Yesterday, I wrote that I'm disappointed by Cult of the Wind—not because it's a bad game, but because I can't play it to find out if it's a good game. It runs fine, but I didn't see anyone in the single official server all day. I was surprised: Cult of the Wind generated a lot of excitement on Steam Greenlight, so where are all the players? In an e-mail correspondence, creator Alex Allen tells me he's also surprised, and expresses concern about the effects of Greenlight and Early Access.
Cult of the Wind stormed through Steam Greenlight on the back of a childhood memory: running around making airplane noises, outstretched arms smacking into anything foolish enough to get in the way of a pretend Spitfire (sorry, my sister). Its multiplayer "human dogfights" looked like silly fun in the trailer, and now that it's out, I'm down for some childhood regression if anyone else is. So, is anyone? No?
You've played Truck Simulator, Surgeon Simulator, Farming Simulator and even Goat Simulator. But someday soon, you'll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in an innovative and highly-detailed simulation that promises to surpass them all: Rock Simulator 2014.
The new trailer for Tangiers, the surreal stealth game that was successfully Kickstarted last summer, uses alpha footage and is thus liable to change, so the disclaimer states. I hope it doesn't change too much; I have no idea what's going on here, but whatever it is, I really want to play it.
For Spiderweb Software's Jeff Vogel, there's really only one problem affecting the sustainability of the indie PC gaming scene at the moment: "too many games." In a recent blog post, the veteran developer behind the Avernum and Avadon RPG series discusses what the "flood of games" means for indie studios today and in the future. It's an issue Vogel says has gotten so severe, "even the gaming press has noticed."
Upcoming horror adventure The Forest seems to have an appropriately complex relationship with the natural world. A new series of gifs released by developer Endnight Games shows us gentle sea turtles, bounding rabbits, and the horrific plane crash that brought you to the forest. It's a tease, but an effective and story-driven one in advance of the game's release through Steam Early Access May 30.
Most of us weren't born early enough to witness the pioneering of American animation during the early 1900s. Classics such as Steamboat Willie, Betty Boop, and Felix the Cat brightened many faces troubled by the Great Depression with a distinctive, bouncy style—a humble hand-drawn origin for the richly colored CGI of today's films. As games reflect the kind of art we enjoy in our culture, I'm glad for the extra attention given to Fleish & Cherry, a Greenlit puzzler themed after Fleischer-esque cartoons with a tale of rescue, jealousy, and obligatory slapstick humor.
Looking for a few new games to play? We're not hurting for choices, reportedly. Steam has released more games so far this year than during all of 2013, according to an analysis at Gamasutra. The number of new releases in 2014 contrasts starkly with data from the previous two years, a difference the analysis attributes to Steam's community promotion process, Steam Greenlight.
Aperture Tag is a Portal 2 mod inspired by Tag: The Power of Paint, the 2009 DigiPen student project which influenced Portal 2's gel mechanics and puzzles. Instead of shooting portals, you shoot the game’s orange and blue liquids, which make you run faster and jump higher, respectively. And now you'll be able to add your own mods to the mix.
Maybe you remember Prisoner of War, the 2002 third-person action adventure about escaping a PoW camp. If so, it's likely more due to its excellent premise than its shonky execution. For all that game's bugs and control quirks, it remains a compelling setting for a game—which is why I have high hopes for The Breakout. It's a point-'n-click adventure that emphasises stealth, preparation and recruitment. But before you can plot your own getaway, the game has to escape the financial hole of a Kickstarter campaign.
There’s a childish glee on display in the trailer for Cult of the Wind, a new multiplayer shooter almost completely devoid of the trappings of most shooters: no guns, bullets, explosions, or equipment. The game is played by a group of people reenacting great airplane battles of old, their arms stretched out behind them, their lips pursed in the sound of imaginary engine rumbles. It's a brilliant spin on the weirder tropes of the genre like enemy respawns, timed rounds, and capture the flag. Turns out, when you make these things obviously part of a game for children, they make a lot more sense.
75 more games have been given the big green thumbs up that means they're allowed to be on Steam, as announced on, well, Steam a couple of days ago. It's a list that includes the recently announced (Frontiers) and the long-overdue (I Get This Call Every Day), while reminding me that Catacomb Kids is a thing that I need in my life. You can find the full list here.
If Powerhoof can make games like they can make trailers, then Crawl could be very good indeed. It's a same-screen multiplayer brawler, in which the player must avoid the traps and enemies activated by their ghostly friends. The concept is dramatically explained in the video, by a narrator whose hammy horror acting would make Vincent Price proud. Of course, as an indie game, it's also accompanied by some expressive pixel animations and a glitchy chiptune soundtrack.
There's a new batch of Greenlight approvals, and - confession time - I haven't heard of the majority of them. That's a pretty exciting position to be in - guaranteeing a nice trickle of new and unexpected games. In fact, I've just randomly clicked on one of these fifty games, and been presented with a first-person platformer about controlling and cheating physics. Cool.
Also exciting is the success of games I both know and am anticipating. Path of Shadows, BeamNG.drive and recent mod of the week Aperture Tag are some such titles, all of which have also been waved through the Greenlight gate.
In another life, in another world I can well imagine that I became a hacker - it's just a shame that in this one I lack the programming ability, the quick typing fingers, and the shades-and-leather-trenchcoat combo that would be necessary to fit in with the hacking community. I imagine Other Me would be right at home in Disrupt, an upcoming hacking game that promises a "simulated cyber world of designated cities, including infrastructure such as police, medical, academic, electrical servers etc." It's a free-roaming hackathon featuring moral choices, side missions, and the ability to play as some sort of modern-day computer-nerd Robin Hood. I never realised how much I wanted that until now. Trailer below, if you can infiltrate the firewall I like to call 'the break'.
You may remember last year's promising student-made prototype, Path of Shadows. The demo offered a beautiful looking, enjoyable stealth adventure, albeit one with a few glitches and bugs that escaped undetected. The good news is that the project is being revived, with its creators planning to turn it into an expanded game. For now it's found a home among the dark greyness of Steam Greenlight. Soon, though, it'll be creeping towards Kickstarter. I bet it'll feel really self-conscious on those light, bright pages.
Derelict spaceships. Corporate cybercrime. Ninjas. These are some of the ideas populating the universe of StarCrawlers, a new first-person dungeon crawler that's landed on both Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight. While its mechanics appear to situate it comfortably in the dungeon crawler genre, StarCrawlers' setting takes us deep into the future rather than an imaginary, alternate past.
Real-time soft-body physics might sound like the technology powering an erotic Oculus Rift game, but in reality it's the magic maths that helps make BeamNG's crashes look as crunchy as they do. What started as a physics tech demo has slowly been transforming into an open-world driving game, named BeamNG.drive. That game has now taken a turn onto the Greenlight highway, and is hoping to gain enough momentum to pass through the Steam barrier.
When billionaire bro Cave Johnson turned his vision away from the exciting world of shower curtains to tossing money at a bunch of science stuff, what if paint guns instead of portals were the result? That's the setting for Aperture Tag: The Paint Gun Testing Initiative, a fledgling Portal 2 mod boasting 26 new puzzle floors designed for no portals whatsoever. Instead, we'll sail through that exit door by laying down carpets and dollops of the much-adored red and blue paint for speedy acceleration and longer airtime.