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  • Ryunosuke and Susato against a yellow background in The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles

    It's been a great week for Ace Attorney fans. Not only has The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles finally arrived on Steam, giving us two brand new courtroom dramas to sink our teeth into, but there's also a rather brilliant double-pack deal going on right now that gets you The Great Ace Attorney and the Ace Attorney Trilogy for just £40, which is a mega saving considering both games currently sell for £30-odd apiece. If you've yet to experience Capcom's legal dramas and don't know where to start, I strongly suggest buying both.

    It's also a good week for Ace Attorney music lovers, too. Capcom's had the soundtracks for both games on Spotify for a while now, but hidden away in Great Ace Attorney's special content menu is a treasure trove of unused music by composers Yasumasa Kitagawa and Hiromitsu Maeba. Accompanied by little notes describing their thought process and why they ultimately weren't selected, it's a great little peak behind the curtain as to what goes into making a rollicking Ace Attorney theme. And I wish more games did this as a rule, too.

  • Image for Claire De Lune won't light any fires, but it'll warm you up

    14 years on, it might say more about me than about games that I automatically want to reference Portal when I play a game like Claire De Lune. It's a bit unfair to compare everything in the first person physics puzzle subgenre to one of the best games ever made as a default.

    You have a zappy non-violent gun necessary for navigating a series of platforming challenges. That's... actually where the similarities end. Instead of the increasingly sinister laboratory and wry humour, Claire De Lune crashes you into an alien planet and asks you to reunite with your daughter while periodically getting a flash of sad backstory.

  • Image for The world flag samurai I'd pick as video game protagonists

    The other day I watched the women's peloton race at the Tokyo Olympics, and I understood precisely nothing. All I knew was that Anna Kiesenhofer, a total underdog, was on course for a gold medal. I stuck with it for ages, just to see her cross the line and crumple with happiness. God, I love it when the Olympics are on.

    And Japan's showing hasn't only brought emotional sporting moments to our screens, oh no. Athletes stormed into the opening ceremony to orchestral versions of video game classics, and now I've discovered that the world flags have been reimagined as samurai. This, in particular, is excellent and having had a good look at many of them, I'd say there's a few that would make some good video game protagonists.

  • Isaac Clarke from Dead Space 3 standing in front of a white backdrop

    I remember being blown away by Dead Space when it first game out. It's partly the movie Sunshine, partly the movie Event Horizon, and I guess a bit of Alien and a bit of Resident Evil. I just really loved that creeping horror reveal, as you slowly discover that the ship you're on, the Ishimura, is empty and then discover that actually it is not empty at all, which is so much worse.

    It was recently revealed that Dead Space is going to be remade "from the ground up" by Motive (who previously did Star Wars Squadrons and Star Wars Battlefront II). I assume this means that it's going to have, just, loads of lightsabers in it, and the main character is now Baby Yoda. My boiling hot take is that they should only really bother redoing that first bit - the cut off their limbs section - because that's the best bit anyway.

  • The team captains from Google's Tokyo Olympics Doodle

    The Tokyo Olympic Games starts today, and in classic fashion, Google have made an Olympics-themed Google Doodle to celebrate. But this isn't any old Google Doodle. Oh no. Welcome To The Doodle Champion Island Games is also a video game, and it's legit good. Even better, I think, than any of the actual official Olympics Games tie-in games. Yeah, I went there, Mario and Sonic. Eat my dust. You should give it a go next time you open a new tab today. It has a cracking anime opening from Studio 4C and everything.

  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City artwork of Lance Vance standing in front of a window-walled building with a reflection of a palm tree.

    I was devastated when my local Gamestation closed down. Inside it was like a server room, with aisles of games tightly bunched together. Excess games might lay flat on top of these rows, or you might find a few boxes toppled over in a domino effect. That's when you knew a game was doing well.

    Whenever I was in town, I used to pop in and just browse. I particularly liked trading in old games and cashing them in for more old games. At that age, I wasn't super in tune with what was hot at the time, so cool box art fuelled my decisions. Nowadays though, I just download the games I want online with perhaps a quick glance at their box art. It begs the question, does it matter anymore?

  • A top down map view of NIMBY Rails

    I am not a train person. I like travelling on trains. Or at least I would, if I was rich, or lived in a country where all train companies weren't contemptible thieves actively draining the blood of society. But games about trains always passed me by. Not even the classics of the genre nor acclaimed descendants like openTTD have ever grabbed me.

    So I started playing NIMBY Rails almost as a joke. Then I coughed, and two hours had passed. It is dangerously engrossing.

  • A Steam Deck in front of its official carry case

    The Steam Deck is already the best thing for PC gaming since sliced bread - sliced bread, of course, being the foodstuff that we must slot into our PC tower to feed the little gremlins inside it. Remember before sliced bread, when we had to let the gremlins out for a bowl of kibble? You couldn't use your PC for a whole day sometimes!

    But I digress. The point is that in PC gaming we don't get shiny new stuff to get interested in very often. Sure, there are things like new graphics cards and ultrawide screens, but we get those all the time. But the Steam Deck is a thing! It's going to shake up the industry! It's like a Nintendo Switch, but for PC games! You can play all them fun games you like, that are PC exclusives, but in your hands! And you can dock it to a screen just like the Switch too! This is an important step for humanity, because it means I can do the ultimate thing: play a PC game while lying horizontal on my sofa.

  • An image from Forza Horizon 4 which shows a blue supercar racing through a road surrounded by yellow autumn trees, and a cluster of other race cars lagging behind it.

    My car game kick has evolved. After all that time spent watching hands play rally games beautifully, I decided it was time to place my own hands on the wheel and tentatively feather the clutch. To ease myself into the driver's seat, I opted for Forza Horizon 4, seeing as it's focused more on fun than the minutiae of tyre pressure.

    I was prepared for lots of nice cars and lovely Scottish scenery, but no-one told me that I'd fight back heart palpitations and tears in the first few minutes?! Forza Horizon 4's intro sequence might be the best welcome to a game I've ever played. It positively transformed my car game fix into a full-blown round-house kick; a kick that rocketed me up into the realm of the drum and bass gods who burn donuts into tarmac and dance among the smoke.

  • Farmers tend to crops in a field in Going Medieval

    Going Medieval will be huge. I had an eye on it, but didn't expect it to land quite so well as it already has, and now that I've had time to try it out, hoboy. What a delight.

    It is, in a word, the leading contender for the next Rimworld. I try not to be so reductive, but denying Rimworld's influence here is pointless. It has a less colourful setting but aside from that it copies pretty much everything. And that’s okay.

  • A screenshot of a bard bird from Chicory: A Colorful Tale

    Chicory: A Colorful Tale is probably one of my favourite games of the year so far. It's a gorgeous top-down adventure about a dog called Pizza (or whatever your favourite foodstuff is) who suddenly comes into possession of a magical paintbrush one day after the titular character and brush wielder Chicory gives it away. What follows is an affecting and humbling tale about the highs and lows of being artistic and creative, and it's all backed by some truly stunning music by Lena "Celeste" Raine. Indeed, away from the puzzles and its endearing story beats, it's Chicory's soundtrack that continues to make it such a speical game for me, so let me tell you about some of my favourite tracks.

  • A car skids across a sandy desert in Dirt Rally 2

    Ever since I reminisced about Screamer, I've been on a car game kick. By this I mean that I gave WRC 9 a go, then swiftly rage quit as I realised I wasn't cut out for "Dark Souls on gravel". So ever since that fateful night, I've fled to YouTube, where I now watch people play rally games beautifully. And I can't seem to stop.

  • A purple fossil closeup in Fossil Corner

    Supporters only: Let me show you my fossil collection

    There are many like it but this one is mine

    As predicted, this weekend I have mostly been playing Fossil Corner, a game in which you are a retired paleontologist who was going to go on a cruise and then decided they just love fossils too much. So now they have gone back to quietly unpacking and categorising them in their garage.

    You get a box of shells (and later, when you get well good, trilobites, those little whiskery arthropods that look like woodlice) and organise them by generation, observing one change per step in the family tree. A pattern might change in one direction, for example, or a shape might flip in another. Maybe a triolobite gets a different number of segements, or some cool little horns. It's very satisfying. And after each box you solve, you get to keep a fossil!

  • A screenshot of a hunter eating a plate of bunny dango next to her dog-like Palamute and cat-like Palico in Monster Hunter Rise

    Supporters only: Monster Hunter Rise might just be my ideal Monster Hunter game

    After years of trying (and failing) to make high fashion dino pants, I've finally found a MonHan that clicks

    Monster Hunter Rise isn't due to arrive on PC until early next year, but I've been playing the Switch version over the last week after getting the game for my birthday - and I actually can't stop. Over the last couple of weeks, I've been slicing up its oversized lizards with my beloved Dual Blades like nobody's business, gutting their scales, pelts, fangs and goodness knows what else to make even stronger pairs of dino pants so I can get back out there and take on ever-larger beasties and make ever more fashionable trousers. It's a familiar rhythm to Monster Hunter games of yore, but there's something about Rise that's kept me hooked far longer than my jaunts in previous MonHan games, including PC mega hit Monster Hunter: World. And I think it's partly down to my new dog friends, the Palamutes.

  • Image for The Nate Files podcast episode 1: the history of glass aquariums

    Because you're a lovely little sausage and have chosen to support us, we're doing a monthly podcast just for you. It's an Electronic Wireless Show extra, featuring the usual cast of myself, Matthew "Dad Pod" Castle and Nate "The Shatterpillar" Crowley (I do not have a nickname do not even try). But the twist is: we put Nate in charge.

    Codenamed The Nate Files, each of these podstras features Nate giving a tangent free reign. This month: the history of glass aquariums. It is both educational and ridiculous. Matthew is pleased at the glass-banging possibilities presented by history.

  • Image for No more kidding around, I just want another Screamer

    I haven't played a car game in over a decade. Not out of spite, or because of some bizarre gaming diet where I am not allowed to consume anything with four wheels, but it's just that everything nowadays is too realistic, or trying too hard to be unrealistic. I desire a car game that slots nicely in-between the two without fanfare. A simple, unceremonious racing game is what I'm after; Screamer. That game is Screamer. A third one. It's just, would I actually like it?

  • A screenshot of Fates Of Ort, an action RPG where time stands still when you do.

    There was a time when actual arguments were had over the validity of "real time with pause" as a design choice. A foolish time we ought not to revisit. I bring it up because I've been playing Fates Of Ort, a light-hearted action RPG that's more like "pause with real time".

    Everything is frozen in time until you move, swing a sword, or cast a spell, replacing the usual reflex-based clickfest with a measured pace. Combined with its intriguing magic system, it lets you combine conditions and spell effects without becoming a test of how many button sequences you've memorised. There's even a hint of bullet hell, an experience I evidently enjoy more (ie: at all) when I can pause, and a tiny pinch of Dark Souls in its respawning/healing system. It's fun stuff.

  • Commander Shepard, Garrus and Wrex in a lift in Mass Effect

    Hello, my name is Katharine and I have never played a Mass Effect game. I know, I know. It's one of the great crimes against the church of RPGs. But I'm atoning, honest! I did, in fact, start playing the first Mass Effect about six years ago on PS3, but I got stuck on my very first non-tutorial mission and never went back. I've been meaning to try again ever since, though, and now the shiny new Mass Effect: Legendary Edition has given me the perfect opportunity to jump back in. Or at least I would, if I could find my way out of the damn Citadel.

  • A squad pose for a Call of Duty: Warzone screenshot.

    Out of nowhere, I've recently binged YouTube videos called "What Are People in London Wearing?". In each episode, the host Kofi roams the streets in search of folks dressed in a pleasing manner. He then asks them where they got their various threads from, and even as someone who isn't really into fashion, per se, I find it fascinating.

    These videos appeal to my nosiness. Through Kofi, I get to see all the people behind their cool threads. I wish we had a Kofi equivalent in Call Of Duty: Warzone. I need to know who's behind some of the player weapons I've picked up. Why that camo? Why those attachments? Seriously, who are you?

  • Image for Your cool indie game doesn't have to be saying anything important

    Supporters only: Your cool indie game doesn't have to be saying anything important

    Your game about shooting aliens can just be about shooting aliens

    I'm not going to name any names, but while I was trawling through the demos for the Steam Next Fest (countless many of which are excellent) I came across one game that had a genuinely amazing description. Imagine something like "A retro FPS inspired by Doom. Also, a deep story that delves into the Jungian understanding of the psyche." This made me laugh quite a lot - and also not play it.

  • A screenshot of Sable chatting with a small elderly woman in a desert camp in Sable

    Sable is one of the many hundreds of Steam Next Fest demos you can play at the moment, and cor, it's a real beauty. Sure, we've known for a while now that Shedworks' desert-roaming hover bike 'em up is stone-cold stunner (especially since much of its art style has been inspired by the equally gorgeous work of the artist Moebius), but seeing it in action is something else. I love gazing at the clearly defined rock strata around Sable's home; I love how the gentle day and night cycle bathes the world in cool blues and purples at dusk and dawn before roaring to life in bright, punchy primaries during the day; and woof, I love the gentle twangs of its lilting soundtrack.

    But the thing that surprised me most during its hour-long demo was the way we got to hear Sable's inner thoughts as she chatted to her fellow camp mates. For whatever reason, I wasn't expecting this, and at times it almost felt like I was reading a book - and what a lovely book it was, too.

  • A warrior on a horse circles a giant hooded monster with tendrils pouring out from beneath their veil in an Elden Ring screenshot.

    Elden Ring, there you are. I see you. I see the vaseboys and the big dragon that calls down lightning bolts from the sky. I see the horse which looks more like a goat. But you know what else I see? A floor with a face. A literal face on the floor. And I have not heard a peep from anyone or anything about it. This is the most exciting thing for me, the prospect of interacting with this face-floor. Let me explain why.

  • Artwork showing the three siblings of Greak: Memories Of Azur fighting two demons in a backlit dungeon setting

    As the E3 2021 mega machine whirs into action, the season of new game announcements is upon us - and as a lover of lovely, hand-painted action platformers in the vein of Ori And The Blind Forest and Hollow Knight, the next twelve months is looking like it could be pretty special for folks such as myself. We haven't even hit the main E3 press conferences yet and already I've seen five games catch my eye. So, if you too are a fan of fluid action sidescrollers and want more of that Ori and Hollow Knight-style goodness piped into your hype brain, here are my top picks so far. Get those wishlists at the ready.

  • Ian Hitman stands in a pool in front of a swanky pool bar. He's wearing shorts and a white shirt, and looks like he might be on a normal holiday, almost.

    I haven't played a video game in over a week. I'm sorry to say that there's no exciting reason behind this lack of button-pressing. I've not gone rogue and DDOSed your dad's start-up, or clotheslined a wine rack, or drop-kicked a cop car for a giggle. I simply went on holiday and I didn't think about games. It was nice.

  • Ethan Winters guarding with his hands up in Resident Evil Village

    You've gotta feel for Ethan Winters. We've seen plenty of video game protagonists get mawled, maimed and decapitated over the years, but I don't think any of them have had quite so much trauma directed to one, single body part as the hero of Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil Village. I wrote about the horror of Ethan's franken-hand in Resi 7 a couple of weeks ago, but anyone who's played Village in the last month will know that barely scratches the surface of what ends up happening to him. Village seriously has it out for Ethan's hands, and brrr... just thinking about it gives me the shivers.

  • Image for This book's interactive Itch teaser made me rethink what I'd already read

    As you may know, I am often intrigued by the potential intersection of books and games. There are visual novels, of course, which are sort-of-but-not-really a game version of a book, and then there is the litRPG genre of books, which is an attempt to write playing a game as a book and I do not understand it. But just over a month ago a book called Sixteen Horses came out, and it was teased with an Itch game.

    The teaser is an interactive adaptation of the first chapter of the book, co-developed by the author Greg Buchanan and game dev G.C. Baccaris, and featuring the work of artist Trevor Henderson. Here's the thing: I had already bought and finished the book before I knew the teaser existed, or that Buchanan was a game writer who has worked on No Man's Sky and Metro Exodus.

  • Image for Biomutant has the best swimming animation ever

    All right, so the embargo is up for Biomutant reviews, an action RPG where you play a strange little squirrel-rat-fox-raccoon mutant... thing in a post-human, post-apocalyptic world that is slowly dying.

    I had some problems with Biomutant, which is a fun game trying to do too much, to the detriment of the things that it does well. But one thing that this does not extend to is the animation for swimming, which is the funniest and best animation in my recent memory for a couple of reasons.

  • Stuart Turton's books The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle and The Devil In The Dark Water

    I've been thinking a lot about video game recommendations recently. Specifically, things like, "What game would you recommend to someone who's never played a video game before?" and, "What kind of games would you recommend to people who read a lot but don't necessarily play games very much?" My answer to both questions would probably be What Remains Of Edith Finch in the first instance, mostly because it has a really good story and its controls aren't too intimidating. But this week I realised I rarely think about the inverse of that last question: "What books would you recommend to people who play lots of video games but don't have much time for reading?"

    Happily, I now have two solid answers, and they both come from the highly talented Stuart Turton: "The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle" for fans of Outer Wilds, The Sexy Brutale and Agatha Christie-style murder mysteries, and The Devil In The Dark Water for The Return Of The Obra Dinn likers.

  • A screenshot of Before Your Eyes showing the Ferryman, a dishevelled humanoid dog dressed as a sailor.

    Supporters only: Hayfever enhanced my experience with Before Your Eyes

    The only good thing to come out of forgetting my eyedrops

    I developed this new allergic reaction this year, namely that my eyes feel like they're being blowtorched if I don't plop some miracle liquid into them regularly. They water and itch and I spend a lot of time blinking, which sort of feels like how a rusty shop grate sounds as it lowers.

    I realised quite quickly into my playthrough of Before Your Eyes that I'd forgotten to administer the holy water. And in a game where time skips forward as you blink in real life, I thought I'd royally messed things up. But it turns out that having an allergy actually enhanced the experience.