I'm not sure how I feel about getting emails from Neptune's Pride. Dirty, I guess? It was a game responsible for some pretty reprehensible behaviour, as part of a month-long campaign of stress, plotting and backstabbing. After it was over, I swore never to play it again. Then Neptune's Pride 2: Triton appeared, so naturally I played it again. Now it's emailing me, seemingly for no reason other reason than to taunt me with a reminder of its existence, and to reveal that its developers are testing out 64-player games of mammoth machination and mental manoeuvring.
Good news for fans of galactic conquest, bad news for fans of having and keeping friends: Iron Helmet's real-time multiplayer space strategy Neptune's Pride is back with a sequel. Neptune's Pride II: Triton sports a shiny new HTML5 engine - adding tablet and phone support to the browser-based game - as well as an overhauled UI, and new tech and research options. A short tutorial video explains how these new features can help you to betray anyone you've ever cared about.
The creators of the terrific, slow burn backstabbing simulators Neptune's Pride and Blight of the Immortals have launched a new game. It's called Jupiter's Folly, a self styled "online strategy boardgame" that has a cluster of players fighting for the right to mine precious Crystal from bountiful planetoids. You can play for free in your browser, and pay later to unlock premium features, like more maps, new armies and the ability to create your own custom games.
Every month, we present you with a roundup of the best free PC games that have been recently released. What we haven’t done before is sit down and think about all the best free PC games knocking around the internet at the moment, eventually formatting them into a big old list feature. We think it’s about time we sorted that out.
The internet is a scary place. It’s a place full of information, far too much for any one person to absorb even a fraction. It’s a place that caters to every desire, however depraved and esoteric. It’s a place full of other people. Isn’t that terrifying?
And, more than that, you’re expected to interact with these people. Have discussions, comment on articles you’ve all read, and troll one another. It’s enough to make that hermetic ideal of cave living, where you only have to worry about which end of the skunk to eat first, look most appealing. But it’s ok, I’m here to help.
Games are perhaps the best way to survive contact with other humans. They let you vent your frustrations, or work together without having to, y’know, have a proper conversation about it. You’re hidden and safe behind the anonymity of the internet, and the rules of the game. It’s a controlled environment, and so you’re probably going to be ok.
And so, allow me to aid you to submerge yourself in the unwashed masses, a toe at first, before the rest of your leg, and then all to follow. Below is a list of games aimed at interaction over the internet, all from within the safety of your browser. Some are short-fire bursts of multiplayer gaming, others aiming for something much more long form and arduous, but oh-so more rewarding because of it.
Five weeks of plotting, bluffing and double-crossing with Neptune's Pride, the most duplicitous strategy game of the year.
The icon next to his name turned grey, signalling that he’d just signed out of MSN Messenger. That meant he was away from his computer. It was time. I opened up the other window, selected my fleets and sent them all towards his worlds. By the time he came home that night to see what I’d done, it would be too late. And by the next morning, I’d have won the entire match. All hail the space slug! Doom to the space squid! That’ll teach them to make an alliance with me.
Neptune’s Pride isn’t real-time strategy, it’s long-time strategy. Each day, you login, upgrade some of your planets, direct your fleets around the galaxy, and then… you wait. A long time. Moving that one fleet between those two planets? That’s going to take four hours. Between the next two planets? Another ten. To reach the enemy planet you’ve ultimately sent it to attack? About 22 hours total.
Blight of the Immortals is a new multiplayer strategy from Iron Helmet, the guys behind Neptune's Pride. It's set in a fantasy universe where everyone is turning into zombies - not just humans, but the orcs, the elves, and the trolls too. It'll be a similar affair - great big slow movements on a giant map, a handful of your friends competing for resources, working together, and stabbing eachother in the back. There's one difference this time: you have a common enemy. The undead.