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Nate Crowley

3 days ago

Feature: The incredible sculk

v1.17 Minecraft is getting even more complicated. However: axolotls.

So, as you might already know, there is another big Minecraft update on the way - version 1.17, a.k.a "Caves & Cliffs". As the name suggests, it's going to be focusing on the underground (with a lesser focus on mountains and such), and that's welcome news for long-time players. Especially since the Nether, Minecraft's weirdo hell dimension, got a makeover in version 1.16, it's become…

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1 week ago

Feature: A smorgasbord

The ten-minute indie games of the 10mg collection reviewed in ten minutes each

Here's a free tip for you, if you keep fish - you're probably feeding them too much. Small fish, like guppies and tetras, might have big appetites, but they only have little tummies, so they prefer to eat little and often. Now: what if... video games?. There is a new indie dev collective called 10mg - named, I assume, after a small amount of... some…

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Feature: The 'phant 'em menace

Ships in the knight: an Age Of Empires 2 match report

I've not posted about Age Of Empires 2 in a while, because there's been a lot of other things on, but I'm still plugging away with it - I start each day with a quick random match against the AI to keep my hand in, and once a week or so, I dare to enter the adrenaline-soaked APM hell of ranked multiplayer. I lose more…

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Feature: Get Rexx'd

Fight your dad and befriend a bear in the new Hearthstone single player content

I was always fairly lukewarm on the lore behind Blizzard's Warcraft games, if I'm honest. It seemed to be a case of "all shoulderpads and no substance", and I couldn't get why it gripped people so much. But then I got into Hearthstone. For whatever reason, the card game's take on the Warcraftiverse, which somehow manages to ascend to an even higher plateau of camp…

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Feature: Devil's in the details

Have You Played… Lucifer’s Atoms?

It makes me a little bit sad sometimes, when I play something absolutely fascinating that also happens to have barely any chance of getting the recognition it deserves. These games aren't confined to obscurity because of the ol' David & Goliath narrative of plucky indies and all-powerful AAA ogres, but because they seem to be made without a care for mass market appeal. Lucifer's Atoms,…

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2 weeks ago

Feature: Rebel Savescum

Partisans 1941 review

Valya, my sniper and occasional medic, kicks things off. Having chloroformed a sentry, she's now sat snug in his position, with a great view of the SS officer commanding the checkpoint. Crack - her rifle (it's our only decent one) fires, and his head bursts. On the other side of the position, Captain Zorin leaps from a bush preceded by a hurled knife, under the…

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Feature: I ship it

Space Crew review

When three-man studio Runner Duck released management-tactics game Bomber Crew in 2017, it was rightly praised for turning the "move people around the parts of a large vehicle in an ever-increasing state of panic" aspect of roguelite classic FTL into a whole game. Followup Space Crew takes the action back into space. And while there's a superficial level of similarity to FTL, with reactor power…

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3 weeks ago

Feature: For a few spaceships more

Star Wars: Squadrons review

My opinion of Star Wars: Squadrons is all over the place. I was excited when it was announced, as I'd been yearning for a proper Star Wars flight sim for years. But then I reined in my expectations, because my bland triple-A release sense was tingling. I played a few hours of Squadrons as soon as it launched, and finished my session feeling a bit…

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Feature: The ol' snipple snapple

Have You Played… Sea Salt?

My mate Greg is one of those people who's phenomenally gentle and kind-hearted, but has a surprisingly brutal taste in media. He introduced me to a big chunk of the metal bands I listen to, and loves films with plenty of fights. I remember as teenagers, we spent an impossibly hot summer's day watching Gangs Of New York, then roaring Daniel Day Lewis quotes at…

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Feature: Get into the screaming spaceship

Star Wars: Squadrons pays more homage to TIE Fighter than it had to

My first mission in Star Wars: Squadrons (which I shall now call Squadwarns for the sake of ease), saw me jumping into a TIE fighter to have a nose around a big asteroidy space dock thing, looking for refugees from the recently-burst planet of Alderaan. My space boss reckoned those refugees might be hiding in cargo transports, so he told me to scan some cargo…

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Feature: Water, water, every where / Nor any drop to drink

Have You Played… Raft?

Even though it only hit Steam in 2018, and has only existed in any form since 2016, Raft feels like one of those survival games that has been in Early Access forever. That's not a criticism, it's just very much the mood the game has. It's one of those ones you'll play a bit of, forget about, and then look back a year later, only…

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Feature: Check yourself before you Shrek yourself

The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk review

In the classic opening move for the type of review some of you might typify as "the classic 7/10", I'll say this: I liked The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet Of Chaos far more than I expected to. It's XCOM by way of Order Of The Stick, but with the battles connected by wandering about in the ‘gather your party and venture forth’ tradition of…

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Feature: Burger lungs

Have You Played… Borderlands 2?

The Borderlands series is aesthetically and tonally consistent. Borderlands 2 has the same exact mood as its predecessor, and its sequel, and whatever you'd call Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel in that scheme of reference. It's one of those series where even though there's only four main installments (admittedly with near-infinite DLC), it becomes very difficult to remember which particular bits or characters appeared in which games,…

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4 weeks ago

Feature: Space to grow

Ostranauts is a hugely ambitious space game, but I think it’s going to work

"This is all just an excuse for me to build a universe, right?" says Daniel Fedor, as I settle in for an evening watching him play Ostranauts. And he's serious. The sandboxy space sim, which hit early access on September 10th, and which is a sort-of sequel to acclaimed oddball RPG NEO Scavenger, has some properly deep worldbuilding. And I don't mean deep as in…

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1 month ago

Feature: Lords Immobile

The new Stronghold Warlords demo gets feudalism just right

I've missed all the demos so far for Stronghold Warlords, the upcoming instalment in Firefly Studios' long-running castle-building-and-bashing series, despite being a big fan of the original games. But seeing as Warlords is being featured at Ye Olde PAX X EGX, and I had my hands on the new demo (which is out right now!), I figured now was the time to get stuck in.Well,…

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Feature: Ring-a ring-a walnuts, a pocket full of owl guts

Ring Of Pain is a solid card crawler featuring the grimmest owl in games

Deckbuilding and dungeon crawlers: two great tastes that go well together. Cards, it turns out, are a great tool for abstracting the collection of vaguely synergistic loot from monster corpses, and then seeing how far the resultant combinations will get you through fast-paced, sudden-death runs through a gauntlet of further monsters. Slay The Spire is arguably the defining masterpiece of the card crawler subgenre, and…

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2 months ago

Feature: You come at the Pope, you best not miss

How fast can you die in Crusader Kings 3?

Yesterday, I dived into the magical world of themed Crusader Kings III playthroughs, with this sobering exploration of what a man's life might look like if he cared for nothing except banging giants. I may return to my nightmare re-imagining of C12th Estonia at some point, but not today. You see, today, there's science to be done.CK3 is, emphatically, all about planning for the long…

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Feature: Big time

I’ve already made an Estonian giant farm in Crusader Kings 3

High Chieftain Andyamo doesn't ask for much in life. In fact, he wants only two things. To live forever, and to bang every giant in Christendom. Crusader Kings 3, which comes out today, is a game where you very much get out what you put in. You get something, anyway. The sheer density and interconnection of the medieval RPG's many simulations mean that, pretty much…

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Feature: Watch out there's a snake attacking that baby

Crusader Kings 3 review

The way I'd summarise Crusader Kings 3 depends heavily on where you're coming at the game from. If you never played Crusader Kings 2, but were always interested, then I heartily recommend this extremely long, in-depth strategy/RPG hybrid about managing the successive lives of a dynasty of medieval problem people. It's very complex, but it does a better job than its predecessor of explaining itself,…

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Feature: Fortify your game library

The best building games on PC

'Building' is a pretty broad theme. There are a lot of games where you build things, after all, and they can be very different. Helpfully, then, I've split this list of the 20 best building games on PC into four sections, each covering a sub-category of this big, messy genre.

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