Runner3 hops, skips, jumps and launches to the beat

Runner3

Commander Video baffles me. He’s a black rectangle with a smaller white rectangle for eyes, and (sometimes) stubby little arms and legs, and yet he’s appeared in dozens of games, both indie and otherwise. Not bad for a non-character from a strange little low-fi Wii rhythm game. Continuing his streak of inexplicable success, Runner3 (latest in the Bit.Trip Runner series) launched today, and it looks perhaps a little… wackier than I expected.

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Quarantine Circular is the surprise sequel to Subsurface Circular, and it’s out right now

Quarantine Circular

Mike Bithell (originally of Thomas Is Alone fame) clearly likes his surprise launches. His previous game, the short-but-sweet sci-fi mystery adventure Subsurface Circular launched onto Steam with zero fanfare or warning, but racked up no shortage of praise and awards. Today, its successor – Quarantine Circular – quietly released onto Steam, and it looks similarly great. It’s not quite a sequel, though, more a spiritual successor sharing many of the mechanics and themes of the original, but telling its own, entirely new sci-fi tale.

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Overwatch celebrates its 2nd anniversary with goodies

The Glampire Queen

Two years of terrible Hanzo mains. Two years of Mercy wondering why she even bothers. Two years of weirdly time-limited co-op events and two years of fan-art of everyone doing smooches on everyone else. Overwatch has been a wild ride so far, and there’s plenty yet to come, but for the time being Blizzard are celebrating with three weeks of dancing, returning events and cosmetic goodies, plus a new Deathmatch map.

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Battlefield 1 & 4 serve up free Russian winter DLC today

Battlefield 4

Battlefield V is practically upon us already, but its two immediate predecessors are still very well populated games. Still, thanks to their old focus on season passes, many players just stuck with the base games, a problem which EA have been rectifying lately with giveaways. Today, owners of Battlefield 1 can snag the In The Name Of The Tsar expansion for the game, while Battlefield 4 folks can get the Final Stand expansion, both completely free. Summer is coming, and looking at the frozen wastelands on offer, a trip to the Urals seems awfully tempting.

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Rocket League kicks off at Salty Shores next week

Dig your bucket and spade out the shed, put the ice packs in the freezer, wrestle the frisbee off the dog, and for goodness’ sake buy some new sunscreen you daft lobster, because Rocket League is off to the seaside in a new level next week. The new sports arena is Salty Shores, which looks like it’s set around the Santa Monica Pier (as you might have visited in Vampire: Bloodlines or GTA V) and sounds like a spicy drop zone in Fortnite Battle Royale. Have a peek at the pretty new ballpalace in this here trailer: Read the rest of this entry »

Unreal is free to celebrate its 20th birthday

“Dearest Alice, I do not play video games but fear I am insufficiently aware of my own mortality and am exploring every avenue to remedy that,” begins one of the many letters I received in the post this morning seeking my advice as a reputed expert in the field. “Which gaming platform would most frequently remind me that my youth is so very far behind me and all flesh is grass?”

Well, Margo From Bishop’s Stortford, PC gaming can definitely help you. Observe how the assembled commenters wail, weep, and tug at their scant remaining hairs as I say this simple sentence: Unreal came out twenty years ago today.

“What is Unreal?” Well Margo, right now you can download it for free to see for yourself. Read the rest of this entry »

Space Hulk: Deathwing Enhanced Edition is out now

Space Hulk: Deathwing Enhanced Edition

Space Hulk: Deathwing must have been a dream project for little French indie studio Streum On, creators of the endearingly janky E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy. As a team they’d started their careers with making Warhammer 40,000-themed mods, so having the official key to the kingdom must have felt like a miracle, but with a famous license and a higher budget comes higher expectations.

While undoubtedly more polished than E.Y.E, Deathwing still felt like a low-budget game with a high-budget facade. After an additional year and a half of development and launching alongside the PS4 version of the game, an Enhanced Edition rolled out today, addressing many of the flaws of the original launch and for those with the original version, it’s a free upgrade.

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State Of Decay 2 tweaks: FoV, mouse smoothing + more

Now that open-world zombie apocalypse survive ’em up State Of Decay 2 is properly out, rather than just for the billionaires who ordered their butlers to buy the special edition granting early access, you may be wondering: is it any good? For that, hey, look no further than our Brendan’s State Of Decay 2 review. If you’re already onboard, your question may be: do I need to futz with anything to get this sucker going? And the answer to that is, ah yeah, sure, you can fiddle in config files to tweak some graphics and control options not available in the menus, and the game does have a known problem or two. Read the rest of this entry »

Captain Forever Trilogy pilots its way out

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See that spaceship up there? That’s what my ship looked like in my first minute or so of Captain Successor. I built it from a semi-randomised collection of parts floating around the start point, but those were never going to last me long. Within 40 minutes I’d blown up dozens of rival spaceships, plundered those vessels and entirely replaced my design several times over.

Captain Forever Trilogy is a collection that contains revamped versions of the 2009 browser game Captain Forever, its sequel Captain Successor, and its clone-creating spin off Captain Imposter. There’s a new engine that makes each game now run more smoothly and with a prettier background, though the only substantial additions are the new wing modules and some writing by Cassandra Khaw. It just came out, and the best way I can think of convincing you it’s great is to show you what I got up to in my first game.

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Stellaris blasts off to Distant Stars in new DLC

Travel beyond the limits of known space to a mysterious cut-off cluster in the new Stellaris DLC, the ‘Distant Stars Story Pack’, which could open up powerful shortcuts across space but miiight have been closed off for a good reason. But obviously you’re going to stick your spaceoar in and see what’s up. What are you, spacechicken? Distant Stars also includes new anomalies to investigate and new Leviathans to meet.

As is often the way with Paradox strategy game expansions, it’s accompanied by a free update which reworks parts of the base game. Expect new binary and trinary star systems, anomaly studies no longer having a chance to fail, and other tweakies. Read the rest of this entry »

Unworthy is a minimalist monochrome Dark Souls

unworthy-1

There are only three colours in Unworthy – black, white and blood. It’s an upcoming minimalist monochrome Metroidvania that isn’t so much “inspired” by Dark Souls as it is a pixel demake of it. In one sense, it’s very derivative. The health and stamina bars, the slow and deliberate attacks, the “sin” you collect from kills (and drop on death), the depressed ramblings of NPCs. Even the places you roam have names both intentionally Gothic and unintentionally funny. The Throat of Despair, the Catacombs of Ur, the Cradle of Death. “The human soul is a sponge that soaks up our sins,” it growls in the intro, “until it simply rots away.” But this grimness barely matters, because Unworthy is a competent pastiche of what many people love about Souls games. I still haven’t beaten the first boss. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: State of Decay 2

state-of-decay-review-1

I’m driving home from a busy night of killing and the roads are empty, save for some legless grumblers. I sigh and look at my map, try to count the exclamation marks, when a voice comes on my radio. It’s probably the fifth voice I’ve heard tonight, and I half expect another plea for bullets from some faceless chump three doors down. But this time it’s one of my own, a member of my enclave. She’s just calling to tell me: Workshop level 3 complete.

“That’s one more item off the To Do list!” she says enthusiastically.

She’s right. State of Decay 2 feels like a massive To Do list. Read the rest of this entry »

Earthfall’s L4D-ish alien-blasting action arrives July 13

What if Left 4 Dead but aliens? Earthfall is what, a cooperative multiplayer first-person shooter about four peeps blasting across the Pacific Northwest and through hordes of aliens. It puts a little spin on the monstoblasting with deployable barricades and turrets but yep, mostly just shoot those nasties good. I’ve heard some encouraging things about Earthfall over its thirteen months in early access, and I fancy a look once it launches properly. That’ll come on July 13th, developers Holospark announced today. Read the rest of this entry »

Overlordy: Turn 11

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“If you want something done right, do it yourself!” mutters Unteroffizier Stein as he snatches the bag containing C Squad’s last demolition charge and darts out of the door of the hotel. Seconds later he scampers back into the lobby without his burden and with a seething cloud of dust and smoke in hot pursuit.

(Overlordy is an open-to-all game of Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord in which German forces are orchestrated by commenters while British units are computer controlled. For a scenario outline and summaries of earlier turns, click here). Read the rest of this entry »

The new Razer Blade (2018) is primed and ready for on-the-go Final Fantasy XV

Razer Blade 2018

Gaming laptops are a funny business, aren’t they? Nine times out of ten they’re nowhere near as powerful as an equivalent desktop PC, yet they usually cost just as much, if not more, than the bulky black rectangles they’re so desperately trying to replace. There’s also a matter of looks. Most gaming laptops are very much from the shouty GAMING LAPTOP school of design with their edgy angles and flashing LEDs, not to mention the fact that most of them would likely break your back as soon as you tried to remove it from your desk.

Razer’s gaming laptops, on the other hand, have always tended to hark back to the nice slim portable laptops many of us, myself included, use for work – and their new, rather lovely 15.6in Razer Blade that I went to see a couple of weeks ago, complete with its 144Hz refresh rate and one of Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q chips, could well be one of their best yet. Let’s take a look.

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Omnibion War brings Star Fox style shooting back to PC

Omnibion Wars

A confession: I love on-rails shooters. At least, I did during the peak of the genre, when Panzer Dragoon, Star Fox 64 and their ilk briefly ruled the roost. There’s just something especially pure and cathartic about them. As such, it’s no surprise that the debut trailer for Omnibion War – a new shooter in this largely forgotten style from Chilean studio Crazy Bullet – caught my eye. It’s even got Itano Circus missiles, objectively the best sort.

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Aching for a Zachlike? Prime Mover may have you sorted

Prime Mover

If you’re a fan of freeform puzzles, chances are that you picked up Opus Magnum the second it went on sale, and have tweaked and optimised your way through everything it had to offer. It’s a rare breed of puzzle game, though – Zachlikes, as we like to call them – and they’re few and far between.

Enter Prime Mover from 4Bit Games. Described by Zachtronics head Zach Barth himself as a blend of Spacechem and TIS-100. Build circuits, solve programming problems, and compare your score against the world using Zach’s thankfully-not-patented histogram scoreboards. It’s also out today on Steam.

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An art gallery MMO – we spoke to the creators of Occupy White Walls about the AI that guesses which art you like

OWW header

When I went exploring in Occupy White Walls last month, I stumbled into something special. OWW is an upcoming MMO (see what they did there?) where every player can create their own architecturally ambitious gallery, fill it with art of their choosing, and open it up to other players. Every mug who walks into your gallery earns you money, which you can use to make it bigger and better. It’s currently in free public alpha.

I had a few questions for developers StikiPixels about balancing money with creative freedom, whether OWW might become something that real world artists can use to support themselves, and how their fancy AI manages to suss out people’s artistic tastes. So CEO Yarden Yaroshevski collaborated with his team to give me some answers.

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Fans still polishing up GTA 3, Vice City & San Andreas

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

I have enormous respect (and a fair amount of adoration) for the people who make unofficial patches for ageing games. With each generation of hardware and each new operating system, we lose a few more games, and these dedicated folks are working hard to keep that number as low as possible.

One of these long-running update projects is SilentPatch, a combination patch for Grand Theft Auto 3, Vice City and San Andreas, three games that share an engine. It updated again just yesterday, and while the change-log isn’t especially huge, some of the tweaks made are quite interesting.

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Video: 10 State of Decay 2 tips to stay alive

With these tips, you too could be using a giant zombie as a climbing frame.

If the zombies don’t get you in State of Decay 2, then the boastful barista will. Sure, he brews a mean cup of joe, but his self-confidence is beginning to grate and the community’s morale is sinking. This might be the first survival game to be derailed by a braggart with coffee breath. As such it can feel like the world is conspiring against you, so what better time to watch a video of tips and tricks to help even the odds. Not to boast myself (RPS has a high morale community), but it’ll make your life easier.

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