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Posts tagged “Steam Early Access”

Feature: Jump around! (You can't.)

Premature Evaluation – SlipSlop: World’s Hardest Platformer Game

When I was little, I used to eat cubes of jelly. As in, pre-diluted. You know how Hartley’s jelly came in oblong packets, and your mum would open it and out flopped the cubes of jelly, like a chocolate bar gone wrong or a future dystopian food supplement. I would sneak one of the cubes away and gnaw on it behind a sofa cushion, like…

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Feature: Motorbikes and mushrooms at the end of the world

Premature Evaluation: Failed State

I don’t want to become known for always talking about a thing (like how we all gently rib Matt about being a philsophy-toucher in a way that doesn’t amount to workplace bullying whatsoever). This is why I’ve tried to stop yelling at office co-workers about Chernobyl. I don’t want to be Appropriative Post-Soviet girl, who is probably the rubbishest of the X-Men characters. So my…

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Feature: We're going underground

Premature Evaluation – Overcrowd: A Commute ‘Em Up

Commuting is the biggest self-inflicted wound in human history. Whole cities are designed around countless dead-eyed souls expending enormous amounts of physical and mental energy ferrying themselves between their bedrooms and the place where their employment happens, flushing in and out every morning and evening like fleshy clockwork, like turds on the tides. When the great revolution comes and we are freed of the shackles…

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Feature: Does a robot even know what it means to jump?

Premature Evaluation: Levelhead

Shigeru Miyamoto is one of the few bona fide, mega-brain geniuses working in games. Inspired by the time he watched a plumber die of a concussion near a tortoise, the Nintendo luminary invented Mario in his toolshed in Kyoto, using nothing more than a couple of AAA batteries and a soldering iron.

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Feature: Incy wincy

Premature Evaluation: Dungeon Munchies

A friend of mine works for an insect farm, raising crickets and fly larvae as an alternative protein source for livestock feed, as well as for human snacks. His job is to distract each cricket for just long enough so that a colleague can swoop in from behind and humanely murder the cricket with a tiny hammer. Or at least that’s how I understood it.…

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Feature: Our pick of the best new indie games on Steam

Unknown Pleasures: access early, access often

Oh, the many things I cannot tell you, readers! They are many, and they are things. One thing I can tell you is that argh, howl, yes, I am indeed working on the enormous pile of hundreds upon hundreds of indie games that are surely aiming to destroy me. The second thing is that it's time once more for the world famous round-up of the…

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Feature: Bathyschaphic bathos ahoy

Co-op space submarine game Barotrauma just hit Early Access, and it’s an absolute hoot

I’m pacing the dank, red-lit command deck, haggard even before the voyage starts, and worrying about my crew. They’re an untrained bunch; a mob of roustabouts I hired at the last waystation because I couldn’t afford anyone else. And in truth, I’ve got barely more experience than them - but I can’t let them sense my weakness.

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Feature: Das early access

Premature Evaluation: UBOAT

You know you’re in for some serious submarine business when there’s an option to toggle the curvature of the earth on and off. I’m still not entirely sure what a flat earth would mean for a submarine, in any practical sense. Perhaps if the submarine wandered too close to the edge of the world it would spill over the precipice of a cosmic waterfall and…

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Feature: Burner cards

Premature Evaluation: Trials Of Fire

Trials Of Fire, besides having such a generic sounding title that you forget it every time you’re not looking directly at the words, is a turn-based, single-player, deck-building, choice-driven, procedurally-generated, top-down, role-playing strategy game, set in a post-cataclysmic, dark fantasy world. It’s part The Road, part Tolkien offcuts, as you guide a miserable band of fighters through a blasted wasteland in search of a series…

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Feature: From the developers of Out There

Premature Evaluation – Sigma Theory: Global Cold War

There are few people I find as fascinating as Mister Julian Assange, the debonair hacker and out-of-work Geralt cosplayer who hid inside an embassy for seven years, skateboarding into the ambassador’s bedroom and demanding to know the new wi-fi password so often that they finally got annoyed and kicked him out. Assange has the campy flare of a mid-tier Drag Race contestant, randomly appearing on…

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Feature: WW2 with cards

Premature Evaluation: Kards

My nice grandad fought in World War Two, along with all of the other nice grandads, against the fascist grandads who were causing quite the stir around Europe at the time. As far as I can tell my grandad had a relatively pleasant time, romping around in the desert with his fellow grandads, firing some really big guns into the sky until he was captured…

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Feature: For now

Risk Of Rain 2 is much less than the sum of its parts

It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is about to drive his insectoid claws into your neck stump. When a sudden shower belted out the early access launch of Risk Of Rain 2, my first impulse was to go dancing in the storm. Like its 2D predecessor, Risk Of Rain 2 is a sci-fi roguelike defined by ever-escalating difficulty, and an ever-growing pile of items…

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Feature: Visceral gameplay

Premature Evaluation: Totally Accurate Battle Simulator

Back at PC Zone magazine, where I was born out of an egg, it was my job to take the raw copy submitted by our freelance writers, strip out most of the sexism and veiled threats against politicians, and produce a polished and well structured review that was legally fit for publication. One of the most commonly deleted and cliched introductions to any game about…

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Feature: The Postman Cometh

Premature Evaluation: Willowbrooke Post

Oh, to be a postman. That sultry steward of the mail. That beautiful bastard with the letters. That outrageous freak of parcels. That walking obscenity in Gore-Tex red. That creep who lives inside a van and cannot die, because the postman is both one and many, everywhere and nowhere, always and never. Ding-dong, goes the siren song of the elusive postman. Can you sign for…

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Feature: Working on the railroad all the livelong day

Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic is a brutalist city-builder

If Foundation is the warm bath of 2019 city-builders, Workers & Resources: Soviet Republic is the ice bucket challenge. Set in the mid-to-late 20th century Soviet Union, this is the management sim as demanding, meticulous manual labour, not unwinding with a cup of Cadbury Instant and a copy of Chat magazine. Frankly, I'm surprised it doesn't demand that I lay every single brick by hand.…

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Feature: Would you rather have a robot head or crab claws for hands?

Premature Evaluation: Beacon

David Cronenberg's 1986 horror classic The Fly explored the idea of how much of a fly Jeff Goldblum would have to mutate into before he stopped being extremely hot (the answer, as revealed in the DVD commentary, is as high as 65 percent). It also tapped into a deep seated human fear of being trapped inside an elevator with a fly. But more than either…

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Feature: Grass tastes bad

Premature Evaluation: The Pusher

As a cool person, I know everything there is to know about drugs and drug paraphernalia, such as bongs and what have you. In fact, you’ll often find me hanging out with my fellow dope-fiends in what we in the business call a ‘drugs hole’, where we take weed, cocaine, and the rest of the types of drugs that there are. “Hey, quit hoggin’ all…

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Feature: What's a pirate's favourite letter?

Premature Evaluation: Atlas

Last week brought news that beleaguered swashbuckling MMO Atlas had been hacked by a bunch of salty ne'er do wells. The keys to an admin account were stolen, allowing hackers to go on what amounted to a trans-dimensional naval joyride. Invincible armadas armed with inexhaustible supplies of cannonballs briefly ruled the waves, which was to be expected. But then planes fell from the sky. The…

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Feature: Like, who really owns trees anyway, y'know?

I played Eco and didn’t want to save the world

This is like one of those jokes that work on Twitter but makes people really concerned if you write it on Facebook: "Anyone else feel like the planet is doomed and we should stop trying?" Like, your aunt would post a comment underneath asking if you were okay. The first time I played Eco, I chose a world that had been running for a few…

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Feature: Target practice

Premature Evaluation: World War 3

My first hour fighting in the grey European battlefields of World War 3 was not the most pleasant introduction I’ve ever had to an online shooter. The first obstacle was the loading screen, which was quite adamant about not letting me play. It took almost 20 minutes to connect to the game on the second attempt. Finally over the first hurdle, I was immediately directed…

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