The Many Downfalls Of QWOP: Double Hitler

By Adam Smith on July 3rd, 2014.

File this one under ‘physics-based alternate history biography’ along with all the others in that particular pile. Double Hitler is a free browser game in which the player controls two toddlers wearing a large coat and pretending to be an adult. Rather than trying to sneak into a movie or dodging truancy punishments by pretending to be their own father, these little tykes decide to join an art school. And when they fluff the entrance exam by scribbling all over the walls in an attempt to copy a drawing of a urinating monkey, they become enraged and act out. By becoming a dictator.

The toddlers are Hitler, controlled QWOP-style.

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Testers In Disguise: Transformers Universe’s Open Beta

By Alice O'Connor on July 3rd, 2014.

Good axe, that.

The Turing test is all very fascinating for academics, I’m sure, but how does it apply to video games? How could we tell whether a Transformers Universe player is an abusive, incoherent teenager or a robot? Maybe every other player is an AI training for the day it’s housed within a fighting robot that’s also a beat-up Chevy? We’ll be able to test our robot-detecting abilities from tomorrow, as that’s when its open beta phase will begin.

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Turn-Based Gradius: Mighty Tactical Shooter

By Adam Smith on July 2nd, 2014.

Mighty Tactical Shooter was my favourite game of Rezzed this time around. The concept is simple and brilliant – a turn-based side-scrolling space shooter in the mould of R-Type. I feel like there may be an alternate dimension in which ‘turn-based’ came to dominate gaming in the way that ‘procedural’ is. We’d have turn-based racing games, turn-based first-person shooters and turn-based ski-slaughter simulators. Sadly, in this dark procedural timeline we’ll have to make do with Mighty Tactical Shooter, now on Kickstarter. Good thing it’s chuffing fantastic.

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Deadly Steam Rooms Of Death: DROD On Greenlight

By Adam Smith on July 2nd, 2014.

I’m very late to this particular party but I’m also incapable of ignoring a good DROD story when I see one. For those not in the know, DROD (Deadly Rooms Of Death) is a long-running series of top-down dungeon crawlers. The first game is seventeen years old and the latest (and possibly final) came out last month. There’s a demo available as well as ‘lite’ browser versions of earlier instalments. The DROD games are puzzle games in D&D wrapping paper and although I’ve never completed one, I’ve played a fair amount of all but the latest. Unusual, well-designed and of venerable age, these games deserve a wider audience, which is where Greenlight comes in.

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Filament Face: Bulb Boy

By Adam Smith on July 2nd, 2014.

If Bulb Boy were a Silver Age comic book hero, he’d be called Light Lad and would have a father figure/mentor called The Illuminated Man. They’d be crap, obviously, their giant glowing bonces intruding onto the periphery of Justice League International photoshoots. Bulb-headed folk (Bulb Face?!) simply aren’t meant to be superheroes. Too fragile. Too limited in their capabilities. Perfect for a point and click horror game though, in which a portable light source is a handy resource, particularly when it’s in the form of a detachable head, eyes and all. Bulb Boy is currently Kickstarting, has a short demo (download or play in a browser) and is an unusually stylish creation.

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Jump Leads For Goalposts: Roboduck Football 2030

By Adam Smith on June 25th, 2014.

“The rocket launcher in this turn-based future-football game doesn’t have the best aiming mechanism.” That’s the worst thing I have to say about the half hour I spent with free Ludum Dare offspring Roboduck Football 2030 and if that were my strongest criticism of every game, I’d be altogether happier and healthier. Roboduck has other issues, including AI that seems to slap down orders at random and catchy music that has worked its way deep into my brain. It’s best played with two, swapping the mouse back and forth, and like many Ludum Dare games, I’d love to see it expanded.

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Another Man’s Sky: Xeno Galaxies

By Adam Smith on June 24th, 2014.

I can’t be the only person who is extremely excited by the prospect of No Man’s Sky while also slightly concerned as to what I’ll actually be doing from moment to moment in the game. Exploration for exploration’s sake is fine by me but there’ll need to be a lot more variation than in the current beta* to keep things interesting. Xeno Galaxies, currently Kickstarting to the tune of CAD$45,000, is also aiming to create a procedural universe for players to explore, but Neovariance Games are much clearer about what will be happening in that universe. You’ll be mining, trading and shooting a whole lot of things.

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Team Dispirit: The Nightmare Cooperative

By Adam Smith on June 23rd, 2014.

If somebody asked you to join a band of adventurers that went by the name The Nightmare Cooperative, you’d be entirely justified to expect the worst. It’s the kind of name that would suit a gaggle of professors and investigators on their way to a curious doom at the hands (tentacles, claws?) of Cthulhu. The warrior, mages and the rogues of The Nightmare Cooperative may be doomed but death comes in the form of goblins. yetis and rabid dogs. The game is a clever top-down dungeon crawl puzzler, which I spotted a few months ago in prototype form. Work has been progressing and there’s a lovely new art style in play.

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Wheel Talk: Text And Drive

By Adam Smith on June 16th, 2014.

Text And Drive is a browser-based driving simulator with the added complication of a plot told through textual communication. Like the protagonists of a GTA game, you’ll be committing crime from behind the wheel as you navigate through the traffic on a crowded bridge while trying to reply to texts that become increasingly urgent. I expected a sorrowful ART GAME, the sort of thing that would set itself up as an installation in my browser while sad piano music tinkled out of my headphones like the whisper of a melancholy cherub. Text And Drive is a smart piece of design though, a plate-spinning exercise in cursor control.

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Ordinary People: Unrest Demo Released

By Adam Smith on June 16th, 2014.

I’ve been following the development of Unrest for a long time. An RPG set in ancient India, with fantasty flourishes, the game received Kickstarter funds to the tune of $36,251 this time last year. It’s the story of five people “who are struggling to get by in the in the famine-stricken city-state of Bhimra”. Decisions are based around political and social upheaval rather than wearing one shiny belt instead of another, and Pyrodactyl promise complex branching conversations. The game is out on July 23rd and a demo is available right now.

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A Free Spike Joint: VVVVVV – Make And Play Edition

By Adam Smith on June 12th, 2014.

The noisE3 is dying down and we’re returning to some semblance of normality. That means I might actually find time to play some games on this here computer rather than watching hundreds of trailers and livestreams about games that I probably won’t dabble with even when they are released in December 2015. It also means I can take a moment out of my day to report some jolly good news from Camp Cavanagh. The designer of fiendish musical masterpiece Super Hexagon has released a free version of his acclaimed spike-dodger VVVVVV and it’s available now for Windows, Mac and Linux.

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A Lunatic Notion: The Moon Sliver

By Adam Smith on June 9th, 2014.

I fear a future in which all horror games consist of rooms randomly jumbled together, with the occasional ghost or scary face hiding in the shadows. The Hat Man: Shadow Ward, which recently popped up on Steam, seems like a prime example of the type – take an urban legend, drop it into a dingy spaghetti junction of criss-crossing corridors, and wait for somebody to provide a soundtrack of screams and yelps on Youtube. I’m drawn to The Moon Sliver precisely because it isn’t built around that formula. It’s a first-person exploration-based game, with a narrative that emerges in fragments as the player interacts with objects and wanders through the world.

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One Tap Quest Is Dumb And I Hate It And I Can’t Stop

By Nathan Grayson on June 4th, 2014.

Gauntlet re-re-thrown, Kyle

OK, let’s make this quick. I have to get back to the Greatest Rivalry of Our Time with Ars Technica’s Kyle Orland. He posted about One Tap Quest on Twitter, inviting mortal humans like myself to have a go at his high score. I beat it handily, and then he utterly trounced mine using some sort of ancient black sorcery. I will not rest until I’ve figured out how. Oh yeah, One Tap Quest is a game where you align a little medieval adventure man’s forward trajectory and watch as he hacks and slashes his way to either strength and glory or gruesome death by poorly drawn snake. It’s an entire fantasy RPG in a single click, basically, and I HATE IT. By which I mean it’s pretty neat and I can’t stop playing it please send help.

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