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Nate Crowley

Today

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 weeks 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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3 weeks ago

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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4 weeks ago

Feature: V.v.V V.v.V V.v.V <--- crabs

Fight Crab, the game about fighting crabs, was inspired by Dark Souls

Masafumi Onuki, the programmer behind Japanese indie studio Calappa Games (a.k.a Nussoft), is a man who knows what he likes. He likes crabs. All three of his games to date have gone in heavy on crustaceans: there was Neo Aquarium with its intense sci-fi crab brawling, then party-based third person fighting game Ace Of Seafood (which admittedly also featured fish), and then this year's Fight…

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1 month ago

Feature: Nothing beside remains

Have You Played… Rise Of Nations?

Do you ever wonder why some games just don't get talked about much? I don't mean obscure games, either, or even mediocre ones. I mean games that were pretty great, but just sank like a stone in time, while others continue to float to the top of our memories. Rise Of Nations is just such a game.

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Feature: Uncorrupted by capitalism

Have You Played… Space Station 13?

Trying to write about Space Station 13 is inevitably a complete nightmare, as by the time you've explained what it is to any degree of adequacy, you're approaching long read territory. But since this is a cheery little "hey, check out this interesting game" post, I'm going to try it in 100 words. Let's go. SS13 is a top-down, multiplayer, session-based RPG, where people take…

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Feature: ♪ Do-dee-do-dee-doo, Instructor Fireheart ♪

The 5 most fun decks in Hearthstone’s Scholomance Academy expansion

Colourful Blizzard card battler Hearthstone is now a week into its new expansion, Scholomance Academy, whose theme appears to be "Harry Potter, but there are orcs as well". As ever, the injection of a bunch of new cards into the game has shaken up the meta, and there's the usual frenzy of analysis going on to determine which classes and archetypes are going to be…

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Feature: Achilles' feels

A Total War Saga: Troy review

Let's pretend there was no such thing as the Total War series of games. Let's pretend A Total War Saga: Troy was just called Super Iliad Guys - which it should be called anyway - but had otherwise come out of the blue exactly as it is. In this mythical world, I would be completely blown away by Super Iliad Guys, with its astonishing two-for-one…

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Feature: He's going through a lot right now

I Am Dead is a puzzle game about a ghost who can look inside fruit

"If you're a ghost, and you walk through a wall..." asks Richard Hogg, in the tone of a man confronted with a real head-scratcher, "...do you get to see the inside of the wall?"It's a good question. The kind which, for most people, might fuel a good half hour in a pub, or a 2am chat with a partner who can't sleep. But for Hogg…

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Feature: Battering an iron ostrich to pieces never felt so good

Horizon Zero Dawn PC review

If you've read anything I've had to say about Horizon Zero Dawn to date - and I've eulogised it twice already - the tone of this review shouldn't come as a surprise. I knew the PC port would have to be either unplayable, or introduce an inexplicable wisecracking pelican as Aloy's sidekick, to change my opinion of what's probably my favourite ever action game. And…

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Feature: Dog eggs

Have You Played… ARK: Survival Evolved?

I had a mate at university who got home pissed at 2am and decided to boil himself an egg. Great idea at the time. But he passed out on the floor, the saucepan boiled dry, and the egg began to combust. When my mate woke up, it was because his whole building was being evacuated because of the billows of rancid egg smoke from his…

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2 months ago

Feature: The Quantum Of Sausage

I visited Minecraft’s infinite dimensions and all I got was this lousy rainbow hyperscape

A lot of people, quite reasonably, didn't pay much attention to April Fool's Day this year. I certainly didn't, so I only vaguely noticed Mojang announcing a Minecraft update that would give the game infinite, Enter-The-Spiderverse-Style dimensions to explore. It was cute, I figured, but not really the most convincing fake announcement. Alas, though, it turns out I was the April Fool all along: not…

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Feature: Kraken open a cold one with the boys

Have You Played… Sea Of Thieves?

I want to like Sea Of Thieves so badly that I've convinced myself I do like it, even though deep inside I find it quite dull to play. I don't understand why I find it dull. The premise is superb, it looks great, and I know lots of folks who routinely have the time of their lives being weird, balloon-bodied pirates. I just can't seem…

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Feature: World of tanks

Have You Played… Megaquarium?

Look, we've not got time for life histories here. If you've read anything of mine on this site or elsewhere, you'll know full well I really like, y'know, fish and that. Sea Geezers. Damp Daniels. The Wet Squad. Call them what you will, I'm into them. I subscribe to Practical Fishkeeping magazine. My office at home has ten fish tanks in it. If you weren't…

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Feature: The biggest of moods

I’m sorry, I’m obsessed with the Halo Infinite crisis gorilla

Escharum has set a fire in my heart. There were plenty of titbits to be gleaned from last night's Halo Infinite campaign footage, but the star of the show for me was the incredibly aggravated gorilla who came out of nowhere to deliver a passionate monologue to camera, right at the end. Admittedly, this sounds exactly like something I would invent in a joke post…

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Feature: I'LL DESTROY YOU AT WRESTLEMANIA

Halo Infinite’s reveal ended with a gorilla losing its mind on camera

So, as of this evening's Xbox Games Showcase, we've finally seen footage of Halo Infinite, and it looks good! There was indeed a grappling hook, more mobility in general from the Chief (he can climb on boxes now!), and a couple of new guns. There was also some classic Warthog action, some dependably stirring music, and a couple of genuinely sublime moments of looking-out-across-a-halo-at-sunset beauty.…

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Feature: Also I think I met the devil.

How I nearly died on Minecraft’s title screen

As you may have seen already, the hillside lake shown on Minecraft's old title screen, which rotated slowly and blurrily between 2011 and 2018, has been located at last. The discovery of the world's seed is a whole story in itself, about how a group of people managed to deduce a single location from among the 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 worlds possible in Minecraft. That's about as many…

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