"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 »
Lords, castles and dialogue boxes
Every week we launch Brendan from a catapult into the early access fortress. This time, the haphazard RPG adventuring of Veil of Crows [official site]
I’ve just murdered four villagers. I was grumpy and I wanted their village, so I went in with eleven peasants and killed them and took their lumberyard. To be fair, they murdered four of us right back. Sadly, all the bodies now lying on the village grounds are practically indistinguishable – all the same greyish peasant corpse. I own a village now, but I am still grumpy. Is it because the kingdom who once guarded the lumberyard are now sending an army to take back their rightful land? No. It’s just because Veil of Crows is messy, buggy and not very fun.
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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 »
Avost ye, land libbers!
Every week we send Brendan onto the high seas of early access to see what booty he can plunder. This time, the maritime multiplayer mayhem of Blackwake [official site].
Harrrr. Shiver my own timbers. [Aside: What else do pirates say?] Ahoy friendy! If you want to be a true-to-life sea dog just like me, the firey bosom of Blackwake awaits. It’s large-scale naval warfare with crews of up to 16 people. It’s what I’d call a ‘Hall-of-the-Mountain-King-like’, because that’s the royalty-free music that early access games often use in their trailer to invoke a sense of chaos and silliness, a musical composition that has, as a result, become a coded signal for games which are roughewn and therefore “funny”. Read the rest of this entry »
Every week we dump Brendan out the back of a plane and into the hotbed of gunfire that veterans know only as ‘early access’. This week, the competitive murderfields of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds [official site].
I’m halfway across the river when the net starts closing in. A huge electric field looms up behind me, sparkling and fizzing and nipping at my heels as I swim for my life. Having just dodged a player driving by in his jeep, I was now going to die of wounds slowly inflicted over time by the game itself, simply for not being in the right place. I kicked and swam, even as the electric field overtook me and my screen started to slowly bleed. If I didn’t reach the safe zone soon – marked by a white circle on the mini-map, I’d be dead. Oh well, I figured, there are less interesting ways to go.
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