Xing: The Land Beyond releases E3 "Rainforest" demo

Andy Chalk at

Xing: The Land Beyond is a Myst-like adventure that hit it big on Kickstarter last year—"big" in the sense that it more than doubled its goal of $15,000. There's no doubt in my mind that one of the reasons for its success was the release of a demo in the middle of the campaign; it was clunky and unoptimized but did some interesting things with day/night transitions, and more importantly proved that the small indie team at White Lotus Interactive was actually making a game. Now an even better look at Xing has been released to the public in the form of the Oculus Rift-enabled "Rainforest" demo the studio showed off at E3.

Crystal Catacombs procedurally generates neon sci-fi, roguelikey platform exploration

Tom Sykes at

Nobody would blame you for having had your fill of sidescrolling, procedurally generated platforming roguelikes, but Crystal Catacombs might be worth a curious glance before you swear off the sub-sub-genre forever. For one thing, it's gorgeous, employing tiny yet detailed and colourful (but not garishly so) pixel art to bring its neon cavey world to life. It's a slightly different breed of game to something like Spelunky - the physics are nowhere near as delightfully precise - but you should find something to enjoy here if you traversed your way through Super Metroid or Symphony of the Night back in the day. Details and demo link after the break.

Concursion demo offers playable piece of Puuba's strange genre mashup

Tom Senior at

Patches of altered reality drift in bubbles and waves across Concursion's environments, and each reality offers you a window into a different game. One moment you're a space-suited adventurer in a sidescrolling blaster, the next you can fall down a pit into a top-down Zelda-esque adventure. Moments later you might find yourself playing a space shooter, or as a ninja in a forest full of enemies.

Jane Jensen's Moebius now has a demo, full game out April 15th

Tom Sykes at

Sad Update: I've been informed that Moebius' secretive organisation is no longer called F.I.S.T. It is now called F.I.T.A. I don't know how to process this information.

Jane Jensen's Moebius is out soon, and to coincide with the occasion there is now a Jane Jensen's demo to keep us Jane Jensen's occupied in the meantime. The demo gives us the opportunity to step into the sharp-suited, beanpole body of one Malachi Rector (not pictured above), who just might be the best-named game character this side of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker's intemperate villain 'Hot Coldman'. Expect to click on things, talk to people, and save a handsome man from hanging in order recruit him to your globe-hopping mystery squad - it's all in a day's work at the following link.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 demo now on Steam

Omri Petitte at

All Gabriel "Dracula" Belmont wants to do is be left in peace. He longs to stare into the night sky and occasionally feast on the blood of the pure, but that stupid Satan just won't stop showing up and kicking over Dracula's Gothic sand castle. We'll soon get to stick our Void Swords right in the Devil's derriere when Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 hits PCs on February 25, but at least we can sate our bloodthirst in the meantime with the free demo available on Steam along with a 10 percent cut of the $60 pre-order price.

Time To Live announced: multiplayer deathmatch from the creators of Surgeon Simulator

Phil Savage at

If you're anything like me, I'm going to have to quickly manage your expectations. When I first heard that Bossa Studios - the folks responsible for Surgeon Simulator 2013 - were making a multiplayer deathmatch game called Time To Live, I assumed it'd involve slicing and/or dicing organs in a two-way surgery off. Not so, as the trailer reveals. Instead, it's a top-down, arena-based shopping battler, in which only futuristic commercialism can delay your impending demise.

Probably Archery is definitely archery, but with apple-people, QWOP-style controls

Tom Sykes at

Probably Archery is definitely a game about archery. I mean look at it, it's got bows and everything. Where Probable Archery differs from Actual Archery is in its slightly terrifying enemies (muscly semi-naked men with apples for heads), its not exactly realistic situations, and oh yes the game's QWOP/Surgery Simulator-style controls. This means you have a startling degree of control over your arms (and in the game), and obviously that you're going to miss quite a lot.

Paper Sorcerer: a sketchy first-person RPG set inside the pages of a book

Tom Sykes at

Anyone remember books? Wikipedia tells me that they were a sort of primitive version of ebooks, printed on dead tree matter that you had to hold open in front of your face like some sort of caveperson. Thank heavens times have moved on since then - except for the hero of Paper Sorcerer, that is. It's a first-person, turn-based indie RPG with one hell of a striking visual style - you can play the demo in your browser right here.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes demo now available to download

Tom Sykes at

Remember demos? They were totally a thing once, before the lizard-people that control the games industry conspiracied them out of existence. Thankfully TT Games, among others, have kept the fire alive - their latest demonstration version offering a chunk of the biff-happy Lego Marvel Super Heroes. The demo contains one level, giving you the chance to step into ripped trousers of The Hulk, and the sweaty, sweaty super-suit of Iron Man.

The Elder Scrolls Online gets live demo at QuakeCon

Perry Vandell at

With QuakeCon in full swing, Bethesda decided to celebrate the festivities with a livestream of The Elder Scrolls Online, giving those of us who didn’t make it into the closed beta a small taste of what’s yet to come. Those who missed the livestream can find the archived version here, though you’ll want to skip to the 41 minute mark unless you want to see the same trailer over and over again.

Total War: Rome II Gameplay Demo

PC Gamer at

Evan and T.J. recently sat down with Creative Assembly's Al Bickham for a guided tour through the battlefields of the 4th century B.C. in Total War: Rome II. We explore the campaign map with its new mechanics, and jump into a real-time battle to defend a key road to Rome. All the while, we bombard our gracious host with questions about the new face of Total War.

War of the Roses demo now listed as free to play

Perry Vandell at

You might not have known it, but Fatshark's rendition of the 15th century English battle, War of the Roses, has been a free-to-play game for quite some time now. The base game became a free trial earlier this year, being free-to-play in all but name. Now, it has the name.

Defiance is free to play for the first three days

Perry Vandell at

The third person MMO based on the Syfy TV show is inching a little closer to “free to play” territory today by offering a free, 72 hour demo to those who are curious what the Bay Area looks like after the San Francisco Giants win a World Series.

Starshock demo teases a chunky indie shooter in the style of System Shock 1, Doom

Tom Sykes at

If you like the old id Software games and you can play the original System Shock without vomiting pixels, you're going to want to check out Starshock. It's an indie first-person shooter that's "about 95% done", and with only 7% left to go - why yes I was bottom of maths at school, why do you ask? - developer Quarry has uploaded a demo for the entire world to try. It offers three levels of claustrophobic shooting, terminal-reading and pixel-deciphering action, minus most of the sound effects (those must be part of the remaining 12%).

Driftmoon: a charming, old-fashioned RPG released after seven years in development

Tom Sykes at

Husband-and-wife team Ville and Anne Mönkkönen (AKA Instant Kingdom) have been working on the sweet-natured, lighthearted RPG Driftmoon for seven years, which in game development terms equates to at least an ice age. Thankfully, it's an ice age that has now come to a close, with the glacier thawing to reveal a massive, slick, isometric RPG featuring powerful modding tools - and with a big old demo to try out too.

A Valley Without Wind 2 out now, with a demo, is still free if you own the first game

Tom Sykes at

Remember when we mentioned that A Valley Without Wind 2 was due out in February? Well - checks watch - it's February now, and like clockwork the game has quietly sidled onto Steam. With 25% off until next Monday, £7.11/$11.24 is the cost of admission to this most windless of valleys, but if you've previously purchased AVWW1, Arcen Games are generously giving you this sequel for free. For a couple of months now you've also had the chance to try the beta version of the game, but now everyone can sample version 1.0, as a big ol' demo has just been made available right here.

Camp Keepalive is what happens when turn-based strategy meets an 80s slasher movie

Tom Sykes at

Friday the 13th gave us so many things: a much better sequel, the first of many on-screen deaths for Kevin 'I just wanna dance/turn invisible/sell mobile phones' Bacon, and an abiding fear of going anywhere near teenagers, lest Jason Voorhees turns up to get creative with his machete. However, it's also indirectly responsible - along with the tremendous Sleepaway Camp - for the upcoming turn-based splattery game (see what I did there?) Camp Keepalive, so I guess it's not all bad. (I replaced the word 'strategy' with 'splattery', is what I'm saying.) Your job is to "save the helpless and dull-witted campers from an onslaught of monsters with a team of counsellors, each with a special power." I have been waiting for this game my whole life.

Do game demos harm game sales? Schell Games founder says yes

Omri Petitte at

During a presentation at last week's DICE (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) summit, author, professor, and Schell Games founder Jesse Schell shared a rather bold statement for developers: releasing a demo for your game could actually harm sales. The solution? Look, but don't touch.

Anodyne - a surreal, top-down Zelda-style adventure - is out now

Tom Sykes at

Anodyne is what happens when you instill Zelda - specifically, the series' 2D highpoint Link's Awakening - with the sort of creepy, surreal atmosphere more often associated with Silent Hill, or Jasper Byrne's nightmarish Lone Survivor. Like the Zelda classic, Anodyne takes place in protagonist Young's subconscious, but his dreams are tad messed up in comparison to Link's relatively cheery Wind-Fish jaunt. Back in September we pointed you towards a demo, but developers Analgesic Productions (AKA Sean Hogan and Jonathan Kittaka) have recently issued a newer one, to coincide with the game's release yesterday.

Ur Not A Hero, but you are a badass in this cover-based 2D action shooter

Tom Sykes at

I have high hopes for Ur Not A Hero, a 2D action shooter that developers Peanut Butter Fingers describe as a mix of Elevator Action and Gears of War, but I think leans closer towards Stranglehold or Vanquish - i.e. insanely stylish, and with lots and lots of sliding around on the floor. (There's also a hint of Hotline Miami, I feel.) Picking from a bunch of guys with different abilities (Suit Guy dual-wields pistols, for example, while the dude dressed as a superhero is a dab hand at the old punch-slide combo), your job is to clear a building of hostiles, while defusing bombs, rescuing hostages, or assassinating a key target. There's a brilliant video below, and a playable, early alpha version to whet your appetite.