The 0.21 update to Kerbal Space Program has arrived, bringing with it a slew of new parts for building rockets and planes.
Also added in this update are a terrain overhaul, a revamped Kerbal Space Center, and the ability to “hire” specific Kerbals and assign them to missions. While this hiring feature currently doesn’t offer much beyond more control over who’s on what mission, it lays some of the groundwork for KSP developer, Squad, to begin working on the eagerly awaited “Career Mode” for the game – which is planned to add mission contracts and funding rewards for players based on their progress, providing a more Kerbal Space “Tycoon” gameplay experience.
I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of puzzle platformers (or even puzzle games, to be honest), but when they’re good, they’re good. With The Swapper, Finnish studio Facepalm Games has not only uncovered a fun new mechanic but also crafted an extremely intriguing science fiction tale around it. Though the central themes may not be completely original to sci-fi, the way they come into focus as you solve puzzles and explore the beautiful claymation world is deftly executed. This is a great example of how to tell a story with a challenging game.
Gunpoint was released on Steam yesterday. The brainchild of PC Gamer UK editor Tom Francis, Gunpoint is a stealth game where you play a freelance spy who has to steal sensitive data for his clients. To finish your missions, you’ll have a variety of gadgets at your disposal, the foremost of which is a Crosslink device that will let you rewire lights, switches, cameras and doors. The other gadgets are acquired optionally and offer the player more ways of achieving his or her goals.
If you like tactical games and free PvP, then you might get as addicted to the Banner Saga: Factions as I have (Factions’ Steam page). It’s much like playing a timed chess game with a greater depth of variety in terms of strategy, which is provided the fantasy elements of the game and its unique battle mechanics.
IGF 2013 Excellence in Design nominee Starseed Pilgrim was released on Steam today (Steam releases were offered to all the nominees this year). This unassuming and enigmatic puzzle platformer has become a hit with a number of indie game developers, including Bennett Foddy (QWOP) and Braid creator Jonathan Blow, who called it his game of the year for 2012. Since so much of the enjoyment from Starseed comes from figuring out how the game works, it’s hard to describe even the basic goals without spoiling it. If that sounds fun to you in and of itself, you should probably give it a go.
It’s maybe easiest to compare Antichamber to Portal, but it actually reminds me more of The Manhole, an old children’s adventure game where a boat ride down a river might take you into the teacup of a character you were chatting with earlier. Like that game, Antichamber is constantly subverting your expectations about what is possible, especially with regards to physical space, and gives you a relatively large amount of freedom to explore its interconnected world. However, whereas The Manhole was goalless and sometimes completely random, Antichamber has a logic behind it – a method to its madness – that makes it such an interesting puzzler (and a technical marvel, as well).
There’s no story to speak of in the game and barely even any text. Instead, proverbs are found on posters as you play, encouraging outside and inside the box thinking in life and acting as simple metaphors for the game’s puzzles. Antichamber is almost self-referential in this sense, since, according to its press page, the development got its start 7 years ago through “a series of naive programming mistakes” made by its creator, Alexander Bruce. And just as Bruce must have undoubtedly felt surprised, frustrated, and ultimately elated during his development of the game, so should fans of puzzle games that end up playing this terrific title.
Hotline Miami is out now! The debut of Dennaton Games, composed of Jonatan Soderstrom (aka Cactus) and Dennis Wedin, Hotline Miami is a fast paced and violent overhead action game. It’s also pretty damn great, and very difficult. The game has a lot of atmosphere, sitting somewhere between Drive and Scarface, with constant 80′s inspired techno blaring over your murderous rampage.
The crux of the game is killing dozens upon dozens of gangsters, but you’re on even footing with them, dying in a single shot (or swing). Hotline Miami’s hyper aggressive nature and near instant retries create an addictive loop of shooting and getting shot until you finally hit everything just right, everybody dies but you, and then you feel pretty dang good about your ability to brutally murder virtual people. It’s extremely cathartic and that feeling of being a golden Floridian god of death drives the whole game.
While it’s easy to gush about how good the game is, the release is hindered somewhat by a large amount of bugs, though the majority of the crashes have already been patched out. It’s still frustrating to not have achievements unlocking in Steam or getting a mask that doesn’t seem to do anything. The game’s controller support was also removed in the first patch after release due to it causing some severe issues– hopefully its absence is only temporary.
Live action release trailer after the cut:
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I’ll be honest, part of me was expecting that we’d all be brains in jars before Cortex Command reached 1.0. But no! After almost a dozen years in development, Dan Tabar’s opus has hit that milestone and is now available on Steam. Players who have already purchased the game, either directly or through a Humble Indie Bundle can get a Steam key here. A Linux build is still in development, according to Dan’s announcement post.
The release marks the completion of the game’s campaign mode or “meta game”, which allows players and CPUs to engage in large-scale warfare, building bunkers and attacking one another across the face of a planet. To find out more about this new mode, check out Dan’s latest playtest video below. And if you’re new to Cortex Command, this is also a good way to see the game’s impressive physics and AI in action.
Congratulations to Dan and the rest of the team on the release!
Continuing the fine TIGSource tradition of posting old news… I’d like to mention that FTL came out earlier this month. The real-time spaceship simulation and “roguelikelike” was released just five months after its successful Kickstarter and is available on Steam, GOG.com, and directly from the developers.
Inspired by Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and other sci-fi television shows, FTL puts you in control of a spaceship and its crew. The bulk of the game consists of flying from planet to planet and battling with enemy ships in real-time. Just like a proper spaceship captain, you’ll have to micromanage the battle and assign crew to tasks such as repairing damage, manning ship systems, or engaging in phaser shoot-outs with aliens that have beamed aboard. Winning these deadly duels garners you scrap (FTL’s currency) and other rewards, like fuel or weaponry.
I’ve only played a couple rounds so far, but there’s a lot of potential here for a great coffee break game!
After four months of hard work the Legend of Grimrock team has released a level editor beta for their first-person dungeon crawl. Due to Steam’s rapid updating capabilities, the editor is currently only available for players who own the Steam version of the Grimrock. To try it out, right-click on “Legend of Grimrock” in your Steam library and select properties. Then click on the “Betas” tab and opt-in to begin downloading the editor.
Almost Human says that it will be available for all distribution platforms after the beta is over.