Beautiful Desolation

Stare wildly at the mutated giraffes of a game set in far-future Africa

“Set in a distant future in an evocative African landscape … he is not from this place or time …” states the tantalizing blurb on Beautiful Desolation‘s website. Those are the only hints regarding the narrative of the next adventure game from The Brotherhood, the team behind bleak sci-fi horror adventure Stasis (2015) and its upcoming side story Cayne. Implications of dimensional and time travel aside, it’s the isometric landscape of distant future Africa that intrigues the most. It’s a world years in the making, first conceived before and then developed during the creation of Stasis. heads bulging with lumps…


The most dangerous enemy in ECHO’s futuristic Palace will be yourself

Most videogames are a battle of sorts between the player and the creators. Horror games use tone, aesthetic, sound, lighting, to scare and unease you. Carefully placed enemies and arenas offer challenging conflicts. Gauntlets of chasms and hazards await to test the player’s platforming prowess. But these challenges tend to be static; once the player has learned the needed skills, survived the terror, run and jumped through a game, you’ve bested the developer’s design. But some games aren’t so … passive. Some can learn and adapt, turn the player’s skill into their weakness. The bosses in Warning Forever (2003) would swell with…

Hot Lava

Childhood game ‘The Floor is Lava’ is being turned into a videogame

As a child, imagination turned the familiar and mundane into something more during play. Legos let you create amazing structures and recreate your favorite heroes and cartoons. Battles worthy of their own comic splash pages took place between action figures. A playground wasn’t just baking metal slides and swings; it was a fortress or pirate ship. And the floor wasn’t tiles or wood or carpet, but lava to be avoided at all costs. If their next game is any indication, the team over at Klei must have really loved that last one. angry red by the lakes of lava that…

Return of the Obra Dinn

Stare upon the ghostly faces of Return of the Obra Dinn

One could almost consider exploring history a form of puzzle solving. Extrapolating facts and events through ruins and artifacts and documents, putting together a cohesive story through the remnants of times. Lucas Pope’s upcoming Return of the Obra Dinn, his narrative-driven follow-up to Paper’s Please (2013), is a game that encompasses that process. A mystery of a lost ship pieced together by discovered documents and flashbacks triggered by the remains on board. In Pope’s latest updates in his TIGSource devlog, those documents and artifacts are slowly taking shape. Recent GIFs show the lengthy manifest, revealing the crew names, their roles, and…


Upcoming game brings the undersea wonders of Jules Verne novels to life

There’s something innately compelling about the sea. Perhaps it’s the sheer scale and lightless depths where life can still dwell, or the colorful beauty of its ecosystem. Or perhaps the idea of a thriving complex landscape that we simply can’t survive in is fascinating to us. We, as a species, have worked out how to survive the heat of the Sahara and Mojave, the cold of Antarctica and the Arctic, the oppressive jungles of the Amazon and Congo, and even on the ocean’s surface—but living beneath the waves is still reserved for fiction. Combine that fascination and fear with architecture…

Power Drill Massacre

Power Drill Massacre brings grindhouse horror to videogames

From It Follows (2015) to Netflix’s Stranger Things, the themes and style of ’80s horror are slowly but surely making a comeback. So perhaps it’s no surprise that such inspirations are appearing among games as well, with the once-colossal genre of slasher movies influencing titles like Lakeview Cabin Collection, Until Dawn (2015), Dead Till Daylight, and the upcoming Friday the 13th. The works of developer Puppet Combo wears such inspirations on its sleeve. I recently had the pleasure of enjoying the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) for the first time last week, and realized what made the movie such a…


Virginia learns from film to tell its interactive drama later this year

Dialogue is a major aspect of storytelling across every medium, but often a lack of dialogue can be as telling as spoken words. A glare or pained look can inform you of a character’s emotions and thoughts; entering a quiet room can build tension. Games like The Walking Dead (2012) and this year’s Oxenfree often give you the option to say nothing, to stay quiet, and the upcoming “interactive drama” Virginia features no dialogue at all. “To play it, you don’t feel like you’re in this strange world, like you walked into a library and everyone’s being incredibly hushed. It’s just the way…


Totally Accurate Battle Simulator will deliver the most (un)accurate warfare yet

Love indie games? We are relaunching our print magazine with Issue 9. For a limited time, use the discount code RELAUNCH to receive 10% off your purchase of Issue 9, or off a 4 issue subscription. /// From the medieval battlefields of Mount & Blade to the near-future combat of Call of Duty, we’ve seen war in videogames portrayed in myriad forms: the tactical control of Total War, the civilian perspective in This War of Mine (2014), the ground-level chaos of Battlefield. But Totally Accurate Battle Simulator promises to deliver the most accurate digital warfare yet. Surely that name doesn’t raise any alarms. Oh,…

Lovely Planet Arcade

The most kawaii first-person shooter gets a sequel this Friday

The classic idiom goes “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but often the aesthetic and visuals of a medium offers a reasonably good idea of what to expect. One doesn’t imagine that dark horrors are lurking behind the sunny facade of Sesame Street (the webseries Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared subverts that expectation to an unsettling effect), or that the Berenstain Bear children books will descend into mature adult themes. A game’s looks inform us in the same way, as seen in the bleak muted palette and Orwellian environments of this year’s Inside, the vibrant island of The Witness, and the watercolor…