Castle in the Darkness trailer makes the case for wailing guitars, giant owl bosses

Tom Sykes at

What next for 1001 Spikes developers Nicalis? 100...2 Spikes? Tom: please don't give them any ideas. Nope: next on the agenda is Castle in the Darkness, a platforming Metroidvaniay RPG thingy, and one with a trailer reminiscent of that of a Falcom game. By which I mean: wailing '80s guitars. Castlevania, Mega Man, Zelda, Kirby, and Falcom's Ys games have all been mentioned as inspirations, and I'd say they've been represented pretty well.


Twitch to monitor and mute VOD content guilty of using 'unauthorized third party material'

Shaun Prescott at

Following the announcement of sweeping changes to Twitch's video on demand service, comes another more divisive update: Twitch will implement Audio Recognition technology on all VODs in an effort to combat the use of "unauthorised third party material". The scans will apply to VODs only: live streams will remain unaffected.


Shovel Knight has exceeded sales expectations, thanks mainly to PC

Shaun Prescott at

Do you like statistics and exclamation marks? Yacht Club Games has posted a breakdown of sales for its recently released platformer Shovel Knight, and it's a surprisingly interesting read. The Kickstarter-funded title released for PC, Wii U and 3DS on June 26, with 64 per cent of pledges coming from the PC community. The game sold a whooping 75,000 copies during its first week on PC and Nintendo's eShop, far exceeding the studio's expectations of between 30,000 and 60,000 copies. 38 per cent of sales in that first week were on PC: a close majority.


Hearthstone Help: Can you save the PC Gamer demon deck?

Tim Clark at

This week in Hearthstone Tim has been using the new Naxxramas Warlock card to try to build a demon-themed deck. Full disclosure: It hasn't gone swimmingly so far, and now he wants your help...


Twitch eliminates "save forever" option as it moves to improve Video On Demand options

Andy Chalk at

Twitch has announced that big changes are coming to its video on demand service, including better service for international viewers, easier YouTube exports and increased length of default rolling storage for past broadcasts. The downside to all these improvements is that the "save forever" option is being eliminated, but don't worry: Nobody was using it anyway.


World of Warcraft anniversary event sends you back to Molten Core, gives you a corgi

Cory Banks at

It's been ten years since World of Warcraft opened the gates of Azeroth to all. A lot has changed: You can buy a level 90 character if you want (though we don't recommend it if you're just coming back), the talent system has been simplified, and the world has been expanded and remade multiple times. This year, Blizzard wants you back. If you remember the good old days of 40-man raids, the developer has some nostalgia-packed events coming your way—including a corgi vanity pet.


BioWare's "You've Been Chosen" campaign asks a new question in a new teaser

Andy Chalk at

Can you control your power? Sadly for the poor woman in BioWare's new "You've Been Chosen" teaser, the answer is a resounding "no," and now she's left trying to convince people that it's not her fault. This video is no more informative than its predecessors, but it does come with some pretty good news for gamers who aren't going to Gamescom.


The Elder Scrolls Online Update 3 adds armor dyes, improved guild management, and more

Andy Chalk at

I don't play The Elder Scrolls Online so I'm in no position to judge the worthiness of the third major content update that recently went live. But I do find it interesting, and possibly telling, that the number-one entry on the list of "Big Changes/Updates/New Features" is the addition of dyes that players can use to change the color of their armor—provided they've unlocked the desired color with the appropriate achievement, that is. That's not meant to belittle the importance of looking good in the Argonian hood, I'm just surprised that it's given such prominence, although I suppose it could be seen as a good sign. After all, if this is the most pressing thing a game has to worry about, then it probably doesn't have much to worry about at all.


Why WoW's level 90 character boost is a shortcut you shouldn't take

Cory Banks at

World of Warcraft launched ten years ago this November. That’s a long time in video game years, and even longer for an MMORPG. The world of Azeroth was already big when the game launched in November 2004, but ten years and four expansions have made WoW utterly massive—and intimidating for new or returning players. That’s one of the reasons why Blizzard has introduced a new in-game service to boost characters to the game’s current max level, 90. For $60, you can take a brand new character, or one you played but didn’t max out, and shortcut them straight to the top-end content for Mists of Pandaria, the game’s most current expansion.

It’s a handy service for both current and returning players, but it’s not perfect. Getting a boost from level 1 to 90 is like learning how to swim by jumping off a diving board, straight into the deep end. And even though Blizzard gives you all of the skills and gear you need to be level 90, it may not be enough to keep your group happy. No one wants to be at the bottom of the damage-per-second charts in an endgame raid.

Roccat Nyth MMO mouse supports 3D printed buttons in a fully modular grid

Andy Chalk at

The world of specialty gaming mice is about to get a little more exotic thanks to Roccat's new Nyth MMO mouse. It's a "fully modular" design, meaning that gamers can customize its mouse grid with any kind of layout they like—and if you don't like what Roccat has to offer, you can use a 3D printer to whip up your own.


Lovely Planet gets global leaderboards, publisher defends low price

Tyler Wilde at

In my review of Lovely Planet, I criticized it for not including global leaderboards outside of one nameless world record per level. It just makes sense that a game built for speedrunning would show off the best speedrunners—and with today's update, it now does. And now that I can etch my name on a bragging wall, I have to replay every level 100 times to make sure my name is in the top 15.


Hellraid gameplay trailer shows off 20 minutes of monster mashing

Andy Chalk at

I will maintain until the day they pry the mouse from my cold, dead hand that Dark Messiah of Might and Magic is a criminally underrated game. So I was naturally intrigued by Hellraid, which by all appearances shares many similarities with Dark Messiah: Specifically, the bloody, fast-paced combat through expansive, RPG-style dungeons. But it's most definitely not, as this gameplay trailer makes clear, an RPG: Visual trappings notwithstanding, it's all about thefaux-medieval fantasy face-busting.


The best free antivirus software for PC

PC Gamer at

The last thing you want on your PC is a virus. The second-to-last thing you want on your PC is antivirus software that slows down your computer when you're gaming. Spending money on your antivirus software doesn't guarantee that you're getting the best, either. These days, there are a ton of free antivirus options, and many of them will keep your computer perfectly safe from the trojans and spyware and adware that lurk on the Internet.


The Settlers: Kingdoms of Anteria is half city builder, half...co-op action RPG?

Tom Sykes at

Ah, so this is what Ubisoft meant when they said they were reinventing The Settlers series with Kingdoms of Anteria. They meant "it's kind of an action RPG now", but also "it's still a city building strategy game", and "not to get picky, but we prefer the term 'Action RTS'". While I try to unpack what 'Action RTS' means, here are some unSettling facts: Anteria will feature "persistent city building", four-player co-op, loot and bosses, and those are certainly words you don't see together very often.


Activision: pre-orders declining across industry, Call of Duty "not immune"

Tom Sykes at

Pre-orders are a great way for publishers and developers to get your money before you know whether a game is any good or not. In some cases, it's proved a successful method of funding (particularly indie) development, but when we look at the world of big-budget games in particular, it's a practice that has made increasingly little sense as a consumer, despite the adoption of pre-order exclusives to try and make us reconsider. Well, it appears these efforts have been in vain: according to Activision's CEO and president Eric Hirshberg, there's been an industry-wide decline in pre-orders, and Call of Duty is "not immune".


Firefall review

Phil Savage at

Firefall is a free-to-play MMO shooter with an emphasis on dynamic events, skill-based combat and desperate defences against sometimes overwhelming enemy forces. All of which sounds promising, but Firefall also features a lack of variety, constant busywork and a set of interconnected systems that sit awkwardly against the moment-to-moment drudgery of the game. It has potential. The problem is that, in almost every instance, it fails to meet the ideal it's trying to sell.


Mind: Path to Thalamus is a stormy first-person puzzler featuring lovely landscapes

Tom Sykes at

Following the decree that says that all first-person puzzlers must feature a tricksy metaphorical narrative and be scored by sad piano music, Mind: Path to Thalamus is first-person puzzle game promising both of those things. Heavy Rain-style dad-shouting aside, Mind also contains a bunch of stunning environments, impressive stormy weather effects, and lots of other visual/physics elements that should make your computer sing. It's out on Steam now, and I have two sad-piano trailers waiting after the break.


Mortal Kombat X trailer is a primer on the dangers of electricity

Tom Sykes at

Mortal Kombat X—not ten, X—features a guy literally (not literally) made of electricity, so it makes sense that he can channel it in a variety of interesting, albeit killy ways. In contrast to the relatively mechanically stripped-back Mortal Kombat Knine, X will offer several different variations of each of its famously gore-hungry characters. God of thunder and all-round Debbie Downer Raiden is being showcased today. Prepare for shocking violence.


Colin McRae Rally Steam release might not be what you were expecting; Codies offering refunds

Tom Sykes at

When something called Colin McRae Rally popped up on Steam last week, it was natural to assume that it might be an HD remaster or remake of the PC version of Colin McRae Rally 1 or 2. It's not. It's an updated port of a Colin McRae mobile game, lacking car customisation, a lot of stages and cars, and sporting an interface that hasn't been adjusted for PC. Before yesterday, the game's Steam page contained a misleading description that didn't mention the word 'mobile' once, but that's now been updated, at least a little bit. It still has a few misleading sentences like "The classic rally experience races onto PC and Mac". More generously, Codcemasters are offering refunds to anyone who feels like they were duped into buying something they didn't want.


The Stomping Land breaks radio silence; is switching to Unreal Engine 4

Shaun Prescott at

Crowdfunding is a good way to get risky games made, but it's also an increasingly risky proposition for backers. The most recent example is prehistoric survival sim The Stomping Land, which made headlines last week after backers complained of radio silence from studio SuperCrit. The silence follows more than $115,000 pledged for development of the title, as well as the promise of regular community correspondence and weekly updates. The last anyone had heard from SuperCrit was May 30.