Poop And Profit: Slime Rancher’s Fantastic Farming

Slime Rancher [official site] is the cutest game about selling shit ever made. Admittedly it’s probably the only game about selling shit ever made, but I don’t know for certain and googling “Shit­selling games” tends to bring up commercial flops like Bulletstorm rather than games that literally involve the flogging of faecal matter.

If you’ve seen anything of Monomi Park’s debut, which slithered onto Early Access a couple of weeks back leaving a silvery trail in its wake, then its love for excrement may come as a surprise. Aesthetically Slime Rancher is a thundering wave of colour, like a circus struck by a tsunami, and the eponymous slimes are so clearly designed to be child­friendly that it’s surprising to discover they have any orifices at all.

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Have You Played… Total Distortion?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Thought you were hot? Guess what? You’re not.

Total Distortion holds the highest honour of featuring one of the most entertaining Game Over screens of all time, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a psychobilly freakout.
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Premature Evaluation: Fractured Space

Each Monday, Rob Zacny picks through the detritus of early access to separate the games might one day be assembled into something worthwhile from those which should remain on the scrapheap.

Capital ship warfare is my favorite kind of pornography. I’ve watched Master and Commander a dozen times or so, but sometimes I put the disc in the drive just to watch the part where Aubrey gives the order to run out the guns and let fly on the French raider. I’ve watched the episode where Battlestar Galactica assaults New Caprica more often than I’ve watched any other part of the third season. When The Expanse came out this year, I wasn’t sold on the show until the episode where a Martian flagship perished in a pitched naval battle.

Fractured Space [official site] and developer Edge Case Games get where I’m coming from.

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The RPG Scrollbars: To Distant Shores

I’m on the road at the moment – not literally, that would make typing very dangerous – so unsurprisingly I’ve been pondering travel. Also regretting taking too long to see The Martian, and again being stunned by what Americans consider chocolate. But I can’t think of even a tenuous connection between those and RPGs, so travel it is – and in particular, the rare joy that comes of not simply going somewhere new, but feeling that sense of distance behind you and a whole new horizon lying ahead.

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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for doing all the things you’ve been trying to get done the last three Sundays. Or we could put it off again and spend the day reading about videogames. Choose wisely.

Free Loaders: Packing Heat In Latin America

I really am in Costa Rica. I am not just doing one of my 'jokes'.

Hola, amigos. This week’s edition is coming to you from San josé, Costa Rica. As some of you may know, my fearless and tenacious reporting of the Ludum Dare collective and other seditious elements of the free games community has forced me into hiding in Central America. But I will not falter. I will continue to report on these dastardly events, these subversive groups of juegistas, and these craven games, which cost exactly zero dollars. Long live the free press!

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How Risk Of Rain Increases Difficulty Over Time

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites a developer to help him put their game up on blocks and take a wrench to hack out its best feature, just to see how it works.

The start of a game of Risk of Rain [official site] is quiet. Your small pixel character stands in a vast alien landscape, in which somewhere you’ll find a teleporter that will take you to the next level. The end of a game of Risk of Rain is mayhem, the land swarming with monsters that you couldn’t survive.

And throughout lies constant stress and pressure. You’re ever aware of a meter in the top right corner of the screen that ticks upwards. Every five minutes, a bell chimes and the difficulty changes: from Very Easy, to Easy, to Medium, and further. The constantly respawning monsters come ever thicker and harder, inexorably escalating towards unmanageable chaos. You must never stand still and must never relent, because with every second your own downfall nears. All because of:

THE MECHANIC: Time = difficulty

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