First Person, Cuter: Lovely Planet

By Adam Smith on July 22nd, 2014 at 2:00 pm.

I spent almost a year of my life lugging a few Lonely Planets around in a backpack but I don’t think I’ve ever had a Lovely Planet to call my own. Gaming often introduces me to dead planets, toxic planets, desolate planets, living planets that eat other planets, and the occasional meat or bone planet, but lovely planets are rare. Quick Tequila’s first-person shooter lives up to its name though, with colours and cuteness aplenty. The aesthetic caught my eye but it’s the running, jumping and targeting that kept the eye from wandering.

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Mode Seven Explain Why Frozen Cortex Left The Frendzone

By Alec Meer on July 22nd, 2014 at 1:00 pm.

Frozen Synapse developers Mode Seven have been quietly talking about changing the name of their exceedingly clever but regrettably-titled strategic robo-sports game Frozen Endzone for some time now. Tired of all the friendzone puns and concerned about how much it overstated the American Football aspect, they’ve only gone and done it. Frozen Endzone is no more: as of today we have Frozen Cortex. Or, Frendzone is no more: now we have FroCo.

The name isn’t all that’s changed. As of any minute now, Frozen Cortex also boasts a new, more heavily sci-fi look, revamped AI, a big performance boost and Mac/Linux builds. This is a major update, not a mere rebrand. I had a chat with Mode Seven’s Paul Taylor and Ian Hardingham about why they’ve changed so much after so long – including their reasoning for (and risks of) that rebranding. Read on for that and a glimpse of the new-look game.
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Canada Route Zero: Highway Of Tears Demo

By Adam Smith on July 22nd, 2014 at 12:00 pm.

Digging through the RPS archives can be rather alarming. Highway of Tears looks like the kind of game our keen eyes may have spotted so I dutifully typed the first few letters into the ‘tag’ search – ‘h-i-g-h-way To The Reich’, the form completed itself and waited for my approval. No. Bad form. Bad RPS. I’ll deal with this situation right away. I wonder what other innocent words produce a single disturbing response?

Highway of Tears caught my eye because it has a strong set of influences, including Kentucky Route Zero, True Detective and ‘the mythology of the Haida aboriginals’. That already makes for a more attractive point and click prospect than ‘comedy anti-hero’ or ‘rubbish [insert job title]‘. A demo is available.

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H2O: Chemical Puzzler Sokobond Now On Steam

By Alice O'Connor on July 22nd, 2014 at 11:00 am.

Bond those chemicals!

Now, let’s be clear. When I say “Hey, Sokobond has been out since September but now it’s on Steam,” I don’t mean to imply that you should refuse to buy games not on Steam, and I don’t want to encourage people who do. But a game being on Steam always draws more attention, and launching on Steam can reintroduce it to a larger audience. A Sokoban-y puzzler shifting and bonding atoms to form chemical compounds is a quiet and unassuming sort of game, after all. But a good one.

Hey, Sokobond has been out since September but now it’s on Steam.

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Bird-Brained: Nelly Cootalot’s On Greenlight

By John Walker on July 22nd, 2014 at 10:00 am.

The extremely lovely point and click adventure Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy appeared when RPS was but a fledgling chick, not sure how to arrange text and images. The game, however, knew exactly how to arrange such things, the sweetest love letter from boyfriend to girlfriend, and a damned funny little adventure too. Last year saw a sequel, The Fowl Fleet successfully seek funding on Kickstarter, and in the time since creator Alasdair Beckett-King has teamed up with Application Systems to complete the game. There’s a new trailer, below, and a Greenlight campaign.

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Awkward Zombie: A Gaming Webcomic About Games

By Graham Smith on July 22nd, 2014 at 9:00 am.

The best type of joke.

There is an arc to popular videogame webcomics: they start off being about videogames and then they drift, as the creator and audience change and develop, to being more about the characters contained within the comic. It makes sense that as people become more invested in their own creative world, they’d shift slightly from solely making jokes about other people’s.

Praise be for Awkward Zombie, a videogame webcomic which has been open in my browser for three weeks. As I’ve sat here, clicking through its years and years of archives, reading its jokes about PC games (and Nintendo games) instead of working, a thought occurs. If I share this fun with other people, it becomes work. These hours wasted were research.

So there we go. You can click the link and start reading for yourself, or you can step below for some examples and some prattling about joke forms.

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Stikbold & The Beautiful: ’70s-Styled Dodgeball With Whales

By Graham Smith on July 22nd, 2014 at 8:00 am.

John and Alec in the early '90s!? What are you guys doing in this game!

Local multiplayer games seemed a frustrating shame until recently: I’d see a cool art style or neat idea and then discover that I could only play it if I had people around my house. I hate having people around my house, because that’s where I store the evidence. But then Nidhogg, Gang Beasts and Towerfall happened and I had a gang of folks whose houses I could visit, and so Stikbold, a 1-6 player local multiplayer dodgeball game with colour, humour, and whale-based bossfights seems like an extremely enticing prospect.

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The Lighthouse Customer: Robocraft

By Christopher Livingston on July 21st, 2014 at 9:00 pm.

War never changes. It just rearranges.

Each Monday, Chris Livingston visits an early access game and reports back with stories about whatever he finds inside. This week, building, driving, and flying robotic cube-tanks in the free-to-play Robocraft.

My robotank, Killdeathinator — named for all the killing and deathinating it’s been dishing out — has just entered its 5th iteration. Killdeathinator Mk 1 had four wheels, a couple guns, and was made of weak plastic cubes. Mk 2 added more wheels — ones I can steer, which I’ve found to be fairly important — and a radar dish to track enemies. Now, lined with gleaming copper armor and bristling with cannons, its become a fairly durable ground assault vehicle. Time to kick it up a notch. Killdeathinator wants to fly.

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Training Wheels: Train Simulator 2015 Introducing School

By Alice O'Connor on July 21st, 2014 at 8:00 pm.

Trouble with the thermic syphons, I see.

I sometimes fancy visiting the countryside in the driver’s cab of a virtual train, especially now I’ve seen the new Japanese DLC route inspired by Spirited Away, but know I’ll never put the time into teaching myself to drive one from manuals and tutorial videos.

Almost as if they knew train simulators appear terrifyingly complex from the outside, Dovetail Games have announced they’ll tackle that with Train Simulator 2015. This year’s refresh will bring a train-driving academy teaching how to make choo-choos chug-chug, along with new base routes and trains–including a train from the future.

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Of Guards And Thieves Is Like Tom Clancy’s Monaco

By Graham Smith on July 21st, 2014 at 7:00 pm.

I don't think this is the same camera angle as the video.

Sure, you could watch six rounds of Rainbow Six: Siege being played to get your daily fix of asymmetrical multiplayer, but that game isn’t out yet. Of Guards And Thieves meanwhile is a multiplayer stealth game which as seems as inspired by Clancy-ish infiltration mechanics as it is Monaco’s camera view and Team Fortress 2′s character classes and art design. It’s in Early Access on Steam as of a few days ago and there’s a trailer below.

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Devil’s In The Draw Distance: Into The Gloom

By Adam Smith on July 21st, 2014 at 6:00 pm.

Gloom is a fantastic word, too often ignored in the gaming world because a certain FPS takes all the ‘oom’ attention. Loom deserves some of the ‘oom’ love, of course, and perhaps a little should be spared for Into The Gloom as well. It’s a first-person horror game with puzzles to solve and darkness to flee from, and it has the sort of old-fashioned grayscale (+red) graphics that will cause some observers to roll their eyes in exasperation. There’s a reason for the style though – and it’s not just the lack of a huge art team. The gloom uses a short draw distance and simplistic visuals to conceal…something.

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Editorial: Why Steam Needs To Give New Releases A Chance

By John Walker on July 21st, 2014 at 5:00 pm.

Valve can’t win. And Valve always wins. That’s a fair starting point for any discussion about Steam.

From their vastly dominant position, with a concerning grip over the online PC marketplace, they’re both the bane and the boon of PC developers. If Valve makes a decision, you can guarantee that there will be more voices screaming dissent than those declaring joy (alongside those trying to work out how it’s a covert announcement of Half-Life 3). So you can see why they might start to form a habit of making changes, then stuffing wadding in their own mouths, refusing to talk about it. However, I think it’s time for the company to start taking notice of a mistake I think they’re consistently making with their Store page: hiding new games.

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Liberty City Nights: A NFS Underground-y GTA 3 Mod

By Alice O'Connor on July 21st, 2014 at 4:00 pm.

Neon Nights

Races have consistently been my least favourite activity and mission style in Grand Theft Auto games, but here I am downloading Grand Theft Auto III so I can play a mod dedicated to the blighters. Liberty City Nights’ creator amibitiously describes it as “the best racing mod GTA III ever saw,” which also implies “the least horrible racing GTA III ever saw,” but that’s not why I’m interested. See, I’m interested in mods which try to recreate or crib from games and series which are no longer made, and Liberty City Nights is after the neon night racing of EA’s Need for Speed Underground subseries.

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