Small Radios Big Televisions

Small Radios Big Televisions finds the beauty in machine glitches

Small Radios Big Televisions, a game about the joys of broken analog tech, is coming to PlayStation 4 and PC on November 8th. Mostly, it wants you to collect cassettes and play them in a tape recorder: special attention is given to the tape sliding into the tray, the chik of it being locked in, the reel slowly spinning to unwind its contents. For someone who remembers doing this over and over as a child bored in their room, it’s a sensual few seconds; the familiar choreography plugging straight into the spectral residue of fond memories. But that’s only the beginning.…


SUPERHYPERCUBE is here to make VR worthwhile

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. SUPERHYPERCUBE (PS4) BY KOKOROMI In this new dawn of virtual reality, people will try to port all sorts of things into VR that shouldn’t be there. Yet for every egregious Until Dawn DLC, there’s a SUPERHYPERCUBE to remind you that matches made in heaven still exist. Comparable to the look and pacing of Tetris, in SUPERHYPERCUBE you must rotate and arrange a cluster of cubes to fit through an impending wall. Despite sharing some DNA with 2D classics, SUPERHYPERCUBE feels like a beast of its…


Pavilion and the maze as metaphor

When I was younger, I got lost in the works of Jorge Luis Borges. In my hubris, I assumed I “got” him in a way that would let me use the tools of literary study to recognize patterns, symbols, and themes. His hermetic prose held secrets that I thought I had unlocked in my sophomoric self-satisfaction. I assured myself that knowing Borges’ favorite subjects, like mazes and infinite libraries, are actually metaphors for the text itself was a revelation that only I and a few select others could hold dear. I was wrong, of course. Not about the obvious readings,…


Get ready to prod GNOG’s monster heads in early 2017

Australian milk packaging from the ’80s, designer toys made from wood, illustrations of otherworldly science-fiction landscapes. These are the sorts of images you’ll find neatly organized on GNOG creator Samuel Boucher’s Pinterest board; the sort of things that he cites as inspiration for GNOG’s monster heads—most of which are almost done. After three years of work, GNOG is almost ready for release. Yep, it’s been announced that, in early 2017, GNOG will be released on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR. And a Steam and iOS release will come soon after. Until then, Boucher and his team at KO-OP will be refining the…


Aww, a game about lonely robots evokes the best children’s animation

A young boy, seen through a viewfinder, discusses the ocean with his mom. The screen buzzes; the boy disappears; two eyes blink open. They belong to a little metal carapace that scrambles around an empty room, tugging at switches and saying, “Hello?” The boy is nowhere to be found, but the bot keeps looking, earnest and determined. This is Abi, a new story-focused puzzle game from Grant&Bert Studios. It resembles WALL-E (2008) in its story, which similarly follows a pair of robots wandering around the remnants of Earth after human beings’ mass exodus. You play as two droids that used…


ReCore downplays its robot dog, which is all we care about

When ReCore’s first trailer premiered at E3 2015, the protagonist Joule and her scrappy robot dog charmed everyone with their expeditious tag-team adventure. Evoking Rey’s lone scavenger vibe from Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), the brief blast of combat at the trailer’s end promised creative, cooperative action—and a canine companion with the trick of interchangeable bodies, so you never need worry about the dog dying. Joule and co. seemed sweet, despite their attacking prowess, and the idea of an open desert to romp through and explore was tantalizing. weird, hidden garages full of violence Pre-release material has since hinted…


Be a magical fox that can change the seasons on September 2nd

Though the strangely-specific genre of “fox adventure game” isn’t exactly lonely this summer, the upcoming platformer Seasons After Fall is determined to assert its individuality. A fox wandering through a forest: good. A fox wandering through a forest in order to collect fragments of every season in order to fulfill a magical ritual: even better. Developed by Swing Swing Submarine and charmingly hand-painted, Seasons After Fall isn’t scared to follow its own ideas. Switching between seasons is the signature of the game During his quest for the fragments, the protagonist (i.e. the fox) has one significant advantage over his environment:…


The wordless beauty of Pan-Pan

There are no words in Pan-Pan—just bubbling variations of boops and beeps. After crash landing on Pan-Pan’s colorful low-poly world, you’ll be introduced to a bunch of little dudes with bushy ‘staches. They’ve come to your aid after the crash, and despite there being a language barrier, they’re trying to fix your ship. But you’ll have to help. Scattered through Pan-Pan’s knotted puzzles are the pieces needed to fuel your ship and head home. Curiosity is the language in Pan-Pan. It’s a curiosity powered by the world’s design. Developer Spelkraft uses a visual language to express its intentions; it’s not always…

Cosmic Express

Cosmic Express will give you the opportunity to swear at cute space trains

There’s something magical about travelling by train. It’s something that participants in the yearly Train Jam—a 52-hour game jam set on a train ride between Chicago and San Francisco—try to harness to make games. Alan Hazelden’s latest game, Cosmic Express, has it origins in that very train jam, and is consequently a “puzzle game about planning the train route for the world’s most awkward space colony.” Back in 2015, Hazelden found himself boarding for the 52-hour train journey less than 24 hours after releasing his game A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build for the PC. “In hindsight, perhaps it wasn’t the best idea in the…