Not A Review: Paratopic

Paratopic is a delirious game-as-trip, most resonant at one o’clock in the morning after a late night coffee you should never have had. Narratively disjointed, temporally muddled, its fuzzy-VHS jump-cuts are a welcome shock to the gentle amble of the walking sim. The game moves from one clip to the next, one mundane space to […]

Progress versus nostalgia

“That looks a bit crap,” my dad said whilst looking over my shoulder. I was playing some pixel-art throw-back, all blocky and two-dimensional. He wasn’t commenting on the subject or mechanics of the game, simply the visual fidelity – how it looked. My dad isn’t a regular player, but he’s seen games through the generations […]

The fork in the road

In 1941 Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess set off from Germany in a Bf 110 aircraft. His mission was to negotiate peace with Britain. He flew alone and without Hitler’s acknowledgement under the false identity of “Alfred Horn.” He eventually parachuted out from his plane, landing with a broken foot in a farm in Scotland. Still […]

Kickstarter: Investment without investors

There are a few different definitions of “investment”. One is time, energy, or their representation, money, spent in the hope of accruing some future benefit. This is a definition that easily fits the kind of exchange involved in one of the world’s largest crowd-funding platforms: Kickstarer. Kickstarter is a website that allows companies or individuals […]

A snapshot of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

You can’t help but stop and admire the view. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is an astonishing looking game. It uses a visual technique that transforms photographs taken of real objects into digital 3D assets. I found myself in partial imitation, stopping every few paces in the game world to take my own digital photos, […]

Divinity: Original Sin Review

A lot of recent RPGs appear to be obsessed over creating these large, cinematic experiences with vast empty landscapes that take forever to traverse. Larian Studios’ Divinity: Original Sin presents an alternative to this, one conscious of the genre’s history but unafraid to modernise. Isometric in viewpoint, turn-based in combat, and with an emphasis on […]

Transistor Review

Transistor throws you into the deep end from the get go. You play as Red, a pop-music sensation in the futuristic city of Cloudbank whose night has taken a turn for the worse. Red comes into the possession of a mysterious weapon, the Transistor. No sooner as she does, a flood of robotic entities known […]

Hack ‘n’ Slash Impressions

At first glance, Hack ‘n’ Slash looks incredibly familiar. You play an elf with a green tunic and a cartoon quiff. There’s an evil wizard, a small floating companion, and a colourful but corrupt land of forests and dungeons. It looks like Zelda, but appearances can be deceiving. The sword you begin your adventure with […]

Black Flag

I didn’t much care for pirates before playing the latest Assassin’s Creed. Seafaring and swashbuckling, plundering and raiding were all concepts alien to me, as well as being experiences still relatively untapped by games. It’s only now, after playing Black Flag, that I realise the joys of pirate life and what I’ve been missing out […]

Starbound Impressions

Starbound’s garishly colourful 2D pixelart and intriguing blend of creation, survival and exploration automatically draws comparisons to 2011’s Terraria – but does this particular incarnation further develop the formula? Developed by indie studio Chucklefish, Starbound is a procedurally generated sandbox where you beam down onto planets, dig deep underground, mine ore and uncover lost treasures […]

Democracy 3

Democracy 3 is a truthful representation of contemporary governmental politics – a slick but depthless experience that unfortunately rings hollow. You can play the role of one of six powerful, western governments, gradually altering policies via sets of sliders, in order to please various factions of voters – a popularity contest if you will. Those looking […]