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Alyse Stanley

2 months ago

Feature: Live free, craft hard

My Time At Portia review

It’s hard to keep your eyes off the horizon in My Time At Portia. Its valleys live in the jagged shadow of broken high-rises, buildings draped with moss and towering factories splitting apart at the seams. I needed to concentrate on the group of adorable pastel coloured llamas ahead. My presence didn’t interrupt their frolicking for a second, but I wished they’d at least try…

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3 months ago

Feature: These indies should get a new Alyse on life

Alyse Stanley’s 5 best games of 2018

It’s been a pretty stinking great year for indie games. We’ve seen the release of several long-hyped darlings (finally) as well as a few surprise hits that went on to dominate newsfeeds. You easily could have missed them, though, what with all the big budget map fest games making huge waves this year. I know there are about a million games demanding your attention right…

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5 months ago

Feature: Playing opossum

Fallout 76 beta: finding life, and Mothman’s butt, in the wilderness

While I’ve only experienced a few hours exploring the luscious hillsides of Fallout 76’s West Virginia, I made it my mission to explore as much of the game’s extensive map as I could. It’s an impressive thing, four times the size of Fallout 4’s already expansive landscape, but the locale has all the personality and silly esoterica I’ve come to expect from Fallout games, mixed…

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6 months ago

Feature: "You're mean, like 10 snakes"

The Joy of Kimmy’s childish dialogue

When young Dana meets Kimmy, she assumes that the 6-year-old must be a baby sent from the almighty. God gives people babies after all, according to Dana’s mother. This kind of naive understanding defines Kimmy, a visual novel based on tales from the developer’s own mother and narrated primarily by children. The premise is as simple as its dialogue. Set in 1968, it follows a…

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7 months ago

Feature: Death becomes her

Flipping Death review

If the humor of Psychonauts, the mechanics of Paper Mario, and the wacky, noodly designs of Dr. Seuss had a love child, I think it’d look a lot like Flipping Death. A platformer, puzzle, and adventure game all in one (to various success), the developers have been so inspired by Tim Schafer's work over the years that Double Fine Productions are thanked in its credits.…

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10 months ago

Feature: My ghoul

Monster Prom review

High school is already a nightmare without having to woo literal demon spawn, but multiplayer dating sim Monster Prom makes you want to relive the experience over and over. At times obtuse, at times hilarious, this is an education in monster romanticism. But you may not learn the same lessons as my friends and I, because its real strength lies in how varied each playthrough…

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11 months ago

Feature: A walk in the park

How Tala turns nature photography into a tiny world

Like most kids who grew up playing video games, I didn’t want my adventures to stop when the screen turned off. As I raced down the road on my bike or zoned out in the backseat during long drives, I’d imagine what my favorite characters would look like superimposed onto the world around me, how they’d run along the telephone lines or dart between the…

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1 year ago

Feature: School resumes

Developer of indie hit Butterfly Soup talks sequel plans

Visual novels have been experiencing a cultural renaissance in recent years as developers continue to challenge genre conventions and tackle themes that AAA titles are hesitant to explore. Last year saw a flood of VNs capture the popular consciousness, but Butterfly Soup, in particular, charmed its way into players’ hearts and shot to the top of critics’ radars. Now there's a sequel in development, due…

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Feature: Three top picks

Alyse Stanley’s favourite games of 2017

This year it has felt like there's been a string of quality games releases. Games that I’m proud to support, whether it be for their tackling of serious subject matter or excellent writing or unique concepts that push the industry forward. Games that are already redefining preconceived standards of play. In short: next year has a tough act to follow.

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Feature: the wonder of being weary

The Joy of Chell’s design in Portal

The Orange Box turned 10 years old this year, and by extension Portal celebrated its anniversary too. Sitting alongside continuations of well-loved games, the short puzzle adventure could have been quickly forgotten. Tacked on to bulk up the box. It was, however, a surprise hit, winning over players with its smart spatial puzzles and writing that fans continue to quote. And while I can list…

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Feature: Open World: Origins

Outcast – Second Contact review

Despite growing up in the ‘90s, I had never heard of Outcast. And as someone who loves open-world exploration, I don’t share that fact proudly. I’ve only ever known the shinier counterparts of last century’s genre defining titles, growing up with games like Bioshock, Fallout, and Wolfenstein, whose decades-old predecessors continue to influence modern gaming conventions. As such, I was a blank slate coming into…

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Feature: Listen closely

The Joy of eavesdropping in Grand Theft Auto V

I hear her before I see her. The young brunette sporting head-to-toe white Vinewood chic, her voice high as she seethes over the phone at a man I assume is her husband. He can barely get a word in through her accusations; he’s been sleeping with the nanny (again), she has proof this time, she’ll take his ass to court. Finally, something he says stuns…

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