Okay, an apology. I used the word "action" in the headline, which may be a little misleading. This is an upcoming multiplayer mod for Euro Truck Simulator 2, after all. At no point does anything explode. Foreign drug dealers don't speed past in convertibles, shooting up the side of each cab with AK47s. We don't even see a heroic figure in a leather jacket jumping between each truck. Instead, a few friends take to the virtual roads of Europe, sharing the perverse sense of belonging that comes with being in a convoy. And sticking to the speed limit.
The problem with writing about Take On Mars is that, at some point, I will get that song stuck in my head. This is the curse of being born in the '80s. It's particularly annoying in this instance, because the update doesn't take place on the red planet, but its moon, Deimos, as well as some surrounding asteroids. We'll never know if "Take On Deimos" would prove less ear-worm inducing, but hopefully its trailer's electro-beeps can dispel the New Wave spectre.
FIFA strives to mimic the off-pitch strategy and on-pitch tactics of real football, and in the 12 months spent with each annual iteration, its fans become accustomed to the weight of its physics and the subtleties of its animations. As one of those fans, I’ve learnt the possible arcs of an aerial through ball, and the movements of teammates off the ball. When you’re so carefully attuned to the small details that make up a game, even a sequel that changes very little still manages to change everything.
Space games are coming back. The Kickstarter success of big projects like Star Citizen have reminded everyone that there's still an audience for games set in the big black. New tech like the Oculus Rift gives us new ways to enjoy shooting lasers at other spaceships and the massive hardware leaps we've enjoyed since the glory days of X-Wing and Freespace 2 can support prettier spcace games built by smaller teams.
We've rounded up 14 of the most exciting candidates. Some are looking for funding on Kickstarter or upvotes on Greenlight, others are already out, but are still growing and being updated regularly. If you like space games, these are the ones you should be keeping an eye on right now.
I have been steadily progressing through my Kerbal Space Program to-do list. My last major milestone was landing on the moon (or ‘Mun’, as the Kerbals call it). A little too enthusiastically, as it turned out. My capsule ran out of fuel during the descent, and sped helplessly towards its surface. On the upside, it got a great area-ofeffect radius. I landed all over that moon.
The next step is to reach the Mun without reducing my Kerbals to green paste. It’s a logical progression, but one that will be dramatically more complicated – in part because it requires me to start caring about the safety of these oblivious alien astronauts. Previously, there had been little reason to ensure their survival. When one died, another automatically stepped up to the cockpit, fully trained and unconcerned about reasons for the sudden job vacancy.
Welcome to Stabshank, a maximum security penitentiary that I’m about to flood with murderers, thieves, videogame pirates and other ruthless criminal scum. The best way to play Prison Architect is to start with calmer, less stabby minimum security prisoners, then bring in the psychopaths when your security is more solid, but I won’t be doing that. I’m going to fill my basic lowcapacity prison with some really, really bad people and a skeleton crew of guards.
As each truck of convicts rolls in, I’m going to pick one and follow them. I want to see how deep the simulation goes, and whether their crimes dictate their behaviour. I’ll track their lives until they die, escape or are otherwise incapacitated.
I won’t be installing metal detectors at the front gate or in the canteen, so any contraband – shivs, drugs, forks, etc – will be freely circulating. I don’t want Stabshank to be too efficient or secure. I want these guys to get angry, because the angrier they get, the more likely they are to do something interesting. By which I mean stabbing.
News of a Euro Truck Simulator 2 expansion shipped out a few weeks ago. It took a while to get here, though: arriving on the back of a lorry pocked with dents, it's many fines and tickets flapping about the windscreen. Having played the game, I sympathise. Now that it's here we can delve into info about the game's first DLC, Going East, which adds a number of Eastern European cities to the game.