Major control fix lands in Impact Winter

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Nip over to Steam review page for third-person survival RPG Impact Winter [official site] and you’ll notice a storm of red arrows, all saying roughly the same thing. It’s got potential but the controls are broken, rendering it virtually unplayable.

There were a number of issues on release: no mouse support on menus, for example (bizarre), clunky key bindings, and inconsistent controller support. Developers Mojo Bones promised a patch earlier this week, and now it’s here to (hopefully) fix some of the issues players were having.

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IO sale might not spell the end of Hitman

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In the downward spiral of bad news coming out of Hitman [official site] developer IO Interactive – first that it was being sold by Square Enix, and then that it was laying off staff – there’s finally something vaguely positive. It seems that the developer may get to keep making Hitman games after all.

The news emerged from a newly-published transcript of a financial briefing from May 11, the day Squeenix announced the IO sale. It says that the publisher is “negotiating with prospective external investors capable of ensuring” that Agent 47 survives.

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The horror! Friday the 13th plagued by server issues, gradually improving

Friday 13th server problems

Friday the 13th [official site], the brutal 1v7 slasher sim, has got off to a bumpy start. As soon as developers Gun Media and IllFonic let players loose with masked maniac Jason Voorhees earlier this week, the game’s servers started crashing.

When it works it’s a tense multiplayer romp, says Adam, but many players are currently unable to get their foot in the creaky cabin door. The team have been up all night fixing a ‘Game Database Login Failure’ that was caused by too many people flooding its servers, but the problem persists.

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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for writing The Sunday Papers because Graham is supposed to be chillaxing on holiday but he keeps popping into work so if I don’t do this he probably will. Go eat an ice lolly on the beach, Graham. Perhaps read a selection of good games writing from around the web this week.

Picking up the thread from his old A People’s History of the First-Person Shooter series on RPS, Robert Yang writes a people’s history of the “prop hunt” genre. He traces a path from CrateDM (whose readme file I too adore) to the modern-day Prey. Read the rest of this entry »

To The Moon follow-up Finding Paradise is delayed

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Here’s some news that could make you cry: Finding Paradise [official site], the follow-up to the tear-jerking adventure game To The Moon, has been delayed.

It was supposed to come out this summer, but due to “personal circumstances” it’s been pushed back until the end of the year.

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Instant message ’em up Emily Is Away Too is out now

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Oh God. Emily Is Away Too [official site], a game about instant messaging, is giving me horrible flashbacks to when I used MSN Messenger in school and used random 50 Cent lyrics as my screen names on rotation. I even put the little music note icons at either end like quote marks. I was so cool. *Shivers*.

Anyway, the game is a throwback to your teen drama days and a spiritual successor to Emily Is Away, which captured the passive aggressiveness and subtlety of IM language superbly. Read the rest of this entry »

Pretty puzzler Rime is out now

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I’ve already had the pleasure of playing through Rime [official site] from beginning to end (reviewing it for *ahem* another publication). I loved everything about it: the clean puzzles, the sense of exploration, the soft cel-shaded visuals and – most of all – the subtle story. It’s out now, so you can experience it too.

It’s a relatively simple platform-puzzler in which you, a young boy, explore a deserted island. The beauty is in its subtle sense of narrative: I wasn’t really sure what it was all about until the last of its five chapters. Then, the context of the whole game dawned on me, and it was incredibly moving. I wasn’t expecting it at all.

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Odd Vanquish bug ties incoming damage to frame rate

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If you’re currently bum-sliding your way through newly-ported shooter Vanquish [official site] on a high-end rig then you might be finding it tougher than you expected.

Don’t worry, your reflexes haven’t slowed overnight – the PC version is actually harder than the designers intended it to be. An eagle-eyed NeoGaf user called .:Wesker:. seems to have has spotted a bug in the port that ties the amount of damage you take directly to your frame rate. Read the rest of this entry »

What are we all playing this weekend?

One of H. Stratton's illustrations for 'Songs for Little People'.

Britain has a holiday on Monday so we’ll be back in full force on Tuesday, though we will trickle some odds and ends your way over the long weekend. And what a weekend it looks to be! Some might say discussing the weather is trite but mate, if you’re not excited by the unofficial start of the British summer giving us glorious sunshine transitioning into storms, I don’t want to talk to you.

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

Inside Roblox, the game platform that’s rivaling Minecraft

I’m camped at the end of a large hall, hoping my view over a tunnel leading to the capture point covers the enemy team’s entry through the large windows and skylights. Distant gunfire rattles from the other end of the map and I see grenades popping on the point. And yep, I’m right. Someone jumps down from above and I shoot, taking them by surprise – 100 XP – but not before a buddy spawns on them. I’m down, killed by an AUG HBAR with Coyote Sight, Muzzle Brake, Angled Grip and Green Laser.

Roblox [official site] has come on some lately. Phantom Forces is a full-featured modern FPS that runs on Roblox, offering multiple map types with 32 players, a daily login bonus and ranks. It tracks kill-death ratios, its guns feature bullet drop dynamics, sprints into slide moves, Battlefield-style spotting, and hundreds of weapons and attachments. And you can be playing it, for free, in seconds from launching via a link on its Roblox web page, and it’ll run smoothly on a basic PC. On the Thursday morning I try it out, nearly 4000 other players are online with me, and since it was launched in September 2015, it’s been played over 120 million times.

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Friday The 13th is a smashing slasher sim

Friday the 13th [official site] is occasionally tense and often hilarious in the way that long-running horror franchises tend to be. As Jason, your objective is to kill every player-controlled counsellor, and as a counsellor you’re trying to escape, call the cops, or simply survive until the end of the round. I’ve only played for a few hours but I’m already hooked. There are frustrating bugs and the matchmaking won’t let you play Jason as much as you might want to, but Friday the 13th cleverly uses the tropes of slasher films to build its ruleset, and when it all comes together, it’s fantastic.

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Wot I Think: Vanquish

It’s my first time with the high-speed bumslides and endless robo-armies of Bayonetta and Nier: Automata dev Platinum’s third-person shooter Vanquish [official site], newly released on PC a full seven years after its console versions. I like to think that this means I see it with clear eyes, unclouded either by nostalgia or a predisposition to root for an underappreciated underdog.

Of course, it may instead mean that I’m unfairly holding a 2010 game to 2017 standards. That may be why I want to say things like “Vanquish looks and sounds exactly like the kind of shallow, noisy, appallingly-written, hyper-macho low culture that people who don’t play videogames think all videogames are like”. Then again, the reasons that people have kept its flame burning for the best part of the decade are surely the same reasons that make me want to say things like “yeah, Vanquish is brillo.”
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LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 shows off its supermen

Kam! Zonk! Wappo! Seeing as Marvel’s own crossovers are usually over-serious affairs, both on paper and the silver screen, I’m glad that LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 [official site] is coming to smoosh supermen together in silly ways. The sequel to the game John called “bloody brilliant” will jump across space and time, visiting places and characters from Sakaar to Spider-Man 2099. Also it’ll have your regular plain old Avengers and seed babies and rubbish burglars and all that rabble. The game is due on November 14th/17th but now, a week after its announcement, here’s a new trailer showing a load of supermen: Read the rest of this entry »

Wot We Think: CrossCells

CrossCells

Reviewing games of the sort Matthew Brown creates – Hexcells, SquareCells, and now CrossCells [official site] – can be a strange task. His niche is numerical logic. There are elements of things like Sudoku but basic maths creeps in, making it closer to a subgenre of Sudoku: Killer Sudoku. Their pleasures come from whether you can sink into the deductive mindset you need to find a foothold and then to progress and the difficulty curves vary from person to person. When I reviewed SquareCells, once I’d described how the basic elements worked it became more a task of communicating how a solution made me feel and whether the UI was any good lest I spoil any of the actual game by talking about specific niggles or posting screenshots.

Given the puzzles are so much about individual feel it felt like a good idea to make this review more of a chat between John and me. We were both supposed to be doing other things when the code for CrossCells turned up and it’s a testament to our mutual fondness for Brown’s work that we pretty much instantly booted it up and sidelined our actual work. Here’s Wot We Think: Read the rest of this entry »