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Matt Cox

Today

Boating battle royale Maelstrom hoists up the sails of free-to-play

'What if battle royale but boats' is a pitch I can get behind. I've only played one round of Maelstrom so far, its hull now refurbished with the more inviting planks of free-to-play, but it won't be my last. It's a slower, more considered affair than its land-bound brethren. It turns out orcs and goblins build ships that are far less squishy than fleshbags, encouraging…

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1 day ago

Feature: Stop, in the name of the bore

Rebel Cops review

It’s interesting how often cops crop up as heroes. Not unsurprising, as the fantasy makes sense in a macho, often politically dubious sort of way. It's not one of mine, however. As such, I'm glad Rebel Cops steps away from it a little. In this turn-based, tactical, XCOM-ish spin-off from This Is The Police, your cops are indeed rebels, rallying against systemic injustice. Admittedly, it's…

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Watch me slay Slay The Spire’s slimes as the Watcher

The Watcher is the best thing to hit Slay The Spire since sliced fungi beast. She's the new character currently lurking on the beta branch: a monk for whom deck balance is unprecedentedly essential. She's all about flowing in and out of different stances, dishing out unseemly damage, but then taking unseemly damage if you can't play a card that stops her being so angry.…

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Risk Of Rain 2 rolls out loudouts, plus a new survivor with a grappling hook

Rain, rain, go away, come again once you've got a new assortment of tools I can murder monsters with. Oh, hello Risk Of Rain 2. What've you got there? The Skills 2.0 update, introducing a loadout system that lets you configure each character's skills at the start of each run, a new survivor with a grappling hook, plus new monsters, bosses and items? None of…

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2 days ago

Atmospheric UI-twiddler Nauticrawl clambers out

You're on a hostile alien planet, in a machine you don't know how to work. You've jumped into this device in a desperate bid for safety, wanted for crimes unknown, with the cops at your heels. The actions of the entities outside (yep, definitely entities outside) can only be gleaned through your scanners, once you've turned them on. You don't know how to turn them…

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3 days ago

2013’s Receiver is now prettier and smoother and you should play it

Revelling in the finer points of gun operation seems distasteful to me now in a way that it didn't back in 2013, but I still bloody love Receiver. It's about stalking across dystopian rooftops, deserted but for the turrets and drones intent on killing you. So far so videogames, but what sets Receiver apart is the way every weapon requires meticulous care. Press R in…

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Feature: Read more

The Monday Papers

Mondays are for scheduling articles that were meant to go up on Sunday. Sundays are for, if I'm honest, doing very little but laze around and play videogames. Here's the best writing about them from the past week. Here's a marvellous piece from Holly Gramazio about Wilmot's Warehouse and Brexit. Well, a bit about Brexit. For the most part it's about why Wilmot's Warehouse is…

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6 days ago

Dota Underlords adding Duos mode and actual Underlords

It's gone a bit quiet down in Dota Underlords. Valve's autobattler hasn't received a chunky update for a few weeks, with team-battle tacticians left to twiddle their thumbs while the meta stagnates. Last night's patch made Arc Warden a bit weaker and poked at a handful of other numbers, but I'm more interested in Valve's explanation for why update's have slowed down a tad. It's…

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7 days ago

Feature: Ashtonishing

The Ashtray Maze is Control at its best and worst

If it isn't obvious, the best way to experience Control is to go in blind. Don't let people on the internet spoil the surprises, because gosh, does Control lean on its surprises. It's much easier to ask interesting questions than answer them, and Control's main trick involves putting inexplicable stuff in front of you then making jokes about a paranormal bureaucracy that can't explain it.…

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1 week ago

Mordhau adds a new mode and more importantly, pubs

I still play Mordhau almost every night. People are far too good at it nowadays, but thanks to Tuesday night's update I can now take refuge in a pub. Full modding support is still a ways out, say developers Triternion, but you can now automatically download the maps people have managed to make just by jumping into a server that's running them. I'm delighted to…

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Feature: Legstinction rebellion

Playstyle Royale – Being a spider conservationist in Hunt: Showdown

In Playstyle Royale, I normally head into a battle royale game and try to win my chicken dinner while adhering to arbitrary rules. This time I'm playing Hunt: Showdown, which is merely like a battle royale game, and the whole point of today's exercise is to prevent needless animal death. If only more people knew about the vital role demonic spiders play in our ecosystem,…

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Slay The Spire’s next character is a badass monk

Oh no. It's happening again. Slay The Spire has released a new character on the beta branch, and I'm once more betwixt its jaws. She's still being tested and won't appear in the main game for a while, but let me introduce you to the Watcher. She's a monk who flows between "stances". Calm, one moment, a hurricane of double damage the next - albeit…

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2 weeks ago

Feature: Read more

The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for eating far too much liquorice. Here's the best writing about videogames from the past week. For Eurogamer, Ewan Wilson chatted with Control's architects about how brutalism serves as the perfect architectural expression of humanity's (and err, non-humanity's) attempt to impose control on the uncontrollable. I think one of the paranormal forces in Control basically IS architecture.

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Eve Online to add “grief counselling” for players bereft of ships

When we last checked in with Eve Online, players were embroiled in a big space war with invading NPCs. We (I) fantasised about how the balance of power among Eve's eternally warring player factions would be forever altered, a Game Of Thrones style outside threat forcing alliances while, perhaps, encouraging betrayal. None of that really happened. With the war amounting to little more than a…

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Deckbuilding Isaac spin-off The Legend Of Bum-bo plops out November 12th

Hurray! It's nearly time to dive back into the mind of Edmund McMillen, The Binding Of Isaac developer renown for letting us throw the tears of a neglected child at gross manifestations of maternal cruelty. The Legend Of Bum-bo is a prequel to Isaac, billed as a "puzzle based deckbuilding roguelike" built from cardboard. According to this release trailer, it's coming out on the 12th…

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Role Queue hits Overwatch in earnest as Season 18 starts

A lot of beef has been thrown over Overwatch's Role Queue. It kicked off back in July, when Blizzard chose to restrict professional Overwatch League team compositions into '2-2-2' builds, requiring equal representation from Damage, Tank and Support roles. They did this in the middle of the latest tournament. It was weird. I don't watch or particularly care about the pro scene, but last night's…

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Feature: Wilmot and Wittgenstein, sitting in a tree

‘Wilmot’s Warehouse is a language game’, please discuss

I don't think we ever see the extent of Wilmot's horror. He's a square in charge of a warehouse, single-handedly responsible for storing and serving up hundreds of amorphous objects. We, the player, only see those objects from the top-down, a step removed from the abject terror of categorising off-colour melon slices that simultaneously resemble 50% of an egg. Maybe reality is less blurry from…

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