Rachel Watts played Manifold Garden, a first-person puzzler about manipulating gravity that looks like a 3D M.C. Escher print. I went to an exhibit of Escher's art where the rooms were designed to mess with your head, arches that tessellated so the space between them formed other arches and a hall that seemed to go forever but suddenly ended in a tiny door. It was actually a pleasant place to walk around, and I wonder if Manifold Garden's headfuck architecture would have the same effect.
Callum Agnew played Afterparty, the new game set in Hell from the creators of Oxenfree. If you know Oxenfree—an excellent spooky adventure about teens trapped on an island—you know to expect reactive dialogue and snappy writing. Afterparty, a game where you have to find booze that unlocks different dialogue options depending on what variety it is, promises more of the same.
Matt Elliott played old school FMV game Goosebumps: Escape from Horrorland, which is infamous for featuring Jeff Goldblum as Dracula, the role he was born to play. It's extremely 1990s in both its casting and graphics and, well, the fact that it exists. I'm glad it does, though.
Also on a retro tip, Wes Fenlon rediscovered Punch Ball Mario Bros., a super early Nintendo port in which Mario defeats enemies by limply flopping a ball in their direction instead of jumping on them or leaping up to punch the ledge beneath them, as is his wont.
Joanna Nelius went to BlizzCon and played a bunch of demos, including one for Overwatch 2, which she says feels more like an expansion than a sequel. Additions like level progression and a story campaign of Left 4 Dead-style co-op missions don't prevent it from seeming like more of the same, although it's a fair way off and plenty could change in the meantime.
Also a fair way off is Diablo 4, which Tyler Wilde got to try. He appreciated its dark and gloomy art style, but suspects that might clash with the always-online elements, which populate your world with other players even if you're the solo type. The bit where the druid turns into a bear does look pretty neat, though.
The rest of us have been playing The Outer Worlds. Chris Livingston can't shake his companions, and has been trying to prevent them from sneaking into the elevators with him—a doomed endeavour—while Fraser Brown can't shake the feeling that it's a bit too familiar, especially coming right after the more experimental Disco Elysium.
In the past it felt like Obsidian often strained against the limits of licences like Star Wars and Fallout, but given the freedom to create their own from scratch they've played it safe. Still, even though it feels a lot like a Firefly RPG, it's a decent one and it has some memorable companions like Parvati the mechanic (voiced by Ashly Burch), and real nice sci-fi vistas.
But enough about us. What about you? Are you frantically trying to finish what you're playing now before Red Dead Redemption 2 comes out? Or is one of November's other releases more likely to grab your attention? Let us know!