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Malindy Hetfeld

8 months ago

Feature: Live fast, die twice

Overthinking Games: an armful of surprises in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

While I was playing Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, I thought out loud, “Man, do I have a lot of questions about surgery in feudal Japan.” Less about how you operate on a man so that he wakes up and suddenly finds himself with a prosthetic, having remained peacefully unconscious throughout the entire procedure, and more about how feasible the shinobi prosthetic in Sekiro really is.…

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Feature: Devil may wail on the guitar

Overthinking Games: Devil May Cry 5 and its tangle of heavy metal influences

Devil May Cry 5 is, like the entire Devil May Cry series, cool. But it’s a particular kind of cool – loud, dark and fascinated with the occult and forbidden. It’s a mish mash of all the things you thought were edgy when you were a teen: explosions, pizza, guitars, leather, hair, more guitars, a big sword. So when we’re looking for an artistic genre,…

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9 months ago

Feature: Wobble and fall

Overthinking Games: the achievable goals of Wobble Yoga

On a Tuesday this February, I fell in love with Jenny Jiao Hsia and her upcoming game Consume Me, one of the titles showcased at the V&A’s Videogames exhibit Design/Play/Disrupt. The prototype of Consume Me was the first game in a while that made me giggle manically, even though its subject matter, dieting and Hsia’s personal fraught relationship with it, isn’t necessarily a laughing matter.…

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Feature: Room with a view

Overthinking games: designing natural beauty in Eastshade

The first I ever saw of Eastshade was a single screenshot. In it, the sun stands high in the sky over a glittering river. Off in the distance, past the forest and its imposing trees, you can see what looks to be a city. Eastshade is full of such carefully designed landscapes: forests that invite you to saunter through them; buildings you just want to…

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10 months ago

Feature: Sing when you're winning

Overthinking Games: the freedom of communicating in Wandersong

The central idea behind Wandersong is coming across things and singing at them, just to see what happens. Sure, there’s also this bit in the plot about the impending apocalypse, but no rush, we will eventually solve that with a song, too. More so than the story, the singing in Wandersong made me think about all the ways our brains connect to music, and how…

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Feature: Make flags, not war

Overthinking Games: The Banner Saga’s banner represents unity rather than division

Banners, then and now, are often a curious amalgamation of plain communication and naked aggression. They’re well-known as heraldic devices, displaying a coat of arms to identify one side to the other on the battlefield, usually just before they were about to attack each other. However, they’re also just a means of communicating who or what a place or thing belongs to. If you’re shipwrecked,…

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Feature: I'm saving this potion for when I really need it

Overthinking Games: How Moonlighter’s inventory combats your greed

Games have, by and large made us into an insatiable, entitled bunch. We’ve come to expect to be able to waltz into someone’s home and take the bread right off their plate, chests in the woods were left just for us, and all wolves take their purses when they leave their den. There’s a lot of stuff in games, and always more of it than…

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11 months ago

Feature: How Ignis makes you want to experiment with food yourself

Overthinking Games: Final Fantasy XV’s love of food

For the sake of snappy videogame design, eating is often the first thing that falls by the wayside. After all, food and all the associated processes take time, time that in most games is better spent elsewhere. Just like in real life, having to hunt around for food in the middle of an adventure often tampers with the pacing. There are exceptions, but food prep…

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12 months ago

Feature:

Malindy Hetfeld’s 5 best games of 2018

My 2018 in games had me dealing with failure in multiple ways. Designed to move further and further away from the fantasy of the all-powerful player ever looking for an appropriate challenge, these games teach to forgive and accept – forgiving someone a past hurt, accepting the lack of a perfect solution to a problem. From the satisfyingly familiar to a type of game I…

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1 year ago

Feature: Death becomes us

The Joy Of meaningful death in The Banner Saga

From the outset, everything in The Banner Saga seems designed to encourage you to be careful. As you lead your caravan towards safety, you try to keep people alive by rationing food, managing the number of your followers and weighing the dangers of the unknown. Anyone who has ever given a soldier in XCOM a custom name knows that it takes very little to get…

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Feature: Kiryu is the best boy

The Joy Of karaoke in Yakuza 0

Within the first hour of Yakuza 0, Kazuma Kiryu has to re-evaluate most of what he’s come to believe in. The crime family he’s been loyal to actually has no problem with selling him out, and Kiryu has to somehow prove his innocence in a murder plot, as well as stop a large-scale turf war. Over the course of many conversations, Kiryu is quickly established…

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Feature: Escaping the grind

Mosaic is a narrative adventure about not going to work

There’s something about Mosaic. Maybe it‘s the dark colour palette, the poignant use of lighting or the low poly aesthetic of Krillbite Studio’s second game, but I’m transfixed. Krillbite’s first title, exploration horror Among the Sleep, was an unexpectedly big success, a… sleeper hit, if you will. Mosaic is supposed to be a departure in every way, but it retains a gloomy atmosphere that makes…

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2 years ago

Feature: A mysterious puzzler

The Thin Silence review

Right at the beginning, The Thin Silence warns you of its themes of depression, suicide and negative mental health and asks you to stay aware of your own mental state while playing. This warning represents the essential sentiment of the game straight away: violence and death should never be taken lightly.

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