Wot I Think: BattleBlock Theater

By Marsh Davies on May 22nd, 2014.

Sprung from its imprisonment on Xbox, vaudevillian penitentiary platformer BattleBlock Theater has finally come to Steam. Its release is most definitely to be celebrated: BattleBlock matches shrewd puzzle construction with the furious pace and precise try-and-die challenge of Super Meat Boy, and yet fits all this in a difficulty curve so gentle you barely feel out of breath when you plant your flag at the top. The premise of each level – collect gems and reach the exit – may not be a stretch for the genre, but BattleBlock’s execution has few peers, plus it boasts co-op, both online and off, loads of competitive modes, mini-games, and a level editor with Steam Workshop support. And, because this is still a game from the makers of Castle Crashers, there’s a button which lets you fart yourself to death. Parp!

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Wot I Think – The Last Tinker: City Of Colors

By Mat Jones on May 22nd, 2014.

This picture is representative of what being George Harrison was like

I was actively discouraged from enjoying my favourite moment of The Last Tinker. An unseen enemy bombarded me as I tried to absorb some excellent set-dressing. Though the game’s pitched as a childish platforming adventure, revelling in a bright storybook aesthetic, this particular bit of the world is not for me to enjoy. I’m being shooed away. You’ve got more art to see. Into the next room please, sir, you’re holding up the tour.

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Wot I Think: Transistor

By Nathan Grayson on May 20th, 2014.

Transistor is a phenomenal thing in places. Just tremendous. Sometimes overwhelming in its cleverness and subtlety. It had me on the verge of tears from both laughter and a creeping, ever-constricting stranglehold on my heart, and a talking sword (given life by the sultry tones of Bastion narrator Logan Cunningham) was responsible for most of it. This is a very different story from Bastion, arguably a much more personal one. It is, however, also a more natural progression from the latter’s painterly walk on sunshine than its dusky cyberpunk setting might suggest.

All that said, Transistor is a strong tale and a very good game. But it could’ve been much better. Here’s wot I think.

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Wot I Think: Men Of War: Assault Squad 2

By Jim Rossignol on May 15th, 2014.

Okay! It’s a sequel called Men Of War: Assault Squad 2, which is a name that will tell you the exact game it is based upon, if you think hard enough. What this means is that we have a new batch of multiplayer-facing missions (although some playable single player) in the fabulously vivid and brutal Men Of War engine. And the Men Of War setting. It’s World War II again, and let’s not forget that important thematic element. Men Of War has not changed. Perhaps it cannot change.

And so did Ass Squad need a sequel? And can I safely use that abbreviation in this introduction. Here’s Wot I Think.

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Wot I Think: The Walking Dead Season 2 Ep 3

By Adam Smith on May 13th, 2014.

Season two of the The Walking Dead has started strong, taking on the task of switching to a new player character confidently. Clementine is a complex character, capable of carrying the narrative while also reacting to the player’s input in a believable fashion. With the third episode, the story enters a new phase, one that shifts the setting and tone somewhat, and places the focus on a smaller cast, with Michael Madsen’s Bill Carver at the fore. It’s bleak and brutal, but that’s nothing new. It’s also a bit underwhelming. Here’s wot I think, with spoilers carefully avoided.

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Wot I Think: Daylight

By Alec Meer on May 9th, 2014.

Daylight is a first-person horror game made with the Unreal 4 engine, set in a spooky hospital with a procedurally-generated layout, and is focused on evasion rather than combat. I turned the lights out to see what I could see.

I don’t scare easily, at least not unless someone puts dead shellfish in front of me. Or tries to stick a needle into my arm. Or starts a conversation with “have you heard the new Coldplay song?” Or asks me to perform sums. Or tells me the house is out of milk. Or inquires about what I think I’ll be doing for a living in ten years’ time. Daylight did scare me though – well, not quite scare, so much as pull me into a sustained state of dread and tension, even though I was simulatenously sneering at its tidal wave of horror stereotypes.
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Wot I Think – Warlock 2: The Exiled

By Alec Meer on May 8th, 2014.

Warlock II is a turn-based strategy game with roleplaying elements (players of both Civilization and Heroes of Might & Magic will be at home here), set in Paradox’s comic fantasy universe of Ardania. You play as a Great Mage, building towns, raising an army of assorted pointy-eared things and wielding spells in battle against other Great Mages.

Possibly important disclaimer: I played very little of the first Warlock, so please look elsewhere if you need an article that compares Warlock II to its predecessor. For the record, I am aware that some people feel this comes across more like an expansion pack than a sequel, but all I can do is talk about this as a game in its own right.
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Wot I Think: Kentucky Route Zero – Act III

By Adam Smith on May 7th, 2014.

Here at RPS, we’re quite fond of Cardboard Computer’s magical realist adventure. Kentucky Route Zero took the final spot in our 2013 Advent Calendar and while the wait for the third act has been longer than I would have liked, it’s good to have Conway and his companions back in my life. The new chapter of gaming’s strangest trip since Sam and Max hit the road contains a musical performance worthy of Lynch, a whiskey-soaked underworld and enough melancholic mystery to fuel a new generation of the blues. Here’s wot I think.

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Wot I Think: Child Of Light

By Marsh Davies on May 6th, 2014.

Painted in watercolour and written in verse, Child of Light is a charming, if superficially childish, fairytale RPG. Beneath this breezy fable of lost princesses and talking mice, however, is a complicated combat system that calls back to Final Fantasy’s Active Time Battles – a dense interplay of buffs, interrupts and attacks that injects a realtime element to otherwise turnbased fights. You might call it a platformer too, but given that the heroine quickly sprouts wings, your exploration of the sidescrolling overworld is more aerobatic than acrobatic. I like all these things and yet it’s left me struggling to be enthused. Here’s wot I think.

The one good thing about uPlay misplacing my save file several hours into Child of Light is that it helped bring my feelings about the game into sharper focus. One feeling being a reluctance to play more of it than I really needed to. Another being that, since I had to, I’d have preferred the cutscenes to be skippable.

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Wot I Think: Contagion

By Craig Pearson on May 2nd, 2014.

What happens when you accidentally dial the number of the beast.

Contagion’s a multiplayer zombie shooter game. Yes, it’s a co-op game where players are the survivors and the undead, and yes it’s even in the Source Engine. But it’s good. It’s not great, and it has problems, but for the 9 hours I sunk into it in the past week, I’ve had lot of fun, and I’ve even had something happen to me that I’ve never had happen in a game before. Here’s Wot I Think.

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Wot I Think: Dark Souls II

By Adam Smith on April 30th, 2014.

Dark Souls is a tough act to follow. While it was the second game in the dark fantasy Souls series, it had a wider audience and fell under closer scrutiny. As well as solidifying the mechanics that Demon’s Souls had laid out it made some major changes and built a more cohesive world. Dark Souls II tweaks the formula again and the results aren’t entirely satisfying. Here’s wot I think.

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Wot I Think: Broken Sword: The Serpent’s Curse (Part 2)

By Richard Cobbett on April 30th, 2014.

So what you're saying is that ONE goat is okay?

Last December we saw the first part of the Kickstarted Broken Sword: The Serpent’s Curse. It was a pretty game, and made for a warm reunion with two beloved characters, but one with more than a little cause for concern. Now, the second part is finally out. Here’s Wot I Think.

This isn’t going to be pretty. The first episode of this new Broken Sword was like catching up with old friends after a long absence; a warm nostalgia that helped paper over many of the cracks and turn a largely bland – if pretty – adventure into something comfortable and fresh. This second part? That’s several hours later, when the wine and nibbles are all gone, and all the old stories have been told. You yawn, you check your watch, you say “We really have to do this again,” and then inwardly sigh as you see a glass being refilled and a new photo album. Except with some very silly puzzles, and a lack of narrative chops that would be stunning if it wasn’t too busy being depressing.

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Wot I Think: FRACT OSC

By Marsh Davies on April 29th, 2014.

Part first-person puzzler, part synthesiser, FRACT OSC has evolved from the mysterious musical toy that won the IGF’s Best Student Game in 2011. It’s now a paid Steam release with a more formal puzzle-game structure in which you explore a vast cave system of disconcerting geometries, full of exotic polyhedral shapes and pulsing neon tubes. Work out how to revive this world and its strange machines, and it throbs with sound and rhythm, unlocking components for a full-fledged music sequencer that you lets you compose and export your tunes. Alec found the whole experience a little austere. Here’s wot I think.

Puzzles are about epiphany, about the joy of understanding something new and achieving mastery of it. It’s what makes a puzzle different from a problem: a problem doesn’t want you to solve it. The best puzzle games need either escalation or variety to carry that sense of epiphany onwards and upwards. They prevent wonder subsiding into routine. And in that sense, FRACT falls short – the more you explore its puzzles, the less interesting they become – but the first few hours in FRACT’s alarmingly alien world may hold wonder enough to buoy you through.

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