Browsing category: Overviews

FTL – by Subset Games
PULSAR: Lost Colony – by Leafy Games

The typical experience of FTL is exploding in space moments after you finally discover the key pivotal item to make that new experimental ship build snowball through the rest of the game. It’s brutal, unforgiving, and ultimately so bite-sized that it compels you to keep playing for hours on end. It’s the unrelenting tension of being hunted across the galaxy, barely making it from waypoint-to-waypoint while your engine huffs fumes, begging for even the dream of a full tank. The metal hull groans, pockmarked by laser burns and penetrated by the sharp teeth of a federation drone still poking through the fuselage, making you wonder if the life support systems will hold for one more desperate jump.

The criminally underrated Pulsar, on the other hand, is more about ensuring that new crew member you picked up at the space station isn’t actually a youtube troll in disguise, threatening to rip out your engine components while you aren’t looking to please his unseen audience of twelve year olds. If that wasn’t bad enough, imagine a prolonged session of hurtling through the galaxy at light speed in a boat that’s on fire, and your entire crew is cats using VOIP with webcam microphones, also, the cats are on fire. Welcome to the outer rim, Commander, otherwise known as the 11th circle of hell, Space Hell.

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RUST – by Facepunch Studios

RUST is a game that manages to continually evolve mechanically where others would simply settle for a new character or class. Every update continues to dream big and boldly go where few survival games have gone before, seemingly running uphill on its way to the summit of Immersive Sim mountain rather than settling for the comfortable plateau of competent PVP and crafting mechanics.

After receiving multiple updates adding vehicles like hot air balloons, boats, horses, and eventually a set of aircraft, the dev team has finally shifted into full gear with a modular car update now being roadtested on the staging branch. Where RUST was once a quirky Age Of Conan-meets-Fallout, it now seems dead set on pushing the pedal to the metal and achieving Mad Max-esque scenarios while leaving competitors like Fallout ’76 in the dust.

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In Somnio – by Jan ‘Jam’ Malitschek

There’s something really exciting about experimental titles in the indie scene that pull on lessons from film, even as it becomes increasingly difficult to classify their genre in terms of gameplay. Most would probably consider a release like In Somnio to fall under the ‘walking simulator’ or exploratory adventure category, but simplistic vernacular that reduces an experience to such crude classification fails the artistic significance of the work.

In few other mediums do we define their genre by their basic building blocks the way we do with games, it would be absurd to refer to the notion of ‘moviefeel’ or to ground our expectations of a radio show’s content by the particular microphone they used. There are exceptions to this, the found footage genre brings to mind handheld cameras or go-pros as a storytelling method, but this is comparable to how we would think about a painting: is it a watercolor, oil based? Both of these examples serve as framing for the audience, but we judge the artwork itself by its thematic substance and stylistic intent. In Somnio is an example of a game that continues to push the edges of the medium, blurring the line between interactive media and film-making, leaving us in critical territory where we find ourselves unprepared despite years of traditional games analysis.

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Through The Fragmentation (Demo)Máté Pribelszky

A mysterious note, a stranger in a car park, and an insidious disk with dark secrets. Oh yeah, right, and everyone is some kind of bird.

Fragmentation exists at the fascinating intersection of adventure games and immersive sims. So get those gears turning and ready up for some intuitive sleuthing, you’re going to need to keep your head straight if you want a clean way out of this tangled web of conspiratorial intrigue.

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Eden – By The Missing Mountain Team

Somewhere hidden within the depths of every writer’s imagination is a place, far beyond the perception of human eyes and the grasp of their meager arms. It is a place someone cannot touch, cannot hear nor taste, yet a creative man can see it, feel it, somehow impossibly know it.

Once you have been to this place, to show anyone else is to perform an oblique ritual, to tread a dark and winding foggy path that goes far beyond the confines of your comfort, to transform yourself into a doorway through which unknown things can reach our world. You must ask yourself if this queer drive, this strange muse, this siren song, serves you or only itself, a question with an answer granted only to those willing to complete the journey. [Some spoilers follow]

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Video games and the automotive industry have a long history as digital dancing partners, or perhaps friendly hotrod racers forever running in parallel with one another. This friendship is, in fact, older than many of us who grew up with video games themselves, from the most obvious iteration of racing games through the years, to the downright unlikely bizarre crossovers such as the LucasArts / Chrysler (yes, you read that correctly) demo disc in 1996.

But how often do we hear about this history or take the time to preserve it in our communities? And what exactly does video game preservation look like? Is it a simple matter of dusty hardware in a museum, or can it be something more, like a living digital exhibit? Leo Burke set out on a mission earlier this year to embark on his own interpretation in the recently released Auto Museum 64.

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Moments To Midnight by J ‘Taxiderby’ Hastings, Ben ‘Daisyowl’ Driscoll, Aaron Cherof

What would you do if all time came to a halt? With no way forward into the future, how would one have any sense of place? To know when to eat, when to sleep, when to embark on new endeavors and to shed the shackles of listless melancholy.

Most of us would likely find ourselves adrift, succumbing to boundless ennui and without ambition, now unable to sense the changing of the seasons or feel the delicate touch of the sun’s rays. We would have no choice but to put our faith into someone, anyone, who might put things right and set the hands of our once great clock tower in motion once more.

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(Content Warning: Parents, Familial Relationships)

Bookstores are a special kind of consumptive hell, their walls insulated with the drab unending detritus of bygone publishing trends. Countless tomes wash up upon the shelves where Graphic Designers trade in their enthusiasm for cynical cash-ins to survive, their work adorning the latest innovations in shallow pop-philosophy, tacky comic books disguised as ‘novels’, and ahistorical biographies that skip over all the messy bits. Yet here you are, still browsing them in an endless mobius strip of indecisiveness, stuck wandering between the trite poetry and the robust offerings of wizard fan fiction, trying to find something compelling for dear old dad.

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Jazz TimeBy Keavon Chambers, Conor Walsh, Gabriella Santiago, Joe DeLuca, Yu Park, Nathan Ybanez

The Great Engine has ground to a halt, parts are missing, smoke is everywhere! Is that guy’s hair on fire??? The inner workings are so incomprehensible, it’ll take years of expert analysis to figure out how to fix all of this. Panic! Fish! Despair!

Well, the economy aside, there is some good news: your time machine is broken, and that’s waaaay easier to understand how to fix.

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Night Of The ConsumersBy Germfood

Sitting in your car, you take a deep breath in a vain attempt to mellow your nervous tics and anxiety. You’ve been showing up increasingly earlier to your store over the past month, you lie to yourself that you’re just playing it safe to avoid rush hour traffic, but deep down you realize it’s become harder and harder to work up the nerve to walk through those doors.

Sitting there in a moment of numb serenity as the clock ticks closer to the top of the hour, you shut off the engine, the radio cutting out after half a second. As soon as the cold silence of the car interior hits, your stomach drops and the anxiety comes flooding in: Time to start your shift.

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