Paul Prospero was never going to be an accountant or a sales assistant - not with a name like that. He was destined to be a supernatural detective; Fox Mulder with a hint of Sam Spade. He’s on a job, is our Mr. Prospero, and of course it’s his last one.
Red Creek Valley is where he’s been called to, at the behest of the Ethan Carter of the title, a young boy in some supernatural trouble. As the title of this unsettling first-person adventure implies, however, Ethan’s not around to explain what’s going on or, rather, what’s already happened. It’s a good thing that Prospero has mystical powers along with his sleuthing skills, then.
Movement in FPS has largely taken the back seat in recent times: you hold sprint, have a single jump and be done with it. Well Reflex aims to harken back to the days where being able to bounce around the map skillfully was considered king. Developers Turbo Pixel have included various “trickjumps" to help players move across an arena not only with speed, but while looking good at the same time.
Playing With Myself is a new series where I faff around in a newly launched or Early Access game for under an hour, and you watch me do all of this faffing on the ol' YouTube. Then, if you fancy it, you can take a gander at my written impressions. It's a Let's Play and an impressions piece stiched together like Frankenstein's monster. Also, it has a slightly rude title. Hooray!
I am being stalked by death, a hunter whose name is mother nature. She’s terrible and inescapable. Where survival games are often filled with supernatural or psychopathic antagonists, The Long Dark pits survivalists against the environment and the completely regular beasts that roam it.
It’s lonely, gorgeous and infinitely more threatening than a world filled with zombies.
Seth Alter makes unusual games. First, there was Neocolonialism, a digital board game that flipped the world upside down and tasked players with managing a corrupt corporation and exploiting the world. What at first seemed like a economic strategy game transformed into an almost roleplaying-like experience with players stepping into the shoes of the villains.
No Pineapple Left Behind is infinitely more unusual game, though. It’s a school simulator, but a wizard has turned the school children into pineapples. These sentient fruits are simple - they exist solely to take tests and get good grades. But if they are left to their own advices, they become children again, and they are much harder to look after. This is a game that has a lot to say about the American education system.
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It strikes me as unusual that so many survival games are solitary misadventures. It allows for greater focus on simply not dying, I guess; but the stakes are so much higher when more than one person is at risk. Adding more people into the mix offers the potential for exploring how relationships develop under stress, or how people fall into the roles of followers and leaders. And there’s something compelling about seeing loose groups of people coming together to overcome ridiculous odds.
That’s why I’m really rather excited about Before, despite only knowing a tiny bit about it. It’s a prehistoric survival game focusing on a struggling tribe of humans. And there are mammoths! I do love a good woolly mammoth. It almost ran the risk of not being anything more than an interesting concept, but Facepunch Studios, developer of Rust and Garry’s Mod, liked it so much the brought creator Bill Lowe into the fold.
With the constant stream of new releases, Early Access games and Greenlight guff, it’s hard to get noticed on Steam. But for most developers, getting their game on the platform is key. While the Steam Discovery update is still in its infancy, and we’re all still playing around with it, getting our bearings, it’s already having a positive impact for some developers.
Insurgency, based on the Half-Life mod, has been on Steam for a year, and developer New World Interactive relies on social media and word of mouth to generate interest in the game. According to creative director Andrew Spearin, store page visits have risen significantly, along with sales.
If you’ve ever looked at the horrible amounts of money big pharmacetical companies make out of human suffering and thought, “Gosh, I’d like to be part of that," but you still want to keep your soul, then I have good news for you. There’s a game for you: Big Pharma.
Big Pharma is a strategy management game inspired by the likes of Transport and RollerCoaster Tycoon. You run your own company, developing new drugs through research and production lines with an aim to sell them all for a nasty profit. But some uncomfortable truths about the business of healing underpins it all.
Ice-Pick Lodge’s Pathologic Kickstarter - the remake of the developer’s first brilliant, but clunky, impenetrable survival mystery - has reached the mid-point of the campaign and the outlook is pretty good. With 14 days to go, it’s already raised almost $230,000 of its $250,000 goal.
There’s a proper trailer now, too, and it’s appropriately enigmatic and disquieting.
When Double Fine announced the imminent release of Spacebase DF-9, last week, it came as a bit of a surprise. It seemed early, and a long list of hoped for and planned features had yet to be implemented. Now they won’t be implemented at all. Early Access once again looked like a risky gamble.
Tim Schafer recently took to the Steam forums to explain the studio’s decision.
It really can’t be stressed enough how much Distance impressed me when I saw it back at PAX East. The futuristic arcade racer brought back warm memories of games like F-Zero and Delta V, with its stylized cyberpunk world and driving soundtrack.
Soon, however, you won’t have to take my word for it. Refract Studios just announced that Distance will be on Early Access this fall, and released an enticing new trailer to give you a taste of Distance’s taut action and hypnotic art and music.
I can’t recall what my first heist movie was, though the earliest one I remember watching clearly was The Italian Job, thinking to myself how I’d really like to be Michael Caine when I grew up. More specifically, I wanted to be involved in a great heist, a “one last job" kind of deal.
The closest I’ve gotten is in our lovely digital realm, thanks to the likes of Payday, Monaco and Grand Theft Auto V - but none of them scratched my itch. Monaco was too silly, Payday was too focused on violence and shooting and Grand Theft Auto’s heists were too simple and short. The Masterplan, though, recently released through Steam Early Access, well - it has potential.
In Gang Beasts, little wobbling homunculi duke it out for no other reason than an addiction to pugilism. It’s a local multiplayer game where Jelly Baby-like brawlers throw each other off ferris wheels, into incinerators and in front of oncoming trains; a fighting game for people who don’t care about techniques, combos or perfect timing.
Jelly Babies are objectively the best sweet ever invented. They combine the joys of cannibalism with sugary gelatinous goodness. Where in the world would we be without these wonderful treats? But next time you dig into a packet of them, I bid you to stop for a moment. Take a closer look. Gaze into their dead eyes. What do you see? You see a lust for violence.
My burgeoning colony, the first of many I’d build in Gaslamp’s building and management and eldrich horror sim, Clockwork Empires, was off to a cracking start. Trees were transformed into wooden planks by factory workers. A small field was being ploughed. Berry pickers picked. People seemed happy.
Then the fishpeople came. They maimed. They killed. They ruined my field. My colonists discovered fear. They began uneasy conversations about death. And murder. And hunger. Starvation set in. Mrs Cogsprocket ate the corpse of a worker who had starved to death.
Clockwork Empires has a hint of survival horror about it.
Starbound is great. I have described it, in groups of serious adults, as “dead brilliant," like I was an excited child. Do people even say “dead brilliant" anymore? Well I do. But very rarely. That’s why it’s in our list of the 15 best sandbox games on PC. But developer Chucklefish isn’t resting on its laurels, no.
Four members of the studio are now at working making a co-operative, somewhat competitive pirate action adventure game: Wayward Tide. Swashbuckling adventures are dead brilliant.
I am Karel from Sileni Studios, a small indie game studio from Antwerp, Belgium. Since the beginning of this year, we've been working on a game called Mayan Death Robots.
For the occasion of this announcement, we made a trailer for the...
Double Fine’s Zelda-like deconstruction, Hack ‘n’ Slash snuck up on us today. The Early Access game upgraded to 1.0, a day ahead of its release date, and you can grab the finished adventure on Steam right now.
A release date surprise that’s good, what a world we live in.
There are a fair number of video game protagonists who are also unapologetic arseholes. Uncharted’s Nathan Drake, most of the playable characters in the Grand Theft Auto series, my Commander Shepard from Mass Effect and now Paradigm, the titular “hero" in Australian developer Jacob Janerka’s upcoming dystopian adventure game.
But Paradigm has an excuse for being an arsehole: he’s a hideous mutant and he’s stuck in a post-apocalyptic crap hole. Where the future world of Fallout - one of the inspirations for the game - was based on 1950s America, Paradigm takes place in a world inspired by Eastern Europe in the ‘70s & ‘80s.
Battle Brothers is a turn based strategy RPG mix wherein you lead a band of mercenaries in a medieval fantasy world on the hunt for coin, fame and legendary artifacts. The gameplay is inspired by such classics as X-Com: UFO Defense and Jagged Alliance.
The game consists of a strategical layer,...
There was a great deal of fun to be had in designing ships in Gratuitous Space Battles, but the system was limited to installing various practical modules on fixed hulls. Variety came in the form of species specific ships rather than the ability to create your own from scratch.
In Gratuitous Space Battles 2, things will be different. Not unlike Galactic Civilizations II (and its upcoming sequel), countless cosmetic components can be slapped on the hulls of ships, from things that spin to things that blink. You’ll be able to create properly hideous sci-fi disasters if that’s your cup of tea.
Back in February, 2013, Christopher Brookmyre’s book, Bedlam, hit the shelves. A story about a scientist sucked into virtual network of interconnected video games, Bedlam saw its characters jumping from Quake-like Starfire, through WW2 shooters, sandbox games akin to GTA, and even making a brief diversion into a god game.
18 months on, developer RedBedlam’s ready to show off the game of the book. Finally we’ll be able to see what happens when you take the weapons cache from a 90s sci-fi shooter and take it into a fantasy RPG.