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Graham Smith

2 weeks ago

Feature: Sonic meets Guitar Hero, Graham meets repeated failure

Skybolt Zack is a rhythm-platformer that requires a mastery I can’t give it

One Finger Death Punch is one of the most satisfying games ever made. It's a brawler in which one button attacks enemies to your left, and another attacks enemies to your right. With these simple controls, you tap-tap-tap your way through approaching waves of enemies while your stickman protagonist spins, kicks, punches and slices away in the center of the screen. You slip into a…

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1 month ago

Feature: Life and death advice

Noita rewards you for being reckless, so set everything on fire

Noita is a game about searching for a good death. This is the conclusion I've come to after two weeks of playing it each day. I try and I die and I try again, and when I stop for the evening, it's not because I've reached further than ever before. It's because I have crafted a suitably satisfactory demise.

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Brendan is leaving RPS, come say goodbye

I used to email Brendan regularly trying to offer him freelance work, and he'd always be too busy with other jobs. Little by little we got him doing more and more for us, though - a weekly free games column called Free Loaders here, a weekly Premature Evaluation there, a monthly Ridealong, and plenty more besides. Eventually I looked at our list of freelance commissions…

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Feature: Die and retry

Can’t Stop Playing: Noita

Noita might have come from an alternate universe: one in which we harnessed the forward progress of computer power not to render 3D polygons and open worlds, but to apply greater degrees of simulation to the pixels of a Lemmings or Worms-style 2D world. It's a roguelike in which 'every pixel is simulated', which in reality means that wood burns one pixel at a time,…

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3 months ago

Feature: Plus new tools for developers

Valve are changing how your Steam library looks, and it’s long overdue

Valve are introducing a set of long overdue new features to Steam over the next month. The first of these updates gives developers a new tool called Steam Events and will be released to developers today. New updates and additions to the Steam Labs experiments launched in July are due to follow tomorrow, and then sweeping changes to the software's game library launch into open…

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Alexis Kennedy accused of abuse by multiple women, denies allegations

Alexis Kennedy, co-founder of Failbetter and writer and designer on Fallen London, Sunless Sea and Cultist Simulator, has been accused of being an abuser and "well-known predator" by several prominent women in the games industry, including an allegation from a former colleague at Failbetter. The allegations came as part of a recent wave of similar stories shared on Twitter, among them allegations made against composer…

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Skyrim composer Jeremy Soule and Night In The Woods co-creator Alec Holowka accused of sexual assault

Allegations of abuse have been made against multiple games industry figures in the past 24 hours. On Monday afternoon Nathalie Lawhead, developer of the IGF-winning Tetrageddon Games, wrote a post on her website alleging that Jeremy Soule, the composer of Skyrim, raped her while she was working for an unnamed Vancouver-based games studio. Seven hours later, comics writer and indie developer Zoë Quinn posted tweets…

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4 months ago

Feature: Dead Cells meets Celeste

ScourgeBringer is your next roguelite crush

ScourgeBringer is a game that exists in your fingers. It's an action roguelite fidgetspinner about bish-bash-boshing across single screen levels of enemies. The protagonist Kyhra has a sword for slashing, a drone that can fire a blast of bullets, and a set of movements that feel sublime to control. I've been playing an early alpha ahead of an early access release planned for later this…

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5 months ago

Feature: A game about death but not about killing

Spiritfarer is about death, but it’s how it treats life that makes it unusual

"We all die, everything dies, every living thing dies." Nicolas Guérin is reassuring me. He's the creative director at Thunder Lotus Games and they're working on Spiritfarer, announced at E3 2019 as a "cosy management game about dying." I need reassuring because I've played a 15-minute demo of Spiritfarer and I'm worried that a game that treats death lightly will make light of the suffering…

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Elite Dangerous to get fleet carriers and new premium currency

Warframe wasn't the only game to have a fan event this weekend. July 5th-7th was also Lavecon, Elite Dangerous's smaller fan gathering. To coincide, Frontier revealed details of their coming September and December updates. The former is introducing a new premium currency and a revised start for new players, while a trailer showed the latter's fleet carrier ships for the first time.

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Warframe: all the news and trailers from TennoCon 2019

This weekend was TennoCon, the annual Warframe fan event, and as is tradition Digital Extremes showed swathes of new updates coming to their free-to-play space ninja game. Matthew was there and has already written his impressions of Warframe Empyrean, which is adding spaceship combat to the game, but there were other announcements, reveals and releases. Those include: a new Warframe Prime release, a trailer for…

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Mordhau dev statement clarifies ‘no plan’ for character filter, say artists “were ill-informed”

Mordhau developers Triternion have released an official statement responding to the claims they planned to introduce a toggle to hide women and non-white characters from their medieval murderfest. Those claims, I should say, were made by Triternion themselves, in an interview between two of the company's artists and PC Gamer. The official statement says that they never had plans for a toggle on non-white characters,…

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Mordhau devs deny plan for toggle to hide women and non-white characters, after telling people of that exact plan

Mordhau's developers Triternion have denied on Twitter that they ever "had plans to add a toggle to hide other ethnicities or 'disable characters that aren’t white'" in their hacky-stabby medieval multiplayer game. This is bold, given that they previously told PC Gamer explicitly that a plan to add such a toggle was their "current thinking." Let's unpick this mess.

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It’s summer in Routine Feat, from the maker of It’s Winter

There's a piece of paper by my desk that reads, "My work does not bring joy and is not so important for me and the people around me, but I cannot quit it. Otherwise, what will I eat?" Alright, Routine Feat, I know it's Monday but take it easy. This is the latest first-person prod-about by Alexandre "Sad3D" Ignatov, who earlier this year made Alice…

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Feature: Tiny game, tiny price

1 Screen Platformer review

1 Screen Platformer is a misnomer: the level might technically fit within 1920x1080 pixels, but the camera is zoomed in at all times. That means you never see the level as laid out above, with all the many deaths that await you on a single screen. Still, the idea is sound: a single level of tricky platforming challenges to be completed with 4 characters, each…

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Feature: Katana Zero, My Friend Pedro nil

Katana Zero review

Katana Zero has the juiciest text boxes I've ever seen. During dialogue, words can imply the pace of speech by appearing letter-by-letter or thumping on screen one word at a time. Words and phrases can be highlighted in different colours, and can further suggest intonation by animating wavily or by each letter shaking as if terrified. When in conversation, there's a timer during every player…

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Feature: Fails to attain Equilibrium

My Friend Pedro review

My Friend Pedro looks incredible in animated GIFs. That's how I first encountered it, via a short clip which showed a man in a mask, hanging upside down from a zipline while he fired twin pistols in opposite directions. Now that I've played this run-and-gun platformer for myself I can confirm that this is one of many spectacular moves it allows you to smoothly and…

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Feature: Stop whooping at corporate acquisitions

Stop worrying about timed exclusives and worry more about games industry consolidation

On Sunday at E3 2019, Microsoft announced they had bought Double Fine. At last year's show, the tech giant announced they had bought Ninja Theory, Undead Labs, Playground Games and Compulsion Games, then added Obsidian and inXile in November. In the last 8 months, THQ Nordic has purchased Piranha Bytes, Bugbear Entertainment and Coffee Stain Studios, as well as the IP for TimeSplitters, Carmageddon, Outcast…

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