This is (potentially) awesome
Fire Pro Wrestling World [official site] is the indy high-flyer who has been wowing crowds all over the world. Maybe you were lucky enough to see her live years ago in a small out-of-town venue, where she was the clear stand-out in an underwhelming show. Maybe you just heard the buzz and envied friends who were lucky enough to catch her in action.
Well, now you can see the magic for yourself. After a long absence, Fire Pro is back and on PC for the first time. it’s not all good news though: the in-ring abilities are as dazzling and technically sound as ever, but a wrestler is only as good as their booking and in these early days of Early Access, everything outside the ring is far too bare.
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"Ground control to Major Brendan"
Every week we launch Brendan through the atmosphere into the cold, dark void of early access. This time, the realistic space station (mis)management of Stable Orbit [official site]
My first space station is called the Floppy Floater. It is a barren place, so bleak in demeanour that it fails even to qualify as a potential setting for a post-disaster sci-fi shooter, even though it has two whole dead bodies on board. Yet unlike Prey, no alien threat is responsible for these deaths. Only my own hasty and thoughtless decision-making. When will I stop accidentally killing imaginary people using only the dark negligence of middle-management? Never. God-willing, I will never stop doing that. Read the rest of this entry »
Puzzles (puzzles) are (are) difficult (difficult)
Every week we expose Brendan to the radioactive chemicals of the early access laboratory. This time, the time-bending puzzles of ECHOPLEX [official site].
I am stuck. There are 15 short levels currently available in ECHOPLEX, a first-person puzzler along the lines of Portal and Antichamber, and I am stuck on level 11. It is a toughie. The thing is, I’m not sure if the game is working as intended. Bugs are part of the early access merry-go-round, for sure, but if they show up in the strict logic of a puzzle game they can be boldly destructive. But there’s a bigger problem than that: I don’t know if what I’m seeing is a bug, or if it is simply part of the puzzle that hasn’t been explained. Read the rest of this entry »
Leaves your mouse hand Thor
Every Monday we send Brendan to scout the early access ruins for hidden treasures. This week, the careful Viking tactics of Northgard [official site]
This is Blainn, below. He’s just killed a Wyvern. He’s my best mate because I gave him and his giant pals, the Jötunn, enough food to last a lifetime. They reckon we in the Goat clan are excellent humans and now Chief Blainn is fighting alongside us in our hoofed conquest of the whole land. This is one endgame that comes in Northgard, a rock-solid RTS about allocating and reallocating your Viking workforce in just the right way. Technically this match ended over an hour ago, when my opponent reached a “wisdom victory”. But it’s a testament to Northgard’s foundations that, when given the option to leave or continue following my defeat, I happily clicked “keep playing”.
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Bottom-feeding in space
Every week we give Brendan a heap of scrap metal and warp him to the early access quadrants. This time, the single- and multiplayer create-your-own-space-junk of Avorion [official site].
My beautiful butterfly of a ship is floating sideways through space, with only one of its thrusters still intact. In the distance, tracer rounds dance around an innocent convoy of traders. The pirates didn’t waste much time on my ship, the Strictly Murder. A few surprise shots, a clumsy collision and off I drifted, desperately checking a game menu in an effort to rebuild and plot a course back to the safe zone. I clicked the rebuild button, certain that enough time had passed since the last shot struck my craft’s blue, delicate wings. A red message buzzed in the corner of my display.
“You need 910 iron and 588 titanium.”
Oh good, I thought. Back to mining. Read the rest of this entry »
What a difference a year and a half makes. And what little difference it makes too. That’s how long it’s been since I last wrote about Stranded Deep [official site] – a game I’ve returned to during its lengthy Early Access development despite its many problems. And now it’s two years old, it’s finally shaping up into something solid and compelling. And yet at the same time, while it’s fixed so many of its issues, still doesn’t feel like it knows where it wants to go. Read the rest of this entry »
Conan The Teleporter
Oh, Early Access!
Sorry, just stubbed my toe. Yes, it’s certainly worked in places, but goodness me if it isn’t sometimes the most infuriating way of releasing barely functioning games for a fee. Time was it cost a developer lots of money to have their game concepts tested and QAd – now they charge £27 for the privilege. That’s how much it’ll cost you to get into Funcom’s Conan Exiles [official site] right now. The store page describes a game where you discover ancient secrets, enslave your own army, ride around on rhinos, build entire cities – it sounds stunning. Right now it’s a game where you’re more likely to die because a menu won’t load. [Nudey Warning: There are some pictures of naked characters below] Read the rest of this entry »