Posts Tagged ‘walking simulator’

Trippy, Dreamy Exploration: Gardenarium Released

By Alice O'Connor on April 3rd, 2015.

Of the innumerable walk-a-explore-o-awe games I’ve played, few have entranced me as much as Gardenarium [official site]. Hand-drawn flowers and trees grow, unfurl, sway, swirl, and dance as you explore cloud lands. They’re full of strange characters too, teachers, hitch hikers, and other hand-drawn lovelies with weird things to say.

The Wild Rumpus gang showed Gardenarium in our Mild Rumpus chill-out zone at the Game Developers Conference this year. I sat watching it from within a big metal leaf for a whole day, still cussing in wonder at the animation by the day’s end. Now you too can coo, aah, and cuss at Gardenarium, as it came out yesterday on Windows, Mac, and Linux at $4.99 (£3.30-ish).

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Watch Pretty Wandering In The Lost Valley’s Trailer

By Alice O'Connor on March 27th, 2015.

Total Alicebait.

I watched all six minutes and twenty-two seconds of The Lost Valley’s [Greenlight page] trailer expecting a jump scare. I’ve come to associate pretty ‘realistic’ natural landscapes with sandbox survival and jump ‘em ups, and appropriately expect cannibals, sharks, and Slender Men. No, not here. It’s simply six minutes of someone wandering down forested paths, wading through streams, and poking around scraps of abandoned civilisation.

Curiously, the makers’ last game was one of those pretty world spookfests, Lex Mortis [Steam page], which seems to be praised for prettiness but cursed for many of its gamey bits. Sorted!

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Childhood, Memory & Hope: Home Is Where One Starts

By Shaun Green on March 2nd, 2015.

Home Is Where One Starts screenshot

I’m quite fond of short, experiential games that set out to tell a simple story. I think of them like short stories: something that does not take long to experience but which can subsequently stay with you for some time. Alas, many such games fall under the umbrella of ‘walking simulator’, a rather pejorative name for a genre, but until we have a widely accepted alternative it’ll have to do.

Home Is Where One Starts [official site] is on Greenlight, and aims to tell a story about childhood, memory and hope: pretty universal as themes go.

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Weird Cyberspace Wanderings With Im Null

By Alice O'Connor on January 12th, 2015.

I'm hung up on its website name. Say it aloud: mooosh. Mooosh. Mooosh mooosh. Mooosh.

“You might like this,” my flatmate tells me, sending me a link to Im null with no explanation. The free browser-based game’s site won’t explain what it is either, simply asking you to define yourself with a number then dropping you into a void with a few white wireframe models. Ah, yes, this is something I might like: a weird little cyberworld to explore, and multiplayer at that. I think. Probably.

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Cruise Around Mars In A Convertible With Naut

By Alice O'Connor on January 8th, 2015.

Zoom zoom.

Cruising across Mars in a sweet space-Cadillac while lightning strikes all around you can be wonderful in Naut, a free little walking simulator wot you do driving in. And then you slam into a rock which has suddenly risen out of the ground before you and your car flips and you’re sent tumbling then spend twenty seconds trying to right it again. That bit’s less great. But when you find a nice cruising groove, Naut can be awfully pleasant.

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Time To Admire Art In Secret Habitat

By Alice O'Connor on December 17th, 2014.

ART.

I like Secret Habitat. I like it an awful lot. I’ve been playing this latest from Strangethink Software for a fortnight and I keep returning to see more but it’s taken me this long to post because I want to do right by it. Oh, this’ll have to do! Secret Habitat is wonderful and special, okay?

It’s a free walking simulator on a procedural island covered in procedural art galleries with procedural layouts and procedural wallpaper and procedural collections of procedural artwork with procedural names by procedural artists, accompanied by procedural sound exhibits.

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Walking Simulator With A Gun: Ultimate Pâté

By Alice O'Connor on December 10th, 2014.

How tranquil!

Ultimate Pâté is a free walking simulator with a gun. It’s a big gun too, a double-barrelled shotgun. You can use it to kill exotic and whimsical animals like flamingos and unicorns. To process into cheap pâté. And yet… I do think it’s a walking simulator rather than a hunting game. We wander around low-fi woods, follow skittish animals, and listen to soft music in sterotypical walking simulator ways, so I feel a giddy transgressive thrill whipping out a shotgun to blow away a magical horse.

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Longing For Walking Simulators Wot You Do Swimming In

By Alice O'Connor on November 24th, 2014.

Lovely lovely Kenwood Ladies' Pond.

I’ve taken to swimming in a pond. I can only see a few inches into the silty water, but I know it’s deeper than I can dive. It is quite cold, and I’ve learned to exhale when plunging in so air contracting in my lungs doesn’t shock me. I tread water to let the cold sink in before I slowly kick away. I swim front crawl in pools, but here I do lazy breaststroke. The pond is a magical place to savour. It’s ringed by water-lilies, reeds, and trees. London’s feral parakeets squawk from the branches. Kingfisher teal flashed past me once. I move jerkily: one burst from my legs, another from my arms, then a second of decreasing inertia as they circle back round. It smells wonderful, rich. The north-eastern corner is always warmest and, though I’ll say with authority that’s rising warmth of decay from the lily bed, I don’t know why. Sometimes my leg brushes slimy things I fear might not be rotting stems.

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Musical Wandering: Porapora

By Alice O'Connor on November 22nd, 2014.

Pretty.

Come on, that’s enough. You’ve had enough. It’s noon. Get up. Get out of the house. I’m going for a swim, and if you’re still there when I get back, I’ll be sorely disappointed. We follow a strict Victorian physical code here, you know: a brisk walk, a dunk in some nice cold water, then a seven-course lunch once we’re all back. Don’t pout. Oh, at the very least, do go for a virtual walk. It’ll still enrich you, and might help you shake your grumps off if you’re playing the delightful Porapora.

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Water Witchery: Dovetail Games Fishing On Early Access

By Alice O'Connor on November 7th, 2014.

How tranquil!

Fishing, as I understand it, is not about catching fish. It’s all a macabre ritual to invoke a pleasant Sunday afternoon by the water, isn’t it? The fisher delicately scratches the hook across their fingernail and nods at the white line left by a sharp point. Fingertips descend into maggots, grubbing for a fresh sacrifice, a juicy virgin. Meat and metal meet as, with the greatest of care, they pierce the flesh between the maggot’s eyes. The weighting of the line, the winding of the reels… the rituals are minute and endless. For hours, they stare intently at mirror waters reflecting the sun’s passage across the sky. Silence, solitude, ritual, and contemplation. Witchcraft.

Train Simulator developers Dovetail Games are now dabbling in that magic, having launched their fishing game into Steam Early Access this week. It’s only £4.99 at first.

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Video Game Tourism: First-Person Grand Theft Auto V

By Alice O'Connor on November 5th, 2014.

My little cousin will freak when he sees my holiday snaps.

It’s awfully exciting. I’ve played squillions of first-person games and, thanks to mods, even first-person Grand Theft Auto. And yet, here I am, oohing and aahing like a weary traveller handed a cup of tea. The new trailer showing off Grand Theft Auto V‘s first-person mode is awfully exciting.

Not just that it’s gorgeous – it is – but that it’s surely a sign that Rockstar recognise GTA is a tourism simulator at heart, and intend to do away with all this guff about Johnny Crimes and his pals Ricky Murder and Ian Knives. GTA VI’s final mission will be to find a good vegan breakfast on a foggy San Fierro morning, mark my words.

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Wot I Think: The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

By John Walker on September 29th, 2014.

The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter, the first game from The Astronauts, offers a strikingly beautiful haunting journey exploring the mystery of the disappearance of a young boy. From the developers who brought us Bulletstorm (when they were People Can Fly), it couldn’t be a more different game. Here’s wot I think:

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Waggly Wandering: Explore An Alien City In Bernband

By Alice O'Connor on September 24th, 2014.

My new local.

I’m still pining for Prey 2, but Bernband has sated that desire a little. It’s a walking simulator set in an alien city, all stark architecture, colourful lights, and noise. Lots of noise. Trains roar past, flying cars zip overhead, machinery churns, and crowds all mutter and growl as you gawp at them. It’s a low-fi version of everything that excited me about Prey 2’s world, and you don’t even kill anyone. It’s out now, it’s free, and it has the most delightfully waggly first-person hand animation you’ve ever seen.

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