Indie

Cosmochoria: a space gardening shooter hitting Early Access today

Tom Sykes at

I blame Droqen and Starseed Pilgrim for the recent spate of indie space gardening games, and by 'blame' I of course mean 'celebrate profusely', because indie space gardening games are great. On the weekend I banged on about the aptly named Space Gardener, and today I'm going to tell you about the lovely Cosmochoria, which hits Steam Early Access today. I just need to...plant this thing and...shoot these aliens...hang on.


The Best Free Games of the Week

Tom Sykes at

One girl and her dog. One astronaut and their moon garden. Another alien metropolis starring a person with outstretched hands. A lo-fi dodge-'em-up for the Nintend-faux GameBoy. This week's free games box social is for those of us not going to EGX (it's also for those that are, when they get home). Grow, explore, bark and avoid, in the best collection of free games since the last one. Enjoy!


The Best Free Games of the Week

Tom Sykes at

Chambers. Adventure. Perfectly timed jumping. A demon-run video shop. A bunny girl fighting robots. These are some of the things that lie in store in this week's FREEGAMESAPALOOZA, which as ever is brought to you by our good friends at Soylent Green. Soylent Green—Live Life Your Way. Soylent Green—Turns Out It's Made Out Of People. Enjoy!


Due Process hands-on: kicking down doors in low-fi Rainbow Six

Evan Lahti at

The last thing I played at PAX earlier this month was Due Process, a tactical FPS in development by Seattle-based Giant Enemy Crab. Though it's very much in a primordial state (pre-alpha, by the dev team's description), Due Process ended up as one of my highlights from the show simply because it's exciting to see an indie team explore a genre that's typically reserved for big studios.


The Best Free Games of the Week

Tom Sykes at

As I approach my *cough* 20s, I'm drawn more to games that allow me to explore a small, interesting space, without the stress of having to collect 100 stray doodads or deal with 'emergent' generated quests along the way. Indie games are very good for this, and this week sees a strange new Strangethink scene being procedurally generated upon the world, along with a game about mushrooms, a game about drowning (sorta), a game about pressing buttons, and one of them games where you read things off of the screen. Enjoy!


Uncanny Valley is a creepy 2D horror game, has a demo out right now

Phil Savage at

As a massive coward, I went into Uncanny Valley with deliberately sub-optimal conditions. Light glared through my window. Sound was left to wander aimlessly from my speakers. Most importantly, puppy gifs were positioned prominently on my second monitor. Despite all this, it still elicited a fright or two–the game's creepy atmosphere being interspersed with some effective scares. You can try it out, too, as its developers have released a demo ahead of the full release later this year.


Ultraworld is a surreal and beautiful first-person exploration adventure

Phil Savage at

Ultraworld—or ULTRAWORLD, as it prefers to be known—immediately grabbed my interest with a strong trailer accompanied by a weird and ethereal electronic soundtrack. I know, I'm pretty easy to please. It's an exploration-driven indie game created in CryEngine by James Beech, who previously worked on Crysis 3 and, of all things, the classic Half-Life 2 mod Weekday Warrior. It's a game that boasts "exploring, relaxing, and thinking" as its primary features, which should give you some idea of what to expect.


The Best Free Games of the Week

Tom Sykes at

Let's play some games, shall we? This week: a boy goes to space, a dead-and-alive cat stays in a box, a wonderfully weird game gets expanded, Legends return, things are shot at, and other things are separated by a dimensional membrane. Enjoy!


Firewatch interview: Campo Santo details its first project

Evan Lahti at

We got our first significant look at Firewatch last weekend at PAX. I spoke to Jake Rodkin and Chris Remo shortly after Campo Santo's panel.


Darkest Dungeon gameplay footage and demo from PAX 2014

Evan Lahti at

Darkest Dungeon continues to be one of the games I'm looking forward to most. Red Hook Studios has cherry-picked its favorite aspects of XCOM, roguelikes, and turn-based strategy, and wrapped Darkest Dungeon in a gloomy fantasy art style that's evocative of Dark Souls while still feeling inexplicably cute. It also has one of the most fitting mechanics I've seen featured in a roguelike partly inspired by Lovecraft: a "stress" meter for representing the mental health of your party members.

The demo that Red Hook walked me through at PAX Prime this weekend was the first glimpse of Darkest Dungeon's town metagame, as well as four new classes, of the planned 16.

The Best Free Games of the Week

Tom Sykes at

Spotted in the free games safari this week: a game about listening and bartending and CYBERPUNKS and liquid ratios, the new game from them what made A Dark Room (be excited), cat puns and an interactive space toilet. Today I watched a jettisoned pixel poo pirouette into the infinite, and so can you. Enjoy.


Miegakure trailer explains how to walk through walls using the 4th Dimension

Phil Savage at

Yup. This is... well... it's an example of the systems underlying the game Miegakure. I definitely understand it all.

What do you mean explain it? Um... Just watch the video.


Magicmaker trailer shows build-your-own spell system, customisable wizards

Phil Savage at

An email comes in for 2D RPG-platformer Magicmaker. In it appear phrases like "total wizard customization," and "poisonous exploding suns". Also a number: 2,193,360. That, according to developer Tasty Stewdios, is how many spell combinations you can potentially craft in game. Naturally, I am powerless to resist.


The Best Free Games of the Week

Tom Sykes at

Free games are amazing, and the wide world of gaming is a wildly better place for all the wonderful interactive stories and goal-based games and exploratory oddities I've encountered over the last couple of years. While angry types grumble about 'walking simulators' and interactive fiction and having to look at games featuring pixel art, those of you with open minds may join me after the break. Read on for strange climbing, a different kind of haunted house, a dusty city, extreme berry-picking and more.


Fistful of Gun to be published by Devolver, is a top-down, co-op Western shooter

Phil Savage at

Fistful of Gun is a Western primarily in setting. As a top-down arcade shooter, it's a little lacking in some of the fundamental themes of the genre; like sweeping landscapes, local power-struggles or Clint Eastwood staring at a man until he gets bored and dies. Instead, its the weaponry and hats of the era, implanted into a frantic bullet-hell assault.


Due Process has been picked up by Indie Fund, is a "very alpha", very tactical shooter

Phil Savage at

There's something about drawing on a map that plugs directly into the fantasy of games. It's a bit silly and, at the same time, incredibly serious—a small stretch of role-playing before you get to the execution. Due Process is a tactical multiplayer shooter that seems to understand the joy of planning. Its trailer shows friends methodically guessing and second-guessing; but the actual action appears to be over pretty quickly. It's all about the act of marking that map.


The Best Free Games of the Week

Tom Sykes at

Welcome to the blitmaze. It's a tetrachrome dungeon filled with noise and green—lots and lots of green—and it's joined this week by a game of light and bats and darkness, another reliably good Nifflas adventure, Planet of the Petunias and more. If that sounds like a pleasant way to spend your Saturday—spoiler: it does—stick around to sample this week's crop.


Below trailer brings a moment of ethereal calm to Gamescom

Shaun Prescott at

Sick of suited up guys yelling into mouthpieces, incendiary shooter sequels and stuff that's Only On Xbox? This Below trailer provides a calm respite from the brouhaha of Gamescom. There's no new information (ie, we still don't know when it's coming out), but this Capybara developed top-down adventure roguelike is looking prettier than ever.


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!


Halfway review

Evan Lahti at

2014 has brought us a tiny surplus of indie, turn-based strategy games. And happily, they’ve all been thematically and mechanically different: The Banner Saga (an elegant Viking epic), Xenonauts (a spiritual sequel to old X-COM), Dead State (a Fallout-like zombie sandbox in Early Access). Halfway is less complex and sprawling than these games, which ends up as both a shortcoming and an asset.