enyo
News

Indirect combat is all you’ll have to tackle ENYO’s labyrinth monsters

In an industry that likes to stab stuff almost as much as it likes to shoot people, an “indirect combat” game might seem a little out of place. In fact, the concept has more in common with puzzles than fighting games, as the inability to directly attack your opponent means that the player is forced to use the terrain and any abilities they might have to their advantage. It’s the same idea as forcing a spider to fall off a cracked wall in Lara Croft GO (2015): if you can’t approach them directly, lure them to another doom.   drag…

The Only Shadow That The Desert Knows
News

Work this new roguelike out and you can be a time-travelling historian

After wandering around for a few years in the wilderness of The Only Shadow That The Desert Knows, I stumbled into a city. ASCII characters, caves, and poison toads led me to believe that the creator of the game, Jeremiah Reid, had made a fairly traditional roguelike for 7DRL 2016. But when I stepped into Hiast for the first time, I was handed a pile of books—biographies, histories, maps—and a list of lost works. My favorite part of Dwarf Fortress (2006) has always been generating a world to look through its histories, following heroes and their descendants through wars, or famines,…

signal decay
News

It’s you and your friends against mind-control tech in Signal Decay

The stealth strategy game Signal Decay, previously known as Squad of Saviors, has just made its way to Steam Greenlight. The premise is simple: you wake up one day and the rest of the world has come under the sway of some indomitable evil, so it’s up to you (and up to three of your friends!) to save humanity. Simple. But Signal Decay’s not content to just send you into the shadows and have that be that. Instead, Signal Decay takes relatively overdone tropes—cyberpunk world, mind control radio, lots of lurking around—and turns it into a strategic experience not unlike…

undungeon1
News

Undungeon’s pixel art makes the fantasy genre fresh again

A point of honesty: I still have yet to play more than the first hour of The Witcher 3 (2015). Not because the game is bad—in fact, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen so far—but because at this point, I’m just too exhausted with fantasy to have much interest in delving any further. How many hours have I spent playing as men in armor swinging their swords at lumbering dragons? Or, in the case of science-fiction, playing as a space ranger swinging his light sword at insectoid queens? Granted, there are fantasy stories that work to subvert these tropes, as we’ve…

BELOW
News

Entering Below’s deadly caves is not for the faint of heart

Below is about being small in a large, dangerous world. The game’s looming cave system dwarfs the player to little more than a speck on the screen, and its dark corners house hidden tripwires and pits that can lead to an early demise for those who are not careful. Characters only have a small pool of health which slowly bleeds out after being hit, and every enemy presents a threat. This player fragility is core to the game’s ideas of tension and adventure, but that does not mean that the player is left entirely defenseless. In the latest build of the…

BP2
Feature

The irresistible appeal of roguelike storytelling

A 20-something girl stands in an elevator. There’s an eye patch on her face, a shotgun on her back, and a pistol in her right hand. The door opens, and she hits the ground running into a room full of drones. They hover over her, firing red lasers completely bent on killing her. After all, why wouldn’t they be? Molly Pop is the head of the Zero Sum Gang, and she’s on a mission to topple the Fero corporation by raiding their bunkers one-by-one. She wastes no time, shooting down the flying robots in seconds, then travelling down a hallway…

Imbroglio
News

Michael Brough has another tricky labyrinth for you to survive

Michael Brough excels at designing systems that are simpler than they sound—better understood through exploration than explanation—and his grid-based games keep getting smaller and more complicated. In Imbroglio, his latest, your little dungeon-crawler has two health counters in the form of hearts and diamonds. Hearts are damaged by red monsters, diamonds by the blue ones, and you can do damage to their hearts or diamonds if you’re standing on a red or blue weapon tile respectively. In some of Brough’s previous work—like 868-HACK (2013) or Zaga-33 (2012)—you gain abilities by collecting them during play, but in Imbroglio, they all start…

dangerous writing app
News

New writing app deletes your work if you don’t concentrate

I’ve never been a writing-within-hours-of-the-deadline type of person. In college, I was probably an anomaly of a student. I’d write my papers in advance, then pop into my professors’ office hours for feedback before turning in a final draft. Some peers called me an overachiever. Others had no idea how I could ever not write a paper the night before it was due, fueled by Five Hour Energy Shots and Totino’s Pizza Rolls. The answer was always simple: I set myself early personal deadlines because I’m easily distracted, and needed the extra time to slowly gnaw away at a project. That’s…

The Flame in the Flood
News

The Flame in the Flood’s post-disaster journey begins on February 24th

Boy, videogames sure do want out of the narrow, crate-filled corridors of their youth, nowadays! First-person hiking simulator Firewatch has been receiving critical praise all week, in no small part because of its beautiful renditions of the American Northwest. Now The Flame in the Flood, a game about a little girl surviving a post-disaster America, is also striking out for the wilderness with a release date: it’ll be out on February 24th for Windows, Mac, and Xbox One. But it isn’t emotional hardship behind Scout, the young protagonist of The Flame in the Flood; it’s torrential rains, which will be…