Steam Next Fest is back with a veritable truck ton of fresh game demos to sample, and we've been plunging our eager little mitts into the latest batch of indie delights to unearth some handy recommendations for you to hit first. Running from now until February 13th, there are always oodles of demos to try in a Next Fest, so sometimes it's nice to have a helping hand in working out what's worth sinking your time into. Below, we've rounded up 16 of our favourites so far, and we'll be writing about plenty more demos we've yet to try over the coming week. Like previous Next Fests, we've only had access to a small portion of the full February Next Fest slate ahead of time, and what you'll see below is a selection of games that stood out to us the most in that early slice. There are no doubt loads more great demos to play across the next week and a bit that we haven't covered here (as well as some like The Great War: Western Front whose demos we wrote about in more detail last week), so if you happen across something neat, be sure to shout about it in the comments. We'll be playing and writing about more demos across the coming days, so watch out for further highlights later in the week. For now, though, here's what we think you should download first in this latest February Next Fest. Xenonauts 2 Hayden: Xenonauts 2 is a tough-as-nails split between base management and turn-based tactics that, like its predecessor, harkens back to the X-COMs of old. It’s an overwhelming game, and one that offers little guidance in learning how to defend the world from aliens. In fact, much of my time with the demo was spent getting slaughtered by them. They might shoot your troops through a slim line of sight that you could never have predicted. They might get got by their own teammate, who knew they’d miss a shot but decided to go whole hog and commit anyway. My favourite death so far is a soldier whose name I didn’t even get a chance to learn, because they got shot on round one, went berserk, and blew themselves up with a grenade launcher. RIP... that guy. But, even after it threw me out of the frying pan, clobbered me with it, doused me in
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Discover the lost legacy of Sir Reginald Sharkingston Some of my favourite games involve visiting a fantastical town, befriending the residents, discovering their stories, and trading with them. Too often those same games also have too-difficult turn-based murderfests in-between, though. Here comes Townseek to fix that. It's an adorable and "relaxing" exploration-trading game in which you pilot an airship, customise your balloon, and visit eg. some sort of bee kingdom, as per the screenshot above. There's an announcement trailer below: You'll be flying your ship around the world of Explora in order to discover "the lost legacy of Sir Reginald Sharkingston," says the press release about Townseek signing with publisher Super Rare. While travelling, you'll discover new towns, trade with the local sharkfolk, cats and slimes, and then go fishing or farm fruits. Each town you find will offer qu
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The RPS Time Capsule returns for its first outing of 2023, and this time we're casting our minds back to the hallowed year of 2006. Little did we know it at the time, but this is the year we start to see the birth of certain game series that are still alive and kicking today (just about), as well as the nascent beginnings of now beloved studios honing their craft on some of their very first titles. But which of those games have earned themselves a spot in the eternal RPS Time Capsule? Come and find out which ones have stood the test of time, and which, after reading this article, have been consigned to the smog-filled trashfire of future Earth. As per usual, we're going by the year of a game's PC release here, not when it came out on consoles, and it's this particular version of the game we're preserving, too. That's why some games might be absent from their original release year, as they may have received a shiny HD remake or remaster in subsequent years we'd want to save instead (needless to say, our Time Capsule is not bound by what is and isn't available to physically buy in this day and age - it's the sentiment that counts). The RPS Time Capsule isn't intended to be a definitive best games of the year list, either. Rather, these are all our personal picks, and the ones we'd want to save from the apocalyptic hellfires should they ever arise. Ideally, they'll hold important lessons worth holding onto for future generations, or just be really goddamn great in their respective genres. My biggest PC gaming memory from 2006 was mainly being dismayed that the laptop I'd just bought to take to university with me was not, in fact, capable of running the new Lego Star Wars game that year (the original trilogy), so that one's obviously been relegated to the fiery bins of spurned PC games. Naturally, though, with only ten available slots in our Time Capsule, there are bound to be some classics we've missed off the list, so why not remember them fondly in the comments below, as their PC boxes burn and crumble to dust around you? Dark Messiah Of Might & Magic Alice0: I like to imagine the future people opening this Time Capsule and finding a game from Arkane Studios, those heroes of the immersive sim revival and big fans of interesting settings. And they will find Arkane's second game, an early game set amidst wholly generic and uninteresting fantasy guff, yet with exciting traces of the playful and creative immsims they would go on to make. Plus a whole load of kicking men off ledges and cliffs and into spikes and into fires and smashing oil jars to light on fire and making people slip on ice and breaking platforms onto their heads and throwing boxes into fires to set them alight, then throwing burning boxes at their heads and cutting ropes to drop rocks on them. And these future people will be delighted. Dark Messiah Of Might & Magic is a singleplayer first-person stab-o-shooter with a few RPG touches. As you level up, you can pick freely across skill trees with your usual warrior, wizard, and rogue abilities, multiclassing as you wish. Lockpicking. Lighting bolts. Leap attacks. Backstabs. Fireballs. You get it. A Half-Life 2-style linear-ish story shooter with special abilities. What makes Dark Messiah so magic is how much it leans into the hot game technology trend of the mid-to-early noughties: physics. Max Payne 2 had arsehole physics turning Max into a walking disaster who knocked over absolutely everything, Half-Life 2 built physics more into puzzles and moment-to-moment action, then Dark Messiah blew up HL2's Ravenholm into an entire game (DMOMAM is, by the way, also built on Valve's Source engine). Every level of Dark Messiah is Traptown, absolutely crawling with environmental hazards. Castles and crypts are decorated with inexplicable spike walls just waiting for you to knock a baddy in with a joyful kick. Building standards are shocking, with fragile walkways over pits and fragile shelves storing heavy barrels, all of which will collapse with a careful hit. Though I suppose the builders of that rope bridge probably weren't expecting anyone to cut the rope while people were crossing. Dark Messiah turns fights into optional puzzles where sure, you could stab baddies, or zap them, or climb a rope arrow into the rafters and snipe at them, but the real satisfaction comes from figuring out how to kill everyone with the environment (ideally in combination with your boot). Dark Messiah is a perfect Time Capsule game for me because it captures a snapshot of past trends and a soon-to-be-prolific studio's history while still being fun today. Just Cause James: This series peaked with Just Cause 2. You know it, I know it, our starving, irradiated ancestors who open this Time Capsule will probably know it. But in 2006, the original Just Cause was already showing how much of a laugh you could have with a grappling hook and magically reusable parachute. The mid-air helicopter hijackings and impromptu base jumping these tools allowed for gave Just Cause a verticality and dynamism that other sandbox shooters just didn’t have at the time, even the (chronically underrated) Mercenaries. It was sunnier, too. And the scope! Even if its banana republic archipelago wasn’t the most extensively detailed game setting of the year, I still remember it blowing my tiny mind when I flew halfway up to space and still couldn’t see the edge of Just Cause’s world. Besides, you don’t need thousands of map markers when there are other ways of staying entertained, and this first game of the series did plenty to set an endearingly chaotic tone for the ones that followed. One of the boss battles is against an elderly Nazi in a gyrocopter, so maybe I’m wrong, and Just Cause peaked right there? Company Of Heroes Katharine: The original and arguably best (at least until Company Of Heroes 3 comes out perhaps), the first Company Of Heroes continues to be one of the seminal real-time strategy games of our time. There were, of course, other World War II RTS games out there before Company Of Heroes came along, but this was the one that felt like it was bringing something new to the table. With the ability for soldiers to receive veterancy bonuses the longer they stayed on the battlefield, each unit felt vital to your mission's success. Moreover, it rewarded you for being clever with unit positioning, cover and making use of its destructible environments, resulting in tense, fast-paced battles that were no longer decided simply by who had the largest number of troops at their beck and call. Visually, it also holds up surprisingly well considering its age. If nothing else, Company Of Heroes should be celebrated for just how timeless it feels, which is probably more than can be said for a lot of other games on this list (no disrespect, guys). Incredibly, it also continues to have a vibrant multiplayer scene, ensuring that even in the end days when this Time Capsule is eventually dug up, it still has the makings of a great co-op and competitive experience too. Assuming that the future end days still has viable internet, of course. Tomb Raider: Legend Rebecca: I submit Tomb Raider: Legend into the Time Capsule under slight sufferance. This game incensed my 15-year-old self upon release, because I'd had my heart set on a sequel to 2003's Tomb Raider: The Angel Of Darkness, and Legend not only threw that idea out of the window, but sent the whole continuity of the first six games flying along with it. Where was my narrative resolution? What became of Kurtis Trent in that cliffhanger ending? Why was Lara's backstory suddenly all different? You said it was going to be a trilogy, Eidos, you said. But even an outraged hormonal fangirl had to admit that Legend did have some things going for it. Keeley Hawes was a bit of a crush of mine at the time, so the fact that she was the new voice of Lara Croft helped get me through the door, however reluctantly. And yeah, all right, the game was good, representing a much-needed graphical and technical upgrade for the series. Indeed, lingering resentment of its narrative betrayal aside, I'
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Developers Frame Break also said they're not ruling out including automation further down the line It takes a particular type of farming game to really hook me in these days, but Lightyear Frontier's crop-planting mechs might just be the thing I've been looking for. Everything I've seen of Frame Break's futuristic life sim looks delightful so far, and in a recent [email protected] showcase, the developers told us a bit more about how it's going to operate, and whether those Stardew Valley comparisons are on the money. When asked whether players would be able to befriend NPCs like other Stardew-likes, Frame Break's CEO Joakim Hedström told us: "In short, yes. We don't have a full town like Stardew, but the characters that are there, you'll be able to get to know better and learn their stories." Alas, Hedström didn't expand on whether those friendships and stories would lead to romantic partnerships at all, but hey, at least we can look forward to some purely platonic pals at the very least. Instead, I suspect the bulk of your relationship forming will come from other players, as Frame Break are also adding multiplayer at launch, letting you team up with three additional pals to go exploring together in co-op. "With co-operative play, we're working to provide new dimensions to gameplay, and give players the opportunity to collaborate with friends," Heström says. "With multiplayer, we intend to provide options for players to share their worlds and have more ways to create fun experiences with each other." And that includes starting the game afresh in co-op, or inviting your mates into a homestead you've already made a start on. "We have designed the game entirely around both single-player and co-op, so you can play the exact same game alone or with friends. We've decided to balance it around single-player, so if you play with your friends, you'll be able to basically achieve more faster, because we wanted the collaboration to feel worth it, but also not to make the game feel too strenuous if you're playing alone." With your upgrading mech and taming its titular frontier bein
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. Damn, son. That's a ton of fast storage for the money. It was only last month that we last covered Solidigm - better known as SK Hynix - and their P41 Plus 2TB PCIe 4.0 SSD, which dropped to $122 at Newegg in the US. Today, there's another one-day sale on the drive, this time at $104.99 - an incredible value for an SSD of this spec. Get the Solidigm P41 Plus 2TB for $104.99 (
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A good value for a 10-core design. One of Intel's best budget gaming CPUs, the Core i5 13400F, is down to £189 at Tech Next Day in the UK - compared to £238 for the cheapest 12400/12400F model on Amazon UK. This is a great price for this level of performance, with a 10-core and 16-thread design, max turbo frequency of 4.6GHz and of course the same socket 1700 compatibility as other 12th and 13th-gen Intel CPUs. Note that to get this price, you'll need to use code TND-10 at the checkout - a long-runn
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The holy trinity of antitrust rejections A new week means one thing: another update on Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. According to a report from The New York Times, Microsoft is expecting the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to oppose the deal, after EU regulators issued their own antitrust warnings last week. Microsoft reportedly believes it can convince EU and UK regulators to accept their concessions and eventually approve the acquisition. While some other countries have approved the buyout, the three most important regulators (US, UK, EU) are all on the same page with a thumbs down. Last December, the US Federal Trade Commission moved to block the deal, arguing it would suppress competition in the console market alongside emerging business models like cloud gaming and subscription services such as Game Pass. Microsoft were hoping to finish the deal by the end of their fiscal year in June, but that seems unlikely as the FTC hearings are scheduled to begin on August 2nd. Regulators’ concerns stem from a number of giant IPs attached to ActiBlizzard including Diablo, Overwatch, and mainly, Call Of Duty. Sony and Microsoft have been in a seemingly eternal back-and-forth over CoD for months. Most recently, Microsoft’s comm lead Frank X. Shaw publicly fired shots at Sony, claiming that PlayStation execs were speaking to EU regulators dishonestly. According to Shaw, Sony were “claiming Microsoft is unwilling to offer them parity for Call of Duty if we acquire Activision." He continued to say that “Nothing could be further from the truth” as Microsoft were willing to sign a 10-year CoD deal “enforceable through a contract, regulatory agreements, or other means.” This is likely a similar 10-year deal as the one Nintendo and Valve were offered a couple of months ago. We can expect Microsoft to offer more concessions in an attempt to appease global regulators. An acquisition of this size isn't a good look for Microsoft, considering they recently laid off 10,000 employees. The layoffs affected Bethesda, another recent-ish MS acquisition, alongside their in-house Halo studio 343i, who are struggling to get back on track.
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Make broom for this in your library Vampire Survivor-likes are a thing now, all trying to emulate the success of Poncle's indie hit that became our best game of 2022. As I've said before, a lot of them can't quite match the OG for all manner of reasons, but Spellbook Demonslayers is different. Despite only being in early access, it's already got a solid foundation to work from. No, there isn't an Old Testament that whirls around your person like a holy sawblade, but there is a revolving shield with a pistol glued onto it. Yeah, I thought that would convince you. Spellbook Demonslayers is as you'd expect from a Vampire Survivors-like. An arena quickly fills with rotten hounds and fetid fungi, and you must steer a witch out of their way while periodic auto-attacks help keep the demonic massies to a manageable amount. What's neat about Spellbook Demonslayers is the way it iterates on Vampire Survivors' formula, borrowing the good bits from it but still managing to bundle it all up in a convincing witchy way. If there's one box that Spellbook doesn't so much tick as smash a hole through it using a combination of a dusty tome and a mean pitch, it's the game's catalogue of spells and upgrades. Hoover up gems from fallen demons to level up, and you'll get a choice of spell to imbibe your book with. Early access means it's not quite the equivalent of the Yellow Pages yet, but there's still plenty on offer to ensure you hit-fulfil a power fantasy sharpish. You might opt for sigils that highlight enemies and call forth deadly lightning bolts, or you'll invest in a rotating acid spray that makes demons explode on death. It's very hard to go wrong. And it's the way the game's spells all have interesting upgrade paths, transforming them sometimes once, sometimes twice into uber powerful versions of themselves. Ice traps become towering obelisks that shatter on impact. Fizzing orbs become the equivalent of beetles that'll scurry about and leech health. My favourite is a purple shield that I slapped two pistols onto, for a lovely guns-akimbo wall of defense. Again, Vampire Survivors features upgradeable powerups - and the option to weld them together - but many of the Survivor-likes I've tried don't! So, it's refreshing that Spellbook rewards one's investments with similarly fun evolutions. Enemy and arena variety isn't all that high at the moment. Each new stage I've tried is fairly similar and rather small, with the same slew of demons too. I'm certain some extra time in the cauldron will mean plenty more of both bubbling up to the surface. Manage to beat a stage's 30-minute timer and the game will hit you with a handful of challenges: defeat all the elite enemies until the game says you've won, or essentially, survive for as long as you possibly can. By this point, you would've gained a load of "Astral Blooms" which you can spend at the main menu on a load of incremental upgrades. A bit tedious unfortunately. The real plus side of survival, though, lies in unlocking new spell books that act like new characters. Your pink-haired gal won't change, but the b
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Wishfully's cinematic platformer will "definitely get darker" as it goes on, though Wishfully's upcoming cinematic platformer Planet Of Lana turned eyes and heads when it was first announced at E3 2021, and the comparison we instantly settled upon was "like Ori meets Inside". At a recent [email protected] showcase we attended last week, creative director and Wishfully co-founder Adam Stjärnljus acknowledged that Playdead connection, saying that both Limbo and Inside "had a huge impact on me". But he also said Studio Ghibli's animated film Spirited Away was another key influence, which, yep, that definitely tracks. "I was very inspired by Studio Ghibli films, and especially the film Spirited Away," Stjärnljus told us. "That's been kind of like a guiding star from the beginning in terms of tonality with this serious, emotional story, but [also] still, like, a fun quirkiness to it, and really this sense of exploring another world, which we really want." Stjärnljus was also inspired by the "epic sidescroller adventures" he liked growing up, name-dropping OddWorld, Flashback and Another World. "[Planet Of Lana] will definitely get darker as you get further into the game," he adds. "What we're going for is really an epic adventure with proper character progression and a story with a proper beginning, middle and an end. We have a lot of twists and turns for you." During the [email protected] showcase, there weren't any signs of those dark portents to come just yet, but we did get a closer look at a new swamp area on Lana's home planet of Novo, which her fuzzball companion Mui has a hard time navigating thanks to their unfortunate fear of water. "Where we are here in the game, Lana and Mui have already been able to get to know each other for a while, and Mui has proven to be a loyal friend and ally to you," says Stjärnljus. "And here [in the swamp], Lana realises Mui's weakness, which is that she's really, really afraid of water. She just won't go into water, so Lana needs to find another way to get Mui across." In the first lake you come to, Lana finds a nearby log to float over to Mui and swim her across, but Mui quickly repays the favour by jumping up a sheer cliff to push down a vine so Lana can climb up and follow her. This isn't automatic, though - players will need to direct Mui to certain points on the map to help Lana on her quest, which is all accompanied by the soothing strings of Takeshi "The Last Guardian" Furukawa's beautiful score. Later in the short demo, we also get to see Mui's Hypnotise power in action, where she tames a strange creature with a white glowing eye and long, evil-looking tentacles (see above). Turns out this creature is connected to another large, shrub-like monster in the background, which starts sucking up or blooping out lots of water in the large ditch they've just climbed as Lana controls Mui's hypnotising power, changing the height of the water to unlock a new path. "Both Lana and Mui have their own strengths and weaknesses," Stjärnljus continunes, "and what Lana and Mui can do together and separately is really key to the
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Hackin' & slashin' through the Han Dynasty During the weekend’s Taipei Game Show, Team Ninja announced that Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty would receive one final demo on PC and consoles. The action-RPG’s demo will be available starting from February 24th at 8AM GMT/ 9AM CET/ 3AM ET until March 27th. The full game is slated to launch on March 3rd for PC, consoles, and Game Pass, so you can try out the game’s Chinese-martial arts combat before and after release. The final demo features the first two chapters of the game, both of which weren’t available in the previous demo. Team Ninja promises
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. Sidestepping through Darkspawn
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. After two years of early access, the spacefaring looter shooter Everspace 2 is ready to fly into full release for PC on April 6th. Last November, the open-world sequel received its last major update before release, adding in a rift-opening endgame. The game already has grappling hooks - which automatically makes every shooter better - so, now we’re just waiting for a few extra bits before it’s ready for takeoff. Developer Rockfish Games are still hard at work ahead of the 1.0 launch
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. Admiring interesting and attractive indie games
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The freeze potion is also good for making iced coffee I hesitate to call Potion Tales a shop sim or retail management game, because the economics of running a figuratively and literally underground magic potion shop seems a secondary concern next to making the potions and deciding whether you want to screw people over or not. If the answer to that last part is yes, you need to move on to the question of how. In practice, Potion Tales is a 3D puzzle game. People come to you - I use the term people broadly because the tutorial level involves helping a fire spirit and soon after you're approached by what appears to be an aggressive daisy who is the local gravekeeper - and present you with a problem. They ask for a potion to solve the problem. That's all the steer you get. It takes some getting used to, but the Steam demo shows an impressively flexible game with a good sense of humour. Potion Tales has great sound design too Whenever someone comes in, puzzle A is consulting your recipe book and finding something you think will, to within a few degrees, do the trick. Puzzle B is finding the ingredients on your shelves and following said recipe. This latter puzzle is the most fiddly bit. Your game area in Potion Tales is a small one, with most of the room taken up with a large box shelf along the back wall. Each cubby has a jumble of different ingredients in it, with no real order, and each potion has four ingredients. Finding them can be tough, so you need a good eye - sure, some are rocks that produce smoke, so are relatively easy to spot, but the bundle of unknown various hair is a similar shade of brown to the shelves. Other ingredients, meanwhile, are a jar that you only have one of, so you musn't lose it. Pleasingly, though, you can pick up and move items around at your leisure, so if you want you can organise all your ingredients by colour, usage or type. It's very similar to organising your plants in Strange Horticulture. The mushrooms that look like Robin Hood hats in Potion Tales can go next to the mushrooms that cry, for example, and I also then decided to
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Cower, brief mortals! Wait, that's a halloween thing, isn't it. Welcome to the magic circle, pals! Not the actual one, just, like, thematically speaking. Starting today until next Friday, February 17th, it's Magic Week here at RPS, where we aim to highlight all manner of fabulous games about magic, witches, wizards, general sorcery and other spell-adjacent tomfoolery. We're also putting special emphasis on magic games made by trans developers, too. Join us for a glimpse of what's coming up. We'll be posting about games that are out now, games that have demos, and games that aren't going to be out for a bit, but seem like they're worth keeping an eye on. There are games about schools, kind of creepy games, life sims, potion brewing, and even a bit of wrestling. Over the next two weeks, keep an eye out for any posts with the little magic logo in the corner of the thumbnail image, or follow the RPS Magic Week tag to see new articles go up. We'll also be adding everything you write to this post right here, so why not whack it in your bookmarks for later, yeah? At RPS we've always been about championing great indie games and creators who put interesting, weird, or otherwise good stuff out into the world. We h
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Sundays are for folding away your clothes horse carefully, so it doesn't snap shut on your fingers. Before you struggle, let's read this week's best writing about games (and game related things). Over on The Guardian, Lewis Gordon asks: Can video games change people's minds about the climate crisis? A look at "climate positivity" and player agency to do good climate things, and whether that's enough to actually have an impact on their climate outlook. There's also more to be done from companies on reducing their carbon footprint, too. And that's a whole other challenge. When Sony pledges to plant trees for every “Reached the Daunt” trophy earned by players of Horizon: Forbidden West, an effort promoted as part of the 2022 Green Game Jam, it raises the spectre of greenwashing. Sony recently announced that it was accelerating its net zero commitments by 10 years, but 2020 emissions stemming from the use of its TVs and game consoles were the highest they’ve been since 2016, according to its 2021 sustainability report. Furthermore, an eye-watering 17.1m tons of C02 were created over the course of its products’ life-cycles, with a further 1.4m tons emitted from the company’s business sites. Next to these numbers, it’s hard to see tree-planting as anything other than trivial. Zack Zwiezen wrote a post on how it's okay if a game wraps up for Kotaku. Turtle Rock Studios recently announced that they're not going to release any new stuff for Back 4 Blood. Zwiezen argues that developers moving onto something new shouldn't be looked down on. Before let’s say, 2013, games could be released, supported for a bit, and then the developer could move on. Rarely did people bat their eyes at this. Nobody expected a developer to stick with a single game for five, seven or 12 years. There were some exceptions, of course, big MMORPGs like EverQuest II or insanely popular PC games like Counter-Strike or The Sims. But those were rarities. For a long time games launched, people played and enjoyed them, and devs moved on. Maybe if a game was really good and sold very well, it might get an expansion
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The snowdrops are out! This is still a sign of winter, but it's a sign of winter progressing, and the progress of winter inevitably leads towards spring. Then we'll have the crocus, and iris, and bluebell, and oh spring! I'm overwhelmingly excited by the realisation that come Thursday, sunset in Edinburgh will no longer fall during working hours. Ah, light! Life! But until then, what are you playing this weekend? Here's what we're clicking on! Alice Bee I'm almost finished cleaning the Croft mansion in PowerWash Simulator. It's a good house to clean. Lots of nooks and decorative architectural features to get into. Although I question the wisdom of blasting an antique wood cabinet with a pressure hose, idk. Alice0 I want to be outdoors this weekend. As I might have mentioned, winter has been monstrous to me. I want to cycle and I want to swim, and I know my legs have grown weak and my hide vulnerable. But as they say: winter miles mean summer smiles. Ed Truthfully, I have no idea what I'm playing this weekend. I'm visiting a friend to round off some plans for our trip to Japan next month (!), so I'll be shortlisting cool spots and not like, splicing together personas on my Switch. Totally unrelated, but I've been eyeing up the Steam Deck recently. Liam says it's "transformative", which is probably enough to justify the financial repercussions, right? Right?! Hayden I've been playing Pentiment lately, but struggled to really get into it. I had dipped my toes in, but doing so sent a signal to my brain that was the equivalent of the DON'T DEAD OPEN INSIDE sign from The Walking Dead. I eventually realised that my struggle was due to playing Pentiment and reading a book back-to-back. My two main hobbies-of-the-month involved reading words, and my brain was building a defense faster than an Age Of Empires pro. So, I ditched the book for a few days and used Pentiment to fill my reading time. That was the breakthrough I needed, and I'm now moving on to Act 3 over the weekend. Figuring this out took weeks, and I am very proud. James Fine, I'll play Hi-Fi Rush, jeez. Alright, alright, it
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. Who will solve the puzzle of where your money went Steam offered discounts on builders last month, and is is due to offer cheap mysteries from February 20th-27th. They've already announced the next genre-specific sale, though: Steam Puzzle Fest is coming in the last week of April. April 24th until May 1st, according to the announcement. "Join us as we break the code, find the missing piece, and align the elements during Steam Puzzle Fest. Featuring discounts and demos on current and upcoming games, this event is for games focused on the spirit of solving puzzles." As
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After years of early access Epic exclusivity Tactical mech shooter Phantom Brigade has been held by the twin prisons of early access and the Epic Games Store for a couple of years now, but it'll soon be set free. Developers Brace Yourself say it'll hit 1.0 and arrive on Steam on the same date: February 28th. Here's the 1.0 release date trailer: If you don't know it: Phantom Brigade is a tactical RPG in which you travel a dynamic campaign map and deploy squads of mechs into battle. Combat is a mixture of turn-based and real-time, with move-and-shoot commands carried out simultaneously, Frozen Synapse-style. Once you're done stomping through cities ands suburbs to wipe out your opponent, you reti
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. Still coming this month but no longer 1.0 Cannibal and arboreal survival 'em up Sons Of The Forest was due to to launch later this month, and it has not been delayed. It's developers have announced that they've decided to release into Steam Early Access, however, after initially intending to head straight to 1.0. "It’s been a long journey since we first started ‘Sons of The Forest’ development and it’s grown into the biggest most complex game we have ever made," says the announcement. "There is still so much more we want to add; items, new mechanics, gameplay balance and more. We didn’t want to delay again so have instead decided to involve the community in the continued development of this project and keep our February 23rd release date but instead release in Early Access." As the announcement also says, an early access release worked out pretty well for its predecessor. The Forest launched as a barebones but visually impressive thing in 2014, then
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. It'll now arrive at the end rather than start of March HBO's The Last Of Us television series has reportedly increased the player count for The Last Of Us on console, years after its original release. It stands to reason that there might be increased interest in the looming PC release, too, but you'll have to wait a few extra weeks. Naughty Dog announced yesterday that their shroomy shooter has been delayed. It'll now arrive on March 28th. Naughty Dog tweeted the news in traditional fashion: The Last of Us Part I PC will now be released on March 28. An update from our team: pic.twitter.com/lvApDT71Xj— Naughty Dog (@Naughty_Dog) February 3, 2023 "We initially announced The Last Of Us Part 1 PC release would be March 3, but we've decided to push its launch date out by just a few weeks; it will now be released on March 28," begins the statement. It goes on to say that they've loved seeing the reaction to the TV series, and that they therefore "want to make sure that The Last Of Us Part 1 PC debut is in the best shape possible. "These additional few weeks will allow us to ensure this version of The Last Of Us lives up to your, and our, standards." Part 1 is a remake/visual upgrade of the original Last Of Us. It released on PlayStation 5 last year and we've consequently already seen plenty of it. It looks as nice as a grim post-apoc murderfest can. The TV show, meanwhile, has been a smash hit and has already been confirmed for a second season, although
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. I'm going to bounce on your head and somersault down your neck When Duke Nukem 3D burst onto the FPS scene in the Nineties, young CJ was a bit confused. This Duke wasn't the purple-shirted acrobat I'd known from Apogee Software's pair of platformers earlier that decade. He was brash, crude, and and didn't side-scroll anymore. It wasn't for me, so I moved on to other games. I still occasionally loaded up those earlier platformers though, wistfully remembering a time when Duke presumably used actual toilets when he needed to answer a call of nature. Apogee were the dons of PC platforming back in the early to mid Nineties. I suspect that was partly down to people having easy access to the games they published through shareware, such as id Software's Commander Keen and Wolfenstein 3D. I can't even remember now if I ever actually owned the whole of 1991's Duke Nukem, but I played whatever portion I had repeatedly enough that it may as well have been a full game. The platforming version of Duke Nukem was a little like Turrican and Mega Man. It's not easy to get hold of these days, but you can find the game on some abandonware sites if you choose to look around. It pit Duke against the evil Dr. Proton and various underlings, and you could somersault our surpr
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Gather round, children, and I’ll tell you of something magical: the NZXT Source 340 compact mid-tower PC case with side window, product code CA-S340W-B1. Good gravy, did I love that case. Tightly proportioned without being too cramped for a full-size graphics card, maturely designed without looking dull, and hewn from some of most gorgeously textured matte steel I’ve seen on a piece of computing hardware. Don’t even get me started on the upgraded Source 340 Elite. It’s been years since these cases disappeared fr
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You might recognise developer Octavi Navorro’s pixel art in Thimbleweed Park, 2017’s detective point-and-clicker. But since then, Navorro has been releasing surreal 2D horror games on an almost annual basis. Navarro’s series Midnight Scenes has been the highlight, having disturbing premises and Twilight Zone creepiness. The newest episode, Midnight Scenes: From The Woods is due on February 9th and it looks as chilling as ever. From The Woods is set in Fernwood Creek, a youth mental health centre surrounded
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. I really do not play enough visual novels these days. Raptor Boyfriend has been sat on my hard drive for at least a year, and it won't be the last. Historically, I have fallen hard for two kinds of VN: emotionally probing character dramas like Eliza and Watch Me Jump, or gentle and slightly silly comedies like Laura Silver and Camp W. The jokey dating-sim-but-everyone's-a-talking-table type ve
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. This year, I decided to make a New Year’s Resolution for the first time in my life. I’m 21 and my knees click, which means I must be turning into stone faster than someone having a staring contest with Medusa. So, I vowed to exercise a few times a week. Then, during my first week back at work, vid bud Liam told me to try Age Of Empires II. Never before has a New Year’s Resolution been abandoned so fast. I really wanted to stick with it. Promise. But! After my first match, the following 30 hours vanished quicker than the Galaxy Caramels in a box of Celebrations. I became obsessed. I ma
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Mei's backstory is the focus of the Antarctic Peninsula Overwatch 2’s third season is right around the corner and, as always, that means we’re getting a new map. Blizzard have treated us to our first look at the Antarctic Peninsula, an icy-themed control map launching alongside Season 3 on February 7th. The Antarctic Peninsula is a big deal since it’ll delve into Mei’s backstory, it’s the first natural environment in an OW map, and it lets you fish. As in catching fish. At an ice hole. As in, you can catch fish at an ice hole in Overwatch 2. The Overwatch Twitter account released a 10-second clip of how the Easter egg slash mini-game works. Essentially, the map’s hard ice floors co
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. The last few weeks have been messy for The Day Before, the survival MMO that was Steam’s most wishlisted game for much of 2022. Last month, The Day Before’s Steam page was quietly removed from the storefront following a trademark dispute. Developer Fntastic also delayed the game from March 1st to November 10th at the same time, just days before they promised to show some raw gameplay footage of it in action. The whole debacle led to accusations on Reddit and Discord that the game didn’t even exist, but at long last, that promised gameplay video has arrived. And... it’s merely fine.
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The Great War: Western Front is also getting a Steam Next Fest demo next week The makers of Command & Conquered Remastered have announced their new WW1 RTS The Great War: Western Front will be releasing on March 30th 2023. It's also getting a Steam Next Fest demo next week on February 6th, which gives you access to its chunky tutorial and the early portion of its campaign, plus the Historic Battle of The Battle Of Passchendaele, which is the mission I got a chance to play at the end of last year. As it turns out, I've also had a sneak peek at the Next Fest build, too, and there's a heck of a lot to sink your teeth into. Here's a small glimpse of what to expect. If you've been keeping an eye on
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Developer Velan Studios have announced that their team-based dodgeballer is being, well, knocked out. Season 9 of Knockout City will be its last and online services will be shut down on June 6th at 12PM GMT/6AM CST/7AM ET. Dodgeballers won’t be able to play Knockout after this date, but Velan have promised that a standalone, private-server version of the game will be coming to PC sometime after. In a recent blog post, the game’s director Jeremy Russo explained the reason behind the news, saying “a lot of our systems supporting long-term player retention are in need of significant changes.” Russo explained that making these changes, while supporting the game through updates, is “virtually impossible to
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A supposed performance upgrade backfires spectacularly While the patch notes for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt’s 4.01 update claim it "improves the overall stability and performance of the game", if you’re not using the recently added ray tracing settings, it might well do the opposite. I gave the patch a whirl to try out its PC-specific changes – namely a new 'Performance' setting for RT global illumination and a fix for the broken screen space reflections setting – only to find that non-ray-traced, DirectX 12 performance has been utterly knackered. Again. Funnily enough, the new global illumination setting works well, and even using basic ray tracing settings means you avoid the sudden perfor
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I tend to find that a lot of rhythm games hold back from going completely beast mode. It definitely comes from a place of accessibility, where an onslaught of timed bars and coloured symbols can be intimidating for casual players. But what about the rest of us who want to be pummelled to death in time with a catchy beat? Good news! TinyBuild's new action-adventure game Rhythm Sprout: Sick Beats & Bad Sweets does not hold back. I'm not even halfway through the game and I’ve had my butt completely kicked by its barrage of oncoming beats, and all in perfect time to its soda-pop EDM. In Rhythm Sprout you play as a cute onion knight who is sent on a quest to find the missing princess Cauliflower and save the veggie em
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A great price for the best value Zen 4 CPU for gaming. AMD's Ryzen 7000 processors offer incredible gaming and content creation performance, though high prices have stifled their adoption. Now, these CPUs - and their accompanying motherboards and RAM - are starting to become more affordable, with the high-end Ryzen 7 7700X dropping from a launch price of £440 to just £312 at Amazon UK as of today. Get the AMD Ryzen 7 7700X for £312 (was £440) The 7700X is the most desirable Zen 4 processor for gaming, as it packs the maximum number of cores into a single core complex, delivering excellent frame-rates without the slight penalty of data needing to travel from one complex to another as we see on
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This Fast IPS monitor is a firm favourite - and even cheaper with employee/student discounts. Dell's S2721DGFA is one of the best 1440p gaming monitors on the market thanks to its use of an LG Fast IPS panel, blending the plus points of both TN and IPS displays. Normally this monitor costs north of £300, but today it's down to £279 at Dell UK, a great price that can be dropped further to £251 if you have a student or Dell Advantage employee account. Get the Dell S2721DGFA First - that extra discount. For this, you'll need to either sign up to Dell's student portal or access the Dell Advantage programme, which is offered via some employers. Through this, or similar sites like Perks at Work, you
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Last December's third expansion was its last Image provided by Turtle Rock Studios Co-op zombie smasher Back 4 Blood won't be getting any new content. Developers Turtle Rock say that River Of Blood, the expansion which launched in December 2022, was it's last as they're now working on a new game. "This phase of our war against the Ridden now comes to a close," says the announcement. "Turtle Rock Studios is actually pretty small for a studio making AAA games. We don’t have quite enough folks to continue working on Back 4 Blood content while we spin up another game – yes, another game! Given this, it’s time for us to put our heads down, get back in the lab, and get to
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A 462x month-on-month increase in revenue Dwarf Fortress selling half a million copies on Steam in just a few weeks already indicated that its creators, the Adams brothers, were due a windfall. Now the latest earnings report from Bay 12 Games is here to put an exact dollar figure on that success. Here's a tease: revenue in January was up over 462x since December. In December of 2022, the last month when Dwarf Fortress's earnings were driven purely via donations, Bay 12 Games made a respectable $15,635. That's roughly equivalent to what they made in the three months prior, too. In January of 2023, when Valve paid out the profits from sales of the Dwarf Fortress release on Steam, Bay 12 Games ma
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Celebrating its 5th anniversary with a time warp It's great that games are now regularly updated post-release, but it's also common for me to long for those halcyon days when I first fell in love with a game. It's good news then that Deep Rock Galactic is celebrating its fifth anniversary by making it possible to play it exactly as it was at release in early 2018. Of course, that's just one way they're celebrating the milestone, alongside an anniversary event and new DLC. Deep Rock Galactic's post-launch content updates have all been free, with ongoing development funded by new sales of the game and cosmetic bundles. Apparently there's been a "repeated question" from players, however, about how
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. Not a good time to lose one's Skul It's a new month, which means there's a new wave of games to join and leave Game Pass. As of today, we know of a new set of leavers, and it includes head-turning action platformer Skul: The Hero Slayer and the wonderfully destructive Besiege. You surely know Besiege, given that it's got 40,000 overwhelmingly positive reviews on Steam. It's about building your own medieval siege engine and then using it to destroy pastoral dioramas with gloriously physicsy results. It's a real shame that it's leaving Game Pass, because it's an excellent toy that's easy to lose hundreds of hours inside. Skul: The Hero Slayer is only slightly less well-known, and mainly because it's easy to mistake for about a dozen other 2D rogue-lite platformers. Skul is a good one though, in which you throw your own head at enemies like a grenade and then teleport to its location to continue to hack-and-slash fight. The other games handing back their pass are: Recompile, a hacking action-adventure Ed liked quite a bit; Infernax, which is a sort of Ghouls 'n' Ghosts 'em up; and The Last Kids On Earth And The Staff Of Doom, a zombie-smashing action RPG which geez I guess no one realised existed. All of these games will leave on February 16th.
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. Now that The Sims 4 has babies and toddlers, the family unit is complete. Perfect timing too, as the game’s next expansion is all about growing up with family. The Sim 4’s Growing Together Expansion Pack is out March 16th and it’s planning to expand the way your Sims change over time and relate to other Sims As always, the trailer for the expansion has a banger Simlish track in the background, but it also highlights a few key additions that are part of the update. We don’t have a full run down, but planned events like slumber parties and spontaneous milestones like a midlife crisis can shape your Sims and their relationships. At least Sims don’t need to worry about the real-life, annual midlife crises. Social dynamics for friends and family are also getting a bit deeper. Sims now have preferences that can determine the way they feel about others upon first meeting. A Sim might fall in love at first glance, or immediately hate another Sim who they’ve just met. The expansion is promising that family dynamics can be impacted by major life events. The Growing Together Expansion is also introducing San Sequoia, a fishing village that’s been turned into a major city, but it still looks pretty cosy all things considered. As always, the expansion is adding new clothing and hair options, alongside new items and furniture for build mode. If you buy the expansion before April 27th you’ll receive the outdoor playtime digital pack, too. Sims 4 is a free-to-pl
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Can I tell you a secret? I'm terrible at Battle Brothers. I'm still terrible at Battle Brothers, even after playing it on and off for a few years. It's a bit like Blood Bowl, oddly, in that it's all about mitigating risks. And like Blood Bowl, despite having a decent head for tactics and planning on the fly, I am hopeless at sticking to them when I see a new idea, thus: terrible. At it. But since an update last March looks likely to be its last big one, it's about time to get over myself and gave it a proper look as a complete package. It's long overdue, in fact. Although I still struggle to fully enjoy it, Battle Brothers is an unusually good tactical game, and the one to beat for the burgeoning subgenre of mercenary management sims. That's partly because it sticks so resolutely to its guns. Where Bannerlord faltered by throwing extraneous stuff unrelated to the core combat that should have defined it, and other open world games typically take a varied but shallow "do and be everything" approach, Battle Brothers resists dilution of that core concept. A trailer for the Blazing Deserts 2020 DLC for Battle Brothers It might not have spread its focus far, but it takes ages to excavate after multiple rounds of DLC (and when you're not very good at it), because of how much it variegated the details. Overhype Studios have focused on adding more possibilities, with each DLC even taking advantage of the prior ones a little. The more of them you have, the more chance there is of their details bumping into each other, to the point where it would feel weirdly incomplete to go back and play without them. Not that Battle Brothers ever did feel incomplete, mind. It's simply grown, quite naturally, and wouldn't fit in those old shoes. Fortunately that doesn't complicate describing it: you generate a 2D map dotted with towns, villages, and loads of hidden wilderness, and lead a party of little low fantasy medieval dudes around it. Time here passes in regular fashion, consuming food, wages, and often other supplies to repair and reload weapons, and dress wounds. Also moving around are other parties, a
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. I've never actually finished a game of Stellaris. I doubt I'm the only ardent fan of the game that hasn't done so. The best thing about it, as is so often the case with 4X and grand strategy games, is the very beginning. That opening half-hour of limitless potential and giddy curiosity is utterly spellbinding. I don't know if any strategy game does it better. Part of the game's wonder is just its increased scope. While your Civilizations or your Crusader Kingses offer up a continent or a world to explore and conquer, in Stellaris it's a whole galaxy. One richly packed with species, anomalies, dangers, events. Stories. The other big piece of the puzzle is the soundtrack, which I still listen to on a monthly basis. Stellaris can put forward a damn good argument for having the best space opera music in videogames. Like the game, it's breathtaking in scope, and equal parts comforting and daunting. If you enjoy the soundtrack of Interstellar, I'd highly recommend the Stellaris soundtrack. It's the perfect backdrop to either a tale of peaceful advancement and exploration of our galact
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Characters from the Hunting Ground series make an appearance, too Capcom’s monstrously big Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak is receiving its fourth free title update on February 7th. Sunbreak’s latest update adds new Event Quests, Anomaly Research content, paid DLC, and two new Elder Dragons to hunt. I don’t think any of these additions are as exciting as the giant Sweetcorn weapon introduced last year, but I digress. The most exciting parts of the new update are, of course, the new Elder Dragons. Velkhana is a returning foe from Monster Hunter World's Iceborne expansion, and we got a hefty look at lord of the tundra in a new trailer (embedded above). Velkhana still deals icy attacks to freeze you in place, so wear something warm. Velkhana can be challenged from Master Rank 10 onwards. The update’s other big boss is the Risen Crimson Glow Valstrax who can be challenged starting at Master Rank 160 and above. Risen Crimson Glow Valstrax is an ultra-fierce variant of the dragon, similar to other Risen dragons we’ve seen in the game before. As well as introducing these formidable beasties to Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak, the title update further expands on Anomaly Research Quests, introducing the afflicted Chaotic Gore Magala in A8* quests, adding Risen Elder dragons from level 111 onward, and raising the anomaly investigation level cap to 220. Weekly Event Quests will continue to arrive as well, bringing new rewards each time. I especially love the white earmuffs spotted in the trailer, mainly because they look warm and cosy. The update is rounded out by some paid cosmetics, including characters from Capcom’s The Hunting Guide series, who all look charmingly out-of-place in Sunbreak’s art style. Capcom have promised another free title update in April. Until then, you’re free to hunt the new Risen Dragons in Hunting Guide cosplay on February 7th, when the fourth title update arrives on PC and consoles. Monster Hunter Rise and its Sunbreak expansion are available on Steam for a combined sum of £58/€70/$70. The base game is also available on Game Pa
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Forspoken's direct storage, The Last Of Us TV show, and becoming a cyborg The Electronic Wireless Show podcast returns in 2023 with a new friend and a new format. We ran out of themes, so we're going to flip to a magazine-ish show, where we discuss some current events as well as the games we've been playing. This week we talk about games on film, with everyone bloody loving The Last Of Us TV show and reports that Lara Croft will be hitting the small screen too. We also discuss the reasons a developer might have to come out and clarify that their game is, in fact, real. Plus: "try cutting off their limbs"; what is Forspoken, and why so graphics? Fear not, regular listeners: some things have stayed the same. Nate has built a strange tower on top of the Cavern Of Lies, within which we must pass his strange trials, and the episode ends with a check in with Henry Cavill and a new round of recommendations. Links News We record on Tuesdays, so it's possible something may have changed with these stories in the meantime, please don't write in. Games on film! The Last Of Us is getting a second season, and The Hollywood Reporter says Phoebe Waller-Bridge is working on a Tomb Raider TV series for Amazon. Are TV adaptations of games good? Is there any point making one that a shot for shot remake of cutscenes already in the game? What would be your ideal adaptation of a game? Trouble in live service paradise - Battlefield 2024 is reverting back to its old class system, and Overwatch 2 is rejigging its ranked mode. If you play a live service game, do you just expect stuff to be fixed? What other medium can just change stuff after it's out? Shots fired (at Sony, by Microsoft employee) in the ongoing debate on the ActiBlizz acquisition My 'The Day Before Is Definitely Not A Scam' t-shirt has people asking a lot of questions already answered by my shirt. What We've Been Playing Nate has been watching last year's Age Of Empires 2 Titans League, hosted by T90, and playing cute little tower defense puzzle game Isle Of Arrows. James has been playing the Dead Space Remake (which is Dead S
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. Squashable and hand-washable Little fluffy stuffed friends exert a strange and unknowable power over me. These days we only occasionally get offered free stuff as part of our jobs, because we are not YouTubers or Twitch streamers. When I first started websites would get sent a lot of stuff - you know, statuettes and toys and doodads. I don't like these things, and I always wi
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With the world continuing to disintegrate around us in real-time, it can be tempting to cast our eyes skyward in the hope of finding a better future. If KeokeN's Deliver Us games are anything to go by, though, life in outer space isn't all that peachy either. In Deliver Us The Moon, you may remember the scientists in charge of the moon's Earth-saving energy beam tech ended up having a bit of a Rapture moment, sabotaging all their good work (and the future of Earth in the process) and buggering off to goodness knows wh
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The eye-bending new game from Daniel Linssen If you spent a portion of the 90s going cross-eyed to look at Magic Eye 3D pictures of dolphins, elephants, and sailboats emerging from fields of noise, you might enjoy the new platformer from indie developer Daniel Linssen. It's called Stereogram, because it's made of moving stereograms. Let your eyes go slack and gaze into the distance of an optical illusion as you jump around pretty little Magic Eye levels in this platformer which reminds me of VVVVVV. Stereogram (the game) is a platformer where you you run and leap across 100 connected screens ('rooms'), jumping and wall-sliding and riding elevators and bouncing off doodads and such. It seems like it introduces more movement abilities as it goes, though I've not reached the end yet because I need to keep resting my eyes. Because, you know, if you look at the game normally, you'll only see two separate little screens of incomprehensible shifting noise. Stereograms are an optical illusion which encodes two similar-but-different 2D images with cues that, if you look at the pictures in the right way, will trick your brain into seeing a third screen with the actual image and the appearance of 3D depth. You need to gaze through the images, kind of, not actually looking at them, which creates the illusion a third image hovering between the two with the 3D image. (For reference, the Magic Eye images so popular in newspapers and coffee table books are technically autostereograms, using only a single image.) While my eyes don't work at all with VR goggles or 3D movies, stereograms are weirdly easy for me. Moving stereograms can be a lot to look at so I appreciate that the view here is fixed, with each room wholly filling the screen, and the camera not moving as you move. It's pretty easy to lock your eyes onto a room and pay attention to the moving parts. The colour palettes of the noise patterns are very pleasing and moody, looking like animated textures rather than just noise. The little details like falling leaves and streaking raindrops are very nicely done too. For a difficult medium, it looks great. Stereogram is available pay-what-you-want (with no minimum) from Itch.io for Windows. It is a shame that the game doesn't have saves, so you can't close it and come back later
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Spirited Thief launches this summer While I rob dark dungeons and luxurious castles, in my free time, I often think about how easy it would be with a friendly ghost to help me out. Spirited Thief allows you to play out that fantasy in a series of top-down, turn-based, stealthy heists. Better yet, it’s sneaking onto PC this summer and has a demo available now. Spirited Thief’s heists are split into two halves. First up is the recon, as the spirit Trin floats through the level scouting enemy positions, spotting traps, and most importantly, locating the treasure. Next is the execution with Elaj the thief, and you’ll need to use everything you’ve learned to successfully grab the treasure and get out. It’s a setup I’ve never thought about before, but enacting a well-thought plan sounds like it could be very satisfying. The trailer shows off some of the shenanigans you can pull as the duo. Trin can move through walls, distract guards, and seemingly body-swap with enemies, jumping from one mind to the next. On the other hand, Elaj needs to sneak past guards, avoid their line of sight and stick to cover, all while taking turns to move with foes. Although, Elaj still has access to cool moves like invisibility, and you can unlock more with the pricey jewels you steal. It somewhat reminds me of Arkane’s immersive sims. Levels you can move through in a variety of ways, covert supernatural abilities, and messing with unassuming guards? Check, check, and check. One-man dev Koi Snowman Games partnered with Ishtar Games to publish Spirited Thief, and I’ll definitely ha
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Delete After Reading is coming on March 14th Delete After Reading is a delightful looking text-based puzzler that will be familiar to anyone who’s played Simogo’s excellent (albeit sadly iOS-only game) Device 6, only with fewer spooks this time. Like Simogo's surreal thriller, most of Delete After Reading plays out like you're reading a novel, where scrolling through paragraphs of text will reveal images, clues and puzzles you can interact with. As the devs put it, Delete After Reading is a “game you can read, and a book you can play,” and looks and sounds really quite rad. Even better, it’s releasing on March 14th. Device 6 is a good analogy for how this game might play (or read?) but the pitch for Delete After Reading sounds infinitely kookier. A despised billionaire steals the best game of all time, The Curse Of Penguin Island. That’s when a file named “DELETE AFTER READING” appears on your character's phone, inviting you to join a heist and steal Penguin Island back. The rest of your squad includes Nina, a century-old ghost (103 years to be exact), Cinco the goblin rapper, and Tomate, a rabbit who claims to be the reincarnation of John Belushi, the late Blues Brother. Belushi’s motivation to join the heist is unclear, at the time of writing, but by gum it sure sounds like an enticing setup. So, Delete After Reading is decidedly less spooky than Device 6
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Sometimes I want to describe games in the most high-brow way possible. I might smugly write something like “it elevates the genre” while sipping wine and eating cheese, musing on how a game pushes the media forward as an art form. Other times I just want to write that a game is really bloody good, actually, and I like it lots. Hi-Fi Rush falls into the latter category. Developer Tango Gameworks shadow-dropped the rhythm-action game out of nowhere shortly after an Xbox presentation, jettisoning The Evil Within’s murky mental hospitals and Ghostwire: Tokyo's supernatural shinanigans for something markedly different: bright pulsating neon colours and a gang of loveable anime ruffians, where every whack and dodge is underscored by a beat. Hi-Fi Rush is an action-adventure game with a mechanical core fuelled by musical beats. Protagonist Chai has undergone a risky medical procedure and emerged from the other side with a robot arm and an iPod accidentally implanted in his chest meaning his every waking moment is punctuated by a catchy beat. We too see these rhythmic motions, as Hi-Fi Rush's soda pop-infused world moves to this steady pulse - platforms move in time with the music, lights flash in pleasing rhythmic patterns, and enemies attack to the beat of the drum. This beat wants to be synonymous with your own actions, too. The action part of Hi-Fi Rush is a free-flowing brawler, where Chai smacks robotic enemies with a metal guitar, all while dodging and ducking through hordes of outstretched robot weapons. The challenge is to strike and dodge in time with the music, to create a smooth flow to combat and make you feel like you’re a god of the dance. This constant attention to rhythm creates an incredible energy, picking you up by the scruff of the neck and demanding your attention for eight or so hours. Hi-Fi Rush’s rhythmic gimmick on its own is absolutely absorbing - landing a string of successful hits in time with the beat and building to a big climactic attack gives an immediate rush of confidence and satisfaction, a high that’s just demanding to be chased again and again because it’s so damn pleasing and not impossibly unobtainable. This electrifying feeling feeds into the wider world as you race through Hi-Fi Rush's thumping linear levels. There’s platforming aplenty between whacking robots in interspersed arenas, making you feel like you’re always progressing forward at a rapid pace. Hi-Fi Rush races you through a vibrant and colourful world that stops short of burning out your retinas with too much neon. Thankfully, you're not actively punished for failing to match the beat. Not every strike and jump has to be in time with the rocking beat of guitars and drums, and you can just take it at your own pace if you aren’t fussed about obtaining a high combat rating for each encounter. It’s a clever little direction from Tango that welcomes in hesitant players while boosting the skill ceiling for those more dedicated to their rhythmic craft. The majority of tracks in Hi-Fi Rush are original creations by Tango Gameworks, blended with lic
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Revisiting Minecraft to discuss whether it deserved the GOTY award back in 2010 is a hard task, in the same way that discussing the importance of sliced bread is hard. It’s so significant that, when ranking the significance of other similar things, we all forget it until someone goes “wait wot about Minecraft” and then everyone unleashes a collective “oooo yeahhh”, guaranteeing it the top spot. To echo AliceB’s sentiments upon revisiting Portal, it’s fuckin’ Minecraft. In fact, I think I could take her Portal revisited intro, replace every instance of “Portal” with “Minecraft”, and call it a day. It’s Minecraft! Of course it was game of the year. It was arguably the game of the decade, an absolute all timer. I won’t spend many words explaining why it is good, because those words would be redundant fodder, like the bloke fighting a soaring dragon by poking the ground under his feet with a sword. I’ll give it a fair go so that Alice can’t say I didn’t try, and swiftly move on to reading all of your (hopefully) lovely comments about why you also like Minecraft. If everyone brings one thing, we can have a show-and-tell. For the little goblin who just crawled out from under that rock, Minecraft is a sandbox in which you roam around a blocky 3D world and create... pretty much anything. Sandboxes are to be played in, unless you’re eating a sandwich, and Minecraft very much meets that requirement. It’s a game in which to mess around and express yourself, to design something that feels uniquely yours and feel proud of your accomplishments. That could be a cute eco-shack, a whopping wizard’s tower complete with alchemy and enchantment rooms, or even a massive penis. Constructing a staggering wooden phallus in Minecraft is practically a rite of passage between childhood and adolescence at this point, an essential post sex education class ritual. And Minecraft is better than an actual sandbox, because you can do all that while eating a sandwich. For those who shun Creative Mode, Minecraft is also a survival crafting game in which you hunt, gather, mine, build, and fight to survive in an infinite procedurally-generated world. Or rather, it’s the survival crafting game, the one that led to an unprecedented sonic boom in the genre so powerful that it’s still echoing around that aforementioned goblin’s cave today. If you’ve played anything from 7 Days To Die and Project Zomboid to the more recent Valheim and V Rising over the past decade, they all take something from Mojang’s masterpiece. The start of a new adventure. It all starts with you spawning in the middle of who-knows-where with nothing but an optional map. I like to opt for the map, because maps mean adventure, and spotting one in your inventory should be enough to have you running off like Bilbo Baggins scrambling to leave The Shire. It’s a call to action that doesn’t need to utter a single word, and it leads you into an exponential chain of discoveries. But, even without a map, almost everything beckons you to explore and find out what options you have available.
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Hope you’re not claustrophobic Okay, we all agree that the ocean is kind screwed up right? Like, we’ve all seen that YouTube video showing how deep the sea is and unanimously agree that it’s, like, terrifying? As much as I love relaxing subaquatic city builders and exploring underwater alien worlds, I want games about stuff in the sea that makes my skin crawl to think about. Enter Full Fathom. So, Full Fathom isn’t out yet, or even has an official release date, but I just love the idea and look of this game. Being developed by Daemon House, this is an oceanic survival horror where you’re tr
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Ubisoft Connect and SteamOS had a falling out Last night was a restless one for the Steam Deck. In addition
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Don't prepare for Titanfall Fans have been clamouring for a sequel to Titanfall 2 since its release in 2016, but it looks like we might need to put those hopes on hold for a little longer. According to a report from Bloomberg, EA have cancelled an unannounced project codenamed Titanfall Legends, a single-player mash-up between Titanfall and Apex Legends - Respawn’s battle royale, set in the same universe. Around 50 devs were working on the game before its cancellation earlier this week. EA are reportedly trying to find other positions for the devs, but those that aren't rehired are being laid off
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. $70 at Best Buy for a wireless gaming mouse with 11
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I loved Obsidian’s medieval mystery Pentiment when it released last November, and part of my admiration was for its incredible art style. It was like the dev team had nicked a bunch of 16th-century manuscripts, scanned the delicate pages, and then fully animated them to life. Pentiment was clearly made by a team who had a deep love for the time period, and the same can be said for Inkulinati, a 2D turn-based strategy game that also uses illuminated medieval drawings. But Yaza Games have taken a bit of a different direction with Inkulinati's vibe by adding a whole heap of cheeky humour. You wouldn't think it would suit the stuffy nature of religious manuscripts, but actually those monks were pretty cheeky blokes, and Inkulinati's humour is done in a way that stays completely loyal to the source material, fart jokes and all. Here’s a quick history lesson. It turns out that a daily routine of praying, manuscript writing, and more praying would make European medieval monks kinda bored. These monks, also known as illuminators, would sometimes draw silly little cartoons in the margins of their manuscript pages, like little in-jokes that the other monks would understand. Usually animal related, they might feature rabbits holding swords, lute-playing donkeys, human-eating snails; you know, daft monk stuff. Where Pentiment’s art syle is used to reflect the time period, Yaka Games are really embracing the humour that these monks from the Middle ages had with Inkulinati. Its childish jokes come straight from the hundreds of medieval marginalia the team has pored over and brought to brilliant, animated reality. And these monks were RUDE. I wonder what the 16th-century monks would say if they saw their memes being brought to life 700 years later. This cheekiness carries through to gameplay too. Inkulinati is a turn-based strategy, where you take on the role of an illuminator who uses magical ‘living ink’ to paint doodles and bring them to life. The creatures you draw act as your miniature army, which you use to defeat other illuminators' armies. The first illuminator to bring the other down to zero points wins. It's a monk vs monk throwdown via ink and quill. I honestly find the combat a little finicky so far. I've not spent a whole lotta time with the game yet, and Inkulinati asks you to understand its many rules relatively quickly. After only three battles to grasp the basic strategic plays, you’re thrust into your first boss fight against your teacher, an illuminator master. No pressure then. The game is currently in Early Access after launching earlier this week, so with feedback and time these issues with balancing will be ironed out - so I'm not fretting too much. But the one thing Yaza Games nail from the get-go is the animation and humour. There are cute little rabbit soldiers holding giant swords, donkey bards who can disorientate enemies by shoving a trumpet up their ass and playing it, ugly little gargoyle creatures that can explode, hitting nearby foes, and uppity bishop cats who boost units in battle through prayer. I love Sir Snail - the deadliest
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A dark descent to the past Last month, Frictional Games announced that their hit horror series would return with Amnesia: The Bunker, taking their signature scares back to the first World War. We now know that the game is releasing on May 16th for PC and consoles. The Bunker follows Henri Clement, a French soldier who’s been separated from his battalion and trapped inside the twisting, titular war bunker. At least he’s not completely alone… a mysterious, deadly monster is trapped in there w
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I'm running out of pictures to use when I write about Jigsaw Puzzle Dreams because I've only completed two puzzles in it. I've been doing the third one for about a year, because it's, I think, six thousand pieces. I say "i think" because it's been long enough that I can't remember if I told the game to generate it as five or six thousand. But it's a lot of thousand. I really like jigsaws (I am in the middle of doing a real life one that is a big copy of the London Underground map) but, even though I have one of those s
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As someone who considers Uniqlo an extravagance, the HTC Vive XR Elite might just be the most expensive thing I’ll ever wear. Revealed at CES 2023 and set for launch in March, this is the first Vive VR headset in years with real PC gaming credentials, while borrowing from the more compact design of the mobile VR-minded Vive Flow VR glasses. I recently went to try them out over here in London, with an uneasy thought in my mind: even with a lighter design than the Vive Cosmos series, how could this possibly be worth £1299 / $1099? The answer, at least from HTC’s perspective, is flexibility. The Vive XR Elite is an all-in-one headset with no need of base stations, and can be worn wirelessly for less demanding VR games or connected to a PC for more advanced fare like Half-Life: Alyx. Fine, but a few other AIO headsets can do that already, including the much, much cheaper Oculus/Meta Quest 2. What sets HTC’s latest apart is both the ease of connecting to a PC wirelessly, over Wi-Fi and without any sideloading shenanigans, while making the battery pack detachable to transform into an downright portable pair of VR/AR specs that can be fuelled from a power bank and hooked up to a smartphone. It very much wants to be all things to all VR fans, and at a time when the Quest line is obsessed with chasing those metaverse dollars and/or selling your personal data, that’s not a bad pitch. First impressions: it is indeed very light. Second impressions: dammit, it won’t fit over my glasses. Luckily, the Vive XR Elite also copies the Flow’s adjustable lens diopter dials, so although their maximum short-sightedness setting of -6 was just below my troublesome right eye’s -7 prescription, I could still rotate my way to a fairly clear picture while leaving my glasses aside. Other than a slightly tight fit around the nose, the Vive XR Elite is a comfy wear. Relocating the battery pack to the rear of the headstrap distributes the overall weight more evenly than just squeezing everything into a big block on the front, and there’s not much that needs spreading to begin with. Complete with the battery, this headset weighs 625g, nearly 80g less than the Cosmos Elite and 184g less than the Valve Index. If you fancy getting rid of even more bulk, it’s easy enough to detach the battery pack and replace the straps with a pair of glasses-style temples. This is meant for mobile usage but you can wear the Vive XR Elite like this as part of a PC setup, albeit at the cost of its wireless-ness, as you’ll need a power cable running into it. I must say that I preferred the battery config, though, as it felt a lot more secure on my sizeable noggin. In glasses mode it’s far more front-heavy, and I’d be concerned about it flying off with sufficiently vigorous head movements. Annoyingly, HTC didn’t actually have a desktop PC available, so I was limited to playing in all-in-one mode. Still, I got a good, extended look at how the Vive XR Elite will perform, especially since one of the installed games – Hubris – is an AIO port of a desktop-grade PC VR adventure
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Engine problems and layoffs send Master Chief back into cryo A Bloomberg report from yesterday has revealed new details on the state of the Halo franchise and the turmoil at developer 343 Industries. This news comes after 95 employees lost their jobs, following mass layoffs across Microsoft. The layoffs affected long-time 343 devs, as well as contractors who only had a few days' notice. Halo Infinite has been trying to find its footing after a rocky first year, but this report doesn’t inspire much hope from fans, at least for the series’ short-term future. The report delves into the studio’s switch to a different engine, an upcoming battle royale game, and most importantly, the lack of any single-player content in development. After Microsoft’s promises that Halo Infinite would be supported for 10 years, fans expected new story content alongside updates to Infinite’s live-service multiplayer. According to Bloomberg, single-player content was never actually planned for the game. Instead, developers had been prototyping and pitching ideas for new Halo games, although nothing was in active development. Since most of the layoffs at 343 affected their single-player team, no new story content is being worked on at the moment, sending Master Chief back into cryo-sleep. Halo’s campaigns have always been a major aspect of the series, so this news is a little disheartening. After the layoffs, 343 were quick to reiterate their focus on the series “including epic stories,” but those stories look to be on the back burner, for now. Much of the turbulence at the studio reportedly comes from engine problems. 343 publicly calls their engine Slipspace, which is an iteration of the Blam Engine that Bungie used to develop their old Halo games. Slipspace has seemingly slowed down development. Extraction and Assault were named as two popular series modes that are “nearly ready,” but struggling to make it across the finish line due to the unreliable engine. The studio has apparently been moving toward Unreal Engine since studio boss Bonnie Ross left the company late last year. The long-rumoured, Certain Affinity developed battle royale - codenamed Tatanka - is going to be the first Halo title built with Unreal. It seems like Slipspace wasn’t the only issue during Infinite’s dev cycle, though. Former multiplayer lead Patrick Wren pointed the finger at “incompetent leadership up top.” In an email to employees, the head of 343 Pierre Hintze said the studio’s focus was to support a “robust live offering” for Infinite and “greenlighting our new tech stack” for future games in the series. Halo Infinite’s third season is due on March 7th, but we don’t know much about what it’ll include. In fairness, Forge mode has been a delightful addition to the game since November. Fan-made recreations of Skyrim’s Whiterun City and Mario Kart’s DK Mountain brought a smile to my face, at least. Aside from that, the future of Infinite is anyone’s guess.
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Given Time has made The Far Shore blossom beautifully into its final form. Jett: The Far Shore was, like the jagged colossi that roamed its lavender skies, an odd beast. When it emerged on the Epic Game Store in the autumn of 2021, you could see the conflict roiling in its belly - between the linear science fiction short story on the surface, and the freeroaming “Metroid snowboarding game” fighting to get out from underneath it. “Once the story finished, I hoped an endgame would open up and allow me to play freely in its world,” I wrote in our Jett review. “That I’d have more opportunities to watch great Ghoke, the red sun, rise in real time, and to ponder the Far Shore’s fascinating mysteries at length. Instead, I could only replay previous chapters. If only Jett had embraced a rhythm as organic as its inspired ecosystem.” When the Jett team read that review, they didn’t disagree. “You put your finger on it more accurately than anybody else, which was, ‘It really feels like this is building up to some sort of systemic-focused, open world endgame,’” says Superbrothers founder Craig Adams. “And internally we were like, ‘Yeah, it is.’” What they knew, and I didn’t, was that The Far Shore was just the first part of a two-campaign story. That journey has now been completed with the launch of Given Time, a bonus 12-hour adventure that coincides with Jett’s long-awaited Steam release. After four or five hours in its company, I can confirm that Given Time is exactly the game The Far Shore gestured towards: a much looser playground for open world problem-solving, evoking both Super Mario Odyssey and Death Stranding, in which you set the pace of discovery yourself. It’s the satisfying fulfillment of Jett’s initial promise. But why such a meandering route to get there? “I can field that one,” says Adams, “because I’ve been on the project for 1,000 years with Patrick [McAllister].” Work on Jett began in 2013, with initial prototypes that hinged on zipping about in your rocket-powered vessel, interacting “somewhat nonviolently” with large creatures, and tackling environmental puzzles within an alien ecosystem. As early as 2016, Adams and McAllister had a freeroaming version of the game in which you would pick up orbs and transport them down to the ocean, where they would transform on contact with the water - a description that matches exactly the goal and structure of Given Time. “That was always the destination for Jett’s design, but along the way, we started to feel like we should invest some energy in explaining what this world is." “That was always the destination for Jett’s design,” says Adams. “But along the way, we started to feel like we should invest some energy in explaining what this world is. And it’s such an unorthodox design, it’s not like [a game in which] you already know how to swing a sword and use a shield and get loot. Everything about the game was a little bit odd. It felt like if we [invited] people in without drawing them in narratively, it would be a strugg
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Arkane’s co-op, vampire huntin’ shooter is only a couple of months away, but there's some eyebrow-raising news in Redfall land. On top of being a vampire-filled hellscape, Redfall will also require an always-online connection, even when playing the game in single-player without buddies. This comes courtesy of a Bethesda FAQ page that states a “persistent connection is required” for co-op and single-player, and that a Bethesda.net account is also necessary to play the game. Many co-op and multiplayer games have required a persistent connection as of late, but it’s disappointing in Redfall’s case since the
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This comes six months after launch Epic Games and Iron Galaxy have announced they’re sunsetting their melee battle royale Rumbleverse, six months after launch. Live services will go offline on February 28th at 4PM GMT/10AM CST/11AM ET. In a blog post from the team, Iron Galaxy shared that Season Two will be Rumbleverse’s last, but it should be receiving one final update soon to remove the game's monetisation. This continues the trend of me discovering a new battle royale game, thanks to the announcement of its death. Rumbleverse’s final update seems like a genuinely nice way for the commun
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Vote now as we continue deciding the single best thing in games Last time, you decided that a pre-boss bat
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RPS Treehouse friends have opened my eyes I've played Shiny Shoe's upcoming roguelike Inkbound once before, and not only is it markedly different to their previous game Monster Train, but it also featured the snappiest turn-based combat I'd seen. With that in mind, I dove into the game's recent technical test with fellow RPS Treehouse-dwellers Ollie and James to sample the game at a more leisurely pace, and to draw upon their greater strategic expertise. Did the combat hold up? Were they pleased to be dragged into a co-op session with me? Yes... and no. We had fun, but it didn't come quite as naturally without the guiding hand of the developers showing us the ropes. When I last played Inkbound, I sampled a run with Shiny Shoe's CEO Mark Cooke and creative director Andrew Krausnick, and I was left smitten with the game's turn-based combat (do give it a read if you want a quick rundown of how the game's runs and upgrades actually work). At the time, I had no doubts in my mind that the game successfully sped up turn-based bashing without hurting the strategic side of things. You and your pals are all able to take your turns simultaneously, you see, moving and unleashing your hotbar full of abilities all within a single turn. Once you've all clicked the "Yes, that's me done" button, the enemy gets their go. It's quite like Marvel Snap, in that sense. It's fast and fluid and ensures that most runs don't drag on for too long. Last week, however, I returned to it during its recent public technical test, which was pretty much the same build as I'd played before. Only this time I had Ollie and James in tow and no developers to guide us through it - and the result was quite a different experience. Whereas before Cooke and Krausnick had gently steered me through proceedings, we now had to figure things out for ourselves, and in our attempts to co-ordinate attacks or survive the toughest encounters, it turns out it was quite a bit harder to problem solve as a team. With most turn-based strategy games, combat can take a while because you're forced to sit through each unit's m
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Call Of Duty: Warzone 2 and Modern Warfare 2 drop into their second season on February 15th, and we now have our first look at Warzone 2’s newest map and modes. In a series of Twitter posts, Activision announced a new, free-to-play “small map” called Ashika Island. Warzone’s new map will feature a brand new mode DMZ, alongside the returning mode Resurgence - a slimmer BR that cuts the lobby size down from 150 to 50 players, and enables respawns. Ashika Island and the new modes will launch alongside Season 02 on February 15th. Infinity Ward’s detailed announcement image highlights a number of locations that players can expect to fight over. Shipwreck, Port Ashika, Tsuki Castle, Beach Club, Town Center, Oganikku Farms, and Residential are all marked as points of interest. The Call Of Duty account has also shared images of most of the locations, teasing some of the micro-experiences we can expect to have. Each image is paired with a (mainly functional) haiku: "Not a vacation / Don't let cabanas decieve / Grab sand, take cover." But it's fun to see CoD channels follow the Japanese theming of the island. Tsuki Castle is a fortified fortress and has a beautiful cherry blossom tree just out
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Also the Sims sequel will have multiplayer, but it isn't an MMO The Sims 4 didn't have toddlers until they were added in 2017, and sims' early years will continue to telescope when March comes around. That's when infants will finally be added to the game, turning babies into full sims. The latest update also offered news on Project Rene, the eventual successor to The Sims 4. The key takeaways: it's not an MMO but it will have multiplayer as well as singleplayer, and it's years away from release. You can watch the full stream here, or a breakdown of the main pieces of news. Currently, sims go from swaddled immobile baby to walking, babling toddler. The new 'infant' stage, in which your progeny will crawl, cry and cr-- burp, will squeeze in-between. The above stream has a trailer at 14m 32s, but stick around for the behind-the-scenes with the developers at 15m 48s. It does a good job of breaking down exactly how difficult it is to add a new life stage like this - a stage that has to navigate the world different, which can be carried by other sims, which sounds different, and which can't stand up on their own on the character creator screen. The infants will arrive in an update on March 14th. Project Rene aka The Sims 5 is currently much further out. EA Maxis are currently implementing changes based on their playtest of the mooted sequel's building tools, with plans for many more playtests to come. Game director Grant Rodiek offered a handful of further details in the video above: it's not an MMO; it'll be cross-platform so you can play seamlessly across PC and mobile; and you should be able to invite friends to your Sims house or just play alone as before. Finally, there is also an extremely brief, five-second teaser for The Sims 4's next expansion, which introduces a new family called The Michaelsons. It'll be revealed in full on Thursday, February 2nd.
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Surprisingly decent for PC gaming, but best for trains, planes and buses. Sony's WH-1000XM line of noise-cancelling headphones is brilliant - I've used a pair of XM4s while working for years - and they're actually pretty decent for PC gaming too, especially if you're in a louder environment. That's why I thought I should tell you that these WH-1000XM5s are discounted to £249 on Sony's UK site when you use code UPGRADE50 to knock £50 off the price. This is the first time they've dropped to this level, and for a go-anywhere set of headphones they might just be worth a look. Get Sony's WH-1000XM5 noise-cancelling headphones for £249 w/ code UPGRADE50 Let's address the elephant in the room first. Yes, these aren't my number one choice for PC gaming - there are a lot of much better specialised PC gaming headsets - but for a headset that can go anywhere and do it all, they're actually a surprisingly good option. Only something like SteelSeries' expensive Arctis Nova Wireless or the Epos H6 Pro Hybrid offers similar levels of flexibility, albeit at a high price in both cases. The benefit of the XM5s is that their active noise cancellation is significantly better than what PC gaming headset makers have been able to achieve, making them a better choice for when you're travelling on public transport, working in a café or gaming in a noisy environment. The disadvantage here, compared to out-and-out gaming models, is that Bluetooth necessarily has a higher average latency than something like 2.4GHz wireless. How much depends on how you measure it, the headset you're testing, its settings and the Bluetooth standard it uses, and so on. Figures online suggest these headsets have about 240ms of latency, compared to around 100ms for 2.4GHz wireless gaming headphones. However, you can use these headphones wired (via 3.5mm) if you'd prefer to cut that latency down to 10ms, basically nothing. Otherwise, there's not much that isn't excellent with the WH-1000XM5s. Comfort is top-notch, the simpler design is sleek (even if it doesn't fold any more), battery life is strong at 30 hours
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To allow more time for polish Star Wars Jedi: Survivor has been delayed by six weeks. In a statement released on Twitter, developers Respawn Entertainment said that the action-adventure sequel would no longer meet its March 17th release date and will instead draw laser swords on April 28th. "For the last three years, the Jedi team here at Respawn has poured its collective heart and soul into Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, and we are proud to say the next chapter in the tale of Cal Kestis is content complete," begins the statement, which is credited to game director Stig Asmussen and the development team. "We are now focused on the final stage: bug fixes to enhance performance, stability, polish, and m
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. A racing festival? Whatever next Test Drive Unlimited was set on a Hawaiian island modelled after O'ahu and the Forza Horizon games each focus on a festival of racing events. If those two games were to come together in a high speed collision, the mangled wreckage might look like The Crew Motorfest, Ubisoft's newly announced game about a racing festival on the island of O'ahu. The reveal trailer is below. My strained metaphor breaks when you watch this, because it doesn't look like mangled wreckage, it looks like a pretty racing game. There's not a lot of concrete infor
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. Marvel Snap is several rare things at once: a licensed superhero game that's fun; a card game that's graspable and allows for casual play; and a free-to-play game that doesn't feel warped by microtransations. As of today, it now has a PvP battle mode to enable friends to pit their decks against one another. It's either making a good thing better, or it's the beginning of the end of all the things I mentioned above. Snap's battle mode is designed to allow "highly competitive, friend vs. friend play." Pals who want to play together will need to share their 'battle code' with each other in order to get started. Matches then consist of back-to-back games in which each player begins with 10 health, and the winner deals damage to the loser at the end of each game. The damage inflicted begins at 1 and doubles by Snapping. The loser is whichever player runs out of health first. Developers Second Dinner say that "even more competitive features and opportunities" are coming to Battle Mod
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Integral's USB-C portable SSD supports speeds of up to 500MB/s. Portable SSDs are jolly useful for quickly transferring large files, like Steam game file backups or 4K videos, from device to device. I've said before in similar blogs that I use one to ferry videos from my computer downstairs to my TV, but I also rely on one to quickly set up a PC for performance testing and copy game files to my Steam Deck. In any case, you'd normally expect to pay anywhere from £70 to £100 for a 1TB drive of a decent spec, but today you can pick up Integral's 1TB USB-C Portable SSD for £59.99 at MyMemory. To get this price, you'll need to use code HMMJSU at the checkout. Get Integral 1TB portable SSD for £60 (£102 on Amazon UK) We've not tested this Integral drive, but its specs are extremely similar to one of my favourite drives, the Crucial X6, and it likely uses the same flash memory / controller combo. It sports a maximum read speed of 500MB/s and write speeds of up to 400MB/s, making it a good analogue of an internal SATA SSD, and supports the USB 3.2 Gen 2 standard (which, as far as I can understand the oft-updated and always confusing USB spec, refers to a bandwidth of 10Gbps) so you won't face much additional latency despite the USB connection. USB-C is the default connection, but a USB-C to USB-A adapter is also provided for devices that don't have a spare USB-C connector. This means you can connect easily to desktops and laptops, as well as more esoteric devices like Android smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and Steam Decks - pretty neat. In any case, this is an impressive drive
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Back on the Ishimura with fresh eyes Dead Space’s remake treatment has produced a piece of gory greatness, some Steam Deck wobbles notwithstanding. Vid bud Liam touched on the visual upgrades in his review, but since it’s been shaking my bones even harder than the original did, I wanted to dive even deeper into the mottled flesh of the modernised Dead Space to examine how all those new polygons and effects aren’t just there to please nerds. They do, in fact, make the remake scarier. This is the Dead Space you remember but with a brilliant new sheen, luxuriously improved in small but considered ways. Comfortably familiar, but excellent nonetheless. And what better way to conduct this investigation than with a before-and-after comparison with 2008’s Dead Space, which I’m presenting in the distant hope that everyone who’s interested in such a thing won’t have already watched three of them on YouTube? First up, those reanimated rapscallions themselves, the necromorphs. The originals are gross, but their true ickiness potential is held back by circa 2008 visuals: the broken, torn, sticky bits lack in texture and often even stark colour differences to their bland grey skin. What a glow up for the remake, then: these things are properly revolting, with visibly spilling guts, sharper fangs and arm blades, and just generally more detailed and readable debasements of the h
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Let's hear it for the boy I've come to regard the four main games in the Life Is Strange franchise as kind of like the siblings in a big family. There's the eldest, who will always be heaped with praise because no matter what the others achieve, she did it all first. Her twin is always keen to remind you that even though she's the younger and perhaps not quite as accomplished half of the duo, she's more charismatic and less coy about who she is and what she wants. Then there's the youngest, who's extr
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“This strike has helped build the next strikes to come.” Last Friday afternoon, 40 developers from Ubisoft Paris gathered to strike in the first labour stoppage of Ubisoft’s history. It's the capper on what has been a turbulent month for the company. Three weeks ago Ubisoft announced they were cancelling three unannounced games amid “worsening macroeconomic conditions.” In a letter to employees, CEO Yves Guillemot said that “the ball is in your court” in regard to hitting deadlines and ov
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A 12 month delay has seen improvements across the board, and launch is just the beginning The road to launch has been a uniquely turbulent one for The Settlers: New Allies. After an eight-year absence, the next entry in Ubisoft’s beloved city-building series was finally revealed in 2018, only to be delayed indefinitely two years later. The game then reemerged in a fresh new form in 2022, but a less than favourable reception from long-term fans to its closed beta saw the game delayed indefinitely onc
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Honestly, I'd like a sequel, though Whomst among us hasn't dreamt of somehow being transported to a magical world, where there are talking unicorns, and you can throw lightning and control plants because you are this universe's very special hero? Such is the fate of Frey, who falls through a portal into Athia and finds that world in mortal peril. Although if I were here I'd be a bit disappointed. It's all very well being able to zoom around doing magic parkour everywhere, but there isn't much to do or many places to go. Not a single talking unicorn to be seen. Forspoken is somehow both full and devoid of content. There is a huge open world, but it is mostly empty. There is an epic story of magic,
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. A series of senior job listings have revealed some details about The Molasses Flood’s upcoming Witcher game, codenamed Project Sirius. The studio behind Flame In The Flood were acquired by CD Projekt Red back in 2021, and CDPR first mentioned Sirius in an investor call last October. The project was initially described as "an innovative take on The Witcher universe telling an unforgettable story.” We now know that this “unforgettable story” could potentially be told inside of a multiplayer game, or at least a game with multiplayer and social elements. The job listing for senior
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. Dream life sim PowerWash Simulator is heading on another unexpected mission, this time to Final Fantasy 7’s industrial city of Midgar. You’ll need to wait a little longer to help Cloud and friends clean up the city, as we don’t have a release date for the free Midgar Special Request DLC yet. The crossover pack’s announcement (via the Square Enix Extreme Edges Twitter account) did tease a few of the things we can expect to clean up, including the Seventh Heaven bar, and FF7’s first boss the Guard Scorpion. The teaser image also shows off the motorcycles from FF7’s mini-game, so
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As part of their 30th Anniversary celebrations, NIS America announced that Disgaea 7: Vows Of The Virtueless, the next instalment in the long-running JRPG series, is coming to PC this year. Disgaea 7 was actually released in Japan just a few days ago, but it’ll see an overseas release on Steam this autumn. NIS also announced rereleases for Rhapsody 2: Ballad Of The Little Princess and Rhapsody 3: Memories Of Marl Kingdom coming this summer. Disgaea 7 received a new trailer and a bunch of details. This time we follow the lazy samurai Fuji and the bushido fangirl Pirilika as they trek across the realm of Hinomoto. RPG storylines aren't complete without a gruff warrior and an overexcited sidekick, so this is a w
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New features, columns, podcasts and so much more Hello folks. I think there's probably some sort of law against wishing people a Happy New Year when you're saying it on the final day of January, but stuff it, I'm doing it anyway. Happy New Year everyone. Let's talk about all the cool stuff coming up on RPS in 2023. The first half of 2023 is positively packed to the rafters with some pretty great looking video games at the moment. Heck, when we all returned from our Christmas slumber at the start of January, the list of our most anticipated games for the year stretched all the way to 101 - and even then, I had to bite my own hand from making it even longer. It's a good feeling knowing there are so
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After a $100 promo code, down from a $1499 MSRP. It's not often that you see an OLED TV for less than $800, and it's even less common to see an OLED gaming monitor for that kind of a price - especially when it's Gigabyte's well-respected FO48U, a 48-in model that supports 4K 120Hz over HDMI 2.1 or DisplayPort. It's got USB-C charging, KVM functionality, FreeSync/G-Sync... and it cost $1499 when it launched two years ago. Now, you can pick it up for $729 at Newegg when you use code JAN2548, an outstanding deal for a monitor of this size and quality. Get the Aorus FO48U 48-in OLED for $729 (was $1500) So what is there to know about the FO48U? Well, it's one of the most popular OLED gaming monitors
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A great price for a TLC PCIe 4.0 drive with DRAM cache. The Corsair MP600 Pro is a great high-end PCIe 4.0 SSD, so to get the 1TB model for $155 at Newegg, a reasonable $45 off, is a deal worth writing about. As you'd hope from a drive of this calibre, this uses more expensive TLC NAND flash and has a DRAM cache, providing noticeably better sustained performance than QLC drives without a DRAM cache. Get the Corsair MP600 Pro NH for $155 (was $200) The MP600 Pro isn't currently in our list of the best gaming SSDs, but that's more a function of hardware boffin James' limited time and the surplus of high-end PCIe 4.0 drives that have been coming out of the woodwork over the last four years. I have
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The Looking Glass veteran talks about Garrett's past, present, and unlikely future Some developers spend their careers inching towards their dream job, leapfrogging between roles in a grand strategy game of their own making. Others, like Randy Smith, simply show up on their first day and find they’re exactly where they’re meant to be. “The approach that Looking Glass had to creating games was pretty unique,” he says now. “Even to this day, there are few studios who have that same ideology and mindfulness in how videogames are made.” Thief: The Dark Project had a great director, in the form of Greg LoPiccolo, who later became a pioneer in the world of music games with Guitar Hero an
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"Nothing could be further from the truth." Microsoft and Sony have been in a months-long back-and-forth over Microsoft’s proposed Activision Blizzard acquisition and the issue of Call Of Duty exclusivity, and they’re not done yet. In a series of tweets published last Friday, Microsoft’s chief communications officer Frank X. Shaw said Sony were “briefing people in Brussels claiming Microsoft is unwilling to offer them parity for Call of Duty if we acquire Activision," but added that “Nothing could be further from the truth.” I would have thought that a legal venue would be a more appropriate place to air these grievances, but I suppose this gets the job done quicker. Either way, it’s
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. Let's not muck about here. Homeworld is essentially just Battlestar Galactica, if it were a real-time strategy game that jumped through a hyperspace gate exclusively onto PC. There's still much more to Relic Entertainment's sci-fi take on the plot of exiles returning home, though. When Homeworld's Kushan civilisation set out on their journey to the lost planet of Hiigara in the space-year of 1999, the game was doing something very unique compared with most other RTS games on the market. Homeworld chucks you into the role of fleet commander, tasked with leading the Kushans across the ga
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Hellcard is heading to Steam early access on February 16th It's been a hot minute since the papercraft Diablo-like Book Of Demons last stomped through these monster-infested halls, but developer Thing Trunk are back today with news of the next chapter in their dungeon-crawling fantasy series. Hellcard will continue the story of Book Of Demons when it launches into Steam early access on February 16th, but instead of slicing up devil flesh in traditional hack and slash fashion, this time you'll be building decks of cards to tackle each dungeon layer as a roguelike. In case you missed Book Of Demons the first time round, this paper-themed Diablo-like was a bit like Loop Hero before Loop Hero exist
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"They order the living / They shepherd the dead" I love secret languages in games. I’m too slow to decipher any of them myself, but I enjoy seeing a game’s community pick apart foreign symbols to uncover a game’s deep mysteries (Tunic’s musical language was especially fun.) Fortunately for me, players have already deciphered the ‘Indecipherable’ text log in the new Dead Space remake, revealing a poem that potentially hints toward the series’ future. Naturally, spoilers within. Once you roll credits on Motive's new Dead Space remake, you’ll be able to start anew on New Game+. At this point, you’ll have a few new text logs in your inventory, one of which is simply titled ‘Ind
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Footage purporting to be from Horizon Forbidden West's multiplayer alpha has appeared online. The leak surfaced on Reddit over the weekend, claiming to be from a "very old alpha" build from summer 2020. It's an interesting watch, as while the world and robo dinos look like classic Horizon, the characters jumping around fighting them look a lot more stylised than their hyper-detailed mainline counterparts. The leaked footage mainly features a lot of characters running around in low-poly environments and some brief looks at combat against its familiar mechanical enemies. What was most interesting were the “join-PS4” and a “join-PC” options, potentially hinting at cross-platform play and a simultaneous PC release. There are still a number of question marks surrounding this footage, though. When it was originally posted, it was labelled as "Horizon Forbidden West leaked alpha's multiplayer" - Forbidden West being the currently PlayStation-only sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn. The latter received a PC port a couple of years ago, but we're still waiting for Sony to bring over the former, calling into question those "join-PC" settings. However, it's also possible that this leaked footage has something to do with Guerrilla's already confirmed Online Project, which is supposed to have "a new cast of characters and a unique stylised look", according to their announcement tweet from last December. Guerrilla are still hiring for that particular project, though, so until they have more to say about it, your guess is as good as ours. Still, Monster Hunter-style co-op with some sweet Thunderjaws sounds l
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I spent the past weekend flicking between the Dead Space remake on my PC, and the Dead Space remake on my Steam Deck. It’s a belter of a refurb, and for me personally, has been like getting dessert after being forced to finish my Forspoken vegetables. Still, some lingering performance woes on the Deck mean I’m probably going to continue Isaac Clarke’s first and worst job on desktop alone. To be fair, the remake is playable on Valve’s handheld. It’s not outright broken, despite having been so on launch day, with problems ranging from drastic FPS dips to outright hard crashes. Following some impressively fast work from Valve themselves, focusing on hotfixes for SteamOS’ Proton compatibility software, Dead Space’s Deck performance has become more or less manageable. But worthy of the best Steam Deck games? Nope, nein and non. This is the Dead Space you remember but with a brilliant new sheen, luxuriously improved in small but considered ways. Comfortably familiar, but excellent nonetheless. From what I’ve played so far, post-fix, general performance drops remain the most common annoyance. Dead Space isn’t nearly as bad an offender as the GTA Trilogy - Definitive Edition for this, but there is a lot of peaking and troughing, depending on where you are, what you’re looking at, and what’s happening in a scene. For a game that trades in screeching jump scares, these technical difficulties can even get in the way of the horror – the impact of all the windows in a quiet corridor suddenly shattering, for instance, is somewhat dampened when it’s accompanied by an ugly FPS hiccup. Lo
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A co-op sequel to Tie Simulator, fresh from ALT+CTRL 2022 Keyboards are eternally horizontal, and moving or rotating them outside of their designated comfort zone feels like an affront to all that is good and right with the world. But that's precisely what makes Ludipe’s alt-ctrl game Tie Simulator 2020 so wonderfully weird. As many RPS Treehouse members found out at EGX 2022, it's a game that sees you holding your keyboard vertically, and pressing buttons to (sort of) tie your tie onscreen. Now, Ludipe's back with a new co-op sequel called Back Scratching Simulator 2023 where you're once again doing terrible, but brilliant things with a vertical keyboard. See Tie Simulator 2020 in action courtesy of vid bud Liam and hardare editor James' adventures in the RPS-curated Alt Ctrl zone at EGX 2022. Like Tie Simulator 2020, Back Scratching Simualtor 2023 tasks you with holding the keyboard vertically and pressing specific keys in sequence. Your aim is to complete the sequence in the fastest time possible, which is hard when you’re still trying to comprehend that keyboards can indeed be lifted from a desk. The big difference is that Back Scratching Simulator 2023 is co-op. You hold the keyboard on your pal’s back and hide behind them so you can’t see the screen. Your friend, who is looking at the screen, then tells you which keys to press to scratch the itch. The key thing (sorry), though, is that none of the onscreen buttons have letters on them, leading to a lot of shouting “ooooh, down a bit! Now up a bit! To the side NO THE OTHER SIDE!” It's a quick bit of funny chaos, just like scratching a back in real life. When we visited EGX 2022, Ed and I had a good few hours to simply wander around together. We inevitably stumbled into the RPS Alt Controller area, where we found Tie Simulator and quickly grabbed the keyboard. The look of confusion on Ed’s face for the following 60ish seconds was priceless, and I’m desperately hoping that we can get together in the same room again soon to play Back Scratching Simulator 2023. I might not be able to see his confusion
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Come admire these interesting and attractive indie games! Every weekend, indie devs show off current work on Twitter's #screenshotsaturday tag. And every Monday, I bring you a selection of these snaps and clips. This week, my eye has been caught by so very much! Come check out immersive sim piano-playing, hand-drawn and stop-motion art, alien horror and pandemic horror, dogfighting planes, and loads more! Cute handcrafted scenes in stop-motion language-learning adventure game Language Adventure: — Language Adventure! (@GamesWonky) January 28, 2023 A strong mood in Curfew (coming to Itch.io), a horror game "set on a surreal floating British island during a mysterious pandemic": I promised myself to break the cycle of starting and not finishing projects. CURFEW is the result of that promise. A game I truly care about. Follow my journey on https://t.co/pVGMugxFQh and follow me on Twitter!#CURFEW #screenshotsaturday #madewithunity #indiegames #indiedev pic.twitter.com/2zD18g1RtL— Oliver Hughes (@GamesOjh) January 27, 2023 I often don't like music puzzles, not least of all because I spend ages going "Okay so these two black keys mean this is C which means..." and counting on my fingers, s
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Amazon plans to build a "connected world" between the games, TV, and film Lara Croft has seen her fair share of live-action adaptations, but this time she’s raiding the small screen with a Tomb Raider TV series and a film in development at Amazon. THR reported that the Emmy-winning Fleabag writer Pheobe Waller-Bridge is set to pen (and executive produce) the upcoming show, though there's no word on who's attached with the film. THR states that Amazon is looking to "build out a connected world of Tomb Raider, with the video game, TV series and film." This sounds a little ambitious, considering that Crytal Dynamics' game is already in production, so we'll have to wait and see how the adaptations interact with the games. Tomb Raider's next adaptation will be in PowerWash Simulator Waller-Bridge is best known for her comedy-drama, but she’s no stranger to writing action-oriented projects, including the most recent James Bond flick and the first season of Killing Eve. Amazon haven’t cast the role of Lara just yet, but Waller-Bridge isn’t planning on grabing the dual pistols herself, although I would’ve quite liked to see her pulling an awkward face after accidentally decimating a centuries-old tomb. Tomb Raider’s 2001 and 2018 films put Angelina Jolie and Alicia Vikander in Lara’s shoes, so I’ll be excited to see who they get this time around. All this, by the way, may or may not relate to the Tomb Raider anime Netflix have the works. Amazon is all aboard the Tomb Raider train, as they’re publishing Crystal Dynamic’s next game in the series, too. We’re not sure if the next Tomb Raider will follow Crystal Dynamic’s latest trilogy, which ended with Shadow Of The Tomb Raider. All we really know about the next game is that it’s a single-player narrative adventure built on Unreal Engine 5 - which you could've worked out without being told. Tomb Raider’s hopped between a few companies as of late. Last year, Embracer Group bought the IP and Crystal Dynamics from Square Enix - along with Deus Ex, Eidos Montreal, and more. It’s become a little imp
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It's Sakamoto's favourite thing about LAD: Ishin I went to Berlin not long ago to sample the emotional highs and lows of Like A Dragon: Ishin, a remake of a spin-off that was previously only released in Japan back in 2014. Aside from almost crying and racing chickens, I had the chance to interview Ryu Ga Gotoku Studios' chief producer Hiroyuki Sakamoto, who revealed his favourite thing about the game: Goro Majima's undeniable sex appeal. I asked Sakamoto what his favourite thing from Like A Dragon Ishin was, whether it be a small thing or something your average player might not pick up on. After a "hmmm" and a slight pause, he answered the question with a slight grin on his face. After a second or two, the translator cackled uncontrollably and I, too, started laughing at him laughing. Eventually, everyone regained their composure and Sakamoto's answer was unraveled. "When we made the original game we had decided to make it an all-star cast, but we didn't really know who to include in the game. We were having trouble figuring it out. So, we basically asked the fans who they liked the most and picked the popular ones," Sakamoto explained. "When we finished it [the popularity contest], we did the announcement of the results in Shinjuku, in front of this place called Alta - a big gathering place in Shinjuku, if you're unfamiliar with it," Sakamoto said with a glint in his eye. "And I think we did the top five, or top ten people and we had it on a big screen and it was, like, a big announcement." "And when the number one person came up, and it was Majima, there was just this huge horde of female fans that all just screamed and screamed. And at that moment, we were like, 'Wait a minute, girls like Majima this much? Is he that popular with the ladies?!'", Sakamoto recalled, with a smile. So, there you have it. Sakamoto's favourite thing about Ishin is the fact that Majima's surprisingly popular with the ladies. I mean, the female gaze isn't all about chiseled bods and sharp jawlines, right? And I think Majima – who, sure, is an undeniably good-looking bloke – isn't
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. Sundays are for curling a mic away from your mouth, so your friends don't hear you crunching down on some Pringles. Before you bend, let's read this week's best writing about games (and game related things). Over on Dazed, Günseli Yalcinkaya wrote about how E-girl influencers are trying to get Gen Z into the military. How cosplay commandos and post nationalist thirst traps are the latest we
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Open fields aplenty in the reveal trailer American Truck Simulator hasn't yet received its already-announced Oklahoma DLC, but work is underway on the state that will follow it: Kansas. You'll find a reveal trailer filled with grassy fields and grain silos below. As the DLC's Steam page says, Kansas is knwon for "its native grasslands, streams, abundant blue skies, and green grassland vistas." I can't tell if SCS Software are getting faster at adding new states or if it just seems that way because
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Buy stuff for the stuff you bought Steam's various discovery hubs are normally designed to steer you towards new games you might like to buy. The latest experiment from Steam Labs, however, is a DLC Discovery Hub. It offers up a tailored list of additional content you might be interested in for games you already own, and prioritises those you've played recently or played most. You can check out your own DLC Discover Hub here. The page highlights some popular DLC for games you own along the top, and then has a list below of other pieces of DLC. You can switch it from being ordered by "recently played first" or "most played first". Things I learned: I have no interest in any DLC for any game, no matter how much I love that game. The onslaught of stuff is off-putting, and the near-identical thumbnails, inscrutable names, and store pages more concerned with lore than explanations don't help. Do I want to buy the Slimjim Pack, which adds 3 new in-game items made by Gadz00ks Corp, the in-world evil organisation that was featured in level 2 but which I've never consciously heard of before? No? What if there's a screenshot of a man in a cowl - what about now? It's four quid. I am interested in the numbers at the top, which tell you how many games and pieces of DLC are in your library, and how many pieces of DLC are available for those games in total. I apparently have 867 games in my Steam library and 1072 pieces of DLC. 1072! Can I have a Discovery Hub just for DLC I already own, please, because I couldn't name what five of those 1072 things are. Have I been getting wine drunk and blowing all my money on PDF artbooks or what? If you have feedback of your own, you can offer it up to Valve via the Steam forums. How much experiments like this get used determines whether they become permanent parts of the Steam store, or whether they get taken offline. You can see all past and present experiments here.
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Development apology tour continues Battlefield 2042's update 3.2 will arrive next week, which is notable because it will revive Battlefield's traditional class system. If you were one of the many players to be frustrated by 2042's Specialists, then 3.2 is your chance to once again don the roles of Assault, Engineer, Recon and Support. Next week's release was confirmed via Twitter, at the same time as the lengthy 3.2 patch notes. Dice say they'd normally put out patch notes the day before an update drops, but they want to give players more of a heads-up in future. Those notes explain exactly how the class changes work: existing Specialists have now been assigned to a corresponding class, and the previous free-for-all of equipment and gadgets have likewise been divided between those classes, both to encourage players to perform specific roles during matches and to "assist with the readability" of exactly who is shooting at you in any given moment. Specialists were "based on Battlefield's four classes", EA say, but aside from a unique speciality and trait, their loadout was completely customisable. Players weren't pleased, so Dice announced last August that they'd bring back classes in a future update. That it has taken this long is largely because players weren't pleased about a lot of other things either, like the lack of party and squad voice chat or a traditional scoreboard. There are other substantial additions coming in 3.2, too, including new weapons (M39 EMR, MTAR-21, PP-2000), new scopes, and a rework of Breakaway that makes the snow-covered map smaller.
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Increasing price on February 10th Barotrauma is a co-op scifi submarine sim, which is a great thing to be. It's been navigating the murky depths of early access for the past three years but is now prepping for a 1.0 this spring. Prepareations in this case mean "pre-patch" with "final fixes and changes" the development team wanted to make before the big release day comes, and a price increase in two weeks time. "For many players, the most noteworthy additions in this pre-patch are reworked poisons and status effects," says the patch notes post on Steam. The bad news, the devs say, is that these changes will break some mods - although they hope those mods' creators will have a chance to fix things before 1.0. The changes to poisons do seem substantial, in that they can now be used on monsters and the effect of poisoning is more varied. "In preparation for our 1.0 release, we are going to adjust Barotrauma’s pricing on Steam in two weeks, on February 10," says the post. That leaves two weeks to buy it at its original price - or less, given that it's currently 80% off on Steam, to "give everyone one last good deal on the game before we reach 1.0." There's no reveal of what Barotrauma's new price will be after the change. We haven't had a proper look at Barotrauma since it first released, when we sent exactly the man you want on an underwater expedition, Nate Crowley. Nate found it
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. Holding the front page, one last time Sad news, folks. Our news reporter CJ is leaving for pastures new today, making this his last day at RPS. Please come and join me in wishing him a fond farewell. CJ joined us full-time last April, although eagle-eyed Joy Of followers will remember his RPS debut actually came a few months before that, where he regaled us with the joy of going for a swim in the original Tomb Raider. Since then, he's taken every opportunity to write about his love of Baldur's Gate and Stellaris whenever they've cropped up in the daily news cycle, making sure our coverage of PC gaming's greatest hits was just as plentiful as all the new, hip and happening things taking place alongside them. He's done it all - staying up late to bring you the latest news from every last Geoff Fest in 2022, making his first video appearance when we rounded up our notE3 highlights, and even interviewed the last person playing Babylon's Fall, god bless 'em. My favourite bit of CJ's work, however, has always been his in-depth interview with Stellaris director Stephen Muray, where he looked back at the last six years of Paradox's 4X space epic, and how it's changed since its original release. It was a great chat, so do go and give it a read. He will be missed, so please join me in wishing CJ all the best for the future in the comments below.
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. And the first episode is free now on YouTube HBO's adaptation of The Last Of Us has been renewed for a second season, after just a handful of episodes have aired. If you haven't seen any of it so far, you can also now watch the entire first episode for free via YouTube. The first episode was uploaded to YouTube by SkyTV, who air the show in the UK. I'll embed it here: News of the renewal was announced via Twitter. It's not unusual for HBO, a cable network who rely on subscription revenue, to renew shows early in their runs in instances where there's critical buzz, and the critical response to The Last Of Us has been glowing. While the first season reportedly covers the first game, show co-creator Craig Mazin has said that he thinks they need at least two seasons to cover the events of The Last Of Us: Part 2. You need a lot of time to fully explore all the dog murder. If you prefer your zombie survival interactive, The Last Of Us: Part 1 is headed to PC Steam and the Epic Games Store on March 3rd.
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If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy. You know what’s guaranteed to make me laugh every single time? A good visual gag in a cartoon. A little freak reading a newspaper, for instance. A hyper-realistic close-up of a character’s face. A weird rat, perhaps. Maybe it’s smoking a cigarette? Whimsical. I love it. This is the main reason why I keep returning to Pizza Tower, a 2D platformer by Tour De Pizza that released on Steam yesterday. It’s a bizarre homage to Nintendo’s lesser-known Wario Land series (specifically its fourth entry) that
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