Author Archive

Clickuorice Allsort: Writing systems in videogames

This reads: "lol ur mum"

This is three weeks old, but time is a construct. Philip Boyes is an expert on writing systems and cryptic alphabets, and he has looked at games that use fictional script over on Eurogamer. Zelda’s ancient Hylian is mentioned, and the rune-like alphabet of the Elder Scrolls gets a shout-out too. But also discussed is Sethian, a game about deciphering a dead alien language based on the responses of an old computer, covered with symbolic buttons to mash. I liked this game and it’s good to see both its failings and strengths discussed from the perspective of someone who understands how these magical squiggly lines are born. It’s an interesting read and not too long or hyper-detailed (except maybe when he talks about “deciphering Linear B based on internal correspondences”… buh?). Anyway, fans of silly-looking text, give it a read.

Zach of Zachtronics: “I really like making my dumb little games that don’t matter”

Hubble, bubble, toil and puzzle

The alchemical puzzler Opus Magnum has a few of us at House RPS scratching our heads and shouting “a-ha!” before giddily sharing our twisted contraptions in GIF form. It’s real good, friends. The studio behind it, Zachtronics, is headed by Zach Barth. I spoke to him about the game’s machines, his short stint at Valve, and the reasons he sold his own company. Read the rest of this entry »

Overwatch hero accents ranked from least bad to Tracer

"Ach sure"

Overwatch, the colourful hero shooter, recently introduced the hero Moira, an Irish witch with shiny hands. Being of the Irish persuasion, I thought I would take a gander at her. I wanted to listen to the lines of dialogue she had, which I’d heard included some true-to-life phrases of my homeland, such as “What are you on about?” and “You’re a chancer”. But I also wanted to see how bad her accent was, and chastise Blizzard for being so —

Oh no, it’s fine. Read the rest of this entry »

Podcast: Into The Breach, Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds and “running away”

Tactical retreats

Cowardice is a virtue. So says the team on this week’s RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show. That’s because our theme is “running away” – games that encourage you to flee from danger, or that give you a choice between fight and flight. Adam will run from the soldiers of Arma or the post-apocalyptic antagonists of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Brendan will scarper from poor odds in For Honor or Overwatch, while Alice only pretends to run away in Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, tricking her foes into giving chase before ambushing them like some kind of velociraptor. Read the rest of this entry »

My Friend Pedro has kickflips and bullet time

Bullets + time = ?

You may not remember bullet-time shooter My Friend Pedro. It was an over-the-top shooter with silly gunfights, backflips and a banana (it’s still free on Adult Swim if you want a peep). But the developer has not forgotten. It’s being remade as My Friend Pedro: Blood Bullets Bananas and now features a skateboard, kicking, and the ability to hang onto a rope with both legs while you shoot two foes at the same time. Read the rest of this entry »

Have you played… Shootmania?

Shoot the man, yeah!

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

Shootmania: Storm was an athletic multiplayer shooter. You moved fast, you jumped far and you only had two types of gun (one of which only appeared when you stood on a certain type of platform). It was about skill, not gear. Everyone died in the same number of hits, everyone had the same powers. People use “esport” to describe Dota 2, Call of Duty and Overwatch. I don’t think Shootmania matches those in terms of quality but I’d argue it was far more sportsmanlike, because it had symmetry. Read the rest of this entry »

Northgard adds boar clan and lays out floor plan

Boared game

Yonder strategy Northgard has added a new clan to its longboat full of cartoonish Viking pillagers. Previous clans like the bear boys, introduced new warriors like a giant ursine killer with heavy armour plating on his furry back. The new clan of the Boar are a little less spectacular, but they are a hard-living and resistant lot. On top of this, developers Shiro Games have laid out a plan for future updates, including a single player campaign and better enemy AI. Read the rest of this entry »

Sci-fi caper 2000:1 A Space Felony is free this week

I don't like those odds

There’s a lot of sci-fi silliness of 2000:1: A Space Felony Or How I Came To Value My Life And Murder Mercilessly. It’s pretty much guaranteed when you look at the name. Not only is it uncomfortably long, it also provides more colons than I care to have. That sense of comical overwriting is a big part of the game – a first-person investigation on a space station with four corpses and one shifty AI. This week it’s free for Thanksgiving, say developers National Insecurities. Read the rest of this entry »

For Honor needs more than new warriors to stay alive

Ded

There goes my head again. Rolling along the ground like a wet turnip. The ahistorical three-sided war of For Honor has always been a tough battleground. During a recent free weekend, it became a conflict not only between Vikings, Samurai and Knights, but between practiced veterans and absolute newcomers. I’m somewhere in between. A mediocre warrior returning to the fighting pits after a long absence, a little slower and flabbier than before. Two new heroes were also added to the game recently – the bloodthirsty Shaman and sword-happy Aramusha – but, as with previous additions to the roster, they don’t feel like enough to save a game with a barrel of other flaws, whose player numbers have dropped significantly since launch. I marched back into the decapitating grounds to try the new maps, modes and murderers, and spoke to the game’s director about its problems.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tekken 7 is a brutal but brilliant intro to fighting games

A dramatic reconstruction of the events of yesterday evening

Against my better judgement, I have continued my battle to become a competent brawler in daft fighting game Tekken 7. In the realm of biffing games, Tekken is an angry, side-stepping maniac who likes to play dress-up before battering its victims into a pulpy mess. I like it very much. Last night, I accumulated eleven wins in a row, eight of which were against a single opponent who simply refused to give up, resulting in mixed feelings of accomplishment, pity, pride and bloodlust.

Punchgame enthusiasts will find nothing new or impressive in this short story, but as a newcomer, it’s interesting to discover the hidden language of fighters, not just in the ‘ring’ but also during the bits in-between, like the matchmaking itself. Read the rest of this entry »

Opus Magnum player makes an alchemical computer

Does compute

By the laws of the game-o-sphere, a computer made from the marbles and metal of alchemy-based puzzler Opus Magnum almost seems like an inevitability. Alchemy and code fan Peer Backhaus has built a – ahem – “Brainfuck interpreter”, which is a real computing term and not something I expected to see in my emails when I came into work this morning. Read the rest of this entry »

The troubling MS Paint executions by For Honor’s players

Hi-yaaah!

Three-sided brawler For Honor recently added two new heroes. So I’m back in the gladatorial pits, trying to revive my previous dishonourable form. But it’s tough. The game itself still has problems and my own rustiness only makes things harder. The veterans of the community seem happy, however. They particularly like the brutal execution animations recently added. So much so, that a troubling trend has emerged whereby players have begun making their own suggestions for deadly final blows, using the medium of MS Paint. Read the rest of this entry »

Visual Novel Maker is out today but costs a lot

Don't listen to her, Willow. Make your own decisions.

Lovers of dating sims, rejoice. Thy time is now. Visual Novel Maker, a game-making tool that lets you create your own choice-driven stories, is out today. It’s priced at £46/$60, though. That isn’t so surprising, considering that it’s made by the same folks who do RPG Maker, which has always been expensive outside of a sale. But when Ren’Py is free and does more or less the same thing, £40 feels like a lot.
Read the rest of this entry »

Podcast – Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Need For Speed

"It's a giant slug or something!" - "Kill it before we get attached!"

The hosts of the RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show, have accidentally overdosed on EA games this week, and they don’t like it. You could say they’re in a … critical condition! Ha ha ha. But seriously, don’t buy the new Need For Speed. Read the rest of this entry »

Have you played… Assassin’s Creed multiplayer?

"Oh no he isn't!" - "Oh yes he is!"

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

The Assassin’s Creed series has abandoned its mutliplayer modes and that makes me sad. The multiplayer, introduced in Brotherhood, was one of the most playground-like games you could find. It’s basically the game of Assassin, popular among university students, but played on cool-looking streets from the past. You’re hunting somebody, but somebody else is hunting you. And – oh no – you’re all disguised as computer-controlled characters. You need to find a Jester among dozens of Jesters, while also hiding your own Courtesan among dozens of Courtesans. Read the rest of this entry »

Wild West Online roams out to early access

Horsin around

I already told you this. Honest to God, I’m sick of repeating myself. Some days I wake up and think: “I hope I don’t have to tell the readers of popular website Rock Paper Shotgun that Wild West Online, a videogame which is definitely not Red Dead Redemption 2, is out on early access for anyone who wants to spend money and be a cowboy in what seems like an otherwise quite standard MMO.” I honestly look in the mirror some mornings and think that. But life never works out the way you want it. Yee-haw. Read the rest of this entry »

Duelyst adds 100 cards in Immortal Vanguard expansion

Cardwards and onwards

There are some good, silly names in the latest expansion for monster-battling card game Duelyst. A goth called Maehv Skinsolder. A mutliarmed sorceress called Shidai Stormblossom. One guy is called “Brome”, which is the most US high school footballer name imaginable. They’re all new generals, part of the 100-card roster of Immortal Vanguard, which came out a couple of days ago. I haven’t summoned my precious winged rat babies in a while, so I can’t say what this adds to the shifting tactics of the game. But I can say that “Ragnora the Relentless” sounds like a good name for a superhero dinner lady. Read the rest of this entry »

Prototype Mansion is a short parody of old Resident Evil

Resident! E-vil! .................. EIGHT

Tank controls are the mark of a real horror game. Prototype Mansion is a game that was, according to its own fiction, found in a bin by some guy called Frank. It’s a zombie game in the style of the old Resident Evils – blocky character models, stilted voice acting and boxes of ammo lying in hard-to-spot crannies. The CD case has no front cover and it costs $1.99. You are essentially buying something awful from the clearance basket in Woolworths. Read the rest of this entry »

Dead Cells boasts brutality but its real joy is consistency

And ready to die!

The ruinous ‘roguevania’ Dead Cells remains atop its throne of skulls – the defeated remnants of all other games released this year. If you haven’t enjoyed the electrowhips or bloodied throwing knives of this dice-powered 2D riposte to Bloodborne, go and sort yourself out instead of reading this article. I’d say “I’ll wait for you” but I know you won’t be back.

It also just received its fourth big update, adding new monsters, levels and weapons. But what impresses me most about Motion Twin’s consistent fiddling with the game is not what they change, but what they know to leave alone. Read the rest of this entry »

Roguelike ADOM making way for Ultimate ADOM

A picture of penultimate ADOM

Adam loves ADOM. There must be something about very old roguelikes that overpowers our deputy editor. The allure of a random dungeon. The temptation to drink every potion at once. But he also once told us that the final boss of ADOM (short for Ancient Domains of Mystery) is his gaming nemesis. Well, now he has a reason to fight that giant ‘@’ sign once again. ADOM is being remastered as Ultimate ADOM. Not to be confused with our own Ultimate Adam, which is just Adam after a 7-minute power nap. Read the rest of this entry »