Watch 7 Minutes Of Civilization: Beyond Earth’s Rising Tide

Let's agree to call the expansion CIVBERT.

A rising tide lifts all boats, it’s said, and there’s some hope that the watery Rising Tide expansion will lift all of Civilization: Beyond Earth‘s [official site] systems and not simply provide a new shimmering surface for the same old ideas. Find out whether that seems likely via a video demonstrating some of the oceanic mechanics below.

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Wot I Think – Lethis: Path Of Progress

As the doors of game development open up to more and more souls, an added benefit is that it’s ever-more plausible to make some great art then slap it into your engine, elevating the functional into the beautiful. Caesar/Zeus/Pharaoh-inspired, combat-free Gallic citybuilder Lethis: Path Of Progress doesn’t do especially remarkable things in terms of town management, but with an animation-inspired, gently Steampunk art style which falls somewhere in between bande dessinee and Studio Ghibli, it’s too gorgeous to put down even when it’s on the verge of tedium.
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Turn-Based Cyberninja Action: Ronin Out Of Early Access

You're about to get stabbed, son.

I dug the demo of turn-based stealth-o-swordfighter Ronin [official site], and the more-complete Steam Early Access version that Marsh prematurely evaluated sounded even better. It’s a clever blend of real-time sneaking with gadgets then simultaneous turn-based sword combat when that goes tits-up, turning fights into careful ballet of thrown blades and dodged bullets. Playing it made me feel like the coolest cyberpunk assassin, which is of course the highest class of murderer.

I’ve been waiting for the full release before picking it up, and today it finally arrived.

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Stock Car Extreme Devs Reiza Crowdfunding Updates

CARS!

Lately whenever I post about broom-broom games, one commenter or another pops up to remark that I should post about goings-on with Reiza, the folks behind Stock Car Extreme [official site] and Formula Truck 2013 [official site]. My usual response to people making demands is to throw my drink in their face then shake them upside-down until sufficient coinage for a new bevvy falls out their pockets/guts/wherever it is money lives, but this primitive Internet prohibits polite retribution.

So fine, I’ll say it: after years of free post-release updates for their racing sims, Reiza have launched a crowdfunding campaign to keep those rolling for another year and a half.

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LEGO Minifigures Online Release, Ditches F2P Model

LITTLE PLASTIC PEOPLE.

LEGO Worlds is looking like it’ll become the brick ‘em up folks have been asking for since 1873, with the grand vision of letting folks slap down plastic bricks with their pals and play silly beggars to their hearts’ content. LEGO Minifigures Online [official site] is, well, one of the games that made the long wait for LEGO Worlds so frustrating.

Made by Funcom, LEGO Minifigures Online is an MMO action-RPG where different LEGOMEN are different classes, romping through LEGO settings. After a year in open beta as free-to-play, yesterday it officially launched as regular old pay-to-play offering everything for one price.

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Explore-o: Aquatic Adventure Of The Last Human Demo

I’m a sucker for self-proclaimed Metroid-vanias, especially ones with a nice pixel art, so The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human [official site] is totally up my street [I’d meant to post about it sooner myself -ed]. As such, it’s nice to see that the game was Kickstarted successfully, raising over 60,000 Swedish Krona (£4600ish) for developers YCJY to finish the post-apocalyptic undersea project.

A demo is already available, which includes a decent chunk of ocean for you to explore and a couple of bosses to defeat.

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No Jokes, Please: Dirt Rally Goes To Baumholder

The simultaneous announcement and Steam Early Access launch of Dirt Rally [official site] in April was the kind of surprise I’d thought Big Video Games had become incapable of pulling off – someone always squeals. Content updates are less of a surprise, as that’s sorta what Early Access is all about, but still just as welcome.

Five new cars are now squealing around an all-tarmac German track, offering a different style of race.

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Galaxy Class: New Heat Signature Dev Walkthrough

This new Heat Signature [official site] video dev diary/walkthrough is giving me some serious “Hotline Miami in space” vibes, and I’m totally digging it. Developer Tom Francis has made some significant updates to the game since we last saw it 220 days ago. Watch as he talks us through a few missions, resets the universe a couple of times, and nails precision rebound wrench throws.

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Meditative Bullet Hell: Soft Body

“You are a beautiful, gooey snake, and you paint the world with your soft body,” says Zeke Virant, and I want to know: who squealed? But as chance would have it, that statement would also apply to people playing his game Soft Body [official site]. It’s a puzzling action-y bullet hell-ish sort of a meditative chillout game, a description which may seem contradictory in half a dozen ways but will make more sense once you’ve seen the trailer.

We’ve peeked at Soft Body before and played a prototype, and now it’s slated to launch in autumn.

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Mojang Winding Up Scrolls

When Minecraft made a squillion dollars, rather than plough into a sequel, developers Mojang Specifications realised they could fund making whatever games they jolly well pleased. Scrolls [official site] was their first whim, a battling collectible card game. And, since Microsoft bought Mojang, it might be one of their last too.

The most recent Scrolls content update ‘Echoes’ will be its very last, Mojang have announced, and it sounds like the servers will shut down eventually, though not for a while: they’ll keep going until July 1st, 2016, at the very least. The game only officially launched out of beta in December 2014.

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Premature Evaluation: Train Valley

Train Valley offers quite a focussed and fun optimisation challenge rather than a sprawling simulation of every aspect of rail management. Nonetheless, it makes some efforts at historical accuracy - at least in terms of the style of the engines you use - setting its challenges across two centuries of rail transport in Europe, America, Russia and (when it gets a later content patch) Japan. The Gold Rush gets a hat tip, as does World War 2 - so it was with a tiny amount of completely irrational sadness that the date of 1864 came and went while playing the game’s European levels, and there was no mention of the One Thing I Know About Railways: the first British railway murder.

Each week Marsh Davies boards the Steam locomotive as it chugs its way through Early Access and comes back with any stories he can find and/or is cannibalised by rabid commuters while delayed in a siding. This week he’s played Train Valley, a chirpy but challenging rail construction sim.

My attempts to run a railway system make a good case for nationalisation: the absurd delays as I reverse trains back and forth over a switch in the track, somehow making the same signalling error each time; the piles of cargo that end up in the wrong town, or so late that its value has completely expired; the destruction to wildlife, farmland and neolithic monuments; the forced relocation of indigenous people. Oh, and the massive loss of life, too, I suppose. At the end of it all, I go bankrupt – and yet they keep giving me another chance.

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Batman: Arkham Knight Mod Unlocks Other Characters

Okay, so the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight [official site] was so shoddy that Warner Bros have temporarily removed it from sale. That doesn’t mean those of you playing despite the temperamental frame rate and occasional freeze can’t enjoy a little something not available on console, namely, a mod which allows you to play as ten characters other than Batman, from Harley Quinn to Jim Gordon. Even if Harley Quinn: Arkham Knight doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

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The Coral Cave: A Watercolour Adventure Game

Today on Games I Wish I’d Noticed Sooner Because I Feel I’ve Robbed My Eyes Of Several Months Of Pleasure, we’re looking at The Coral Cave [official site]. The pointy-clicky adventure game, you see, is made of hand-animated watercolour paintings.

Atelier Sento’s French-Japanese-Canadian team are telling a tale of a young girl who lives on a remote Okinawan island and travels into the spirit world to save her village from a strange threat. That screenshot up top there ↑ is nice, isn’t it? Mate, come see the trailer.

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