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 Originally made for the space cowboy jam, solo dev Pol Clarissou and musician Nicholas Gaven are expanding it into a meatier morsel.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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See The Glitchworld: Error City Tourist

By Alice O'Connor on July 7th, 2014.

H-hello.

What did you do this weekend? Was it worthwhile? Did you create? Did you travel? Did you relax? Did you squander it? Did you waste your weekend? Do you not deserve free time? Do you not wish to become better? Why do you wallow in your rut? You should feel guilty. You should get out. See something new. Just wander aimlessly. Or get yourself all worked up over imagined fears.

You can do that this very morning with Error City Tourist, a procedurally-generated walking simulator by Strangethink Software, set in a glitched-out city. It’s free and playable in your browser.

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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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