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Steve Hogarty

4 days ago

Feature: Company Of Heroes with giant mechs

Iron Harvest review

Iron Harvest is an alternate history RTS in which the great empires of the early 20th century invented giant stompy robots with machine guns for heads and spinning blades for arms. Inspired by the work of Polish artist Jakub Rozalski, who paints smokey pastoral scenes loomed over by grey machines lumbering across hazy horizons, the game depicts a world in which the mechanization of warfare…

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3 months ago

Feature: Break it down

Hardspace: Shipbreaker review (early access)

Hardspace: Shipbreaker is a game about peeling open spaceships like they’re massive tin cans to reveal the abandoned detritus inside. The belongings of long departed crews hang in the darkness like deep sea fish. Cola bottles and crisp packets wander past your visor, disturbed into aimless tumbles by the change in air pressure when you popped open the airlock like a champagne cork. The only…

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Feature: Aye, robot

Main Assembly review (early access)

Main Assembly is a physics-based puzzle sandbox in which you build specialised robots to carry out different tasks, like ferrying a washing machine across a busy railway track or rescuing crash test dummies from burning buildings. It’s a kind of Kerbal Everything Program, powered by a comprehensive suite of easy-to-use creative tools that let you construct pretty much anything you can imagine: spring-loaded catapults, rocket-powered…

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Feature: Red dwarf fortress

Space Haven review (early access)

Colony simulators can be overwhelming. Games like Dwarf Fortress and RimWorld use migration as both a fuel and a pressure valve, delivering caravan after caravan of fresh colonists at regular intervals to ensure the centre of balance of your community is always tipping forwards. Space Haven, which is set not on the filthy ground but in that big empty boob we call space, flip-turns the…

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4 months ago

Feature: Zhuzh it up, commander

Command & Conquer Remastered Collection review

Who remembers the 90s? Teachers cowering under their desks, living in constant fear of gunge reprisal. Dave Benson Phillips stomping a Furby to death behind a Woolworths. Princess Diana slowly opening her mouth on live television to reveal the very first Tamagotchi. And then there was you, a horrid greasy goblin person hunched over a yellowing CRT monitor in the corner of the living room.…

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Feature: It's an old world after all

Old World review (early access)

Old World has been developed by a clutch of Civilization vets. So it’s hardly a surprise that, at a glance, it appears to be a very familiar strategy epic. You’ve got your usual slate of hexagons, littered with 100 foot tall soldiers and crabs the size of mountains. You’ve got your turn-by-turn freestyle jazz remix of ancient history, a revisionist mess in which the Romans…

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Feature: Rogue rogue rogue your boat

Stoneshard early access review

Like any decent professional videogames journalist, I have spent the last ten years devaluing the term “roguelike” through overuse. Anything where a goblin politely waits for you to take your turn? Roguelike. Anything where a big slime can permanently murder you? You better believe that’s a roguelike. We would walk down the street with wheelbarrows full of roguelike. We burned piles of it just to…

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Feature: Train in vain

Train Station Renovation early access review

Videogames. Wow, what a concept. Crackling portals to distant lands. Doorways inviting us to impossible places and barbarous shores. Psychedelic imaginationariums fuelled by the limitless potential of raw human creativity. Time machines folding history in on itself, over and over, until the beginning cannot be told apart from the end, like the infinite buttery layers of a viennoiserie pastry formed of unleavened millennia and, christ,…

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Feature: Whippet good

Premature Evaluation: Landlord’s Super

Everything I know about the post-industrial decline of Britain I learned from listening to Ghost Town, the 1981 hit song by The Specials about some spooky creeps who hijack a Vauxhall Cresta to hunt down Margaret Thatcher. There’s also the time I fell asleep on the couch watching The Full Monty and woke up to Fight Club, which saddled me with a false memory of…

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5 months ago

Feature: Wood that I cood

Early access review: Lumberjack’s Dynasty

The weirdest thing about Lumberjack's Dynasty – in a very long list of strange things – are the overheard snippets of conversation as you approach the game’s various NPCs. As you round the crest of a hill you might eavesdrop on a neighbour muttering something about how “everyone is talking about it”. Stroll up the drive of your aunt’s house and she’ll be whispering “yes,…

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Feature: Stay in school, kids

Premature Evaluation: Drug Dealer Simulator

Drugs. Satan’s mustard. The devil’s garlic. Hummus from below. Whatever you call the good gravy that police hate, we can all agree that it’s incredibly fun to have a crazy drugs party, right? In fact, all this talk of drugs reminds me! Last night I found an entire bong’s worth of marijuana in a wheelie bin behind my local Tesco Express. Would you like a…

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Feature: Between two ferns

Predator: Hunting Grounds review

Predator – the furious boy who simply cannot get enough of spines – is up to his old tricks again in this, Predator: Hunting Grounds, a gory and asymmetrical multiplayer shooter from the creators of the equally gory and asymmetrical hide and seek simulator Friday the 13th: The Game. Four human soldiers embark on a mission to do a thing in a jungle, notionally unaware…

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Feature: The perfect name

Premature Evaluation: Industries Of Titan

Industries Of Titan has a refreshing attitude towards dirt and grime. Most city builders prefer to clutch their pearls when it comes to the unpleasant matter of pollution, chastising mayors as they construct the elaborate sewage networks required in order to pump vast quantities of human gunk into whichever unfortunate body of water happens to be farthest from your town hall. Hand-wringing civic advisors wag…

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Feature: Champagne superMMOva

Premature Evaluation: Last Oasis

Sometimes I worry that open world survival sims are romanticising the very real challenges involved in carving out a nomadic existence on a planet that’s stopped rotating by constructing elaborate wooden spider-cars and captaining them across vast deserts, forming clans and trading limited resources to take control of the world’s remaining oases. When the world eventually does stop turning, I fear that this generation, spoon-fed…

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Feature: All sowing, no reaping

Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories review

Renowned children’s TV presenter Mister Rogers once said, “when I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would tell me to look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” The red-cardigan-rocking moral compass of a nation offered this small succour in the face of tragedy: that whenever disaster struck you would also find the…

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6 months ago

Feature: Build a better roomba

Premature Evaluation: Good Company

Ah, industry. You gotta love it. Men with twirly moustaches posing in front of giant chains. Women standing next to teetering piles of code used to send astronauts to the moon. Countless ghosts of mangled Victorian children haunting the greased cogs of matchbox factories. Elon Musk riding atop a tiny submarine like a cowboy to the bottom of the Mariana Trench to rescue his frisbee.…

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Feature: All hands on deck

Premature Evaluation: For The Warp

Early access deck builder For The Warp doesn’t so much wear its FTL influences on its sleeve, as it does creep into FTL’s bedroom when it’s out to try on FTL’s lipstick and stare dead-eyed into a vanity mirror while muttering “I’m a very pretty spacefaring roguelike, yes I am”. If FTL ever goes missing while out for a late night jog, odds are that…

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Feature: Hover bored

Premature Evaluation: Comanche

The latest in a long list of topics I have hurled myself into these past two weeks in the naive hope of distracting my anxiety for even just a few minutes, helicopters are all I’m choosing to think about right now. Wow, how do they work? The world is coming to an end. They’re such an exciting way to get around! Hovering celebrity death traps.…

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Feature: Crumplestiltskin

Premature Evaluation: BeamNG.drive

Don’t ask me to explain in any more detail, but I’m almost completely certain I understand what “soft-body physics” means having watched precisely one YouTube video about it while high in bed one afternoon, my own soft body draped inelegantly across the pillows and speckled in Quorn nugget crumbs, like some forgotten Renaissance masterpiece. Car simulator BeamNG.drive deals in the physics of soft bodies, objects…

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7 months ago

Feature: Teach a man to fish

Premature Evaluation: Russian Fishing 4

Back in the before times, before the fires and the disease came, you could feed bread to ducks without being cancelled by the bird police. Just grab a sliced pan of wholewheat Warburtons and hurl it into a lake, then watch as every duck, swan and anaemic-looking goose in the postcode descended upon it in a feathery gale, quacking and honking and feasting in a…

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