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Screenshot Saturday Sundays: Setting sail for uncharted worlds

Off into the unknown.

Screenshot Saturday Sundays! Batten the hatches, fill those hot water bottles and prepare to hunker down for the winter, readers. But before I vanish under fifteen layers of bedsheets, I reckon there's time enough for one last roundup of Saturday's screenshots this Sunday. This week: Pulpy space pirates, throwback online worlds, unfinished maps and unsettling sneaking.

Space pirates are a pretty common trope, but it's not too often they're done as literally as this week's first entry.

The third in a series I'm only just now finding out about, Space Captain McCallery - Episode 3: The Weaponmaster's Challenge continues in both the series' and developers' trend of strikingly vibrant worlds styled after early 3D games like Megaman: Legends. I adore the way each of these exists as its own, bite-sized little space adventure, offering up a new throwback romp with a new setting and baddies while keeping the bewildered beardy-boy constant across the series. While we know nascent 3D can be used terrifically for horror, it's just as capable at crafting joyous, vibrant spaces.

Now, don't complain about getting lost in our next game. Of course you're lost. Nobody's drawn the bloody map yet!

It'd maybe be reductive to say that so many triple-A games these days are just glorified map-fillers. That said, there's something very honest about Explorers (Itch page), a game where cartographing every corner of the world is the whole point. While there are strangers to flirt with, oceans to sail, and merchants to haggle with, the bulk of this now-released free game is the chill joy of seeing a blank page turn into rivers, mountains and coastlines.

Speaking of worlds to explore: whether the game itself pans out or not, I'm always here for a new MMO world to sprint across.

One of the first things we learned at Prestigious Game Design School was to never run off and make an MMO yourself. Even so, Lartu's taking a good stab at it with Eterspire, formerly LartuMUD. From the delightfully chunky UI to the familiar welcome messages in the text box, the game already feels like it's been yanked out of some long-forgotten corner of the early 00s - hitting the same nostalgic nerves as an early Warcraft or Runescape, even if the scale isn't quite there yet.

Finally, an absolutely striking early start for this as-yet-untitled stealth game.

It's early days for developers Byteslider's sneak 'em up, but I can respect a game that finds its look before showing off gameplay. What's been shown so far is wonderfully eerie - oppressive structures and claustrophobic mists that sit somewhere between Playdead's Inside and the brutalist works of Moshe Linke's Fugue In Void. I have to imagine that whatever we're trying to skulk around is going to be a little more threatening than a few armed guards.

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