorial, and soon enough I was enjoying myself. The playfields are smaller than those in Godus and rather than expanding simply for the sake of it, Imagine Earth’s colonies must be balanced and controlled. Take a look, or try the demo now.

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Spike The Earth: KeeperRL Alpha

By Adam Smith on April 14th, 2014.

Every morning, my inbox contains at least one email pointing in the direction of a less complicated and/or complex Dwarf Fortress. There was a time when I believed in the dream of an approachable Dwarf Fortress with a friendly interface but I’m starting to think that even the slightest simplification invalidates the comparison. Dwarf Fortress is complexity, of simulation and control, and the games that do have something in common with it often have far more in common with more traditional management sims or roguelike adventures. KeeperRL, sensibly and pleasingly, plays more like top-down Dungeon Keeper than Dwarf Fortress with the edges smoothed and the corners cut. The alpha is available and crowdfunding has begun.

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Parkour And Recreation: Even The Ocean

By Adam Smith on April 14th, 2014.

Sean Hogan recently released a demo for Even The Ocean, the game that he is developing with artist/writer Jon Kittaka following the release of the marvellous, mysterious and melancholy Anodyne. The fruits of a cursory glance suggest that the game is a lo-fi platformer with survival and crafting elements – a genre most of us are intimately familiar with, whether through exploring Terraria or bounding between the stars. That first glance doesn’t reveal Even The Ocean’s depths though – it’s actually two games in one, a narrative adventure and a parkour platformer with a central energy conservation mechanic. Take a look. Have a play.

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Live Free Play Hard: I’m A Cyborg And That’s Okay????

By Porpentine on April 13th, 2014.

Papers Please but with cyborg limb repair. Blurring the line between human and elevator. MMO burial.

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Live Free Play Hard: Oralphoning Is Not Sexual

By Porpentine on April 6th, 2014.

Undercover cop at a cat show. Bladerunner interrogation. Bluetooth technology.
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Hands On: Gang Beasts

By Adam Smith on April 4th, 2014.

Currently in alpha, Gang Beasts is free to download and you should grab it right now. It’s a surprisingly nuanced multiplayer beat ‘em up that combines playgrounds packed with perilous physics and a control scheme that makes combat a sequence of shoving, grappling and tripping over your own fists. Rounds often come to a halt as the last Beasts standing collapse into a meat grinder together, unsure who is pushing toward and who is pulling away.

It’s already a wonderful game, both hilarious and intelligently designed, but rather than simply praising its silliness, I’ve been thinking about how the whole thing works and why it’s satisfying, while also looking at the possibilities that the future of jelly-combat holds.

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Frog Fractions 1.5: Kickstarter Simulator 2015

By Nathan Grayson on April 2nd, 2014.

When I first heard about Frog Fractions 2′s Kickstarter, I immediately wondered, “Can Twinbeard get more meta? Can they¬†really?” The original game of amphibians and (not any) arithmetic went so deep down the rabbit hole that it emerged on the other side of the universe and also in another dimension, so I’ll cop to having been slightly worried. But now Twinbeard has made a game about creating a Kickstarter while running a Kickstarter for a game that won’t be called Frog Fractions 2 even though it will technically be Frog Fractions 2 and, well, I’m not very worried anymore. The game in question is called Kickstarter Simulator 2015. Its genre? FMV lightgun shooter. I’m not even joking.

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HTML Marks The Spot: The Pirate Bay Bundle

By Adam Smith on April 1st, 2014.

If you’re as old as I am, you may well remember shareware compilation discs. On the other hand, if you’re as old as I feel after a weekend navigating a showfloor packed with 12 year old streamers, you probably remember a time when most games were crafted out of human bones. But forget the bones, let’s talk about the discs for a moment. They were wonderful things, containing folders full of mysterious games that had no other home. The Internet can provide a home to almost any game that seeks one so it’s tempting to think that there are no mysteries left, which is precisely why The Pirate Bay Bundle is such a splendid thing. 101 games and I’d wager that at least 100 of them are new to almost everyone.

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The National Espresso: Caffeine Demo And Crowdfunding

By Adam Smith on March 31st, 2014.

What is a Monday morning without Caffeine? A dangerous ravine packed with razor-sharp rocks at the end of the weekend’s gleaming superhighway. I don’t function particularly well until I’ve had my first coffee of the day, which is why I’m so grateful to the galaxy’s caffeine miners. Now seeking crowdfunding over at Indiegogo, Caffeine was last featured on these pages when I first spotted a nifty trailer that displayed its sci-fi horror charms to good effect. Since then, a demo has emerged, showcasing the game’s previous incarnation as an Unreal Engine 3 entity. The release version will be constructed using Unreal Engine 4, and takes inspiration from the spooky works of Monolith, including F.E.A.R. and Condemned. New trailer below.

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Live Free Play Hard: TINKER TAILOR CYBORG GODDESS

By Porpentine on March 30th, 2014.

Shower simulator. Spaceship technician. OH LOOK YOU’RE PREGNANT WITH THE EARTH.

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Naked & Arcade: Cosmochoria

By John Walker on March 28th, 2014.

Lots of things are improved when done in the nude. Not least replanting the galaxy with life after a cataclysmic event sees all the tiny planets dying. Which is, impressively, the concept behind Cosmochoria. You play a little naked astronaut, seeding planets (ew, no, not like that) while fending off angry aliens. You can play the alpha right now. And the Kickstarter has just gone live.

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