Wot I Think: Tiles & Tales – A ‘free’ game that forgets to cost money

Free to play is obviously an effective model on mobile, as despised as it may be. ‘Free’ games don’t get world-famous Hollywood stars to appear in their commercials if they’re not raking it in. It’s clearly here to stay while companies get millions and millions of dollars from it. And, of course, no one is obliged to play them. (My opinions get a lot more specific when such pay-to-play aspects are hardwired into games aimed at kids, but that’s another day’s discussion.) However, there’s another aspect to these games that I don’t think gets talked about so much: that bizarre tension of playing one, hearing the ticking countdown of when it’ll stop being fun and start wanting your cash.

That’s very much the case with Tiles & Tales [official site], a nice, simple puzzle-RPG that is so clearly intended for mobile that the PC version is in portrait. That outrageously lazy porting aside, it hasn’t gone through the transition that many such games make for their Steam release, and has remained “free”. Albeit with the option to start spending ridiculous amounts of money from the off. It’s just… you don’t need to. Here’s wot I think. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Loaders: Flipping the bird in Helping Hand

Humans are great communicators. We’ve developed not only spoken langauges, but reams and reams of written ones throughout history. Not to mention Braille and sign language. Truly, the human ability to express emotions, needs and desires is an unparalleled proof of our shared greatness as the planet’s most wonderful species.

Hey! Quit doing that rude gesture! Stop it! I mean it!

Sigh. Here’s some free games.
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IF Only: Apocalypse Eve

Prospero Cover Clip

Apocalypse is a popular topic of IF. Brian Moriarty’s Trinity explored the threat of nuclear annihilation, back in 1986; Phantom Williams’ 500 Apocalypses got several mentions here last year, from me and from Philippa Warr. Max Kreminski’s Epitaph takes a more Spore-like approach, as you’re allowed to try to nurture procedurally generated civilizations to survive longer than a few turns, and instead (most likely) rack up an impressive collection of failures.

Whatever kind of apocalypse you’re trying to model, interactive fiction probably has something to offer. Here are some of the most interesting.

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Atlas Reactor goes free-to-play, adds new character

“If Frozen Synapse and Battlerite had a baby, it would bear an uncanny resemblance to Atlas Reactor,” said Matt Cox, which reminds me that I’m grossly failing in my duties as his self-appointed moral guardian. I should have given that young lad the ‘copulation’ talk years ago. But if you’re interested in tactical team combat played out through simultaneous turns, you might be interested to hear that developers Trion World have chucked a uey — again — and turned Atlas Reactor [official site] free-to-play. This switch comes alongside the launch of a new season with a new character. Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… RetroArch?

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

Hey, you know all those old console cartridges you have all the originals of and painstakingly took ROM backups up yourself? Turns out there’s a way to use ’em. Who knew?
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Get cricked on: Don Bradman Cricket 17 released

I will be very excited to see a futuresport game which does for cricket what Rocket League did to… football? Hockey? I want cricket with robots and/or cars, basically. 100 Foot Robot Cricket. Crocket League. That sort of thing. In the meantime, we’ll have to settle for regular vidcricket. Don Bradman Cricket 17 [official site] has arrived on PC, simulating the game with the best theme song in all sportdom. I’ve picked at the game’s demo over a few months and yeah, of course it doesn’t feel anything like actually playing cricket but it feels like a decent enough approximation in that abstracted sports game way. Read the rest of this entry »