Sometimes you set out to write a themed entry of the Steam charts around anagrams, and end up posting videos of octopuses. You know how it is. Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Colossal squid
RPS Feature A load of hot air
As the Steam Summer Sale closes, here’s the last of the charts influenced by the discounts, before they return to being exactly the same as they were before the sale, and indeed during it.
So this week we’re going to dig into the history of these familiar names, revealing some secrets of their pasts that many may not already know. Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature A wealth of splendid 2016-17 games for the lousiest of hardware
‘Terrible’ only in the sense of their gaming capability. Honestly, I’m sure your laptop is lovely to look at and it was definitely a extremely sensible idea to spend all that money on it instead of buying a holiday or helping to save the pandas. Truth is, though, that playing recently-released games on the vast majority of laptops is about as effective as starting an online petition to uncancel your favourite television show.
A little discretion goes a long way, however. Sure, you may be denied the glossiest of exploding viscera, but it is entirely possible to keep up with the Joneses even on a Terrible Laptop that has no dedicated graphics card. Here are but twelve contemporary games – either recently released or still-evolving going concerns – that will indeed run on your glammed-up toaster. Additional suggestions below are entirely welcome.
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RPS Feature Chill out
Navigate the gallery by clicking on the left and right arrows or use the left and right cursor keys on your keyboard!
Real life is rubbish sometimes, and there’s nothing that video games can do about that. But I know that if I’ve had a particularly tough day at work, then sitting down at my PC and visiting a different world can often be exactly what I need to unwind.
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RPS Feature Doing what developers aren't
Hannah just wanted to be a farmer. Not a male farmer. Not a female farmer. Just a farmer that didn’t have to suffer NPC after NPC lumping them into one gender or the other. Hannah’s hopes rose with the release of Stardew Valley, but after jumping into the farming sim they discovered it offered only male and female gender identities, with he/she pronouns to match. As someone who identifies as non-binary, Hannah couldn’t help but be disappointed.
“I’ve almost come to expect little to no representation,” says Hannah. “Being able to play a character that is different from myself is fun and interesting, but playing one true to myself I find is often more fun. It feels more real if you are in the world rather than just an observer playing a person in that world.”
Unwilling to sit idly by, Hannah took it upon themselves to broaden Stardew Valley’s gender diversity, modding the game so that NPCs referred to the protagonist with gender-neutral pronouns and replacing the gender symbols in the character creator with ungendered body-type indicators.
Oh sure, Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles [official site] might look Legend of Zelda-y and okay, it is about a hero roaming the land to save it from evil, but get this: no combat. It’s Zelda filtered through Stardew Valley, a game where you save the world by helping people with your talents for farming, fishing, crafting, and such. No combat! Developers Prideful Sloth this week announced that they’ll release Yonder on July 18th and, while I’m a little hazy on quite what it is, this new trailer has me charmed: Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Still life
The farm I’ve inherited is a mess. It’s nothing more than a small house at one corner of an overgrown tract of land, set away from a tiny riverside village of complacent, mostly white people in large, embellished houses. It’s springtime and I’m a stranger. As a welcoming gift, a local passes a dog off to me that I think is a stray they have no desire to deal with. The farm comes with a big old television set, a handful of cheap tools and a stagnant pond.
I’ve abandoned a pointless desk job in some soulless town and now I have no income. I have no friends. I have decided that this is my life now. It’s how I’ll come of age.
And so this cosmic dance begins anew. The finalists for the Independent Games Festival awards 2017 have been announced. Out of 650 games examined by the giant gang of 340 judges, a final 30 have been selected for a bunch of categories. There’s plenty of familiar names among them, including Inside, Stardew Valley, Virginia, Hyper Light Drifter and Event. But also some other boyos worth giving some attention. Come on over here and let’s take a look at them all.
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Aside from starting a new tradition of unusually-named Steam Awards, Valve have also pulled out their worn and adored bargain bucket and have begun to fill it with games you’ll enthusiastically buy and probably never play. Yes, it’s their Autumn Sale. In the streets, the apocalyptic jockeying for TVs and blenders has started. The moon has turned blood red. And I looked and behold a pale horse, and his name that sat on him was Black Friday, and sales followed with him.
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Stardew Valley [official site] received a big ol’ update last Monday, adding everything from new farm landscapes to new farm buildings and new farm divorces. A new patch followed up on Friday afternoon and while it’s not massive, it is worth pointing out. If you’ve been considering starting a new farm on one of the new plots, see, you might be interested to hear that they’ve been fiddled with a bit. Not huge, but useful to know. Read the rest of this entry »
The sprawling Stardew Valley’s [official site] Version 1.1 has entered its beta phase, and creator ConcernedApe (Eric Barone to us normies) has a whole slew of new features to test out including new marriage options, divorce, construction and more. If you’re interested in taking the plunge, ready your bug spray and hop right in.
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?
Stardew Valley [official site] is pure relaxation. Sure, building a farm from rocks and rubble is tough work, but there is nothing more soothing than the day to day routine; tending to crops, caring for your animals, trying to seduce your neighbors, and combing the mines for treasure. Now, Stardew Valley is bringing its therapeutic charms to Mac and Linux on July 29th, according to creator ConcernedApe.
RPS Feature Is it worth playing more than once?
I have spent over seventy hours in Stardew Valley. In that time I’ve cultivated my land, raised animals, got married and had a child of my own. I’ve plundered the deepest depths of the mine and ridden the bus to the desert. There’s no crop I haven’t grown, no animal product I haven’t churned or spun. Of course in a game like Stardew Valley there’s always something more you could do. I could pop out another baby, make my farm more efficient, or build another barn. But I found myself growing listless of my streamlined faming life. Money was piling up in my bank account with nothing to spend it on and I felt like I’d finally reached a plateau.
So I decided to start anew, and in a game that is all about starting anew, it felt fitting. I waved goodbye to Berry Farm and my little pink haired avatar and created Jemima. Whose hair and colour scheme is based off the Little Mermaid. Because I’m a goddamn adult and I can do what I like.
I thought I’d do things a little differently. While Holly preferred dogs, Jemima prefers cats. While Holly romanced the local doctor, Harvey, Jemima was going to flirt with the nature-loving artist Leah. Would my 70 plus hours of farming experience help my second attempt? Let’ see.
A shorter than usual weekly Steam best-sellers chart this week, primarily because almost everything is explained simply by the words “Steam Summer sale”, but partly because I’ve already spent a chunk of today compiling a big list of Sale recommendations to help our beloved readers’ purchasin’ decisions. You can have a pithy and/or explantory line about each game next week, promise. Meantime: these are the ten best-selling games on Steam last week. Expect next week’s to look wildly different, thanks to the ongoing and regularly changing sale.
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RPS Feature A bonus bestest best!
We usually do our enormous GAMES OF THE YEAR posting fest at the end of the year (as would seem logical) but because it seems silly to reserve praise for special occasions we’re doing a Games Of The Half Year collection to tell you about everything we’ve loved playing so far. It can double as a summer holiday recommendations list too!
We’ve listed ours in alphabetical order to prevent genre-based punch-ups in the staff chatroom. We’d also invite you to list any gems we haven’t mentioned or might not have played in the comments below.
Just hit the left and right arrow keys to navigate the Games Of The Half Year or click on the arrows next to the images to get started!
Stardew Valley [official site] – the runaway success Harvest Moon-a-like sandbox RPG from lone developer Eric Barone – is officially expanding by way of a long-promised co-op multiplayer mode. Unofficially, fervent modders are keen to grow its bounds even sooner by way of modded farm expansions. Enter Tego’s Stardew Expansion and Yama’s Desert Expansion.
The promised co-op multiplayer may be coming to Stardew Valley [official site] sooner than you’d expected. The farming/adventuring/country-living sandbox RPG is mostly the work of one chap but adding co-op is not a small amount of work so huzzah, he’s called in help! Stardew publishers Chucklefish, who also make Starbound, are pitching in to help with Stardew Valley’s co-op and Mac and Linux versions while creator ConcernedApe works on new content. Which is great, because we really dig the game.
I wasn’t around to cover the previous week’s Steam Top 10 as per usual, so you’ll have to wildly imagine the shape of it yourself. I can take an educated guess if you like: I’m pretty sure Soldner was a shock number one, with Limbo of the Lost and Aliens: Colonial Marines hot on its heels. Strange that they’re completely gone from the latest chart, below, but that’s the fickle nature of the millennial digital consumer for you, innit?
Death is not the end, croaked Bob Dylan on 1988’s Down in the Groove. I’m not even sure that death is a possibility on the bright, friendly farms of Stardew Valley [official site] but there was an end-point of sorts. Marriage, rather than being the beginning of something wonderful, marked the end of independence, the full stop at the close of your spouse’s individuality.
No longer! A patch earlier this week improves the behaviour of spouses, allowing them to leave the house independently to go for a walk or visit town, and providing each with a set of unique dialogue. There are other tweaks as well, including a fix to “the farm rampage”. Boo! I don’t know what that is but it did really need to be fixed?