Choo choo! Toy train builder Tracks chugging into early access in September

Tracks header

All aboard the nostalgia express! Free toy train set builder Tracks [official site] is getting a proper commercial release later this year, hauling a carriage-load of new features into the Steam Early Access station. Arrival date: September 28th.

I’m buying a ticket early for this one. The free version (which you can get here) is a pretty great, serene experience but lone developer Dr_Whoop (or Tom, if you prefer) is clearly been hard at work preparing new goodies for the full release. There’s pretty decorations, new music, mechanisms to play with and objectives to complete.

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Quake Champions will bunny hop onto Steam too

Quake Champions

I’m eagerly following the progress of free-to-play shooter Quake Champions [official site]. I spent a good year of my life in the browser-based Quake Live bunny hopping, insta-gibbing and failing to rocket jump over the smallest of obstacles (seriously, I can’t rocket jump in any game), and had a blast. I haven’t had the chance to play the beta yet but I’ve watched a few streams and the feedback seems to be positive, including from Rick Lane, who was pleasantly surprised with it.

Currently the beta is only available through the Bethesda.net launcher, but Bethesda have now confirmed that it will come to Steam too when it launches properly later this year.

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Titanfall 2 adding two new maps free next week

Titanfall 2 War Games

Titanfall 2 pilots – you’re in luck. The game’s getting a free update next week (27 June) called The War Games, which adds two maps and a few new features.

If that DLC title sounds familiar then that’s because it’s named after a map from the original Titanfall, War Games, which will now be available in the sequel. It’s a simulated high-rise city where you can scamper across windows and on top of huge garages. I have fond memories of wall-running around the buildings in the first game, so I’m excited that it’s coming back.

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PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds sales pass 4 million

PUBG header

The incredible rise of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds [official site] continues. The early access Battle Royale ’em up has surpassed 4 million copies sold, developers Bluehole Studio announced yesterday, which is… er… a lot. The game hasn’t even come out yet and it’s sold more copies than Zelda: Breath of the Wild (that’s at 3 million, and Link had a 20-day head-start). Pretty staggering.

Bluehole also boast that the game has hit $100m of revenue, 230,000 peak concurrent users on Steam, and 350,000 simultaneous viewers on Twitch. In case you didn’t realise, these are BIG NUMBERS.

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GTA publishers are leaving OpenIV alone after all

GTA V

Grand Theft Auto V [official site] developers Rockstar Games appear to have talked parent company Take-Two Interactive out of shutting down OpenIV, a modding tool for GTA IV and V. This is good news. The makers of OpenIV received a cease-and-desist letter from Take-Two earlier this month, prompting outrage from players, but Rockstar have confirmed that Take-Two will now focus their ire only on mods that affect GTA Online in an attempt to crack down on hackers.

Open IV has just been updated with a new version, too, so it definitely lives. Read the rest of this entry »

What are we all playing this weekend?

An illustration from 'The Ingoldsby Legends'

June is bustin’ out all over, wrote Rodgers and Hammerstein, and bustin’ makes me feel good. If summer could hold out just a little longer and last the weekend, ooh that’d be grand. And if it doesn’t, hey, we can shelter indoors playing video games.

What are you playing this weekend? Here’s what we’re clicking on. Read the rest of this entry »

Thimbleweed Park gets in-game hint hotline

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I’m constantly getting stuck in Thimbleweed Park [official site], the old-school adventure game from the creators of Maniac Mansion, Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick. I always seem to have an inventory full of loose popcorn, soot, a t-shirt and some dynamite with no clue as to how to combine them in order to get ice cream cake to a hungry ghost.

I thought I was just being dense, but it turns out that I’m not the only one who’s had issues. Fans and critics have remarked that the game needed a hint system and the team has, somewhat reluctantly, obliged. And not just any old hint system: a proper hint hotline you can call from the in-game phones, reminiscent of the real gaming hint lines of the ’80s.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered standalone release coming

Love a duck and stone the crows, Activision are finally going to sell Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered [official site] seperately. Because they’re a gaggle of silly sausages, they originally launched the revamped version of 2007’s wildly popular Call of Duty 4 only as a bonus included in expensive editions of the wildly unpopular Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. Seven months later, Activision have announced they’re putting an end to this foolishness and releasing Modern Warfare Remastered separately. Oh, but it’s never that simple. The June 27th release date announced today is only for PlayStation 4, with other platforms to follow. What are you like! The silliest sausages. Read the rest of this entry »

Has Assassin’s Creed managed to find itself during its gap year?

sliding down a pyramid is probably a lot like falling down a hill

During the Assassin’s Creed: Origins [official site] demo I played at E3, I pressed the wrong button and thought I’d broken the game. I was trying to switch to my bow while sneaking and I accidentally meditated, causing time to fast forward. The sun wheeled around the sky, sank below the horizon, and night fell. The developer guiding me through the experience – an environmental artist – was slightly taken aback, but we rolled with my mistake and I got an accidental peek at the nightlife of Ptolemaic Egypt. Colour me intrigued.

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Homeworld: Cataclysm re-emerges as Emergence

Homeworld: Cataclysm, the standalone expansion to Relic’s splendid spacefaring strategy game, has popped up on GOG after years of not being sold anywhere. Though the original Homeworld and its sequel were rereleased and remastered in 2015, playing Cataclysm has been the preserve of pirates and that ‘physical media’ rabble. No more! Homeworld: Cataclysm can be yours for £7, though it is now renamed Homeworld: Emergence because Blizzard have since swiped the “Cataclysm” trademark for that World of Warcraft expansion. Read the rest of this entry »

Steam summer sale: our giant recommendations list

The Steam summer sale is in full blaze. For a while it even blazed so hot that the servers went on fire and all the price stickers peeled off the games. Either that or the store just got swamped with cheapskates looking for the best bargains. Cheapskates like you! Well, don’t worry. We’ve rounded up some recommendations – both general tips and some newly added staff choices.

Here are the things you should consider owning in your endless consumeristic lust for a happiness which always seems beyond reach. You’re welcome.

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20,000 Atmospheres is full of buttons to press

I do like games where I control machinery through a (virtual) physical interface, yanking on levers and tapping buttons on a control panel. The upcoming 20,000 Atmospheres [Itch page] adores fiddling too, putting players in the cockpit of a legged submarine-sort-of-thing walking across the surface of a planet with a crushing atmosphere (so a supermarine?). Pull levers, press buttons, and try not to die terribly as your doodad stomps, clanks, and hisses across the planet. Here, watch this trailer: Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… Beetle Crazy Cup?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

I was pretty new to games reviewing when cheery RPS Magazine tribute magazine PC Gamer handed me Beetle Crazy Cup to review in 2000. I’d been at it for less than a year, and had pretty much exclusively reviewed rubbish. I think they assumed Infogrames’ VW Beetle racing game was going to be ‘bish too, hence its coming my way. Turns out it was brill. I wasn’t really sure what to do. Read the rest of this entry »

Farming Simulator 17 off to South America in expansion

The thrills, chills, and slurry spills of Farming Simulator 17 [official site] are off to South America in an expansion this November, publishers Focus Home Interactive have announced. The ‘Platinum’ expansion will add a new farm set in an unnamed pretty South American country, where sugar cane is a new crop to harvest. Supposedly that terror ↑ up there is a machine made to harvest sugar cane but I’ll not give that man-mulching deathbot a chance to catch me. Read the rest of this entry »

Everything Is Going To Be OK gets early access PWYW

Everything is going to be OK

Experimental project Everything Is Going To Be Okay [Gamejolt link] is having an early access-ish period to help developer Nathalie Lawhead (who you may know from her 2015 IGF award-winning project, Tetrageddon Games) finish it off. I hesitate to use the word game because that doesn’t really encapsulate anything about the project – instead let’s go with Lawhead’s own description: “Interactive zine”. Read the rest of this entry »