The Best Free Games of the Week

Tom Sykes at

The VR/flight stick/oh-my-god-I'm-in-a-spaceship approach to space games might be a particularly bloody exciting one, but that doesn't mean you need to re-mortgage your cutlery to experience the wonder of that huge expanse of darkness up there. This week's Even the Stars offers a universe of beauty, haunting emptiness and low-poly spaceships, and to experience it you won't need to spend a dime. Read on for exactly that, plus a game about falling, video killed the horror star, and a deep, deep, deep, deep sleep. Enjoy!


TOXIKK says no to XP systems, regenerating health; yes to all-caps and double jumps

Tom Sykes at

The name needs work—and by that I mean the name needs to be fired into the sun—but this debut trailer for TOXIKK sure knows how to go after a disenchanted audience. It's a multiplayer first-person shooter that aims to take the genre "back to its roots", and as the giant text in the following video makes abundantly clear, that means no classes, no levelling systems, no regenerating health, no cover, no iron sights, no reloading, and no free-to-play. Basically, "no bullshit", in their words. It's a bold trailer, undermined only slightly by TOXIKK's shiny generic soldiers, and general paucity of defining features at this stage. Also it being named 'TOXIKK', but what can you do.


Awesomenauts gets even more MOBAy with its latest beta patch

Tom Sykes at

Sidescrolling MOBA-like Awesomenauts gets a little less like and a little more MOBA with an upcoming patch, which is now in beta if you want to try it out. 2.6 ditches the loadout system and replaces it with a full-on shop. Sorry, a "big ass shop" that will allow you to buy whatever you want during a match. Well, anything Awesomenauts-related anyway. You won't be able to buy a Faberge egg or anything like that. The update also adds new bots, nifty graphs during replays, and a profile screen—this forum post will inform you of the whole kaboodle.


Saturday Crapshoot: Hell Cab

Richard Cobbett at

Every week, Richard Cobbett rolls the dice to bring you an obscure slice of gaming history, from lost gems to weapons grade atrocities. This week, prepare to go on the ride of your life... or rather, death.

There are a few basic rules for safe tourism. If anyone offers you food claiming that it's a 'local delicacy', it's a trap. Don't drink the water; you're on holiday, be more adventurous. If the sign saying "Keep Off The Grass" also includes the words "By Order Of El Presidente" then for god's sake, stay off the grass, and should you find that your taxi cab is literally labelled "Hell Cab"... well, does it really need to be said? Apparently yes, it does. Because, it seems, there's always one idiot not paying attention.

Verdun review (Early Access)

Tyler Wilde at

I feel like someone’s expendable RTS unit as I dart through a muddy maze of trenches. My only goal right now is pathfinding: trudge from cover to cover on my way to the French line as they pelt the no man’s land between us. Trying to pick off entrenched riflemen might help a little, but I have to get into the trench to take it. I get into the trench, and get shot in the face.


No Man's Sky is a timed exclusive for PlayStation 4, but a PC version is coming

Andy Chalk at

It's been an interesting ride for No Man's Sky here at PC Gamer. We really liked what we saw at E3, but less than two weeks later we couldn't even say for certain if it was coming to the PC at all. It's apparently now been confirmed that it is, but not until sometime after the launch of the PS4 version.


BioWare's Mass Effect Comic Con panel is now on YouTube

Andy Chalk at

A full-length recording of BioWare's Mass Effect panel at Comic-Con has been turned loose on YouTube. "Charting a Course: Developing the Next Mass Effect" doesn't reveal anything we didn't already know, but die-hard fans with 30 minutes to spare will probably want to check it out anyway.


The Sims 4 Rewards program offers bonus content to Sims 3 owners

Andy Chalk at

The Sims 4 is all about feelings, as you may have heard, and people who own The Sims 3 will enjoy—or perhaps suffer—even more of them than everyone else. Electronic Arts is offering a Sims 4 Rewards program that will unlock emotionally influential bonus content for owners of the previous Sims game.


Can you play Elite: Dangerous on an Android tablet? It turns out you can…

Dave James at

Okay, so this is mostly just going to be filed under the ‘for shits and giggles’ category, but Nvidia have just delivered their latest SHIELD Tablet to the office and I’ve been taking it out for a quick spin.

And what better way to test it’s streaming capabilities than taking to the inky black in a shiny new Sidewinder...


John Carmack's "20 Years After Doom" SMU talk finally hits YouTube

Andy Chalk at

Remember back in June, when John Carmack confirmed that he wasn't going to be at QuakeCon but promised as a consolation prize that his lengthy talk at Southern Methodist University's Lyle School of Engineering would (probably) still be released? More than three months after it took place, the video has finally made its way to YouTube.


The week's highs and lows in PC gaming

PC Gamer at

Each week PC Gamer’s young knives gather in darknet chatroom to thrash out the key moments of the previous seven days. Then they write them down. In silence. Because videogames.


Jotun looks beautiful, is on Kickstarter

Phil Savage at

I tried to start this post a couple of minutes ago, but ran into trouble when I realised I didn't know what type of game Jotun was. Instead, I'd loaded up its Kickstarter page, seen its gorgeous art, and decided, "yup, I'll give that a post". Right, so what type of game is Jotun? Ah, it's a 2D, top-down action exploration game—set in a Viking purgatory and taking inspiration from Journey and Shadow of the Colossus. Yup, I'll give that a post.


Rust dev reveals prototype for Deuce, the game where tennis and Street Fighter collide

Tom Sykes at

Reaction to their recent announcement of a new game—Riftlight—involved more flaming pitchforks than Facepunch Studios may have anticipated, but that hasn't put them off from revealing another one. Deuce (working title) is being described as "tennis crossed with Street Fighter" and—OK, we're going to have to examine that a little bit. Expect over-the-top characters, themed arenas and extravagant special moves: for instance, a teleport power that swaps the direction of the ball mid-flight. *Andy Murray's sullen head perks up in interest*.


Thief: Deadly Shadows mod removes mid-mission loads, redesigns transition zones

Tom Sykes at

Here's a little something to get the taste of the recent Thief reboot out of your mouth. Industrious, possibly Hammerite modders have been working on a Gold mod for Deadly Shadows for a while now, which among other things removes the loading transitions that were a bit of an annoyance in the original game. While these haven't been excised from the tutorial or the between-mission city hub—and by 'excised' I mean the constituent map parts have been carefully stitched together—the nine main missions have been lovingly reworked. Thief 3 Gold has just left beta, if you want to try it out.


Unrest review

Andy Kelly at

Unrest is a roleplaying game in the literal sense. In a vision of ancient India lightly dusted with fantasy elements, you briefly inhabit and guide the lives of a cast of very different, and unusual, characters. You don't play as a warrior or a wizard, but a girl facing the prospect of an arranged marriage, a starving child living in a slum, and others. It's an intriguing setup.

Dialogue is the focus. There's a lot of text here - enough to give Planescape: Torment a run for its money - and you'll spend the majority of the short 2-3 hour running time reading. Luckily it's all decently written, although I found it a little too earnest. Some lighter moments would have been welcome, even though, to be fair, that might have jarred with the subject matter. It's a mature tale of politics, corruption, war, famine, and religion that can get very heavy at times.


Z: Steel Soldiers returns to active duty, with reworked art and controls

Tom Sykes at

The Bitmap Brothers' robo-RTS sequel Z: Steel Soldiers is set to relaunch on Steam tonight, 13 years after its original release. TickTock Games are handling the port, while KISS and Kavcom are publishing. We can expect "significantly enhanced 3D graphics", apparently, along with reworked controls—compared with images of the original game, it does look a whole lot less flatter and smudgier. As a result, the game's system requirements have also shot up a fair few notches—but there's a good chance you'll be able to run it anyway.


Guild Wars 2 fan video is superbly edited, unbelievably cheerful

Phil Savage at

I sometimes forget how much time, effort and heart people will dedicate to a single game. Where I'll skim the ocean of my Steam library—fully aware that I'll one day drown—others live happily on the island of their chosen hobby. That dedication and belonging spills out of these games, too. There's fan art, fan videos, and yes, likely some questionable fan-fic. There's something joyous about that, especially when—as is the case of this amazing Guild Wars 2 fan-made video—it's backed by a catchy pop song.


Risk of Rain update to add two new classes, one of which owns a grappling hook

Tom Sykes at

In lieu of a promised Arena mode, Risk of Rain developers Hopoo Games are adding two new classes to their sidescrolling genre mashup instead. (It's a little like a MOBA roguelike, although that doesn't feel quite right as a descriptor either.) There's no word on how these classes will behave yet, but there is a brief gif revealing that one of them will have hydraulic arms and a grappling hook. You know, like your mum. This automatically makes them the best class in any game.


CoD: Ghosts trailer details Nemesis map pack, includes mine carts and smallest-ever CoD map

Tom Sykes at

It's strange to hear developers boast about how small the maps in their newest map pack are, but I hear just that in this trailer for CoD: Ghosts' final piece of DLC, Nemesis. This adds some "small-to-medium"-sized maps based around the themes 'mine cart level', 'wintry submarine base' and 'please desecrate this lovely Chinese village', along with a remake of the "smallest map ever made for Call of Duty": Shipment (now called Showtime). This one's a futuristic, Smash TV-style game show, replete with a cheesy announcer commentating on the killy goings-on. The DLC also adds the final bit to the game's full-on sci-fi Extinction mode. Exodus will see you coming face-to-elongated-face with the Ancestors, ie XCOM-ish psionic aliens. The trailer is below.


Titanfall 'Frontier's Edge' map pack is out now, see it in action here

Shaun Prescott at

Titanfall's Frontier's Edge map pack is out today, so you might as well watch this video showing off the three new arenas. Impressions based on the above footage are mostly positive, though it's a shame there's nothing as aesthetically bracing as 'War Games' from the Expedition pack. The colour palettes don't really depart from what we've seen before.