Post mortem: Machinarium

A couple of years ago I tried the demo for Machinarium and was not impressed.  After playing the three demo levels I was left with a bad taste in my mouth, and never even considered spending money on the game.  It turns out I didn’t have to – after gifting Lost Horizon to one of the hosts of the GameBurst podcast for a job well done, I was repaid with a generous gift of the Humble Indie Bundle #2 and #3, and specifically Machinarium.  Not wanting to be a prude, I fired up the quirky little puzzler and played it [... read the rest ...]

It isn’t often these days that a multiplayer title holds my attention for more than a few sessions, however Mode7′s pure strategy game, Frozen Synapse, has its claws deep right now.  My biggest complaint with multiplayer games is that I have to cater to other people’s schedules in order to enjoy them, however Frozen synapse elegantly sidesteps this flaw by allowing games to be played offline – almost like the “play by email” systems of old. Briefly, each turn combatants submit their moves for the next five second interval, and then once both players have committed their orders the game [... read the rest ...]

The dog days are summer are almost upon us, and while I don’t have nearly as much time for gaming (let alone writing) when the weather is this nice, I find myself spreading my miniscule gaming hours across far too many titles.  Here is a brief look at my current ongoing titles…. Bayonetta (PS3) I loved this brawler back when I demoed it, but it took quite a while for me to find a copy for a price that I was happy with paying ($15).  I’m three chapters in, and the game is every bit as action-packed and bat-shit insane [... read the rest ...]

Rampant Games is concerned about the hyper-polarization of the gaming industry: On the one end, you’ve got the mainstream games, which continue to grow unsustainably bigger with higher production values, and adapt by basically become more and more generic to appeal to “everybody.” Their ravenous budgets demand more and more customer dollars. [...] On the flip side, you’ve got the “race to the bottom” with indie games, chasing the extremely low price point which, perversely, requires a similar attitude: You have to sell an awful lot of games in order to be profitable if it’s only $1.99 or so. And [... read the rest ...]

Somebody stop me

Please, somebody help me control myself.  I’m teetering on the brink of a purchase that I’m sure to regret: Behold:  Dino D-Day!!!!  I love dinosaurs, and I love military shooters, so that must mean that I will be infatuated with any video game that manages to combine the two.  I mean, just listen to the flavour text describing the game: The year is 1942. Adolf Hitler has succeeded in resurrecting dinosaurs. The reptilian horde has trampled Europe and the Mediterranean. Can nothing stop the Nazi’s dinosaur army? [...] Gun down a Dilophosaur with your trusty M1 Garand, blast a kamikaze [... read the rest ...]

Downloadable is where it's at

It truly amazes me how quickly small downloadable titles have come to be so prevalent in the gaming industry.  With the robust success of PSN, Steam, and the Xbox Live Arcade, suddenly it doesn’t take a huge publisher and a multimillion dollar budget to get a game to market and make a bundle. Most of these small time developers are smart too:  they know how to put together a compelling demo that both offers a taste of their wares as well as tempts the player to open their wallet.  Here are five recent examples from Steam. Zeit2 Originally released on [... read the rest ...]

Jan 282011
Demo: Winter Voices

Winter Voices is an episodic title by indie developer Beyond the Pillars.  The game, of which the first three parts are available for download on Steam for $4.99 each, is a unique roleplaying game that is unlike anything that I have  played before. Players used to big budget titles may be more than a little put off by the graphics that Winter Voices offers:  while crisp and clean, they are distinctly grounded in a Flash-like aesthetic that feels more suited to a free gaming website like Kongregate than on a downloadable for-dollars service like Steam.  The game is old school [... read the rest ...]


It’s not often that I’m swayed to buy a game after reading a single article, but that’s exactly what happened today when I read Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s “5 Mistakes To Avoid In Magicka” piece this afternoon. Although I had heard the name ‘Magicka’ in passing recently, I didn’t know what type of game it was, what platforms it was releasing on, how much it would cost, or when the release date was.  The last three are easy:  Magicka is an indie PC title that is set to launch on Steam tomorrow and will cost a paltry $9.99. As for what [... read the rest ...]

My 2010 gaming awards

Twenty-one. Over the course of the last calendar year I have completed twenty-one video games, with a twenty-second – Demon’s Souls – teetering on the brink.  Of those titles ten were on the PC, five were for my PS3, four were on the Nintendo DS, and two were Wii games. As a frugal gamer, many of the games that I played to completion were actually released prior to 2010 – there is no way that I could afford to purchase more than a handful of these games at full price.  Frankly, the benefits to waiting are more than just financial:  [... read the rest ...]

Dec 222010
Once more into the breach

All of the year’s big video game releases may be out of the way, but that hasn’t stopped the smaller independent games studios from pushing demos onto the Steam store at a pace that is, frankly, overwhelming.  Over the past year I’ve sampled nearly all of the offerings that indie developers have made available, and to be honest more than half of the games are probably not worth the time that I invested in them.  Still, amongst the turds have been some true gems, and those rare beauties make the entire endeavor worthwhile. Protogalaxy A strange little spaceship game that [... read the rest ...]

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