How Astroneer makes crafting fun

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Astroneer [official site].

Astroneer is a space game about hoovering up alien materials with a magic gun and listening to them plop into your backpack. And in this Astroneer has cracked something very special in crafting and resource management: it’s actually fun.

Developer System Era Software has put a peculiar focus on how resources are presented and how you manipulate them, and at its centre is an idea that’s surprisingly rare in games:

THE MECHANIC: Resources are physical Read the rest of this entry »

The 50 Best FPS On PC

So often the bleeding edge of games tech, yet so often fundamentally the same underneath: there’s a reason we can’t get enough of pretend shooting pretend people in their pretend faces. It is a pure test of skill and reflex, a game about movement at least as much as it is about violence, and done right it is absolutely delightful. And hey, sometimes you get a decent gimmick or story thrown into the mix.

These are our favourite 50 first-person shooters on PC, from 1993-2017. Your favourite is at number 51.

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Drunk or Dead is a tequila-soaked VR shooter

There’s a smorgasbord of VR games happening right now. Possibly, we are all trying to escape from this repugnant reality. Or maybe there’s just a bubble happening around VR what with all the Silicon Valley Nerds-in-Chiefs pushing their expensive headsets to the masses, encouraging lots of game makers to go and toy with the technology. Not a day goes by without the Steam early access lists filling up with more VRware, leaving me desensitised to the whole thing. Except when one of them is about downing shots in the midst of a zombie apocalypse and trying to shoot waves of the undead while your in-game vision blurs. They called it Drunk or Dead [Steam page] instead of “Dead Drunk” – the fools! Read the rest of this entry »

Sims 4 invents awful new stage of human life, ‘toddler’

Discovering the consequences of playing god, the fools behind The Sims 4 [official site] have invented a new stage of human life and this so-called ‘toddler‘ is truly dreadful. These squished children throw temper tantrums, injure themselves, throw things, fall over, demand attention, and have the most ghastly taste in decor. They seem awful. What did Sims players do to deserve this, EA? Simeers, your only chance to avoid this nightmare is to destroy your router and stay forever offline, lest you accidentally install the free Sims 4 update which added toddlers yesterday. Read the rest of this entry »

World of Horror is some neat Junji Ito-inspired horror

I knew I should’ve destroyed that damned Lump of Flesh but with dark forces on my trail — drawing bloody sigils on my apartment door, even — and my stamina flagging, I was desperate. The ritual gave energy, sure, but I don’t think it was my own. Soon after, I took a box cutter and opened tidy gill slits in my neck. The ‘Insmasu look’, they call it. I was losing myself. I was almost relieved when my next investigation, into the janitor making mermaids out of students, took everything I had left. Gozō, The Thing Forsaken By God, awoke but hey, but it was no longer my problem.

Kyōfu No Sekai; World of Horror [dev blog] is my sort of thing. Read the rest of this entry »

Quarantine looks a lot like board game Pandemic

A cursory glance at the newly announced Quarantine [official site] could easily lead you to say something like “oh, it looks like Plague Inc but from the human’s side”. But you are not thinking hard enough, cursory glancer. As board game aficionados will tell you, Quarantine looks a lot more like a single-player version of the much-loved Pandemic.
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Donsol turns a deck of cards into a dungeon crawl

Donsol [official site] is a game designed by John Eternal which uses a regular deck of cards. You shuffle the pack, draw four cards, and those four cards represent a room. Diamonds are shields, hearts are health potions, clubs and spades are monsters, and the two Joker cards are Donsols, a particularly tough kind of monster. With a simple set of rules, the aim is to make it through the entire pack alive.

Now development duo Hundred Rabbits have made a digital version of the game, with lovely art, that you can pick up over at Itch. Read the rest of this entry »