Grow Up
Review

The brilliant clumsiness of Grow Up

There’s a blinking emoticon of a robot waving its arms around. It has the kind of joy that should be reserved for kids at a birthday party, not a loading screen. Once the bar is filled the robot appears again—now in full 3D, a red shell like a Lego brick—but this time it’s animated like a drunk who’s too inebriated to stand. When I push forward on the analog stick it’s as if my small motion has turned the entire planet under its feet. The robot’s arms flail as if reaching for a pole or an edge to cling to.…

Owlboy
News

Nearly 10 years in the making, there’s still plenty of reason to care about Owlboy

Owlboy, which has been in the making since 2007, was at one point a joke. It sat alongside Fez (2012) as retro-sentimental platformers by independent studios that promised a lot, but seemed fated to never come out. “Do you reckon Owlboy will come out next year?” someone might ask. “Haha, yeah right,” might be the reply. Fez did eventually come out after five years of waiting, but Owlboy didn’t—it’s been nearly a decade now. When Jo-Remi Madsen of the Norway-based D-Pad Studio tells me it’s “OWLBOY TIME,” I presume that it is a joke. The concept of Owlboy Time is more a unit…

Autobiographical Architecture
News

A new autobiographical game that will be set in and around Doom II

I’ve never met JP LeBreton but I know him because he knows the original Doom series. He wrote what is probably the most insightful design analysis of the game back in 2010; before he became a level designer for BioShock (2007) he learned the craft with Doom‘s level editor (and then demade his BioShock level “Arcadia” in Doom II); and more recently he had the opportunity to talk at length with one of the original Doom creators John Romero about his work on the game. It does not surprise me when LeBreton tells me “Doom is this thread running through most of…

Space Engine
News

Disappointed by No Man’s Sky? Here are 10 cheap alternates

Given the mixed reaction to No Man’s Sky—we love it, others not so much—plus the fact that you have to lay down $60 on it in one go (not to mention the troubles with the PC version), perhaps you’re hesitant to buy in. Or, perhaps you’ve played it and have been disappointed by it. That’s fine. But there’s still probably some part of you looking to salve that itch for free-willed space exploration, to lumber across alien landscapes and discover sights that, in all likeliness, no one else will ever see. Well, that itch doesn’t need to go without a…

McCree
News

Who you kidding? McCree is Overwatch’s true shooter

We love Overwatch. So we assembled 22 of our best writers and set them to work—a writer to jump into the skin (or robotic shell) of each character. The result is 22 odes. You can use the “Overwatch odes” tag to leaf through them all, or use the handy list at the bottom of this post. /// Legends of gunslingers are typically recounted without the gun smoke. Pulp novels and Hollywood reenactments of famous Old West duels clear the air and the uncertainty for the sake of entertainment. When we think of Billy the Kid, Wild Bill Hickok, and Doc…

House of Flowers
News

A videogame tribute to growing up around the Yugoslav Wars

Ivan Notaros appears in Issue 9 of Kill Screen’s print magazine. It launches on August 8th, but you can get 10 percent off before that date with the discount code RELAUNCH. /// Ivan Notaros is constantly flooded with new game ideas. It’s the result of endlessly tinkering with videogame physics and art styles, letting his curiosity spill out onto his humming computer—each click of the mouse could result in another potential candidate. In my time speaking to him over the past few months for Issue 9 of Kill Screen‘s print magazine, he has released one game, dropped work on a larger one,…

Branching Paths
News

New documentary hopes the “indie” game invasion of Japan is a good thing

One of the first things that Anne Ferrero says to me is that her new documentary isn’t “Indie Game: The Movie [2012] in Japan.” She tells me this as she’s aware that many people will assume that to be the case. But it’s not just a matter of a director looking to ensure that her potential audience isn’t misled: there’s a lot more to it. Much of it is summed up by one of Ferrero’s interview subjects in the documentary, Alexander De Giorgio, the chief organizer of Tokyo Indie Fest. “I think it’s dangerous to try and compare the Japanese indie…

Orbyss
News

Orbyss brings the beauty of ribbon gymnastics to your phone

Super Hexagon (2012) has you think in hexagons, Orbyss in circles. Repeat that: Orbyss. Circles. Don’t stop there, either. You should chant this to yourself quietly—or just in your head—as you play Orbyss. You’re gonna need to. Circles, circles, circles. Loops, loops, loops. For if you don’t drill that command into your brain you shall fail. You’ll fail anyway, a lot, like every five seconds, but with a little persistence you can match the complex elegance of a ribbon-twirling rhythmic gymnast. That’s what Orbyss mimics as you get better at it too—a magical performance of flutters and twirls. It’s a game about…

Malala Yousafzai
News

How Tumblr is shaping the next generation of teenagers

It feels inappropriate to talk about a post-Brexit “fallout,” but the results of June 23rd’s referendum in the UK—in which 52 percent of the voting population urged for us to leave the EU—have pushed the term into usage. The fallout isn’t nuclear, as most writers adopting the term mean to imply, but generational—as the voting statistics prove (and, as always with Britain, it’s also entrenched in class divide). The Saturday morning after the day the results were counted, I went for my weekly shopping trip accompanied by my parents, who inevitably asked what I had voted. Upon saying the word “Remain” I…