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Alice Bell

2 months ago

Feature: Nominative determinism is a hell of a thing

A Place For The Unwilling review

Look, I'm loathe to describe any game as 'broken', even if it's a convenient shorthand. Since there are no word limits on the internet, I'll say that the main thing preventing me from enjoying A Place For The Unwilling is that currently there are dozens of little things that don't work quite the way they're supposed to, and while they don't exactly stop you from…

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Feature: Big robots, big moods

The writer of Heaven Will Be Mine on how she made 2018’s most interesting game

If it was socially acceptable to ask people who made cool things to explain them to me, I would absolutely do this for everything, all the time. “Bloody hell, that cake was delicious. Please describe to me the process of making it, how much planning you had to do, and what the ingredients mean to you. And also what you think of current cake culture.”…

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Feature: Who taxis the taximen?

Night Call review

When I'm in the back of a taxi I'm most likely to be hoping that neither I or the driver end up coming off as an awful person. I am extremely unlikely to think of the driver as "a priest, a confident, a friend". But for all I know, you, the person reading this right now, are a big weirdo and pour your heart out…

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Feature: Jump around! (You can't.)

Premature Evaluation – SlipSlop: World’s Hardest Platformer Game

When I was little, I used to eat cubes of jelly. As in, pre-diluted. You know how Hartley’s jelly came in oblong packets, and your mum would open it and out flopped the cubes of jelly, like a chocolate bar gone wrong or a future dystopian food supplement. I would sneak one of the cubes away and gnaw on it behind a sofa cushion, like…

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3 months ago

Feature: I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky

Sea Of Solitude review

The character Britta from the TV show Community once, when challenged, described an analogy as “like a thought with another thought’s hat on”, which is pretty good. So, that being the case, Sea Of Solitude is like a whole bunch of thoughts wearing other thoughts’ hats. The thoughts all did a wacky hat swap at the office for Comic Relief, and now none of the…

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Feature: Motorbikes and mushrooms at the end of the world

Premature Evaluation: Failed State

I don’t want to become known for always talking about a thing (like how we all gently rib Matt about being a philsophy-toucher in a way that doesn’t amount to workplace bullying whatsoever). This is why I’ve tried to stop yelling at office co-workers about Chernobyl. I don’t want to be Appropriative Post-Soviet girl, who is probably the rubbishest of the X-Men characters. So my…

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Feature: Get out of my dreams and into my car

Hitchhiker still exists; is still good

Hitchhiker has left me in a small pickle. Alec already reviewed it over a year ago, when the first drive came out as a Humble Original. That drive is the bit I’ve played too. But I did really enjoy playing it, and got a small glimpse of where the game is going, and I’ve found I want to remind everyone it exists as a result.…

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Feature: Eat yer heart out, Fran Healy

The Sinking City review

There are many types of rain. As we speak, the south of England is blessing us by alternating sunshine with heavy showers that are refusing to turn into a storm. Instead of clearing the air, the rain is only making it more humid. In 1920s Oakmont, the fictional town in new Lovecraftian detect ‘em up The Sinking City, the flavour of the day is constant…

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Feature: Fix it fix it fix it fix it

Have You Played… Broken Age?

Broken Age was Tim Schafer’s triumphant (?) return to point and click adventure games. It was crowdfunded on Kickstarter, and was the first game where the campaign got sort of wildly out of hand, in that they asked for like $400k and ended up with over $3 million. Developers everywhere starting looking at crowdfunding and rubbing their chins with suspicious intent, and here we are…

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Feature: Lonely rivers flow

‘When you feel lonely you always feel excluded’ – Sea Of Solitude’s writer on loneliness and metaphors

You probably remember the reveal of Sea Of Solitude at E3 in 2018 because of CEO Cornelia Geppert’s excitement and sincerity when presenting the game. Geppert is self-effacing about it, and told me it was surprising to her that people responded that way. “The actual developers of course are always passionate about their project!” she said. “I think it's normal when you do your project…

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Feature: She's got all her own teeth

I love you, scary lady of the latest Bloodlines 2 demo

The Bloodlines liker has, as they say, logged on. Paradox and Hardsuit labs have released a new gameplay trailer for Bloodlines 2. Excellent. It’s a smaller mouthful than the taste I had at GDC last year, but it’s a slightly different one. An amuse-bouche, we might say. Made of blood pudding, or something else all vampire-y. Brendy saw an extended demo, and has thoughts about…

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Feature: It's like a pen knife, but a laser

The mundane use of a lightsaber in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is the best thing about E3 so far

Listen, I’ll level with you, I am struggling this year. My hype train cannot currently build up steam. If I were to place myself on Matt and Brendan’s Cheerer-to-Jeerer E3 corporate Kinsey scale of awfulness, I am currently at a “1”: predominantly jeer, only incidentally cheer. Think the “What a piece of work is man?” monologue from Hamlet, but if it were about games instead…

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Feature: Oakmont, so good they named it once

How The Sinking City is built to make you notice your journey

I sometimes announce, to rooms at large, that I wished Assassin’s Creed Odyssey wouldn’t tell me what to do as much, and let me just explore. Imagine my shock, therefore, at the reveal of The Sinking City, a Lovecraftian detective game releasing just the other side of E3, promising “zero hand holding”. No objective markers on the map, and no trails on the street to…

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4 months ago

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