Kentucky Route Zero
News

Prepare for something new from Kentucky Route Zero soon

We really like Kentucky Route Zero. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s the Ideal Kill Screen Game: aesthetically surefooted, poetic, funny, surreal, and melancholy. (The other pole of this is, like, last year’s Bloodborne, or something.) So when designers Cardboard Computer tease more Kentucky Route Zero in their inimitable, coy way, we jump all over it: That image is all Cardboard Computer tweeted out. Since their customary pre-episode interlude has already been released (2014’s delightful Here and There Along the Echo) I can only assume this is from Act IV proper. I’m sure I’ll wake up in three weeks or so and a elderly,…

Monument Valley
News

Monument Valley’s illusory architecture could become a Lego set

Monument Valley (2014) and Lego. It just feels right, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s that the puzzle game’s isometric perspective gives us the privileged view of god games, in which we build and destroy. Or perhaps more simply it’s the attention the game draws towards it brightly colored geometric mazes, eager for us to prod and spin them. Either way, there’s something about Monument Valley that makes it ripe for a transformation into modular Lego blocks. Now, there’s actually a chance of that happening. The first step towards this end goal has been made through the proposal of a Monument Valley set over…

gravityrushlead
Feature

Falling through 100 million stories in Gravity Rush: Remastered

Gravity Rush (2012) director Keiichiro Toyama didn’t choose horror, it chose him. His first game as director, Silent Hill (1999), was assigned to him by his bosses at Konami. A stranger to horror as well as a self-professed scaredy-cat, in order to find his feet Toyama turned away from schlock and gore and towards those softer influences that did appeal to him: occult practices, mystery stories, and evidently enough, the work of David Lynch. Silent Hill’s thoughtful, ambiguous atmosphere may have gone on to define survival horror, but it also went on to define Toyama’s career. Which is why Gravity Rush,…

Timruk Screen shot
News

Timruk explores the layers of historic violence beneath its beauty

Pages contain bodies and blood both literal and metaphorical. Illustrations and text occupy a confined world of disarray, littered with skulls. Among this is the beauty of rain falling and of bright wallpaper colors. A world where your hands are not your own. This is a world of contrasts, the world of Timruk, the world of Somewhere. Studio Oleomingus is simultaneously in the business of beauty and violence. Its latest game is called Timruk, which is a fragment of the larger upcoming videogame project Somewhere, following on from the studio’s previous off-shoot, Rituals. All these games have in common a thematic basis in colonial India but Timruk…

DoLPage
News

Upcoming mass surveillance game asks if you’d really pull a Snowden

What would you do with the national security (read: espionage) apparatus at your fingertips: Would you defend civil liberties or use the reams of information collected each day to satisfy your own ends? Need to Know, the debut title from Australian developers Monomyth Games which is raising funds on Kickstarter as of today, is in large part concerned with this question. You play as a worker in an intelligence agency and your decision to prioritize either the greater good or your own shapes the game’s narrative structure. The game, however, is not really about you, the intelligence worker. It is…

Unravel
Review

Unravel wants to help us mourn, but doesn’t know how

Unravel begins with a letter from its creators that thanks you for purchasing the game. It explains to you the power of the medium, the senses of love and loneliness about to be explored, and how long they as a team have been pouring their hearts into it. The font and spacing makes it resemble the prelude to Thriller (1983), where Michael Jackson promises that he does not worship the devil. A game that signals its own history and globe of emotions as active parts, Unravel began for audiences last year when Coldwood Interactive’s creative director Martin Sahlin was called to the…

Portal 2
News

Portal 2 experiment results in beautiful wormhole art

Dear Chell, Where have you gone? This is your fault. You chose this path. The Aperture Science testing environment has been proven entirely safe for each test subject. Yet your typical violent behavior towards the equipment has proven that false. I’d just like to point out that you were given every opportunity to succeed. There was even going to be a party for you. There was going to be cake. Are you dead? I told you: When you’re dead I will be still alive. I said that. Remember? I warned you. I did. It was not a lie. Now you…

Kentucky Route Zero
Feature

Meditating on Kentucky Route Zero

The first moment that Kentucky Route Zero (2013) throws a surreal curveball at you feels like a wake-up call. A character you’ve just met has finished fixing a TV, which doesn’t focus the picture on the screen as you expect, but somehow switches the barn outside the nearby window for a cave entrance. The transition is hard to grasp—a sleight of hand trick that holds up under scrutiny. As the camera zooms in, the edges of the entrance smudge against the landscape, unconnected to anything, like a hole has been painted into the scenery. A truck pulls in front of…

Firewatch
News

Firewatch: Come for the beauty, stay for the eeriness

Firewatch gets it. Beauty alone isn’t enough to carry an experience. There needs to be some grit, a bit of dirt, conflict even, to elevate a videogame (hell, any piece of art) from the whimsical to something more. I have a problem with 2009’s Flower and 2013’s Proteus precisely because there isn’t anything to offset that serene beauty, their new-age hokum. But in Firewatch, no matter how gorgeous that sunset or night sky is, there’s always a thick sense of dread. Something to unsettle you. Something to make you tense up. I’m not talking bump-in-the-night, Blair-Witch, voodoo nonsense either. Forget…