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Jay Castello

4 days ago

Roadwarden is an upcoming wilderness exploration interactive fiction, with a demo out now

There’s so much appeal to just wandering about in games, which is perhaps what first drew me to Roadwarden. The game’s named for the job title of its protagonist, one of the few people who explore the wilderness in its setting. “They deliver messages, assist merchants, burn human corpses, and, if possible, get rid of beasts and highwaymen,” says the opening description. And there’s a…

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Get unlost in Sumatra: Fate Of Yandi

Think you’ve had a rough week at work? Spare a thought for the protagonist of recently released point and click game Sumatra: Fate Of Yandi. You wouldn’t want to be in a game where the title ominously promises to spell out your fate, particularly if it's premised on being swept away by a landslide and needing to find your way back home through a jungle…

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Dota 2’s paid “avoid player” option is part of a pattern of developers sidelining anti-abuse features

Dota 2's International 2019 Battle Pass has plenty of issues. As Matt wrote earlier this month, alongside a waterfall of cosmetics and a special mode, the pass will unlock an in-game assistant that seems to give owners an advantage over those who haven’t forked over at least £7.50/$10. But (as reported by The Verge) the pass is paywalling another key feature – the ability to…

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Screenshot Saturday Sundays: ecological exploration, discreet doors, and feathered friends

Screenshot Saturday! A day in which we throw prescriptivist definitions of the word “screenshot” out of the window in order to take a peek at what game developers are working on at the mo’. This week: a fight with some sort of whiskered lizard, a mysterious doorway, and some strange birds.

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2020’s Call Of Duty reportedly switches studio mid-development

Development of next year’s entry in the Call Of Duty franchise seems to have gone through a significant shift this week, as reported by Jason Schreier at Kotaku. Apparently, publishers Activision have changed the studios working on the game, moving it from Raven and Sledgehammer to Black Ops developers Treyarch, who will be working to release Black Ops 5 a year earlier than expected.

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5 days ago

Virtual reality garden exploration game Fujii blossoms next month

What’s better than a real garden, full of flowers and sunshine? A virtual one, obviously. Particularly when it comes to Fujii, a VR game scheduled to release next month, because there’s this happy, leafy bear to keep you company and play some sweet ukulele tunes as you explore about. You can meet them in the trailer below.

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Conglomerate 451 brings cyberpunk dungeon crawling to early access next week

Dungeon-crawling hackathon Conglomerate 451 will be hitting Steam early access next week, opening its maglev doors to a world of grimy concrete and pink neon. Players will be able to hack themselves and the world around them in an attempt to overcome the baddies without sustaining ongoing injuries or agent death, the latter of which will necessitate wheeling out a fresh clone who might have…

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Smile For Me is an upcoming creepy-cute point and click about cheering people up

Smile For Me is a phrase that’s less cheery and innocuous than it sounds. Whether it’s a misguided “just be happy!” response to mental illness or a rando guy approaching women on the street, there are actually very few situations in which telling someone to smile is appropriate or welcome. Bearing this in mind may be helpful when it comes to thinking about Smile For…

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World Of Warcraft Classic’s “not bug” list is delightful

World Of Warcraft Classic will be throwing players back to the halcyon days of 2004 come August, reverting the MMO back to its original state. But it seems that some have been looking back through rose-coloured glasses, or at least gotten so used to the 15 years of quality of life improvements that they’re confused by some of the game’s original details. As such, Blizzard…

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1 week ago

Feature: You could say their dominance came as a... Shock

Know It OWL: San Francisco Shock Special Edition

The thing about writing a column about the Overwatch League is that you have to be selective. There are 20 teams playing 16 games per week, so you necessarily have to pick out certain stories to follow and let others fall by the wayside. Unfortunately, that means that I have barely mentioned the team who just became our stage two champions, San Francisco Shock. Oops.…

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2 weeks ago

Cities: Skylines expands into education later this month

It’s time to pack your Cities: Skylines inhabitants off to uni, where they will surely get up to nothing but sombre study. There will be no mischief, though there may be some handegg, which is essentially the same thing. The update will include five sports, in fact, along with other faculties, new policies, and new maps. You can get a glimpse of some of it…

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Dive into the depths of Koral on May 16

There are few more enticing video game settings than crystal clear underwater glades, and Koral, an explore-o-puzzle game launching next week has them in spades. It’s got sort of an Abzu meets Ori And The Blind Forest look, by which I obviously mean, ahhhh, it’s all colourful and gorgeous and there are fish friends. Come and dip your toes in the trailer yourself.

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Screenshot Saturday Sundays: a grand greenhouse, rad robots, and a shocking smash

Screenshot Saturday! The best day of the Twitter week where I get to become very excited about upcoming games and then immediately have to temper myself because, oh, god, do you know how difficult it is to make video games. If none of these ever come out, or if they are entirely changed from what’s presented here, I will completely understand. We’re also a mere…

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Feature:

Hades makes me want to break out of my gaming comfort zone

I really like Hades, Supergiant Games’ early access roguelite. It’s a bit of a surprise – “early access” and “roguelite” are never usually descriptions that I seek out when I’m choosing what to play. Even more surprising, then, that it’s exactly those two things that I really appreciate about the game. Let me explain.

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Search for your lost daughter after a spacecrash in upcoming Claire De Lune

Clair De Lune is a lovely piano piece by Claude Debussy. Claire De Lune, on the other hand, is a video game about a woman called (you guessed it) Claire, who goes missing in space after her family’s spaceship decides to take a tumble out of the sky and onto the planet below. Surely it should be a moon rather than a planet, but still,…

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16-player space submarine simulator Barotrauma plunges into early access next month

They say that before you agree to marry someone, you should go on a long trip with them. Perhaps all the way into space, in an airtight submarine plagued by maintenance issues and alien attacks. What I’m saying here is that if you and 15 friends can get together and survive the chaos of Barotrauma intact, it’s only logical that your next move is to…

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Feature:

How one deaf Overwatch fan is trying to make the game more accessible

If you’re tuning into the Overwatch League’s stage two playoffs this weekend, you might see a video featuring 14-year-old Danik Soudakoff. Soudakoff is an attendee of some of the games in the Burbank arena, a fan of the Los Angeles Valiant, and deaf. When attending games, he gets an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter to keep him informed, and he’s been a part of creating…

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Divine diagnoses from the stars in Astrologaster

Forsooth, gentlefolk, look to the skies, for they portend the arrival of a video game. It’s Astrologaster, a tale based on the real life of an old-timey doctor, Simon Forman, who blended medicine, astrology, and sort of general advice-giving into a mostly-successful business in Shakespearian London. Oh, and quite a bit of what the game delicately calls “strumpy-humpy.”

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3 weeks ago

While away a tense ten minutes in The Interlude

The Interlude is a game about fidgeting. Technically it’s a game about waiting. But doesn’t waiting always become fidgeting? Particularly when you’re waiting for something tense, like this ne’er-do-well parked in their car on a dark evening, messages filling up their phone about the unspecified encounter they’re about to have with an unsaved contact. It’s eerie, and that eeriness causes restlessness, especially when you’re trapped…

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Missed Messages is a short visual novel about love and communication

Missed Messages, once you get past being incredibly jealous of this beautiful dorm room, is a game about "romance, horror, and memes." All three manage to be realistic, something that’s not easy to pull off, but is helped along by developer Angela He basing the whole thing on her real experiences. It is also, obviously, completely gorgeous and I kind of just want to stare…

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