Card-o-board battler Faeria launches out of early access

Board game and collectible card game combine in the free-to-play Faeria [official site], which hit version 1.0 this week and officially launched after a year in in early access. I’ve received a few e-mails from well-meaning readers urging me to play it ’cause I like Magic: The Gathering so much, and Faeria rises from Magic-y foundations with a board game layer of building and moving around a map, but please stop these. Faeria looks great, it genuinely does, and I can’t afford to get sucked into CCG heaven again. You monsters. I will, however, pop up a news post about it. Read the rest of this entry »

Ape Out demo samples Devolver’s primate rampage

Close your eyes and imagine the sort of game about an escaped gorilla that Devolver Digital would publish. Simple yet challenging combat? Buckets of blood and smashed limbs? Distinctive art style and music? Open your eyes and — gasp! — it wasn’t all a dream, you’ve imagined Ape Out [official site], which Devolver today announced they’ll release this summer. It sees an escaped gorilla smashing humans to pieces, whacking them, grabbing them, and hurling them. “It’s Hotline Miami with Harambe” I’d say if I were trying to get Devolver to quote me in a trailer, but it’s not and I’m not and that meme is awful.

Here, you can see in this trailer then play it yourself in a wee demo. Read the rest of this entry »

IF Only: A Question of When

Fifteen Minutes Cover Clip

IF time travel games come in several flavors. There’s the grand exploration flavor, where you’re visiting different historical eras and checking out the set-pieces, but different eras don’t really affect one another much. Occasionally they’ll use paradoxes as a threat — you have to accomplish A and not B, or else you’ll throw off the timeline! — but usually they don’t do too many strange things with causality.

The commercial IF era produced several good pieces like this; Trinity and TimeQuest are probably the best regarded of that set. There’s L. Ross Raszewski’s Moments Out of Time, which is about exploring a particular fictional environment with foreknowledge of how it’s all going to end. And while the puzzle design is now considered a little unfair in spots, Neil deMause’s Lost New York is fascinated with its city as a historical site.

Then there are the games where the time-travel aspect deeply affects gameplay. Time travel mechanics can be particularly rich at conveying consequence and outcome, because you can hop back and forth, tinkering with your decisions and seeing all the different ways things might have worked out. And text as a medium can often afford to depict a wide range of wildly varied settings and outcomes, since no one’s modeling or animation budget is being strained to portray these possibilities. Here are some of the best. Read the rest of this entry »

Tenderfoot is a window into another world

Take a deep breath — in through the nose, and hold two three, then out through the mouth — and open a window into another world with Tenderfoot [official site]. It’s a small virtual scene staring out a window in a futuristic (and possibly post-apocalyptic?) city. Green creeps up glass-fronted buildings, wind turbines rotate slowly on rooftops, a creature snoozes on a leaf, flocks of birds loop around the city, thick green clouds pass by, and occasionally a putrid sun brightens the mood, all while chill music plays. We can look around a bit, but we’re really there to stare. It’s very pleasant. Read the rest of this entry »

The Division launches Last Stand, big update, and demo

The third paid expansion for The Division [official site], The Last Stand, has launched today alongside a big free content update for all players. Last Stand adds a new 8v8 point-capturing PvP mode (you’ll never guess what it’s named), while additions and changes in Update 1.6 include adding new areas to almost double the size of the Dark Zone. That’s not a bad pair of launches. Also out today is a demo, letting all and sundry play through the start of the shooty action-RPG. Not a bad trio! Read the rest of this entry »

Free Loaders: What’s the draw of horror?

As hard as it is to believe, we live in the good timeline. In this reality, Walt Disney did not go crazy with delusions of bringing his animations to life, creating a terrifying place where you can be stalked by cartoon characters. Oh no, he did! Well, at least the terror of Disneyland is offset by the boredom of long queues for Space Mountain. In our headlining free game this week, there’s no such respite.
Read the rest of this entry »

XC’mon: Xenonauts 2 releasing free dev builds

When X-COM cast off its hyphen and complexity to become XCOM, Xenonauts was handily here with old-school alien-busting. Now you can see how its sequel is shaping up, as developers Goldhawk Interactive are releasing development builds of Xenonauts 2 [official site] for free. You can play one single mission right now, then Goldhawk plan to expand this pre-alpha demo fortnightly. They’ll start charging money once the game’s in good enough shape but paying with feedback is peachy-dory for now. Read the rest of this entry »