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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DRAKERZ-Confrontation: Half-Chimera, All-Game

By Ben Barrett on June 3rd, 2014.

There are days in the business of playing games and then writing about them where you’re taken by surprise, where something new and exciting grabs the proverbials and raises an eyebrow. Be it a hauntingly beautiful isometric robot-destroyer or a first person teenage-maturity-em-up, there’s quite often something new around every digitally distributed corner.¬†On other days, like today, something is so very video games that even its name makes an unwitting statement.

The all-caps, subtitle-appended, z-ended DRAKERZ-Confrontation goes whole hog and combines our latest passion for trading cards with the fantasy battles between giant, mythical creatures. It’s quite tactical, the small battlefield meaning the placement of your avatar – a “Drakos” – is key for flanking attacks and resource management. It’s actually already playable, if in a woefully translated and somewhat buggy beta form, on Steam. The hook of the Kickstarter, meanwhile, is to integrate augmented reality with the free-to-play game and sell real-world cards for use with it. Hmm.

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Hack ‘N’ Dash: Epic Flail Is A Pants-Stealing Good Time

By Nathan Grayson on May 29th, 2014.

There is also a mace, and it's way, way, way overpowered.

Epic Flail is one of those games that I’ll never claim to be groundbreaking or The Gaming Industry’s Long-Foretold Savior, but goodness is it a delicious little morsel of blood-drenched fun. It’s currently fairly early in development, but the basic formula is already solid. You’re a tiny gladiator accosted on all sides and woefully lacking in armor. You have one attack: an almost imperceptibly quick sword dash. You’ve got to knock off armor, weapons, and shields to claim them as your own if you want to survive – kinda like a reverse Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins. All’s fair in love and war, I suppose. Also, I really like your pants so I’m taking them.

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War(Un)Locked: Magicka Wizard Wars Open Beta

By Adam Smith on May 28th, 2014.

I’m wary of posting Magicka Wizard Wars news, particularly when new content is involved, because the temptation to dip in for a couple of games is strong. Experience tells me that ‘a couple of games’ last around three hours, despite each round of the magical multiplayer murderthon taking less than ten minutes. Here’s the thing – there was a time when I was among the premier pyromancers in the land, leading teams of robed strangers to great victories. All of that has changed and with the beta now open to the world, I’m tempted to jump back in so that I can rebuild my confidence by setting fire to hapless newcomers. Inevitably, they’ll all overtake me soon. New trailer and details on additional content below.

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Some Games Live Forever: Death To Spies 3 Demo

By Adam Smith on May 27th, 2014.

I thought Death For Spies 3 had been garrotted in an alleyway or invited to a polonium picnic. As it happens, despite a prolonged and unexpected stay in a sinister bunker between national borders, the third-person stealth action game is still with us. A failed crowdfunding campaign may have delayed development but a demo has now been released, showing the cold war setting. In-game footage below.

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