Joining Steam’s Early Access program is Delver, a first-person roguelike that wants you to go deeper. Into its dungeon. But at this point, is that enough? I’ve had a play.
By Adam Smith on September 6th, 2013.
I didn’t believe in the Oculus Rift. Not in the way that I don’t believe in Derek Acorah, the phantom of credibility, but in the way that I don’t believe in matter transporters or eating only one biscuit. The Rift had seemed like an impossible dream, a product of improbable technology and the overly forgiving impressions of excited humans. Now I believe and all it took was a flight over Stalingrad in a Sturmovik.
By John Walker on August 23rd, 2013.
I’m very easily pleased. Just sit me down in front of an episode of Man Vs Food Nation, give me a killer sudoku, and I’m out of your hair. Similarly, give me a toppish-down or platforming rogue-like-like (as I think we’re all agreeing they should be known), and I’ll very likely be kept happy and out from under your feet. Which means it takes me some considerable effort to work out if the one that’s currently distracting me is doing so because it’s good, or because it’s there. I’m still trying to figure that out for Full Mojo Rampage. Either way, I can’t deny that I’m happily wiling away a few hours with its alpha. Also, gosh, I didn’t realise how much I’d missed circle-strafing.
By Craig Pearson on August 20th, 2013.
Oh no, the sun is dipping! That’s not a problem, usually. It happens every day and tells me when it’s time to have a lovely sleep. But in Race The Sun, night falling is death. You’re flying across the strange landscape, heading straight at the dipping fireball in a solar powered racing wing. Even shadows will suck the power out of your bird-like frame, so a sun-starved sky will slow you to a deathly crawl. Game over. All you can do to keep going is to keep up with the sun, to always keep it hovering above the horizon, never falling below and dropping you to an embarrassing, skiddy ending. I spent the morning chasing that impossible dream.
By Alec Meer on June 13th, 2013.
Ah, that’s the stuff. I couldn’t have wished for anything more stabilising during a week when the games industry seems of the verge of eating itself. A game about games, a game where all this came from, a game about the purity and the silliness of escapism, a game about boardgames, card games and pen and paper roleplaying games. Console scenesters might have their Monster Hunter; on PC, we have Card Hunter. Card Hunter, I heart you.
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By John Walker on June 6th, 2013.
I don’t think I’ve ever written a more negative preview than for Marvel Heroes. There was a reason for that: it was terrible. Ever optimistic, and hugely hopeful for a fun F2P entry in the Marvel universe, I’d hoped to return to the game to see if criticisms of its alpha and beta phase had been taken on board, to create the superhero MMO/aRPG we’d been hoping for. So far, it’s doing its best to stop me finding out.
By John Walker on May 2nd, 2013.
On some levels, so much effort must have gone into Mars: War Logs. Not into the name, clearly – that’s an act of self-sabotage that can only have emerged as the result of some unconscious perspicacity as to the game they’d made. But it’s a big, long RPG, albeit one made of tight near-identical corridors, and they don’t just appear. And that’s just a bit sad.
By John Walker on May 1st, 2013.
I don’t entirely know how to justify why I’m enjoying Neverwinter quite so much. Why I’ve found excuses to play it nearly the entire weekend, stay up late playing it this week, and even get annoyed that they were doing server maintenance at 8am when I tried to sneak in half an hour before starting work. There’s no question that it’s very good – it’s a superbly made MMO, predictable ongoing server teething problems on launch aside (I’ll get to those at the end). It’s enormous, jam-packed with so very much to do, extremely approachable, but elaborately complicated if you want it to be. I suppose its biggest crime is to be traditional in its structure, and it turns out that was exactly what I was looking for.
By Adam Smith on April 9th, 2013.
Eador: Masters of the Broken World will be released into our very own fractured realm later this month and I’ve spent a few hours with a preview copy and had many of my expectations defied. Is it more of a King’s Bounty than a hero’s swordsmanship and spell-biffing, or is it something entirely different? I’m still not entirely sure, but I’m looking forward to finding out.
By Alec Meer on April 4th, 2013.
The boardgame I’ve played the most times, by far, is Settlers of Catan – and that’s not something I expect to change by time I reach my deathbed. Sure, it’s obvious, but it’s also a sweetspot of strategy and competition, as early co-operation turns to bitter rivalry and even the merest mention of sheep can reduce grown adults to shivering balls of purest hatred. I gravitated towards Lukáš Beran’s free, boardgame-like Expanze, which made no secret of its Catanic ways, with mixed excitement and anxiety. Excitement: Catan! Anxiety: But is it just a cheap’n'nasty, slavish rip-off?
No, it isn’t. It’s based on Catan’s essential mechanics – the gathering of brick, wood, sheep, ore and wheat, and the spending of these on the expansion of your agrarian empire – but it goes off and does its own thing with them. Better still, it turns them into a surprisingly workable singleplayer game.
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By Adam Smith on March 20th, 2013.
I just noticed that the spotlights are following me and that arrows flash at the side of the arena right before a power-up twinkles into view, hovering across the screen and leaving trails of excitement. Everything leaves glowing tracks or showers of sparks. Sometimes, naturally, the power-up is a score-spewing giant fruit. Ultratron is arena-based, robot dismantling particle heaven.