Free-for-all: H1Z1 going free-to-play today

H1Z1, the battle royale ’em up that Brendan “Playerunknown” Greene worked on before making his own Battlegrounds, is now going free-to-play. Developers Daybreak Game Company have announced that H1Z1 will switch to free-to-play at 10am PST (6pm UK time) today, which is a surprise coming only eight days after the game left early access. It seems a sensible move, given dwindling playercounts in the face of stiff competition from Plunkbat and especially Epic’s free-to-play Fortnite Battle Royale. Hell, I will now download it to at least have a go at that new Auto Royale mode which locks four players into a car as a squad battling with other fightcars. Read the rest of this entry »

Mobile enduro-shmup Shooty Skies zooms onto Steam

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The success of Crossy Road is a paradox that I’m still trying to work out. With age and experience, we’ve all come to accept that, as iconic as it may have been as an arcade trailblazer, Frogger was a little naff. How then, did a spiritual successor take over the world?

We’re still a bit baffled, honestly. Worse still, the people responsible (at least partly reformed as Mighty Games, formerly Hipster Whale) have continued to apply their retro-polygon aesthetics to other classics, such as the intentionally glitchy Pac-Man 256, and now the shmup genre as a whole with Shooty Skies, which is out and free-to-play on PC today.

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Free games of the week

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This weekend brings another set of different, awesome games for you to check out! If you’re into platformers where you must touch all of the blocks quickly and have different game modes and challenges, the first game is definitely for you! Repairing ships has never been so straight forward – as long as you can make the jumps. If you’re not so into ship repair – I also have some adventures after all the adults have left, a game about controlling the mafia, one about shopping at your local supermarket, and an abstract game about the meaning of love. Plenty of games to sink your teeth into over the weekend! Read on… Read on… Read the rest of this entry »

Developer of indie hit Butterfly Soup talks sequel plans

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Visual novels have been experiencing a cultural renaissance in recent years as developers continue to challenge genre conventions and tackle themes that AAA titles are hesitant to explore. Last year saw a flood of VNs capture the popular consciousness, but Butterfly Soup, in particular, charmed its way into players’ hearts and shot to the top of critics’ radars. Now there’s a sequel in development, due in the summer of 2019, and I’ve been speaking to developer Brianna Lei about how she hopes to continue the story.

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Butterfly Soup 1.

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David Lynch Teaches Typing is very, yrev good

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Rhino Stew Productions’ delightful free game David Lynch Teaches Typing doesn’t necessarily require a working knowledge of the ways and tropes of America’s favourite avant-garde film-maker or of Mavis Beacon’s iron rule over 90s typing tuition programs, but it’s a doozy if you do. I will say that the impersonation of FBI Deputy Director Gordon Cole’s distinctive barked but super-positive speech patterns is riotously on-point, however.

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Explore, deform, and reform textures in Softfriends

“This is a pretty thing,” our Adam said in the RPS treehouse today when he pointed out ,,,softfriends,,, (hereafter referred to as Softfriends because come on). It’s a little doodad rolling above interesting textures which ripple and reform, controlled by two bulging lumps running under the landscape (the distinction between texture and landscape is only a matter of scale, isn’t it?). It is a pretty thing.

“Finally, a game about insects crawling under my skin,” I replied, because apparently I ruin everything. I have played Softfriends, though, and it is nice. It is a little skinsectile, between the droning sound and my controller buzzing in my hands, but it is nice. Read the rest of this entry »

Boys are back in town: Final Fantasy XV PC demo is out

Boys, boys, boys, I’m looking for a good time. That’s why I’m downloading the demo for Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition, which just launched. The demo contains the RPG’s first chapter so we can meet those boys, boys, boys and see how their road trip starts. And hopefully it’ll let us see how the game might actually run on our PCs, given that the benchmarking tool released earlier this month is wonky and Square Enix say it “may not accurately reflect the game’s final performance”. For now: boys.

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Free games of the week

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Ever wonder what happens out in space? Discovering lost recordings left inside alien structures by a previous astronaut might peak your curiosity. This astronaut wanted their final words and thoughts to be documented, but they don’t seem to have made it back to Earth. While you float across space, listening to the different entries, try to discover what truly happened in this part of the void. If space is not your thing, perhaps trying to communicate as a raven in a world full of humans, or reliving memories around your favorite convenience store, is what you want to do this weekend. You could also raise a childhood hero, or even just eat some meatballs! It’s all up to you – I just provide the games. Read the rest of this entry »

How small game makers found their community with Bitsy

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A year ago Bitsy released on itch.io – a humble game making tool described by its creator as a “little editor for little games or worlds”. Since its release, more than 600 games have been made using the tool by 300 different authors.

On the surface Bitsy is an unassuming engine. It lets you create small pixel-art rooms that players can explore by interacting with the people and objects within them. Its simplicity hides a surprising depth, one that has drawn in a community of game makers. Read the rest of this entry »

The rise and rise of .io games

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19-year-old Brazilian developer Matheus Valadares announced his game Agar.io on 4chan on April 27th 2015. Within weeks it had been picked up by free online games site Miniclip, as well as popular Twitch streamers and YouTubers. In a May 2015 video with 8.2 million views, PewDiePie called it his “new favourite game,” and he subsequently covered it at least nine more times.

Agar.io quickly became so popular that a genre was born. Despite not having any formal connection, the “.io” domain extension has become synonymous with an extremely popular segment of browser multiplayer games, characterised by simple graphics and player vs. player mechanics. Read the rest of this entry »

Free games of the week

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Racing cars around, bashing into each other, throwing yourself or your friends off of the edge. This week you can play a fiendishly fun yet deviously simple car game, or scroll down and read about some strategic roguelikes where you must destroy your enemies and try to survive.

If neither of these ideas take your fancy, I’ve also been playing an astoundingly adorable platformer about a baby bird that is learning to sing, and one about a ghost longing to be a great knight and a hero for the kingdom. Each of these games contain within them their own unique charm and adventure – read on and find a game for you to explore. Read the rest of this entry »

Ace Jam created a space for games with asexual characters

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Asexuality is one of the most misunderstood identities under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella. Among other issues, it’s extremely rare to see asexual characters in games or wider media, and when they do appear, they often fall into harmful stereotypes. January’s Ace Jam invited developers to go some way to change this by creating games that feature characters on the asexual spectrum, and treat them respectfully. Read the rest of this entry »

Free games of the week

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When you’re a bartender in space, there’s not much to do other than hear gossip and pour drinks. I am not a bad person, just one of opportunity. So if you offer me the chance to sell space weed, after knowing me for one day, and give me a plant… I might just snitch on you and start running the business for myself. I also might meddle in people’s relationships after learning recipes to drinks, influencing who ends up together and who breaks up. Who knew so much power came with serving drinks?

You can have this power too, and it’s up to you how to use it. If you don’t want to sell weed or meddle, you can just stick to serving drinks and building relationships. Or, if bartending isn’t your thing, why not save people from the dangers of molasses, explore a whimsical world full of comic books, or become an adorable blacksmith with a hammer? Simply read on! Video games are full of worlds just waiting for you to explore. Read the rest of this entry »

In Other Waters explores an alien ocean through a unique interface

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I’m almost ready to leave the enticing waters of Subnautica, so I was pleased to find another alien ocean to submerge myself in this morning. I’ve just played the demo of In Other Waters, a narrative-driven exploration game about investigating a strange planet and doing xeno-biology.

Unlike with Subnautica, my impression of what that world really looks like is entirely in my head. All I actually see of planet Gliese 677Cc is a real-time map, with dots and contours that represent the wildlife and terrain. It’s a great reminder that your imagination can do far better graphics than any video game, and developer Gareth Damian Martin is looking for funding on Kickstarter.

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Crossing Souls gets a generously sized playable demo

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When it comes to crowdfunded indie games, patience is a virtue that is often well rewarded. Kickstarted back in 2014, we’ve had our beady eyes on Crossing Souls for a long time, and it looks just as tempting now as it did then.

After a lengthy development cycle, the game launches next week on February 13th, but to ease potentially skeptical players into its quirky world of movie-inspired 80s nostalgia, developers Fourattic have released a generously portioned demo to both Steam and GOG.

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Cortex Command is free for keepsies right now

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The side-scrolling shoot-o-platform-a-strategy Cortex Command is free right now on Steam–free free, forever–but you’ll need to be quick. You’ve only got another day-and-a-bit to grab it, so hop to it. Is certainly is worth ten seconds of effort to get for free. Here, check out some of what resident RPS tactface Tim Stone thought of it in Cortex Command review: Read the rest of this entry »

Fallout 4 blasts another free trial weekend

Going anywhere nice this weekend? Have you considered the irradiated ruins of post-apocalyptic Boston? You might fancy a crack at Fallout 4, as this weekend Bethesda will hold yet another days-long free trial of the full game. The speedrun record is under one hour so you certainly could ‘complete it’ in one weekend, but myself I like the sound of wandering aimlessly. While I find Bethesda’s open-world RPGs quite flat and have never finished the main quest of a single one, I do always enjoy spending a while pottering and seeing sights. That’s my weekend sorted. Read the rest of this entry »

Nuts is a neat game about squirrel surveillance

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My dad used to take me and my sister badger watching. We’d head out into some nearby woods and spend the day building a hideout from sticks, then camouflage it with ferns and settle in until dusk. What we didn’t do is set up a camera system and camp out night after night until we’d uncovered their secrets, as is the aim of free squirrel surveillance game Nuts.

That squirrel has a stash, you see, and it’s up to you to track it down.

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New Kentucky Route Zero ‘interlude’ out now, includes sinister half-hour TV show

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Hopefully this is a sign that the long-awaited fifth and final episode of the incomparable, theatrical road trip adventure Kentucky Route Zero is not far away. Devs Cardboard Computer last week snuck out another of their brief, experimental ‘interludes’, free game-ettes which also act as as previews and alternate perspectives on scenes and themes in forthcoming episodes. Previously they’ve done VR theatre, mystery phone calls and installation art, and now ‘Un Pueblo De Nada‘ adds live-action TV into the beautifully unpredictable mix.

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Go for a colourful, glitchy walk in Beyond R’proach

One of my favourite touches in first-person video games is your virtuahands reaching out to objects in the world. This is used to lovely effect in Beyond R’Proach, a nice little new walking simulator where we stroll through dense underwater foliage, pushing plants out the way as we go. It’s short, it’s colourful, it builds a nice little song along the way, we touch lots of plants (a bonus in any game, to be sure), and that’s all nice. Then it brings in my favourite magical video game element: that old ‘hall of mirrors’ glitch, which still delights me more than most fancy special effects. Read the rest of this entry »