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Steve Hogarty

Premature Evaluation: Levelhead

Does a robot even know what it means to jump?

2

10 hours ago

Feature: Does a robot even know what it means to jump?

Premature Evaluation: Levelhead

Shigeru Miyamoto is one of the few bona fide, mega-brain geniuses working in games. Inspired by the time he watched a plumber die of a concussion near a tortoise, the Nintendo luminary invented Mario in his toolshed in Kyoto, using nothing more than a couple of AAA batteries and a soldering iron.

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1 week ago

Feature: Incy wincy

Premature Evaluation: Dungeon Munchies

A friend of mine works for an insect farm, raising crickets and fly larvae as an alternative protein source for livestock feed, as well as for human snacks. His job is to distract each cricket for just long enough so that a colleague can swoop in from behind and humanely murder the cricket with a tiny hammer. Or at least that’s how I understood it.…

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2 weeks ago

Feature: Not worth the hustle

Premature Evaluation: Metro Sim Hustle

There was a time when only a privileged few were given the opportunity to create art. While the less fortunate were out tilling the fields, court-appointed portraitists were funded by royal patrons to immortalise their subject’s likeness on canvas. While us regular folk gnawed on potato peels, married our cousins and died of a cough at the ripe old age of 28, an enlightened few…

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3 weeks ago

Feature: Das early access

Premature Evaluation: UBOAT

You know you’re in for some serious submarine business when there’s an option to toggle the curvature of the earth on and off. I’m still not entirely sure what a flat earth would mean for a submarine, in any practical sense. Perhaps if the submarine wandered too close to the edge of the world it would spill over the precipice of a cosmic waterfall and…

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1 month ago

Feature: Tracking the greatest prey of all

Premature Evaluation: Pandemic Express – Zombie Escape

Pandemic Express is a game about a bunch of humans escaping a bunch of zombies. The humans, who all resemble French mimes in plague masks, are attempting to board and pilot a train to freedom. The zombies, who all resemble horrible goblins who’ve crept out of a Hieronymus Bosch painting, are out to stop them, using their fangs and claws to monch and clonch the…

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Feature: Burner cards

Premature Evaluation: Trials Of Fire

Trials Of Fire, besides having such a generic sounding title that you forget it every time you’re not looking directly at the words, is a turn-based, single-player, deck-building, choice-driven, procedurally-generated, top-down, role-playing strategy game, set in a post-cataclysmic, dark fantasy world. It’s part The Road, part Tolkien offcuts, as you guide a miserable band of fighters through a blasted wasteland in search of a series…

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2 months ago

Feature: From the developers of Out There

Premature Evaluation – Sigma Theory: Global Cold War

There are few people I find as fascinating as Mister Julian Assange, the debonair hacker and out-of-work Geralt cosplayer who hid inside an embassy for seven years, skateboarding into the ambassador’s bedroom and demanding to know the new wi-fi password so often that they finally got annoyed and kicked him out. Assange has the campy flare of a mid-tier Drag Race contestant, randomly appearing on…

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Feature: WW2 with cards

Premature Evaluation: Kards

My nice grandad fought in World War Two, along with all of the other nice grandads, against the fascist grandads who were causing quite the stir around Europe at the time. As far as I can tell my grandad had a relatively pleasant time, romping around in the desert with his fellow grandads, firing some really big guns into the sky until he was captured…

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Feature: Visceral gameplay

Premature Evaluation: Totally Accurate Battle Simulator

Back at PC Zone magazine, where I was born out of an egg, it was my job to take the raw copy submitted by our freelance writers, strip out most of the sexism and veiled threats against politicians, and produce a polished and well structured review that was legally fit for publication. One of the most commonly deleted and cliched introductions to any game about…

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3 months ago

Feature: The Postman Cometh

Premature Evaluation: Willowbrooke Post

Oh, to be a postman. That sultry steward of the mail. That beautiful bastard with the letters. That outrageous freak of parcels. That walking obscenity in Gore-Tex red. That creep who lives inside a van and cannot die, because the postman is both one and many, everywhere and nowhere, always and never. Ding-dong, goes the siren song of the elusive postman. Can you sign for…

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Feature: Twinned with Lazy Town

Premature Evaluation: Factory Town

All of human history is just moving stuff from one place to another. We scoop stuff up out of the ground and stack it into great big pyramids to dispose of unwanted mummies and ankhs. We blast stuff out of rocks and turn it into gardening shears and fidget spinners and lamp shades and clothes hangers, before dumping it all back into the sea –…

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Feature: Would you rather have a robot head or crab claws for hands?

Premature Evaluation: Beacon

David Cronenberg's 1986 horror classic The Fly explored the idea of how much of a fly Jeff Goldblum would have to mutate into before he stopped being extremely hot (the answer, as revealed in the DVD commentary, is as high as 65 percent). It also tapped into a deep seated human fear of being trapped inside an elevator with a fly. But more than either…

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4 months ago

Feature: Grass tastes bad

Premature Evaluation: The Pusher

As a cool person, I know everything there is to know about drugs and drug paraphernalia, such as bongs and what have you. In fact, you’ll often find me hanging out with my fellow dope-fiends in what we in the business call a ‘drugs hole’, where we take weed, cocaine, and the rest of the types of drugs that there are. “Hey, quit hoggin’ all…

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Feature: Dwarfs, building a fortress

Premature Evaluation: King Under The Mountain

Playing early access games is like being flung backwards in time to a proterozoic era of Earth’s formless prehistory, where instead of lush continents and breathable air there are surging oceans of molten rock and noxious clouds of superheated nitrogen gas. And you’re there on this unfinished planet, standing on the precipice of a furious lake of spitting magma, your eyes popping like overboiled eggs…

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Feature: Shadow of the big hairy monster

Premature Evaluation: Praey For The Gods

Praey For The Gods was forced to change its name from Prey For The Gods, after Prey publisher Zenimax opposed the new trademark. Their platoon of lawyers, who I can only imagine swung in through the windows of the tiny three-man studio and started furiously tipping over desks and tearing phones out of the walls, were concerned that consumers would confuse this game, about traipsing…

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Feature: For sale: happiness, never worn

Premature Evaluation: Timeflow

Hello again, it’s me, the premature evaluator. When I’m not prematurely evaluating things, you will often find me sabotaging my own life through chronic mismanagement of my bank balance and available free time. For example, I am writing this article in the very last moments before it’s due to be published, not because I have an especially pressing schedule – I’ve spent the last five…

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5 months ago

Feature:

Premature Evaluation: Meeple Station

Meeple Station is a game about building a space station and keeping its residents alive, a task made all the more challenging by those residents having each been cursed with simulated emotional states, which can become so fraught that they’ll hurl themselves out of an airlock rather than face another second living aboard your creation. So, more accurately, Meeple Station is a game about convincing…

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Feature: What's a pirate's favourite letter?

Premature Evaluation: Atlas

Last week brought news that beleaguered swashbuckling MMO Atlas had been hacked by a bunch of salty ne'er do wells. The keys to an admin account were stolen, allowing hackers to go on what amounted to a trans-dimensional naval joyride. Invincible armadas armed with inexhaustible supplies of cannonballs briefly ruled the waves, which was to be expected. But then planes fell from the sky. The…

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Feature: All dogs are good dogs

Premature Evaluation: Heartbound

My dog has been dead for longer than he was alive, which means I’m long past having any right to fondly remember him as I stare through a rainy window, or to hear his bark on the breeze on warm evening walks along the old railway track. He’s just way too dead to be taking up that kind of emotional bandwidth any more. How weird…

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Feature: Free the nipple

Premature Evaluation: Hades

Large portions of my personality owe a great debt to Greek invention, from ABBA musicals and feta cheese to anal sex and fiscal irresponsibility. But for the past few thousand years the country’s chief cultural export has been its dramatic and complex mythology. A cross between Aesop’s Fables and Hollyoaks, Greek myth forms the basis of every story ever told. Scarface, King Lear, that episode…

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