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Adam Smith

8 months ago

Feature: Cat on Bat

The Joy of Telltale’s Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle

As an actual adult human being who still reads DC comics, I have to put up with a lot of BatBullShit. It's not the brooding that gets to me or even the weird and sudden flips between psychologically scarring street-level crimefighting and wacky Justice League space adventures. It's not the callbacks to events from previous decades that I don't care about or understand, and it's…

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Feature: More Poker than Go

Embracing the bluff: how SpyParty’s long development changed the game

Chris Hecker has been working on SpyParty for almost a decade now and I get the impression he'd be happy perfecting it for the rest of his career. Some developers want to move from one project to the next, an internal clock ticking down and reminding them how few ideas can be realised in a lifetime, while others are better suited to exploring one design…

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9 months ago

Feature: Changing history

Soren Johnson on challenging the norms of 4X games

“Sid [Meier] didn’t know he was inventing a genre back in ’91 - if he had he might have been a lot more careful. He was just making it up as he went along.” That’s how genres begin. By mistake. Somebody creates a set of rules and systems for the needs of a particular game, and then either people adopt and adapt those rules. Soren…

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This tiny man in Minit is my fave character of 2018 so far

Minit gives you sixty seconds to achieve great things. As soon as you wake, in whichever place you're currently calling home, a timer begins to countdown and when a minute has expired, you die and restart. In that time, you might find a useful item, which will be close at hand in the next life, or you might discover a new area and start to…

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Surviving Mars patched, now contains fewer idiots

There are too many idiots on Mars but that's about to change. Colony-building sim Surviving Mars, which pleased our Alec well enough when it launched last month, has received its first major patch. The update notes are a treat - not quite Crusader Kings, The Sims or Dwarf Fortress quality, but there's some solid stuff in there. "Colonists will no longer try to walk kilometers…

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Spec Ops: The Line is free until Saturday

Spec Ops: The Line is free over at the Humble Store right now. It's only available for 48 hours, ending March 31st at 10am Pacific, so I advise you to go there now. Congratulations! You are hopefully now the proud owner of a game about the horrors of war. It's hell, in case you hadn't heard, and many people are unsure what it's good for.…

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Feature: Everything falls apart

Noita lets you break the world in beautiful ways

Noita is how Spelunky looks in my dreams. It's a game in which the world is simulated down to each individual pixel, so that liquids drip, flow, splash and stain. You're tasked with travelling ever downward through a series of caverns, collecting new magical weapons and slaying beasties. That wasn't always the case though. As I learned when I sat down with the developers at…

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BattleTech mechs its way to release on April 24th

Whirr-stomp. That's the noise a big stompy mech makes as it patrols the battlefield. It's entirely dissimilar to the pitter-patter my heart makes when I finally see a release date for BattleTech, the turn-based tactical MechWarrior game from Harebrained Schemes and Paradox. I've been waiting for this one for a long time - not just the years it's actually been in development, but the preceding…

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Feature: It begins with unionisation

The game industry needs to change and it begins now

“If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.” Steve Kaplan was in GDC to take part in a roundtable discussion about the pros and cons of unionisation in the games industry. He works in the entertainment industry and had travelled from Los Angeles, where he organises unions for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, to be the union rep in the room…

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Feature: Into The Breach's real-time cousin

Bad North and the golden age of micro-tactics

Into the Breach is one of the most perfect games I’ve ever played. It’s tactical warfare with every sliver of fat trimmed away and I’d put it up there with Chess and Invisible, Inc. in the pantheon of turn-based games. Bad North will not be entering that pantheon. Not because it doesn’t seem capable of reaching lofty heights – it absolutely does – but because…

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Feature: Are you vaguely entertained?

Have You Played… Swords and Sandals?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time. Gladiatorial combat RPG Swords and Sandals has been part of my life for a very long time, and yet I sometimes forget that it exists. Most recently I was reminded when I saw new Steam release Warriors: Rise to Glory! which appears to be a Swords…

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Shadow Of The Tomb Raider coming in September

The next Lara Croft adventure will be Shadow Of The Tomb Raider and it's coming on September 14th, with no period of console exclusivity this time round. Square Enix have been bunging corks into their leaky reveal barge over the last couple of days, but now the teaser trailer is officially here. It contains all of your expected Lara action: she climbs a vertical cliff-face,…

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Tropico 6 reveals its isles of plunder

If I were going to steal the Eiffel Tower, I'd definitely strap a giant rocket to it and launch it into the sky. Once it was airborne, I'd remotely pilot it back to my volcano lair and then park it in the Monument Chamber next to the Statue of Liberty (also rocket-propelled) and the Great Sphinx of Giza (trundles around on little wheels). It's not…

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Soon, Voldo and Geralt will meet outside my dreams

CD Projekt Red don't have to do much to capture the internet's attention. Remember when they beeped? That was a good day. Today is also a good day. No beeps or boops or any other sound effects have emerged from the witchy cyberpunkers, but a new chronicle of Geralt's adventures has appeared on the official Witcher twitter feed. "Kaer Morhen’s old stones have witnessed many…

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BattleTech isn’t just about mechs punching one another

BattleTech is the game in which giant mechs punch each other until their limbs fall off and the pilots inside those mechs boil to death. It's out next month and I'm very excited, having already spent quite a lot of time stomping about in superb turn-based skirmishes. It looks great, it plays great, all is well. Except...what about the dynamic campaign? Will it have enough…

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10 months ago

Feature: Style beats substance, but substance survives

All Walls Must Fall review

Bullets tear across a sweating dancefloor, heaving with bodies. Flashes of metal and flesh, lights pulsing and skittering across glistening bodies. All Walls Must Fall's nightclub shoot-outs are a devilish dream, capturing at once the brilliance of Terminator's Tech Noir horror and the actual punk in cyberpunk. I just wish there was more to the game than a thousand murders on the dancefloor.

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Feature: Sins of the father

Have You Played… Dark Souls 2?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time. Dark Souls > Bloodborne > Dark Souls 3 > Demon's Souls > Dark Souls 2. But if you like the rest, you should still play number 2. It's good. Being good just isn't quite enough when you're born into a family of geniuses.

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Feature: A ramblin' game

Where The Water Tastes Like Wine review

In Where the Water Tastes Like Wine, stories are currency. You walk the backroads and fields of the United States during the Great Depression, occasionally freighthopping or hitching a ride from one town to the next. Along the way, you meet many people and witness many events, most of them insignificant in the grand scheme of history and the land, but all contributing to a…

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Feature: Wake up

Yume Nikki – Dream Diary review

Playing Yume Nikki: Dream Diary is like sitting across from somebody as they explain their dreams to you in great detail. No. Worse than that. It's like listening to somebody describe an acquaintance's dreams in great detail. Every now and then, they pause and say something along the lines of, “you had to be there”, as people do when they're telling a funny story that…

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