Wot I Think: Frostpunk

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When I signed the law drafting children into my city’s workforce, I should have felt resistance. Some sense of remorse, or an impulse to explore other options—anything but this. Instead, I was simply surprised at just how many kids lived here.

Then I sent them to the coal mines. Read the rest of this entry »

Descent-y shooter Overload launches May 31st

In this ever-shifting modern world where up becomes down becomes left and before you know it you’re all sorts of lost in life, maybe more Descent can help us reorient ourselves. Or Overload, the new six-degrees-of-freedom spaceship shooter from the co-founders of Descent creators Parallax Software. It’s doing Descent-y shooting in a modern way, sending players into sci-fi warrens to blast bots and zap-pow to victory. Following a crowdfunding campaign and a year in early access, it’ll finally launch on May 31st, developers Revival Productions announced today. And it looks a little something like this. Read the rest of this entry »

Stellaris update 2.1 will rework anomalies and nudge space monsters out of your hyperlanes

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I really want to get into Stellaris. I find myself buying every major expansion close to its release, convincing myself that late-game megastructures, role-playing as a robot or blowing up planets will be the hook that reels me in. Every time, I merrily launch into a fresh game – only to find my fun dissolving into work once I’m a few hours in.

“But that’s the best bit!”, you say. “Roaming the galaxy and discovering strange worlds with stranger stories is the most alluring step towards a fantastic sci-fi experience!”. Paradox are making that step even easier to take with update 2.1 by removing failure risk from anomaly research, and rejigging hyperlanes so space-nasties don’t get placed on chokepoints. I’m glad to see changes are still arriving that shake up the early game – perhaps they’ll be enough for me to stick with a galaxy long enough to actually build a goddamn Dyson Sphere.

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Housemarque hint at battle royale flirtation with Stormdivers

“Arcade is dead,” Housemarque, the makers of arcade shooters from Super Stardust to Nex Machina, dramatically declared last year. For them, anyway. So what sort of games will they make if not arcade? Over the weekend they announced Stormdivers, “A high flying and heavy hitting multiplayer centric experience.” Whatever that means. Housemarque have hinted that it might be somethinng battle royale-ish, which normally wouldn’t excite me as this craze draws out, but I will give such a fine studio the benefit of the doubt. For now, we can watch a teaser trailer showing a moody forest quite different from the colourblasts I expect from them. Read the rest of this entry »

Steam Charts: In MemoVRium Edition

With Steam’s big VR Spring Sale on, obviously the charts are a bit full of… ha ha ha, no of course not. No one wants VR. Same old same old. Read the rest of this entry »

Warframe adds Sanctuary Onslaught mode and shiny new toys

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Warframe has implemented a new free update in Beasts of the Sanctuary; a one-two punch of changes for the free-to-play cooperative shooter. First up is Sanctuary Onslaught, a survival mode that pits players, either solo or in squads of up to four, against increasingly difficult waves of opponents in order to pass from portal to portal and recover the missing Khora Blueprints. The other addition is the latest warframe: the aforementioned Khora, who is a futuristic whipmaster that would put the Belmonts to shame. And, of course, some fantastic new toys.

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In the least expected re-release of 2018, Bullet Witch is coming to Steam

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Everyone loves witches. That’s just like, you know, facts. Bullets? Some people are into bullets. Some people are not. But a witch that has bullets? How could that possibly go wrong? Well, three years before we were gifted with Bayonetta, developer Cavia attempted to fuse Western and Japanese sensibilities into a post-apocalyptic monster battle adventure game. Unfortunately, the reviews for the game were just brutal. Which is why it comes as a bit of a surprise to see Bullet Witch finally getting a PC re-release… twelve years later.

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War for the Overworld gets DLC, huge update, and more dungeons to master

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The original Dungeon Keeper was one of the first sims to let you be a truly evil monster, but the kind of monster with farty demon underlings who helped you engage in all manner of hijinks. Bullfrog Entertainment’s 1997 masterpiece spiritually lives on through War for the Overworld, which is probably something the good folks at Brightrock Games are tired of hearing. Before it’s a helluva selling point and it’s not an inappropriate comparison. The game got its final expansion this weekend, with a huge update for the original game to boot.

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The Sunday Papers

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Sundays are for apologising about the recent lack of Sunday Papers. Holidays and Rezzed are forces that cannot be defeated.

On The Verge, Laura Hudson argued that Ready Player One is emblematic (and part) of the problems that have lead to the “cyber dystopia” we currently inhabit. There were points in this where I made an involuntary “huh” noise as Hudson joined dots that I hadn’t quite connected before, creating a powerful challenge against privilege, careless nostalgia and the inherent value of connecting people to each other.

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The ecstasy of Agony will only be uncut for PC gamers

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Feels like it has been a while since a game was in the news for clashing with the ratings board. Outlast 2 is the last example I can remember where the threat of the dreaded Adults Only (AO) would be handed down to a title, preventing it from releasing on consoles. Well, the Kickstarter funded twisted Hell journey Agony has been leaning into its promise to be the most disturbing game of all time, and the ESRB agreed. Last week, Agony’s developer informed Kickstarter backers that, in order to get an M rating approved, the game has been censored/altered on all platforms. But PC owners will get access to the uncut material via a patch. This is all, uh, tricky to say the least.

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Campo Santo acquired by Valve, booze acquired by Campo Santo

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While the company webpage still reads “Campo Santo is a small but scrappy video game developer in San Francisco,” that will probably need some updating in the immediate future. The twelve person team behind Firewatch and the forthcoming In The Valley of Gods has been acquired by Valve, where the team will remain intact. Campo Santo is responsible for critically and commercially successful titles, and they will continue work at Valve in Bellevue wrapping up In The Valley of Gods, which of course, will now be a Valve game.

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Hollow Knight: Lifeblood expansion is free and out now

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Hollow Knight incites a bit of debate around the site. As John brought up in his review last year: what do you do with a game that is genuinely good but rather unoriginal? It’s a Metroidvania game that a lot of us picked up because it was simply the most recent Metroidvania game, and that’s not the best excuse for buying a game. In the year since launch, Australian studio Team Cherry has met this criticism by consistently adding new, free DLC to the title, with each pack helping to define and improve on the base game. Today, Hollow Knight: Lifeblood is available, and if you already own the game the update is probably installed.

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New Beyond Skyrim project promises to go even beyonder to Iliac Bay

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A proper modding community can keep a game world alive long after the studio behind that title has put it to pasture. Or, more accurately in this case, when the studio just keeps porting the original game to new devices instead of, you know, making new entries. Skyrim has some of the most in-depth world building teams on the mod market, and instead of merely remastering or HD’ing their way through old titles, they’re re-inventing the wheel. The Beyond Skyrim team just released the trailer and description for their expansion Iliac Bay and the production values are awe-inspiring.

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Halo Online returns with a bang as the fan-run ElDewrito

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Blasphemous as it sounds, I really like Halo. I like the floaty jumps, the slugfest combat where landing the first hit doesn’t always mean a win, the swooshy, slidey vehicles and the range of multiplayer modes. So naturally, Microsoft chose to release the free-to-play Halo Online in Russia only and cancel it before it could leave the early beta stages of development.

Legally fuzzy, perhaps, but thanks to a highly dedicated community and a lot of open-source poking around, development of Halo Online has quietly continued for years. Today, ElDewrito 0.6 is live, and it’s the best PvP Halo experience you can find on PC today.

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Hearthstone game director Ben Brode leaves Blizzard

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Hearthstone director Ben Brode has made the surprise announcement to depart Blizzard Entertainment. The guy that served as the card game’s lead both behind-the-scenes and in-front-of-the-scenes made the announcement in a post on the Battle.net forums explaining what a difficult choice it was and, vaguely, where he’s headed now.

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DOS Boot: Outpost was the best hard sci-fi sim; it also wasn’t finished

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DOS Boot is just Brock digging into old DOS/Windows games and talking half-remembering cool and bizarre experiences that are only available on abandon-ware sites at this point. Weekends should be for having fun and by god, we’re going to have some wholesome gosh dang fun on RPS Weekends.

There’s a great one and done TV series from the early 90s called Earth 2. And by great I mean “god bless em for trying.” It’s on and off of Netflix these days, so you can venture into those waters should you so choose, but it was the sort of thing that meant a great deal to me as a kid because it showed the potential of life on another planet where, perhaps, people wouldn’t be so mean to me and the people who had been mean to me would have all died a terrible death thanks to an asteroid or the sun reaching out to do a big hug. While that show made the rebuilding of life on another planet into a fun adventure, a game called Outpost was released at the same time, and it taught me how much of a slog survival could be.

It was also one of my favorite games. Yeah, that sucks to admit.

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Free games of the week

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Do you know how many different ways you can move a string and some pegs? Let me show you, because you will certainly find out if you play the next game listed. Bending a string around a bunch of pegs leaves so much open space to wrap your string around and so many pictures to create. If you aren’t interested in the simplicity of string based puzzles, you can attempt to connect planets together to trade, frantically try to clean your room before your mother comes home, take on a bunch of monsters by blowing them off your platform, and flee from a cat in a world of hazards. Check out this week’s free games and read on… Read the rest of this entry »

The Legend of Bum-bo gets adorably grotesque trailer

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Edmund McMillen made this game. I don’t have to tell you that because if you know who Edmund McMillen is then you know what all of his unholy creations look like. The creator of Binding of Isaac and co-creator of Super Meat Boy has a delightfully odd new title headed our way this year, and we finally have a gameplay trailer to go with it. The Legend of Bum-bo is a randomly generated, turn-based puzzle RPG where you take the role of Bum-bo (from the The Binding of Isaac) as he punches the faces off hordes of paper goons and takes their coins, which are then wasted on games at the local casino. It’s very crude and stupid, with dumb voices and monsters that are piles of poo.

It’s also intensely charming and I know I’m going to fall in love with it.

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What are we all playing this weekend?

Every time I use a springtime header image, I end up damning us to another week of winter. But this time, this time I’m feeling confident about sunshine, frolicking, cans in the park, taps aff, and all the other springtime goodtimes we’ll see for real this weekend. But just in case, perhaps it’s sensible to have an indoors backup plan.

What are you playing this weekend? Here’s what we’re clicking on!

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Streaming murder-gameshow Darwin Project goes free-to-play

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In this strange age of Battle Royale shooters drawing crowds of millions, it’s hard for other multiplayer action games to find their footing, even if they do have an interesting hook like last-man-standing survival sandbox Darwin Project, which spices up its 10-player battles with Twitch audience integration, and a human ‘director’, able to skew the match for the audience’s amusement. In order to draw more people into its world of tactical public spectacle, Scavengers Studio have made their game free-to-play.

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