I keep playing Caveblazers [official site], stopping between lives only to message people to complain about Caveblazers. The roguelike-platformer has so many systems I find frustrating or unsatisfactory, but one big thing that keeps drawing me back.
RPS Feature I love it despite frustrations
Sometimes, a developer’s last game hints at their next one. Other times, the programmer of Spelunky HD announces a basketball beat ’em up. Say hallo to Dunk Lords [official site], jamming our way in 2018. This is a delightful surprise, and not just because of that name. The slam-jamming shakalaka ’em up boasts 2v2 b-balling action with fisticuffs, special moves, and environmental hazards, which sounds a lark. Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature No free-to-play, just free.
RPS Feature How to cheat and prosper
We’ve all been there. When a puzzle is so obtuse you can’t even begin to work out how to solve it. When you’ve been searching for the next bonfire in a Dark Souls game for hours on end. When you’ve committed to finding a game’s scattered collectibles and one proves a bit too well hidden. Wikis and guides can replace hours of frustration with a few seconds of Googling, making up for an oversight on the part of a game dev or the occasional brain fart on the part of the player.
They can also leach the fun out of games. Looking up solutions can quickly devolve into a paint-by-numbers experience, with almost as much time spent alt-tabbed as playing a game. The moment that door is opened, there’s a danger that any sense of challenge or discovery will be lost. So, how do you decide when turning to external sources such as guides, FAQs, Wikis and search engines is worth the risk?
The latest Humble Bundle is a good’un, with games including Spelunky, Rocket League, Nidhogg, and Skullgirls going cheap. The first three of those are modern PC classics, I’d say, and Skullgirls isn’t half-bad either. The Humble Revelmode Bundle has more games too, obvs.
RPS Feature Never say goodbye,
As much as PC gaming hardware has changed and improved over the years, there’s always been one constant: the limitations of disk space. Granted, it’s far cheaper and easier (no more absurdly tiny Master/Slave toggles) than it used to be to grab a new hard drive, but the rise of ever-faster but more expensive SSDs set things back a bit in that regard. With new mainstream games regularly asking for as much as 30 Gigabytes I remain, as I always have, in a battle for space. Which means I’m constantly uninstalling half-finished stuff in order to make space for the next big thing. Sometimes it’s heartbreaking. But there’s a line. There are a few games I can never uninstall, because it would hurt too much. Granted, they change a little over the years – new ones come in, old ones finally, finally lose their lustre (or I give up entirely on the belief that I will ever go back), but here’s how that list of inviolable treasures looks right now.
RPS Feature From code to chaos
This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites a developer to help him put their game up on blocks and take a wrench to hack out its best feature, just to see how it works.
The arrow trap that shoots the croc man that causes him to telefrag you. Being caught mid-jump by a boomerang that juggles you towards a spike trap, leaving you stunned in front of it until it springs. Shopstorm.
These are not necessarily the noblest events in Spelunky, but they’re surprising, funny, fascinating, and entirely consistent and logical and correct. They might not be exactly your fault, but neither are they, really, the game’s fault. They’re the result of a big reason – the big reason? – why Spelunky is amazing:
THE MECHANIC: How every object in Spelunky has shared fundamental traits