Touhou’s next fighting game is launching (nearly) direct to Steam

Touhou 15.5

Times are changing and old boundaries are coming down. It’s easy to see, thanks to the likes of the Touhou series – once nearly unobtainable outside of Japanese import services – seeing massive worldwide success on Steam.

One of the biggest spinoffs of the Japanese indie mega-franchise (which we explained the appeal of a bit here) is the fighting games, co-developed by Twilight Frontier. The very latest, Antinomy of Common Flowers (officially the 15.5th game in the mainline series), is set for its physical debut at massive indie expo Comiket in just two weeks, with a global Steam launch two weeks later.

Read the rest of this entry »

What are we all playing this weekend?

yes I'm afraid you're ALL on the naughty list in this illustration from Death's Doings

Alice, your usual host, is away this week. The last I saw of her she was bricking up her chimney and muttering something about defensive perimeters. I’m sure it’ll all be fine.

My Christmas preparations mostly involve a slight injection of colour into my wardrobe and a desire for all things cinnamon and ginger. I also spend quite a bit of time making sure the RPS Advent Calendar is fully stocked with lovely treats. But is there still time for games, I hear you ask? Of course there is.

What are you playing this weekend? Here’s what’s occupying our screens.

Read the rest of this entry »

Debate witches with your fists in VN turned fighting game Umineko: Golden Fantasia

Umineko: Golden Fantasia

Fighting game fans looking for something a little stranger than usual to fill out their library are in for a treat today. Based on the popular Umineko: When They Cry visual novels (which are also available on Steam), Golden Fantasia transplants the cast from their regular, dreary lives as metatextual murder-mystery characters into a no-holds-barred 2v2 tag-team brawl.

While the very first edition of this game came out all the way back in December 2010, this is the officially localised, polished and finalised version of the Cross release, a major expansion which bumped up the size of the playable cast to a respectable 19.

Read the rest of this entry »

Subnautica’s Eye Candy update makes water look wetter

Subnautica

I’ve been meaning to sink some proper time and energy into Subnautica, Unknown Worlds’ game of submarine exploration and underwater survival, but looking at the latest update suggests I might be best waiting until I get my shiny new PC. That’s because the Eye Candy update makes the game (visually) better, down where it’s wetter. Rub your eyeballs all over the update trailer within or take a peek at the full update notes here.

Read the rest of this entry »

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds new map made me feel lost again, and I love it

plunkdesertheader

It’s snowing outside my window, but on my screen all I see is sand. I’m one of 5 remaining players, and the circle of safety is much larger than it usually is by the time a round reaches this point. I can hear a sniping war going on to my right and since I’ll have to run across the rocky expanse in front of me soon anyway, I choose that moment to make a break for it.

Of course, I get shot down the moment I start running. I’m playing on the new desert map in Playererunknown’s Battlegrounds and this is still the same old Plunkbat – only now there are no bushes for me to cower in.

Read the rest of this entry »

90s CD-ROM games still have a lot to teach us

simtunes

Videogames were a presence throughout my childhood, thanks to my dad having a PC for work. When he didn’t need to use it, I was allowed to tinker and explore. The games built into the computer like Solitaire, SkiFree and Fuji Golf, as well as the CD-ROM games we got from stores like Office Max and Borders, quickly became second nature to me.

Now, looking back at publications and exhibitions intended to showcase gaming history I realize that some of my own experiences are often missing. While many influential PC games are well known and we can trace their influence on videogames today, there are more blind spots when it comes to the CD-ROM boom of the mid-90s. These games were built for an audience that was familiar with PC software but perhaps not with games, and even in their own time they ignored the conventions of game design. This led to types of experimentation videogames of today can still learn from.

Read the rest of this entry »

Unknown Pleasures: the best new Steam games you haven’t heard of

best-steam-games-dec

Welcome back to Unknown Pleasures, our weekly* search for five splendid but under-reported new games released on Steam over the past seven days.

This week: firelight survival, bootleg Podracing, Mario vs Super Crate Box, monkey-free Monkey Ball and lava lamp simulation. Read the rest of this entry »

How Butterfly Soup creates believable characters

butterflysoup

Representation matters but the inclusion of more diverse casts of characters is the starting point, not the goal. Too often, characters with identities other than straight, white male are written as caricatures. They no longer represent an individual but instead represent the sum total of their gender, their sexuality, their race. They become tokenistic stand-ins for the complexities of real people.

Inclusion and representation alone can be ineffective or actively unhelpful if not backed up with strong writing and a level of care about characters that goes beyond the basic facts of their identity. It can be a tricky line to walk but Butterfly Soup, by Brianna Lei, is here to show how to do it right.

Read the rest of this entry »

Best monitor 2017: Top gaming monitors and buying guide

Monitor buying guide header

Your monitor is one of the most important parts of your PC, so finding the best monitor to suit your needs and budget is vital. Take a look at the display section of any electronics retailer, though, and you’ll find hundreds of screens costing anything from £70 right up to £1500. The range of models and prices can be overwhelming, but this guide is here to help.

We’ll take you through everything you need to know about screen sizes, resolutions, refresh rates, panel types, inputs and adjustable stands, as well as provide a few recommendations of our own based on our own testing. By the time you’re done here, you’ll be fully equipped to find the best monitor for you. Let’s begin!

Read the rest of this entry »

Witchfire is as pretty as The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and as violent as Painkiller

witchfire

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a beautiful, quiet game — a thoughtful and sedate walking simulator. Bulletstorm and Painkiller are not. They’re both balls-to-the-wall action and dripping with over-the-top machismo and violence. On the surface, the only similarity is the people who made them. Witchfire, The Astronaut’s latest project, looks a lot like the former at first. But there’s more to it than meets the eye. Devour the teaser below.

Read the rest of this entry »

Death Stranding continues to perplex in new trailer

death

At The Game Awards last night, Geoff Keighley introduced the new trailer for his best pal’s bold new take on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1994 comedy, Junior. That’s about the best explanation I could come up with after watching the eight minute trailer for Kojima’s Death Stranding. Enjoy the mishmash of science fiction and horror ideas below. Read the rest of this entry »

Beyond Good and Evil 2 teases its ships and characters

bge2

Last night, Ubisoft Montpellier hosted a livestream for Beyond Good and Evil 2, spilling more details about the space-pirate romp’s story, characters and wide variety of flashy spaceships. The livestream is an hour long and is mostly the devs chatting away on a sofa, so if you want a more condensed version, you can also watch a dev diary that touches on the same things below.

Read the rest of this entry »

Have you played… Thief: Deadly Shadows?

thiefheader

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

I always feel a bit sad when I think about Deadly Shadows. Ion Storm Austin’s spin on Looking Glass’ landmark stealth series is an embodiment of frustrated ambitions. The developers had basically planned for Deadly Shadows to be an open-world stealth game, a sort of medieval Grand Theft Carriage. But the prioritising of the original Xbox combined with lofty technological ambitions meant that, like a man trying to fit an elephant into a fridge, Ion Storm had to mercilessly cut down the scope of its project. Even then, they could only include the important bits, like the trunk and a couple of the feet. Read the rest of this entry »

SpellForce 3 is out now, but our review is still cooking

spellforce3

After a few delays, SpellForce 3, Grimlore Games’ RTS/RPG hybrid, is finally a thing that you can play in its entirety. I’ve been traipsing around the fantasy land of Eo myself, though you’ll need to wait until Monday for my review. In the meantime, chow on the launch trailer below, and then read on for some quick impressions.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Greek Ire

Field of Glory II: Immortal Fire burst into flames on Tuesday and today’s column is crowded with Greek warriors. The pictures above explain, as effectively as any string of letterclots, why these two facts aren’t connected. On the left is RIOT, a handsome crowd control wargame partially undone by its eye-catching aesthetic, and on the right is Trireme Commander, a history-steeped Iron Age naval sim with frustrating martinet tendencies. Read the rest of this entry »

Overwatch’s winter event is a Yeti hunt

Winston you look FABULOUS

Overwatch, aka the shooter you sent roses to but they got lost in the post, you swear, is having another wintry event this year, game director Jeff Kaplan said in a developer update. While the snowball fight from last year returns, there’s also a “different and fun” game mode called Yeti Hunt in which a team of freeze-happy Meis tracks down an angry Winston. Read the rest of this entry »

Fortnite Battle Royale’s temporary 50 vs. 50 mode is live

fortnite

If you reckon Fortnite Battle Royale’s squads are too small and don’t provide enough meat shields to cower behind, then have I got some good news for you. From now until December 17, you’ll be able to dive into completely ridiculous 50 vs. 50 battle royales. Fortnite’s probably going to get very, very messy for the next week. Check out the trailer below.

Read the rest of this entry »

Soul Calibur VI is coming to PC in 2018

Soul food

Sword-slashing fighting game Soul Calibur has been on consoles since the 1990s but next year it’s coming to PC with Soul Calibur VI, Bandai Namco announced last night during the Game Awards. Finally, you will be able to slice and/or dice your opponents with blades, rapiers, whips and whatever the hell those things are that Voldo uses. Not much has been revealed but there’s a trailer below. Read the rest of this entry »