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Posts tagged “Steam Early Access”

Feature: Space to grow

Ostranauts is a hugely ambitious space game, but I think it’s going to work

"This is all just an excuse for me to build a universe, right?" says Daniel Fedor, as I settle in for an evening watching him play Ostranauts. And he's serious. The sandboxy space sim, which hit early access on September 10th, and which is a sort-of sequel to acclaimed oddball RPG NEO Scavenger, has some properly deep worldbuilding. And I don't mean deep as in…

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Feature: Call a somnambulance

Blast your dream demons with water pistols in Dreamscaper

Dreamscaper touches on depression and loss, but it’s also an ARPG about whacking inner demons with burning yo-yos and blasting them with finger guns. You’re fighting off adult ennui with childhood trinkets as you dream, then fostering relationships in the waking world to make your finger guns more powerful. I like pretty much everything about it.

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Feature: GROUND BEES

Grounded’s co-op is fantastic, if you can get it to work

I threw a spear at the first person to harm an ant. They were warned. But the lag meant I kept missing and it just got a bit embarassing, so we retrieved the spears and went back to scouting for dewdrops.Grounded's multiplayer has captured something special. Even after several hours (which flew by for all of us), we found it hard to pin down exactly…

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Feature: Turns out three's not a crowd

Blightbound has the fun sincerity of a ’90s action cartoon

Blightbound is a three-player 2D action RPG about... well it has a plot, but come on. It's about tearing up some monsters and taking their stuff. And it does that pretty well. The world is blighted by the dying gasp of an apocalyptic monster, and you set out as part of a team of three to fix it by stabbing everything. Rather than a linear…

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Feature: Down to earth

I am willing to die for the ants in Grounded

Ants are a strong contender for the most fascinating creature on the planet. Arguably the most successful animal (discounting micro-organisms, those smug jerks), even. I was fascinated by them as a kid. There's an ant with only one pair of chromosomes. There are ants that transform themselves into food storage units. There are kamikaze ants that defend their nest by exploding. Blind ants. Ants that…

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Caves Of Qud’s biggest update ever also has the best patch notes

I really haven't given Caves Of Qud a fair chance. It's a bizarre roguelike, an open-world exploration RPG, and a sort of sandboxy world simulation. A big reason I haven't given it the time it deserves is because there's so much to it that I fear I'd never come out again.Fortunately, on Saturday its developers Freehold Games released its "biggest update ever", the Tomb Of…

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Feature: Ah dinnea ken if I can take any more, Captain

Ostranauts is a jaw-dropping space sim, trapped in a brutal interface

Based on its intensely confusing demo, I've concluded that I really like everything about Ostranauts, except for actually playing it. Admittedly that's a fairly significant obstacle, and it seems I'm not the only person facing it. But it also seems developers Blue Bottle Games are acutely aware of where the pain is coming from, and it looks like they're holding off on launching into early…

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Feature: BigCity, more like

NewCity lets you build cities on a massive scale

The first thing that tends to strike everyone about NewCity, is how massive its cities are. They make Cities: Skylines metropolises look poky, and cities from 2013's SimCity look like quaint little villages. There's no doubt about it: NewCity is all about urban sprawl, and actually comes close to being able to replicate the terrifyingly massive size of actual, real world cities. Indeed, in the…

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Feature: Break it down

Hardspace: Shipbreaker review (early access)

Hardspace: Shipbreaker is a game about peeling open spaceships like they’re massive tin cans to reveal the abandoned detritus inside. The belongings of long departed crews hang in the darkness like deep sea fish. Cola bottles and crisp packets wander past your visor, disturbed into aimless tumbles by the change in air pressure when you popped open the airlock like a champagne cork. The only…

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Feature: Aye, robot

Main Assembly review (early access)

Main Assembly is a physics-based puzzle sandbox in which you build specialised robots to carry out different tasks, like ferrying a washing machine across a busy railway track or rescuing crash test dummies from burning buildings. It’s a kind of Kerbal Everything Program, powered by a comprehensive suite of easy-to-use creative tools that let you construct pretty much anything you can imagine: spring-loaded catapults, rocket-powered…

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Feature: Red dwarf fortress

Space Haven review (early access)

Colony simulators can be overwhelming. Games like Dwarf Fortress and RimWorld use migration as both a fuel and a pressure valve, delivering caravan after caravan of fresh colonists at regular intervals to ensure the centre of balance of your community is always tipping forwards. Space Haven, which is set not on the filthy ground but in that big empty boob we call space, flip-turns the…

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Feature: Rogue rogue rogue your boat

Stoneshard early access review

Like any decent professional videogames journalist, I have spent the last ten years devaluing the term “roguelike” through overuse. Anything where a goblin politely waits for you to take your turn? Roguelike. Anything where a big slime can permanently murder you? You better believe that’s a roguelike. We would walk down the street with wheelbarrows full of roguelike. We burned piles of it just to…

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Feature: Train in vain

Train Station Renovation early access review

Videogames. Wow, what a concept. Crackling portals to distant lands. Doorways inviting us to impossible places and barbarous shores. Psychedelic imaginationariums fuelled by the limitless potential of raw human creativity. Time machines folding history in on itself, over and over, until the beginning cannot be told apart from the end, like the infinite buttery layers of a viennoiserie pastry formed of unleavened millennia and, christ,…

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Feature: Whippet good

Premature Evaluation: Landlord’s Super

Everything I know about the post-industrial decline of Britain I learned from listening to Ghost Town, the 1981 hit song by The Specials about some spooky creeps who hijack a Vauxhall Cresta to hunt down Margaret Thatcher. There’s also the time I fell asleep on the couch watching The Full Monty and woke up to Fight Club, which saddled me with a false memory of…

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Feature: Every dog has his DayZ

Deadside players will commiserate over a dead dog and then stab you

I forgot the name of Deadside within seconds of closing it. Even looking at its store page raises... not alarm bells, exactly, but some negative assumptions. It looks a lot like a lot of other, not very good games fighting for a place in the ultra-hostile, grim Eastern European PvP shooter leagues.But what is it really? Well. It's DayZ again.

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Feature: Wood that I cood

Early access review: Lumberjack’s Dynasty

The weirdest thing about Lumberjack's Dynasty – in a very long list of strange things – are the overheard snippets of conversation as you approach the game’s various NPCs. As you round the crest of a hill you might eavesdrop on a neighbour muttering something about how “everyone is talking about it”. Stroll up the drive of your aunt’s house and she’ll be whispering “yes,…

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Feature: Stay in school, kids

Premature Evaluation: Drug Dealer Simulator

Drugs. Satan’s mustard. The devil’s garlic. Hummus from below. Whatever you call the good gravy that police hate, we can all agree that it’s incredibly fun to have a crazy drugs party, right? In fact, all this talk of drugs reminds me! Last night I found an entire bong’s worth of marijuana in a wheelie bin behind my local Tesco Express. Would you like a…

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Feature: The perfect name

Premature Evaluation: Industries Of Titan

Industries Of Titan has a refreshing attitude towards dirt and grime. Most city builders prefer to clutch their pearls when it comes to the unpleasant matter of pollution, chastising mayors as they construct the elaborate sewage networks required in order to pump vast quantities of human gunk into whichever unfortunate body of water happens to be farthest from your town hall. Hand-wringing civic advisors wag…

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Feature: Champagne superMMOva

Premature Evaluation: Last Oasis

Sometimes I worry that open world survival sims are romanticising the very real challenges involved in carving out a nomadic existence on a planet that’s stopped rotating by constructing elaborate wooden spider-cars and captaining them across vast deserts, forming clans and trading limited resources to take control of the world’s remaining oases. When the world eventually does stop turning, I fear that this generation, spoon-fed…

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Feature: Build a better roomba

Premature Evaluation: Good Company

Ah, industry. You gotta love it. Men with twirly moustaches posing in front of giant chains. Women standing next to teetering piles of code used to send astronauts to the moon. Countless ghosts of mangled Victorian children haunting the greased cogs of matchbox factories. Elon Musk riding atop a tiny submarine like a cowboy to the bottom of the Mariana Trench to rescue his frisbee.…

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