Sundered [official site] is the ridiculously beautiful Metroidvania from the people who brought us the ridiculously beautiful Jotun. In a busy genre, does it do enough to stand out? Here are my thoughts: Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Hand drawn and quartered
RPS Feature Early access done right
You have to respect clever, and clever is oozing out of Tower Of Time [official site]. Not just an RPG with the guts to try its very own combat system far more intricate than us dungeon crawlers are used to, but also the use of Early Access in a way that makes it seem like an advantage to the player rather than the developer. Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Space station snooping
Tacoma is… a beautifully designed lift-the-flap book for grownups? An interactive theatrical novella set somewhere between now and a far-future cyberpunk dystopia? A mysterious soap opera? A snoop-sim? A basket of Easter eggs being used to make a sci-fi omelette? I found it to be a rewarding, tightly edited mix of all of the above, but you probably want to know a bit more so here’s Wot I Think… Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Blooping and glooping!
When I go to my exercise class in the evening sometimes the matter of what I do for a living comes up in pre-class chat. Usually I can be like, “This is a credible grown-up profession. I absolutely pinky swear this to be true!” The last few days I have spent 30 hours corralling adorable bouncing blobs and selling their poop on the stock market or funnelling it into science. Maybe I’ll pretend I’ve lost my voice at class this evening. But Slime Rancher [official site] is so cute I also want to tell everyone about it! Here’s Wot I Think… Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Windows 95%
Goodness me, Kingsway [official site] is clever. It’s clever in so, so many ways. It’s clever in its absolutely spectacular presentation, but it’s far too clever to let that just be a gimmick – its peculiar appearance as a mid-90s Windows desktop could so easily have been a cute idea that hid an ordinary roguelite RPG, but instead it so very brilliantly influences how you play, and indeed the foibles of such an interface become crucial to how you experience it. It’s also really bloody tough. Here’s wot I think: Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Breath Of The Tamed
RPS Feature "An enormous pleasure"
I’ll be honest, I couldn’t really see a space in Diablo III for a Necromancer. Another class that’s based on raising gross minions and smashing up mobs from afar? The Witch Doctor seemed to have that amply covered, commanding zombie dogs, harvesting souls and erupting towers of zombies from the ground.
Oh but it’s great to be completely wrong. I’ve been having a wonderful time, raising the dead and casting dark curses. Here’s wot I think. Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Robotron 2017
I can’t think of a better collaboration than the one that’s brought Nex Machina [official site] to life. The blindingly-fast twin-stick shooter is the spawn of Resogun developer Housemarque and the creator of the entire genre, Eugene Jarvis. It has a great deal to live up to, then, and the legacy of Robotron, Smash TV and Resogun hovering over it. Clearly the pair were up to the challenge.
All of the above games are inside Nex Machina. They are in both the foundations and the bricks — the teeming swarms of robots, the linked rooms, even the voxels. Combined, however, the construct something new; something that’s full of its own tricks and quirks, challenges and surprises. Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Many reasons to Rime
RPS Feature Doing the maths
Reviewing games of the sort Matthew Brown creates – Hexcells, SquareCells, and now CrossCells [official site] – can be a strange task. His niche is numerical logic. There are elements of things like Sudoku but basic maths creeps in, making it closer to a subgenre of Sudoku: Killer Sudoku. Their pleasures come from whether you can sink into the deductive mindset you need to find a foothold and then to progress and the difficulty curves vary from person to person. When I reviewed SquareCells, once I’d described how the basic elements worked it became more a task of communicating how a solution made me feel and whether the UI was any good lest I spoil any of the actual game by talking about specific niggles or posting screenshots.
Given the puzzles are so much about individual feel it felt like a good idea to make this review more of a chat between John and me. We were both supposed to be doing other things when the code for CrossCells turned up and it’s a testament to our mutual fondness for Brown’s work that we pretty much instantly booted it up and sidelined our actual work. Here’s Wot We Think: Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature I'm war-torn
There are two wars raging within Steel Division [official site]. While the Axis and Allies are going at it hammer and tongs in the très jolie fields and lanes of NW France, behind the scenes ‘Plausibility’ and ‘Populism’ – or ‘Wargame’ and ‘RTS’ if you prefer – are scrapping just as energetically for control of the soul of Eugen’s latest offering. Most of the time the fight is close and the game is great as a result. It’s only when Populism/RTS starts gaining the upper hand – something that happens most noticeably during the three short singleplayer campaigns – that things go awry for the mostly excellent Steel Division. Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Close but no war
I can imagine the intervention now, family and friends sitting around me in a circle. “Fraser, we all care about you. You’re in a safe space. But you’ve got to stop falling in love with 4X games. It’s bad for your health.” I’d walk straight out of the room, of course. My new beau is Endless Space 2 [official site], and its got its hooks in me deep. Like its predecessor – definitely Endless Legend and not the first Endless Space – it’s a bold attack on the more staid elements of the 4X multiverse, full of character, weirdness and ambition.
Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Fly my pretties
RPS Feature Having a bawl
RPS Feature Praise it
RPS Feature Pirates and rogues
RPS Feature Magical magical realism
Whatever the screenshot above might have made you think, What Remains of Edith Finch [official site] doesn’t have very much in common with Dear Esther at all. It has a great deal in common with a lot of games I’ve played, but in the end doesn’t feel very much like any of them. It’s a walking simulator for about ten minutes, and then it becomes all manner of other things, including one of my favourite games in years. Here’s wot I think about this extraordinary family saga.
RPS Feature Can't sleep, chefs will eat me
RPS Feature Keep learning and nobody explodes
If there’s one thing I’m sick of, it means I’ve had some sort of head injury and forgotten the many, many, copious things I’m also sick of. But amongst their number is the cavalcade of recent games that feel the need to try to trick me into learning computer programming. You know, I’m good thanks. I’m 40 this year, my brain has pretty much established over multiple attempts that it just isn’t willing to let in computer programming, along with French, the difference between “affect” and “effect” [not to mention “defuse” and “diffuse” -ed.], and the HTML for embedding an email address. You program the games, I’ll play them. Ta.
Anyway, so there’s a nice new puzzle game out called Bomb Squad Academy [official site], a game about defusing bombs against the clock, and – WAIT A SECOND! This game’s teaching me electronics! Why I oughtta… Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature More than meets the eye
What begins as a robot-smashing action game with gargantuan bosses soon becomes an open world RPG, then a bullet hell circus nightmare with confetti and corpses, and then something else entirely. To describe all of the things that Automata encompasses, even in vague terms, would be to spoil its greatest asset: surprise. For that reason, I’ve avoiding the specifics of almost any of the wonderful and horrible things that happen. This is important.
Let’s stick with the basics then. Automata, at its best, fuses Platinum’s mastery of stylish action to a framework that works as both a tour and deconstruction of various genres, and a story both stranger and more interesting than it first appears. It’s awesome. Read the rest of this entry »