The Flare Path: Fruit Of The Thorn

By Tim Stone on August 29th, 2014 at 1:00 pm.

It’s blackberry time here in Upper Bumhope. Brimming punnets of fragrant fruit clutter kitchens and courtyards. Almost everyone you meet has indigo fingertips and scarred forearms. Finding villagers willing to gather simulation and wargame news at this time of the year isn’t easy but thanks to Gleaner, Gusto, and Ghast (FP’s trio of duraluminum-and-balsa reconithopters) I do, just about, have a column for you today. On the other side of yonder html hedge, slim paragraphs on To End All Wars, First World War Campaigns: East Prussia ’14, DCS World, Unity of Command, and Combat Helo. Read the rest of this entry »

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Suspicious Mind: Sherlock Holmes – Crimes & Punishments

By Adam Smith on August 29th, 2014 at 12:00 pm.

A new trailer for Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments demonstrates the manner in which a conversation with the great detective plays out. It’s impossible to lie to him, essentially – tell him that you’re feeling good about yourself for the first time in six months, and he’ll spot some lint nestling in the fabric of your cuff and use it as an excuse to deconstruct your frame of mind, pummelling you with the blunt edge of facts until good feelings are slumped, bloody by your side. I loved the depiction of Holmes in the previous Frogwares game, which also featured the most perfectly rendered dog dick I’ve ever seen. The trailer shows an interrogation, which involves spotting details and clues rather than interpreting a series of looping gurns and sneers.

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Freeware Garden: Level 2 – Virus Master

By Konstantinos Dimopoulos on August 29th, 2014 at 11:00 am.

Better than X-OUT!

Listening to a thundering heavy metal soundtrack while blasting enemies straight from the 16-bit demoscene is, almost surprisingly, exactly as awesome as it sounds. Level 2 – Virus Master, on the other hand, is not as awesome as it sounds. It’s way better.

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Titanfall Without The Titans: A New Humans-only Mode

By Alice O'Connor on August 29th, 2014 at 10:00 am.

Get out of here, you crummy robot.

Titans are fairly central to Titanfall. They’re right there in the name–that’s what the game calls it when your honking great mechs plummet from orbit to the battlefield. I actually preferred the plain old manshooting though, darting about, double-jumping, and wall-running as a regular supersoldier with a jetpack. Well gosh golly, the next Titanfall update will introduce a new mode with simple 8v8 manfights, no Titans and no AI battlefield buddies.

Which makes me wonder: if we can remove the Titans from Titanfall, what titular elements can we remove from other games and still have something interesting?

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Rhythmic Shmup: Harmonix’s A City Sleeps

By Alice O'Connor on August 29th, 2014 at 9:00 am.

Seems pretty lively to me.

In the deepest, darkest basement of Harmonix HQ, Alex Rigopulos is trying to make a rhythm game out of a Cherry Bakewell. He’s added coloured buttons to it, he’s patting it to a mamba beat, he’s jabbing the glacĂ© cherry and making an airhorn noise with his mouth. They’ll try to turn anything and everything into a rhythm game, that lot. Making air guitar into Guitar Hero went pretty dang well, though trying to rhythmise FPSs with Chroma has been trickier. They won’t give up.

Harmonix are now having a crack at shoot ‘em ups, they announced yesterday, in A City Sleeps.

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When Hope Dies: Breach And Clear – Deadline

By Adam Smith on August 29th, 2014 at 8:00 am.

Breach And Clear: DEADline is another zombie game but it’s [edit: possibly not] a tactical turn-based zombie game so I’m willing to give it a chance. If you put a turn-based game about OXO in front of me, it’d probably occupy me for at least a couple of hours. As already mentioned, this is a beefed up version of an iOS release and a new developer diary sheds light on the design philosophy of the development teams.

“One of the phrases that we are using here internally and is basically written on the wall everywhere we go is ‘what does it feel like when hope dies?’”

So says Gun Media creative director Wes Keltner. I really hope he doesn’t have reason to visit many public places with his permanent marker pen.

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Week in Tech: AMD’s New 285 GPU, NVMe SSDs And Stuff

By Jeremy Laird on August 28th, 2014 at 9:00 pm.

Oh, you silly GPUs. Remember the days when by your names should we know ye? No longer. Increasingly, both AMD and Nvidia appear to be engaged in a game of one-upmanship when it comes to baffling branding. Enter, therefore, the new AMD Radeon R9 285. The nomenclature suggests it should sit above the existing R9 280, but in fact it’s cheaper, less complex and most likely a bit slower. Why not Radeon R9 275? I have no idea. Still, it looks like a promising new option in terms of bang for your buck. Meanwhile, the complete package for next-gen SSD performance is finally coming together as a major new controller chipset with support for NVMe is announced. Yes, NVMe! Oh and on a related note, it now looks like you might want to skip Intel’s upcoming Broadwell architecture / CPU family / platform / whatever and jump straight to Skylake. Details after the break.

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Make Your Own Myth: Moon Hunters

By Adam Smith on August 28th, 2014 at 8:00 pm.

There was a time when I thought Puzzle Quest and the like formed a signpost pointing to a bright future, in which themes and genres would become the bricks in a huge architectural toy chest. Who wouldn’t want to play a pinball game in which highscores and skillshots translate into the bank balance and item unlocks for a family of Sim-like Little Computer People? Or a game in which solving logic puzzles makes a car go faster and faster and faster until Lewis Hamilton throws a strop.

When I first read about Moon Hunters, I thought it would be something along those lines. Play a puzzle thing with some RPG-lite conventions attached to it and ‘construct’ a mythology. Then I watched the Kickstarter pitch video (it’s already funded) and gawped in amazement.

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The Risen 3 Report, Day 6: The Price Of A Monkey

By Alec Meer on August 28th, 2014 at 7:00 pm.

What price a life? Specifically, what price a simian life? Specifically, what price a helper monkey trained in thievery?
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Oooh! Twitchy Spinny Dodge ‘Em Up oO

By Alice O'Connor on August 28th, 2014 at 6:00 pm.

Everything is going FINE.

As much as I’d like to spin around inside a washing machine, I know how that ends. But lovely, lovely video games can let us do impossible things, and games like Super Hexagon offer that dream of spinning around inside a round thing filled with jagged edges and crushing surfaces. oO has been out for a while but only twirled before my eyes today. It’s a one-button dodge ‘em up about spinning around and jumping between conjoined circles filled increasingly with death.

It’s free and it’s fun and it’s difficult and it’s late in the day so let’s all lark about a bit playing it.

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Makoa And Meercats: A Rite From The Stars

By Adam Smith on August 28th, 2014 at 5:00 pm.

A Rite From The Stars is an adventure game, inspired by nineties classics and modern marvels alike. The setting and plot are interesting, but we’ll move on to that in a moment because there are far more important statements on the Kickstarter page. Developers Risin’ Goat (only enough in the budget for one ‘g’) claim that the game will not feature ‘pixel hunts’, ‘pointless walks’ or ‘boring inventory management (also known as “Use the stick in everything until it works”)’. I reckon all three of those things should have been left on the Lucas and Sierra cutting-room floor a long time ago, along with almost every puzzle in The Dig and the many deaths of Roger Wilco. A Rite From The Stars isn’t simply emulating the past and I’m grateful for that. The Kickstarter has eight days left on the clock and $15,000 of a $40,000 target left to raise.

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They Only Come Out At Night: Gridland

By Adam Smith on August 28th, 2014 at 4:00 pm.

FACT: A Dark Room was one of last year’s most bemusing browser games. Initially, it seems like a survivalist-themed Cookie Clicker or Candy Box, a mouse-mauling series of numbers that rise toward the impossibility of infinity. Not so.

FACT: There are four hundred and six Match 3 games released every minute. They’re mostly released onto app stores rather than the wilds of the PC so you might not have seen all of them, but they’re out there. They’re mostly identical except for the manner of thing that must be matched – sometimes it’s gems, sometimes it’s fruits, very occasionally it is (probably) gonads.

FACT: Double Speak Games, developers of A Dark Room, have released a Match 3 game that is different to the rest. It’s called Gridland, it’s free and it will make your Thursday soar.

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Something For The Weekend: RPS Social Club

By Adam Smith on August 28th, 2014 at 3:00 pm.

A card as elegant as ivory flutters across the ballroom, caressed by a hundred fingertips as it makes its way to the periphery of the room, where you stand, watching and waiting. For me, the crinkling of your brow speaks the query that your lips cannot. Even the gentle rustle of a bustle is capable of distracting the Duke from the strings that he so inexpertly scrapes. To escape from the dreariness of this corseted formality would be splendid. Perhaps the card that you now hold offers an alternative:

This Saturday from 7PM at The Blue Posts, London, will be host to a gathering of splendid people. Games of Gin Rummy, Whist and Cosmic Encounter may occur. Suggestions and enquiries should be directed t’ward The Forum.

How radiant!

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