The Swords Of Ditto has perhaps 378 good ideas in it. That’s over 80% more good ideas than most games. My problem on approaching this review is trying to work out whether I think a barrage of good ideas is necessarily a good overall game.
RPS Feature Lives unending
The unpausing yell of a headless bomb-handed man charging towards me should fill me with dread, and yet I’m happy to see the daft gits again in a new trailer for Serious Sam 4. Four years after the game was once due to launch, developers Croteam are finally starting to open up more about their frenetic backpedalling first-person shooter. It’s called Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass now, for starters, in case anyone missed how daft it’s all meant to be. And it seems to be leaving deserts behind, venturing into lush countryside. Here, watch this morning’s new trailer. Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Groundhog Minute
Minit is that most rare of joyful things: A really good idea, done really well.
In Minit you play a little bird-like pixel character who lives in a black and white pixel world, and is cursed with only ever living for a single minute. And yet despite this limitation, it presents a little RPG. HOW?! you ask, in your belligerent way. Hush, I shall tell you. Read the rest of this entry »
The procedurally generated dungeon crawl has come a long way in my lifetime. I grew up practically learning to read by playing the original Rogue. Whole worlds constructed of letters and symbols, full of strange new words like Q for Quaff (a fancy word for drink) and K for Kestrel (a cave-dwelling, face-hating murderbird).
Thinking back to those early memories, it feels all the more surreal to look at The Swords Of Ditto, a game taking some of those core concepts – random dungeons and permanent death along them – and for it all to look like a pin-sharp, smoothly animated cartoon come to life. It’s still a ways off, but the game now has a release date, and a new trailer to go with it.
RPS Feature Stand By Someone Else
Crossing Souls gets off to such a great start. It immediately looks vividly beautiful, a gorgeous splash of pixels and colour, incredibly detailed scenes that would only look less elaborate, less refined, if they were depicted in a more updated graphical style. Then it goes head-first into nostalgia-poking happy places, a story of kids starting an adventure on the first day of the impossibly long summer holidays.
Or you could say: Crossing Souls, a game that grows steadily worse the more you play, immediately beginning by ticking off every tropey 1980s reference one by one, as it introduces its stereotypical gang of kids in a cavalcade of ‘80s movie clichés, grabbing hold of the very tip of Stranger Things’ coattails.
It would very much depend upon how cynical you were feeling. Both are true.
When it comes to crowdfunded indie games, patience is a virtue that is often well rewarded. Kickstarted back in 2014, we’ve had our beady eyes on Crossing Souls for a long time, and it looks just as tempting now as it did then.
After a lengthy development cycle, the game launches next week on February 13th, but to ease potentially skeptical players into its quirky world of movie-inspired 80s nostalgia, developers Fourattic have released a generously portioned demo to both Steam and GOG.
Everyone loves a good dick joke, but Broforce studio Free Lives’ Genital Jousting is something else. It’s bizarrely visceral and meaty in a way that comedy schlongs rarely are. It feels a world away from the twirling phalluses of Mount Your Friends, with meat slapping against meat with uncanny gusto, accompanied by some quite unsettling Foley work.
Free Lives realize this, to some degree, and have attempted to put fears to rest and defuse some difficult questions with an extensive Q&A. It’s a complex, thorny thing and one I’m not especially willing to deep-dive into. What’s less complex is that the game has left early access and properly launched, including a solo story mode, as unusual as that sounds.
There’s a BOGOF on neon negronis. At least, that would be the glowing sign I’d hang outside, were I in charge of the hot pink bar of upcoming cyberpunk adventure The Red Strings Club. It’s a game of social engineering, body-hacking and clandestine mixology from Deconstructeam, the makers of Gods Will Be Watching. They’ve sent electronic words to say it’s coming out on January 22. Read the rest of this entry »
Nerial’s Reigns is a simple (if strange-sounding) concept stretched to its absolute limits. Take the UI of dating-for-impatient-people app Tinder, and use it to steer the life of a monarch one meeting at a time, juggling political threats and multiple story-threads all through the simple, binary act of swiping left or right.
Today, you can get a second helping of this strange but compelling formula. The queenly sequel Reigns: Her Majesty is out now, promising an all-new story built around the now-familiar mechanics, plus a few new twists to the tale. Read on for details and the positively charming launch trailer.
It feels like so much has happened in the world since we first saw Crossing Souls, an ambitious 80s-tinged action adventure about a band of mismatched tweenage kids thrust from a life of small-town suburban normality into fighting against a dangerous government conspiracy to control a parallel dimension and the powers it holds.
For starters, we’ve had two seasons of Stranger Things.
Not dissuaded by the Duffer Bros’ totally biting their style, Spanish studio Fourattic have been grinding away quietly after their mildly successful Kickstarter. Now paired with publisher Devolver, they’re ready for the game to be seen again, and have a new trailer for us, along with a firm release date on February 13th.
You may not remember bullet-time shooter My Friend Pedro. It was an over-the-top shooter with silly gunfights, backflips and a banana (it’s still free on Adult Swim if you want a peep). But the developer has not forgotten. It’s being remade as My Friend Pedro: Blood Bullets Bananas and now features a skateboard, kicking, and the ability to hang onto a rope with both legs while you shoot two foes at the same time. Read the rest of this entry »
Nerial’s Reigns was such a lovely surprise. An utterly unique take on role-playing that worked a little like King of Dragon Pass mashed up with Tinder. Slipping gracefully into your role as King, a procession of courtly visitors sidled up on your PC or mobile phone screen, and you swiped left or right to answer their queries and requests with either a positive or negative slant. Simple, but brilliant once it started layering in multiple advisory factions with their own unique goals, and distinct story-arcs began coalescing.
This time, it’s the Queen’s turn to rule, and rule you shall, if you can wait just a couple more weeks. Reigns: Her Majesty is set for release on December 7th. Look within for a peek at some gameplay.
Guns can only get you so far in cyberpunk. To thwart a megacorp in newly-announced adventure game The Red Strings Club, a little more subtlety will be required. It’ll have us playing as a bartender mixing drinks to manipulate emotions and squeeze information from people, as a hacker armed with a phone using social engineering to bypass security, and even sculpting genetic implants to whack into executives and change their personalities. Intriguing! It’s coming in January from Deconstructeam, the makers of Gods Will Be Watching, and published by Devolver Digital. Read the rest of this entry »
Absolver, the martial arts fighting game that you’re not very good at, now has a ‘prestige’ system that lets high-level players redistribute their skill points. Its latest update also brings Halloween masks, new cloaks, a means of obtaining more loot for post-level 60 players, and a way to turn duplicate pieces of gear into salvage, letting you sew up the holes in your natty old trousers. As someone who’s been bashing and jabbing since the game’s release, usually at fighters far superior to himself, I can confirm this is Absolver’s biggest update so far, and it offers some of the most sensible and in-demand features for the game’s audience of skinny biffers. Read the rest of this entry »
Retro-styled roguelikelike FPS Strafe [official site] has added daily and weekly challenge in a hefty update which also includes new bits to shake up in its big bag o’ procedural generation. Expect new enemies, new enemy variants, new handcrafted rooms, and unlockable game modifiers including such classics as instagib and big head mode. The update also adds… the ability to save runs? Did it not have that before? Well then! Read the rest of this entry »
The blinking red light on my e-roomba tells me there’s a message. Oh, it’s about Ruiner [official site]. The cyberpunk twin-stick shootmans is out today, sporting its cool jackets and flashing facemasks. You play an angry fella going on a psychopathic rampage to get his brother back and take down a corporation that has everyone enslaved to VR, helped by a hacker sidekick who provides narrative voiceover as you flamethrow, hammer, and shotty your way through enemies. Hang on, the vid-cockroaches are forming into a screen. It must be a launch trailer. Read the rest of this entry »
Skinny weirdos in masks have been beating me up all month in martial arts biff-em-up Absolver [official site]. They’re called Absolvers because they grant absolution to my face with an endless barrage of kicks and slaps. Perhaps, with this latest update, I can finally treat an opponent to a sin-cleansing uppercut of my own. Patch 1.06 is mainly a bug-fixing effort, but it also disempowers the fastest attacks and tweaks absorbing guards. There’s also a handout of six masks based on other games by publisher Devolver, like a Hotline Miami chicken mask.
Read the rest of this entry »
Pow! Whack! Absolve! The martial arts biffing game Absolver [official site] is my hot cup of videogames at the moment. But like its slap-happy characters, it’s a bit on the skinny side. Once you’ve completed the story, there’s little remaining for the PvP-averse. And even online fighters might find themselves at a loss after mastering all the moves. So I asked creators Sloclap what’s in their fightpipes. The sad part is that new attacks, bosses and PvE areas are all at the back of the queue. The good news is there are a lot of small improvements coming, including a way to redistribute your character’s skill points, and pigments for changing the colour of your raggedy trousers.
Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Decked
Our review has now been updated with post-release impressions. Read them below!
I stumbled into Raslan like a newborn foal, aimless and on wobbly legs. Absolver [official site] and its labyrinthine city are not gentle with Prospects, the masked warriors who make up the game’s players and AI-controlled enemies, but I assume that ritualistic combat trials aren’t typically easy-going affairs. Regardless, for the last week I have persevered, fighting my way from lowly Prospect to the coveted position of Absolver. I remain absolutely lost.
The excellently-named Pikuniku [official site] might just be the most colourful dystopian adventure ever. You’re a red blob with gloriously wobbly legs exploring a bright world, partying with other blobs and solving environmental puzzles. But there are murky undertones, with the promise of “deep state conspiracies”, giant underground worms and, er, “aggressive toast”. Yeah. It’s coming out sometime next year so, for now, check out the announcement trailer.