News

Botolo is all about the fluid poetry of 1v1 competition

The Floor Is Jelly (2014) creator Ian Snyder is working on a new game, Botolo—a competitive multiplayer title inspired by games like Street Fighter and Smash Bros. With Botolo, Snyder considered three aspects of competitive play: physical skill, mental skill, and game knowledge. Physical skill, “whether or not your hands do the right thing at the right time,” Synder said, is one of the biggest barriers in competitive gaming; likely, the least interesting, too. Botolo is a dance “With Botolo, I wanted to reduce the amount of time players needed to spend building those skills first before they could play the mental game,” Snyder told…

Pictoflip Lovin Buttons
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New game collection celebrates the kindness we bring to each other

In a year such as this one, it can be easy to be weighed down with how incredibly hard the world sucks. With so many horrific acts of violence, and a vomit-inducing election cycle, it can be tempting at times to shut down. But there is still good in the world, and Pictochic’s collection, Lovin’ Buttons, reminds us of that. In three little games, Lovin’ Buttons communicates the beauty and kindness of the connections we make with each other, on our phones, over the internet, and in person. Sunday In The Park With Dogs Yep, it’s exactly what it sounds like.…

Arrival
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Arrival is an alien-contact movie that’ll speak to you

I did not expect a new Denis Villeneuve movie to make me cry. The man behind Prisoners (2013), Enemy (2013), and Sicario (2015) is not known for his delicate touch, but his new sci-fi drama Arrival makes a staggering case for looking at Villeneuve with fresh eyes. The logy, intellectually bankrupt posturing of Prisoners and Sicario has been jettisoned, leaving only the good bits: razor-sharp cinematography, perfectly-pitched scores, and strong performances. Here, those are courtesy of Bradford Young (Selma), Jóhann Jóhannsson (also Sicario, Prisoners), and Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker. Since his US debut with Prisoners, Villenueve has yet to direct one…

Musikinésia
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Musikinésia, a game that teaches you music theory

Musikinésia is a game about mastering the telekinetic powers of a dusty piano by learning how to play a real one. Not long ago, Rock Band 3 (2010) had a plastic keyboard that let players get the hang of rhythms on the piano, and Synthesia (2013) got a little closer to actually being a pack of lessons by using the whole range of a MIDI keyboard as a controller. None of them, though, teach players about music theory as Musikinésia attempts to. “I think that, first of all, [these games] pique the person’s interest for music,” said Rogério Bordini, game…

Hitman: Colorado
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Hitman’s accent problem finally finds a solution (sorta)

Hitman, in most ways, has been going from strength to strength. The episodic murder simulator has seemingly found its form, with the space between each episode giving players plenty of time to experiment with its techniques and locations, finding increasingly outrageous kills and bizarre events. We’ve had “accidents” caused by launching a fire extinguisher at a Parisian balcony, setting up a totally improbable double kill with a trail of gunpowder in Sapienza, and in Bangkok the grim spectacle of smothering a man in his own birthday cake in front of his surprise party. I’ll understand if you don’t click that last…

insatia
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Oh look, Slither.io had a baby with your biology textbook

Smash-hit mitochondria simulator Agar.io (2015) and its recent knockoff Slither.io took certain corners of the internet by storm a while back. If you’re confused to why this is, here’s a hint: they’re super addictive. They’re easy to grasp, have a manageable skill curve, and ring that bell in your brain that says “One more try!” It’s a simple but foolproof formula—the same reason you kept coming back to Facebook games in 2011, and the same reason you haven’t deleted Stack from your phone even though you swear you’ll never touch that thing again. You can’t stop swiping. It sure resembles old entomology illustrations But…

l_a_s_s_o_s__large
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Five games to fall in love with in the Fantastic Arcade bundle

Five games from Fantastic Fest’s Fantastic Arcade are available as part of a fantastic bundle on itch.io: Nium, Alphabet, Inspector Woof, F2oggy, and Lassos. All proceeds from the Fantastic Arcade bundle will go to the next Fantastic Arcade, in efforts to bring more independent game makers to the show floor. If you’re in Austin, Texas, you can play these games—and others, like Everything, Islands, and Sacramento—at Fantastic Fest’s Fantastic Arcade, which opened Monday. It’s free and open to the public, too, but only running until Thursday, September 29. The games there are playable on beautiful custom arcade cabinets. Here’s a rundown of the games:…

BioShock: The Collection
Feature

The cycles of violence in BioShock: The Collection

Between 2007 and 2014, Irrational Studios and 2K Games told a story. This single story had five acts: BioShock (2007), BioShock 2 (early 2010), Minerva’s Den (late 2010), BioShock Infinite (2013), and Burial at Sea (2013-2014). Since episodic presentation encourages isolated judgment, it wasn’t always easy to see the unity of these fragments as they were marketed and released. But the legacy of the BioShock series is marked by rigid and often irrational schisms: between expectations and reality, themes and mechanics, rabid fans and equally rabid detractors. Now that 2K has kindly assembled all these narrative segments in BioShock: The…

Sundered
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Sundered’s eldritch horrors are terrifying and spectacular

Thunder Lotus’s debut title was one of giants and gods, bringing North mythology to hand-drawn life in Jotun (2015). It was a title about scale, your shieldmaiden Thora often small against the sprawling landscapes, colossal architecture, and raging behemoths. Each enemy felled felt like a titanic victory, a true David-versus-Goliath moment born from your own skills and tenacity. Now, the studio’s sophomore effort, Sundered, promises to transplants those incredible odds from the land of Yggdrasil and Jomugandr to a world of gothic horror and otherworldly evil. It’s due out in 2017 and, to mark the announcement, we have been bestowed a…