RE:BIND

Browsing category: Overviews

Long ago, Nvidia’s new GPU brought us physics engine acceleration and with it we were promised a golden era of new exciting titles that would feature destructibility, fluid simulation, and heavy usage of particles that reacted to their environments. Few, if any, of these came to pass, but one game prominently featured in a popular tech demo was an indie title called Cryostasis: Sleep Of Reason by the small Ukranian Studio, Action Forms.

There was so much more to Cryostasis than water physics, but unfortunately, despite the positive PR brought on by the tech demo video it suffocated by the high expectations it had set. With high technical requirements that had befallen other games of note, like Crysis, combined with poor optimization, it was another release from a small publisher that became lost in the noise of the industry, falling into relative obscurity to the point that it is no longer even available on steam due to lapsed licensing agreements.

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I’ve heard of redstone in minecraft, but this is ridiculous.

I like RUST and I think it’s one of the most innovative and exciting multiplayer survival games out there. Simple game design gives way to a relatively robust desert isle experience, this combined with the intersection of systems helps lend RUST its compelling campfire story qualities. If you haven’t played it in years it really is a vastly different game now and worth another go, but the game still has.. problems, a lot of them.

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Growing up my family didn’t have a lot of spare money to throw at the newest releases, so a pass-time favorite of myself and my father was rummaging through a diverse range of demo discs picked up on various expeditions into town. These discs often contained standalone shareware experiences, or delightful samplers from an entire publisher’s catalog.

One of these offerings I found myself enamored with was one of Microsoft’s Motocross Madness titles, a dirt bike rally game that offered (for the time) satisfying and compelling physics. It was two pieces of forbidden fruit in one- the hardware intensive simulation qualities of a racing game, and the mystique of dangerous rally motorbikes. My family was incredibly dubious of the concept of motorcycles, fearing the many urban myths and folklore surrounding them as inevitable bringers of death, but to me they were a fascinating invitation to dance with joy and mortality.

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(CW: Implied Cannibalism, Themes of Animal Cruelty)

It is astoundingly rare that I find a gameplay loop this compelling in any title, commercial or otherwise, yet Dan Mullins has managed to deliver something so mouth-wateringly enticing that it’s impossible to resist.

Known for Pony Island, Mullins is an experimental game designer that produces juicy Ludum Dare entries that push the boundaries of presentation and remind us what Game Jams should strive to accomplish.

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When I was younger there was a strange atmosphere to exploring the internet, the heady sensation of an explorer standing on the edge of the world. You could find the most fascinating places to delve into and map out through obscure web forums, conversations with friends who would drop mysterious locations that they had discovered themselves in your lap, or even a spiraling web of Wikipedia notations.

It was on one of these early web-dives that I, entirely by chance, came across Knytt Stories, a seemingly little known game series by Swedish developer Nicklas Nygren (@Nifflas on twitter). The series had multiple fantastic main entries with countless pages of fan-made content that I spent the next month playing through, one after another.

Knytt Stories, or geocities? You decide.

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At first glance, Spirits of Xanadu isn’t quite the same as Good Morning, Commander‘s previous entry, King Of The Wood which built a functional allegory for the premise of Bladerunner. It was an insightful, simplified meditation on taking a synthetic life as an impactful moment for the player, as well as a stylistic bedrock for Spirits Of Xanadu to build upon.

As a spiritual successor, Xanadu may come across as a clumsy shooter, but this is an intentional, stylistic choice. The clunky combat incites a sense of dread, serving both to set it apart from the genre of walking simulator and to maintain a healthy level of tension.

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Intruder doesn’t really strike me as well-known despite the warm reception it has gotten from developers. It’s not often you ever see it mentioned or cropping up on twitter, which is a shame considering how forward thinking it is from a design perspective.

We’re a big fan of Immersive Sims at Rebind (I can’t think of many critical analysis sites for games that aren’t) but the genre is very under-represented in the multiplayer department. Because of this, it’s easy to think of Intruder as a Counter-Strike or SWAT variant.

SuperBoss has put in a lot fore-thought into the balance of their game through unconventional gadgets and mechanics like security cameras, mirrors, and the ability to be knocked off balance. If anything, the game has a lineage more in line with early rainbow six entries’ emphasis on finite tactical considerations, or games like Due Process and Project Reality spin-off SQUAD.

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In our previous Weekend Roundup, we mentioned that @tall_shrimp‘s Philosophy Game Jam had just finalized entrants for the voting round. As promised, we ponder the most troubling dilemmas this side of the trolley problem:

(Content Warning: Given the heavy themes of self-harm, nihilism, and death in some of these titles, please proceed with caution if you don’t have an appetite for such themes. We will provide individual content warnings per title, as some are not as heavy.)

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