Astroloco: an adventure game with SPACE TRAINS, and also a demo

Tom Sykes at

TRAINS IN SPACE. Hungry Planet Games seem rather proud of this juxtaposition, almost as proud as I was of my ill-fated 'rickshaws in the ocean' venture. (So many deaths.) These SPACE TRAINS appear in their latest adventure game, Astroloco: Worst Contact, a comedy point-and-click featuring sci-pirates, voice acting, melodramatic narration, and character sprites that kinda look like they're in the wrong game (in a good way). The full thing's due out on January 31st for £3.99/$5.99, but there's a demo to play in the meantime.

Knytt Underground: the third in Nifflas' extraordinary platform series is released on PC

Tom Sykes at

Lots of things happened over Christmas. Via the wonders of 3D, the Queen leapt out of the UK's TVs like a particularly horrifying Ring ghost; I ate all the chocolate, ALL OF THE CHOCOLATE; and Nifflas released the third in his truly wonderful Knytt series. Knytt Underground continues the atmospheric, oft-tricky, exploratory platforming his games are known for, this time with new abilities, a whopping 1,800 rooms, and Dark Souls-style apocalyptic bell-ringing. You'll need $14.99, plus a PC or Mac (the console version's already out, while the Linux one's in beta), and here's that demo you were just about to ask for.

Underrail - Arcanum meets Metro 2033 - is available to alpha-buy now

Tom Sykes at

Underrail is an isometric, post-apocalyptic roleplaying game inspired by Fallout, Arcanum and even System Shock 2, which is almost the perfect sentence until you add the part that it's set in a series of underground train tunnels, which pretty much makes it Metro 2033: the isometric RPG. Now it's the perfect sentence, and - to my tastes - probably the most enticing game summary I've come across lately, so I'm just going to let that sink in while I download the alpha demo of the game.

PES 2013 demo next week

Tom Senior at

A demo for this year's Pro Evo is hurtling our way like a ball kicked really hard by a man. It'll be here next Wednesday, giving us a chance to assume direct control of EU teams like England, Germany, Portugal and Italy, and South American teams from the Copa Libertadores like Santos FC, SC International, Fluminense and Flamengo. Allow stepover artist Ronaldo to deliver the same information through the language of dancing feet in the demo announcement trailer below.

Risen 2 demo offers piratical sabbatical, Magic: The Gathering 2013 demo also available

Tom Senior at

As the bigger words just up there say, demos for pirate arrrPG Risen 2 and Magic: The Gathering Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 are now live on Steam (thanks, Blue's News). The Risen 2 demo is the portlier of the pair at 6.2 GB, but the 1.2 Magic demo packs plenty of card battles into 1.3GB. The sequel adds new decks, puzzle challenges and a moodier table. It's worth checking out to see the layer of whizz-bang they've added to make the act of moving cards from one place to another more exciting. Magic is great, but it would add a bonus layer of danger if the cards caught fire and electrocuted each other every few minutes.

We're livestreaming the Mass Effect 3 demo

PC Gamer at

The demo for Mass Effect 3 released this morning on Origin, and we teaming up with our friends over at Games Radar to stream it live for all you poor gaming souls trapped at work today.

Within: watch the saved video to get a sneak peek into your future life as Shepard, the total jerk or merciful angel.

The Darkness 2 demo is out now

Tom Senior at

Four arms are better than two when you're being assaulted by a city of gangsters. The Darkness 2 demo, now available on Steam, will gradually give you use of all your arms, just as soon as you've made it through the intro cutscenes, and the on-rails shooter bit, and a few more cutscenes. Thankfully the demo has been put together to give us an overview of some of Jackie's more powerful abilities, so it's worth persisting to get to the gorier bits. The pseudo-cell shaded look is a nice homage to The Darkness' comic book roots, too. Give it a whirl and let us know what you think. The Darkness 2 is out on February 7 in the US, and February 10 in Europe.

Mass Effect 3 demo to unlock Kingdoms of Amalur armour, and vice versa

Tom Senior at

Demos for Mass Effect 3 and Kingdoms of Amalur are due to arrive shortly, the perfect excuse for another weird pan-series promotional deal. When you boot up the Mass Effect 3 demo, you'll get access to a version of Shepard's famous N7 armour in fantasy RPG, Kingdoms of Amalur. Beat the demo and you'll unlock a pair of "Omniblades" which look just like Shepard's glowing techno arm-spikes.

It goes the other way, too. Playing the Kingdoms of Amalur demo will grant you Reckoner Knight Armour and a "Chakram Launcher" in Mass Effect 3. Both items are designed by comic book artist Todd McFarlene. Get a closer look at all the bonus gear in the screenshots below.

Orcs must die! demo hits Steam!

Tom Senior at

The Orcs have invaded Steam! Slay them with the demo of Orcs Must Die! Spotted on RPS! The full game is out next Wednesday October 12, which gives us days and days to practice planting traps and crossbow-blasting streams of green fools. There's 995 MB worth of Orcs to kill, and a pleasing variety of traps with which to do it. See a few of them in action in the interactive Orcs Must Die! trailer. You can pre-order the full version on Steam now at a discount and some shiny pre-order armour, which comes with a great big hammer. For killing Orcs, you understand.

The Sims 3 demo launched, runs in a browser

Tom Senior at

EA have launched a Sims 3 demo that will theoretically run in your browser. The demo was announced on the EA site, spotted over on Blue's News, and contains "elements from The Sims 3, The Sims 3 Late Night, The Sims 3 World Adventures."

EA's link doesn't seem to work, but we managed to launch the demo from the Gakai front page, the service providing the streaming tech behind the trial. The demo is time limited to 20 minutes. You'll be able to create a sim and lead them to their a gruesome death in an Egyptian pyramid, a haunted house and a vampire lair. Or you could keep them safe and watch them live long, happy fulfilled lives, but where's the fun in that?

Hard Reset demo out now

Tom Senior at

A demo for cyberpunk electro-blaster Hard Reset is out now on Steam. The sturdy gigabyte download drops you into an alleyway with an enormous gun and some scurrying bots. Don't expect any scoping or cover system here. Let rip with your minigun on full automatic and shoot the future in the face.

It's pretty, too. The PC exclusive shooter is built on Flying Wild Hog's own Road Hog engine, designed from the ground up to render Hard Reset's glistening urban cityscapes. While you're waiting for the download to finish, have a read more about the devs' design philosophy in our Hard Reset interview.

It's out on September 13 and will cost just £22.99 / $29.99. You can pre-order now from Steam to get a 10% discount.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 demo out now

Tom Senior at

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Konami have released the first of two planned demos for the latest edition of Pro Evo. CVG point towards the download link right here, with word that it contains a few training challenges and lets you play a ten minute game with Manchester United, AC Milan, Porto, Napoli, Santos and C.A. Panarol. This demo is based on preview code, a second demo is planned for release in mid-September ahead of its September 27 launch in the US. It's out on October 14 in Europe.

The trailer above shows off a few new features, like active AI that will make more aggressive runs into open space, and improved off-the-ball control that let you exploit flaws in opponents' formations during set pieces. The AI is so improved that referees will even play advantage. If you're not keen on how this trial plays, it might be worth another shot when the second one is released next month. It's a demo of two halves, after all.

StarCraft 2 Starter Edition offers free maps and missions to new players

Tom Senior at

The StarCraft 2 demo is dead! It has been reborn as the bigger and better StarCraft 2 Starter Edition, which includes four single player missions, two challenge maps and four skirmish maps that will let you play as Terrans against AI opponents. That's a great big slobbering shank of free StarCraft 2 for new players.

The starter edition has no time limit, the missions and maps can be replayed as often as you like. All you need to get your chunk of free StarCraft 2 is an internet connection and a login. You can set up an account and download the starter edition from now.

In a Q&A on the StarCraft 2 blog Blizzard say they plan to rotate the available skirmish maps, and will make a limited selection of custom maps available to Starter Edition players, including the Blizzard-made StarJeweled mod. You'll even be able to play the custom maps with friends. Read on for the full list of features currently included.

No Skyrim demo say Bethesda

Matt Purslow at

Bethesda have admitted in an interview with Gameplanet that there will not be a demo of Skyrim.

In the video interview found by Eurogamer, producer Craig Lafferty says: “No, we won’t be doing a demo. For a game of this size and complexity it’s really hard to do a demo the represents the game truly. And it would have to be a gigantic demo. So we won’t be doing a demo.”

Those desperate for some dragon slaying action will just have to sit out the long, harsh wait until Skyrim's release on November 11.

Star Ruler demo is out now, is on sale on Steam

PC Gamer at

4X galaxy conquering game Star Ruler now has a demo available ahead of its upcoming September retail release. Star Ruler has a procedurally generated 3D galaxy that can spawn up to 10,000 star systems into your game. With numerous research and diplomatic routes at your disposal, there are nearly limitless possibilites to explore. Just be careful not to go space-mad.

Upon the release of the retail version, Blind Mind are planning a massive update that will add new features for owners of the digital version of the game. You can grab the demo from the here. The game's currently available on Steam, too, and is currently on sale at 66% off.

A New Beginning demo is eco-thrilling

PC Gamer at

The first English language demo of ‘eco-thriller adventure’ game A New Beginning has been made available. From German developers Daedalic Entertainment, A New Beginning puts you in the shoes of Fay, one of small group of humans left alive on Earth in the year 2500. With the planet ravaged by climate change Fay is sent back in time to try to steer humanity from a path to disaster.

The demo features the prologue and parts of the first chapter of the game. The point and click adventure game picked up three trophies at the German Developer Awards, including Best Story and Best Soundtrack. You can download the demo from Strategy Informer or Worth Playing.

Whoever said games can’t teach us anything about the environment clearly hasn’t played this.

Duke Nukem demo out now on Steam

Tom Senior at

Following an earlier announcement on the 2K Games forums, the Duke Nukem Forever demo is available to download now on Steam. You an get our verdict on the Duke's latest, long overdue outing in our Duke Nukem Forever review. Earlier today we mentioned that Take Two recently said that they're not done with the Duke just yet, suggesting that there might well be more Duke games in the pipeline. Let us know your thoughts on the game in the comments below.

Play Mass Effect 2 and Dead Space 2 in your browser right now, no special plugin needed

Edward Fenning at

If you fancy having your mind somewhat blown, try playing the Mass Effect 2 demo in your browser. Unlike most graphically impressive browser games, this isn't a huge download running via a special plugin: all you need is Flash and Java, which you likely already do, and you'll be playing in a few seconds. The only catch is you need a good connection - about 10Mb/s - and the demo won't appear if you don't.

The service is called Gaikai, and it's live in 12 countries right now. The focus is on letting you into the game with no fuss or sign-up process, so it's perfect for demos. At the end of the Mass Effect 2 or Dead Space 2 demos available now, you get a link to buy the full game.

If the Mass Effect 2 demo link doesn't pop up when you visit the Gaikai site, try the Spore one - it has the same requirements but it'll tell you what's wrong if it doesn't work.

Total War: Shogun 2 demo released

Tom Senior at

The Shogun 2 demo has been released. You can download it through Steam. The demo will let you try out Shogun's battles and martial your forces on the new campaign map. You might want to boil the kettle once you've hit download, the demo's a massive 6GB in size. It's worth the wait. We reviewed Shogun 2 in the latest issue of PC Gamer UK, and gave it a score of 92 and an editor's choice award. The game's out on March 15.

Dragon Age 2 demo is out now

Tom Senior at

The demo of Dragon Age 2 is available to download now from the Dragon Age 2 demo page. It's 1.9 GB in size, and will let you play through the prologue section of the game. You'll be able to explore the central city of Kirkwall a bit, and meet sexy lady pirate Isabela. Completing it will also unlock a lovely dwarven blade to use with the full game when it's released.

Recently, Bioware announced that they would give even more bonus items to everyone who plays the demo, as long as it receives one million downloads. You can find our Dragon Age 2 review in the latest issues of PC Gamer US and PC Gamer UK, which is out now.