I am rejecting Halloween tonight. I’m working, so there’s no dressing up and drinking blood for me. This is why, instead of hunting down a properly terrifying game for this new episode of Playing With Myself, I instead found one that’s peaceful and bright - all rainbows and happy puppies.
Unfortunately Salt, an island-hopping sandbox adventure, does not have happy puppies or, I think, rainbows. But what it does have is lots of sunshine, pretty azure seas, and absolutely no children trying to get sweets from me. It’s a lovely break away from this most morbid of not-quite-holidays.
Stealth and puzzle games sit pretty close to each other on the family tree of genres, which the best of the former transforming stealth into complex conundrums. Even a quick glance at Sneaky Sneaky hints at its puzzle roots, which isn’t surprising given that developer Naiad Entertainment includes ex-PopCap folk.
But it’s also a turn-based dungeon crawler, with loot to be grabbed and enemies to be avoided, or snuck up upon and stabbed in the back.
I don’t expect to have much fun in This War of Mine. War’s not really a great source of fun, especially not for civilians caught in the middle of one, and these are the protagonists and, sometimes, antagonists of 11 Bit Studios’ grim survival management game. Not fun, then, but potentially very compelling.
Democracy 3 is jumping into the near future and turbulent times with the Clones and Drones expansion, which dropped today. Future techs and new social issues rear their heads, adding more to the charts and numbers that spin grim political yarns. At least, the yarns are grim when I’m playing, and ruining the country.
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It looks like Yager’s not the only developer putting together a team-based ship fighter with big ol’ capital ships blasting away at each other, some team behind Strike Suit Zero is at it too. They’ve formed a new studio, Edge Case Games, and their debut game, Fractured Space boasts tactical combat between massive ships on a “cosmic" scale.
Papers, Please developer Lucas Pope is letting everyone take his latest project, Return of the Obra Dinn, for an early spin. It’s a short demo, a teaser that will no doubt leave you with a few questions.
A first-person mystery, players take on the role of of an insurance investigator onboard the titular Obra Dinn, a ship thought lost at sea, but recently returned to London, absent crew.
Death threats are a pretty terrible way to blow off some steam, especially during a time when people are being chased out of the industry by them. But with Code Avarice’s Mike Maulbeck, who threatened Gabe Newell after his game, Paranautical Activity, was mislabeled as Early Access on Steam, the inverse has happened.
Maulbeck’s outburst led to Paranautical Activity being removed from Steam, and in an apology written on the Code Avarice blog, the developer explains that he’s stepped down and will no longer have anything to do with either the game or the company.
Paranautical Activity developer Mike Maulbeck has always had a tempestuous relationship with Valve and Steam, but the antagonism — and consequences — hit a new peak as Valve removed his game from the Steam store after Maulbeck apparently tweeted, “I am going to kill gabe newell [sic]. He is going to die."
Uber Entertainment has been unable to replicate Planetary Annihilation’s Kickstarter success with the studio’s new RTS project, Human Resources. As of today, the Kickstarter has been cancelled.
Human Resources would have seen giant robots and elder gods fighting over Earth in a bid for domination. While the promise of two ridiculous, asymmetrical factions; destructible cities, where buildings can be ripped out of the ground and used as weapons; and battles featuring hundreds of units intrigued backers enough to net the campaign almost $400k in pledges, it looked like the project wasn’t going to come close to its $1.4 million goal.
Plonk me down in the middle of a digital dungeon - one hand resting on the keyboard, the other poised, gripping a pencil, waiting to turn sheets of graph paper into elaborate maps - and there’s a good chance that nothing but a fire would divert my attention. Few opportunities for that sort of dungeon-crawling grace our PCs now, which is why Legend of Grimrock 2 is something to be treasured.
That, and because it’s simply excellent. So I’ve been playing it. And through the wonders of video, you can watch my earliest, pitiful, attempt to brave the dangers of a dungeon that is also an entire island. Take a gander below.
The Flame in the Flood, the procedurally generated rafting misadventure being developed by ex-BioShock, Halo and Guitar Hero devs swam past its initial Kickstarter goal today, only a week after its inception.
Now that the $150,000 has been pledged, The Molasses Flood is now looking at stretch goals, from $175k to $400k, and the first five have already been revealed.
When Runic Games’ co-founders, Travis Baldree and Erich Schaefer left the Torchlight studio and set up Double Damage Games earlier this year, they had yet to announce their first project. However, given their past, developing Fate, Diablo and Torchlight, it wouldn’t have been bonkers to expect them to make another ARPG.
Rebel Galaxy is not an ARPG. It’s a Firefly, outlaw and ‘70s sci-fi inspired space adventure.
Promising spaceship-bridge-perspective RTS, Flagship, has been cancelled. It had earned just over half of the £95,000 goal, and had less than five days remaining on the Kickstarter campaign. This was enough for twin developers Brad Jeffery and Matt J have decided to pull the project altogether.
- A top-down pixel art, action RPG. Using the classical Metroidvania level design. Set in a doomed world you can`t save, but try to anyway.
- A grand misery.
- Non-linear storytelling.
- Multiple endings.
- Countless secrets.
- Architectural level...
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When two games love each other very much, they rub up against each other and spawn another game. At least, this seems to be the case with Zachtronics’ Infinifactory, which looks a lot like a combination of the developer’s earlier games, Infiniminer and SpaceChem.
Zachtronics describes it as “Like Spacechem… in 3D!"
Sunless Sea is a grand old time, even when it’s extremely unsettling - a nautical adventure in an underground, Victorian sea. The game’s all about collecting stories and exploring the utterly bizarre world, but there’s combat too. It was turn-based, and clever, but ultimately the execution was a bit dull.
The whole point of Early Access, if we’re being optimistic, is for developers to see what works and what doesn’t, and this has lead to them throwing the old combat system out of the nearest port hole. Failbetter Games announced the change a couple of months ago, and after a couple of weeks of testing, the Steel update is now live, providing captains with real-time high seas battles.
After Ken Levine decided to “wind down" Irrational Games, a bunch of BioShock and BioShock Infinite devs banded together to create Day For Night Games and their first project, The Black Glove. Announced earlier this year, The Black Glove sounded like a tantalising game, where players are called on to alter the pasts of three artists in attempt to improve their works in the future.
Unsurprisingly, it’s ended up on Kickstarter. A strong pitch reveals more about the game, and I find my interest piqued even more, where experimentation, art and even arcade games have been squeezed together to create something utterly bizarre.
Hyper-hectic carnage and freedom simulator Broforce has just been struck with a new Early Access update, and it’s a big ‘un. New bros, more missions, a whole new region to blow up in the name of America and Steam Workshop support have been chucked into the game. Brodical.
For a while, This War of Mine felt like a refugee tycoon game. I’d scavenged enough medicine to make sure everyone was healthy. My characters had warm, dry beds and freshly-cooked food. Suddenly, war didn’t seem so scary. This siege was turning into an adventure in self-reliance, a kind of wartime Walden.
Then I couldn’t find food for two nights in a row, and some thugs came to our hideout and hurt Pawel before stealing our supplies. Once again we needed medicine we didn’t have. The food ran out and suddenly everyone was tired and slowly starving.
That’s why I found myself breaking into another family’s home one rainy night, to steal food and medicine from another group of people not unlike my own. My scavenger, Katia, got caught rummaging through their kitchen.
There wasn’t time to think. I just want straight at this middle-aged husband and father and started kicking the shit out of him. “Why are you doing this to us?" he pleaded.
Because my people were going hungry, and I was out of options. It was them or us.