Not even Anarcute can put a friendly face on rioting

State of Emergency (2002) seemed real dumb even to a 14-year-old kid reading its EGM cover story. A chaser to Rockstar’s monumental Grand Theft Auto III (2001), State of Emergency wanted to carry on the torch, but only for Grand Theft Auto’s chaos and edginess. It was a Crazy Taxi (1999) for rioting where you’d play as thugged-out agents of mayhem, torching bystanders, smashing property, and maiming mall cops into pools of blood and floor tiles. According to David Kushner’s book on Rockstar, Jacked (2012), a reporter from the Tacoma News Tribune called up Rockstar’s PR in May of 2001…

Dots & Co

Dots & Co brings even more friends to the dot-popping series

During the spring of 2014, a cloud-bearded pappy and his blushing daughter went on a quest to connect dots in dangerous places. A puzzle game with pleasant, sojourn aesthetics, TwoDots took players to volcanic peaks and icy depths, battling lava and thawing matching dabs of color. Some good stuff to keep idle thumbs busy, but at its lowest points felt like it had succumb to the atypical mobile dilemmas—a sinking feeling that the game was more than hard but rigged. Levels only guaranteed to be beaten with payable power-ups, and with attempts tied to a clock, later levels shifted from…

The Lion's Song

The Lion’s Song takes you back in time to tackle creative block

There are a lot of adventure games that can leave you feeling stumped. Scanning the environments, trying to wedge objects together like a baby mashing toys, clicking up and down the page like the moving parts of a fax machine before giving up, perhaps indefinitely. Maybe this frustration is where the point-and-click format clicks with another damning mental slog, namely in Mipumi Games’s The Lion’s Song, a serene and novel story about creative block. When the pain and the ecstasy blend, you find clarity Expanding on a game from Ludum Dare 30, the first chapter of The Lion’s Song focuses on…

Bravery Network

Forget fighting Pokémon, it’s all about doing battle with Ennui Teens now

Header image: A “suuuuuuper early” image of Bravery Network /// One of the reasons Bravery Network is being made is because Damian Sommer, creator of Chesh (2015) and The Yawhg (2013), couldn’t find anyone to play Pokémon with. “I played a lot of competitive Pokémon,” said Sommer, “I still do, actually. It’s just a lot of fun for me. I’m the best Pokémon player I know, but I’m not that good in the grand scheme of things. I don’t really have anyone I know who can take me on.” Sommer laments that people don’t always seem to appreciate Pokémon’s player-on-player battle…

Wilson's Heart

Wilson’s Heart brings a healthy dose of The Twilight Zone to VR

Aside from a fairly prominent pinball machine, a more or less unknown Amiga game, and some homages from 2010’s Alan Wake (which, to be fair, homaged everything), the sudden crash course between The Twilight Zone and videogames sure has been a curveball. First this year was Oxenfree’s haunted-prop overnight horror—which was good. Then, BioShock’s Ken Levine decided to revive the classic sci-fi/fantasy series as an interactive film. Which I’ve got a baaaaaaaaad feeling about. And now the folks at Twisted Pixel Studios, who created ‘Splosion Man (2009) and The Maw (2009), are making their own VR sendup called Wilson’s Heart. Which I have a much…


An upcoming cyberpunk horror is about hacking into people’s fears

While Polish studio Bloober Team doesn’t have the most intimidating name in the world, their horror game released earlier this year, Layers of Fear, showed that they had a particular appetite for dread. Loaded as it was with Edgar Allan Poe clichés, Layers of Fear still hinted a certain mastery of perspective. The game’s strongest moments were when paintings and pedestrian items began to feel like instruments of a malicious trickster, a game where it felt like something was right behind you or crawling between the walls. Fear and its perceptions seem to be the driving force in their new…


Steep will let you cheat death by never risking it in the first place

Listen. Me and heights? We don’t have what I’d describe as an amiable relationship. If you try to shuffle your house party on to the roof, I’m going to be the square making a case for couches and kitchen access. And the surge of GoPro stunt videos? I think the only reason I can white knuckle through them is because their very publication guarantees the daredevil survived. If you live your life in a flying squirrel suit just to thread the needle of a rock formation that’s the result of centuries of climate and sediment conditioning, and not designed as…

Ben Esposito

Confessions of an online prankster: A good laugh with Ben Esposito

This article is part of Issue 8.5, a digital zine available to Kill Screen’s print subscribers. Read more about it here and get a copy yourself by subscribing to our soon-to-be-relaunched print magazine. /// April Fools is a dead sport. One popular, though extremely contested belief is that the holiday was created when Pope Gregory XIII switched to the Gregorian calendar, shifting New Year’s Day to January and leaving the uninformed rubes celebrating in March. It had lived for centuries, only to die on the internet. Pranks are lovely, but with every brand, website, and their dog planning to roast up…


OmniBus can’t stop, won’t stop

Beating one of the levels in OmniBus means driving over a ramp, bonking the head off a statue, and careening into a set of bowling pins before turning right-side up to drive straight into the endless blue ocean. I take no responsibility for that last part. After you beat any of the game’s levels you can continue to watch the titular OmniBus drive in its configuration—whether that’s straight ahead, doing donuts, or otherwise. This is consistent because your foot wasn’t on the gas pedal to begin with, and this is a driving game with no brakes. Strap in buckos, your…