Platform: PS Vita (PSN)
Murasaki Baby is terrifying.
In fact, "deeply unsettling" might be more appropriate. This odd Vita exclusive sees you guiding an adorable teetering tot through puzzly levels as she clings onto her favourite balloon, but everything is... wrong. Horribly distorted tentacle-nosed freaks lurk within the nightmarish backgrounds, hiding nearly out of shot. Atonal scraping sends shivers up your spine as our baby staggers across atrocious hellscapes or twisted uncanny interiors past things you'd rather not look at directly. Then reveals that she has an enormous toothy maw in the top of her head.
Underneath the weirdness, however, lurks a fascinating little game that's designed to hold your hand in a very literal way, while showing off the Vita's wild array of input methods.
If you can imagine a touchscreen blend of Ico, Limbo and Frobisher Says... directed by David Firth (yes, the Salad Fingers guy)... you might be somewhere near the mark.Click here to read more...
Following a successful beta earlier this year, Ace Combat Infinity is too close for missiles and other lazy Top Gun references.
In fact, let's get them out of our system now, shall we? You can be my wingman any time. Highway to the Danger Zone. Take me to bed or lose me forever. Yeehaw, Jester's dead! Paging Doctor Loggins... oh, hang on, that was an Archer reference.
Never mind, because the take-home message here is that Ace Combat Infinity will release on the European PSN on May 28th. It's free-to-play and designed about competitive co-op, and set in the brilliant Strangereal universe, making it the gutsiest move I ever saw, Mav. Come on, I had to leave one for last. Matt delivered a hands-on preview if you want a closer look.
We've seen it cheaper on XBLA, but Brendan describes Pool Nation as "a must buy for pool fans." The AI can be very challenging, perhaps too much so at times, but the multiplayer is where the flavour is. The user-friendly trick shot implementation raises Pool Nation above the competition and will tempt you to try them out down the pub. Thanks to jaystan @ HUKD!
Just in case you didn't read my review yesterday, The Last Federation is a fantastic space strategy game set within a 4X simulation. AI races go to war, live and die - but we play as a wild card capable of toppling governments, burning fleets and manipulating the galaxy to our whim. It's revolutionary, newly-launched and £11.24 on Steam for the next couple of days, saving you 25%.
However, the ever-reliable Greenman Gaming will save you an extra couple of quid with their OFU76E-1C6RHK-OX6OMC voucher code, bringing things down to a cheeky £9.00. Bargain.
Octodad: Dadliest Catch is adorable and hilarious, as you try to pull off everyday chores controlling a slippery suckery cephalopod disguised as a family man. The joke can wear thin at times, especially when things get too 'gamey' and contrived towards the end, but if you love the idea you can save £4 on Steam. Thanks to jaystan @ HUKD!
Developer: Arcen Games
I've never played anything remotely like The Last Federation, even if it looks like any number of space 4X games from yesteryear at first glance. Eight unique races reach out to the stars from their home planets, seeking conquest and coexistence depending on their philosophies. They build fleets, research technologies, make treaties and break them with impunity; thriving and dying in a meticulously-modelled situation that's detailed down to internal politics and populations.
And we can't play as any of them... because they're all AI.
We stand alone as the Hydral, the last of an extinct race of interstellar tyrants with dreams of uniting the galaxy into one eternal federation... and crushing any species who stands in the way. We're the dark heart lurking at the centre of the universe, the multi-headed tentacular puppet master, working behind the scenes to apply pressure through political coups, financial skullduggery, science and fleet combat; subtly influencing the balance of power with both the carrot, stick, cloak, dagger and gravity lance.
It's really rather wonderful, and a revolutionary twist on the 4X legends of yore.Click here to read more...
GamersGate's Spring Sale, which I so cleverly referenced in the headline (please hold your applause), has taken a decidedly SEGA-related turn when it comes to the flash deals. Several SEGA games are heavily discounted for the next 24 hours, including Aliens: Colonial Marines.
Oh dear, I seem to have forgotten to link to the store page. Whoops. Never mind, though, because I'll link to some good games instead. Highlights include:
Thanks to MrCollective @ HUKD, who also corralled the other discounts on offer!
Nobody expects the Dragon Age Inquisition!
Well, actually, that's not entirely true. Not only does this new trailer set up the basic premise (we're the sole survivor of a disaster with magical powers and a great destiny... again), show off the shiny trans-generation graphics and hype us up for retooled dragon combat, but it also confirms that BioWare's sequel should release in October.
So we therefore know exactly what to expect and when to expect it. What we need to know, however, is whether it can put the series back on form after Dragon Age II totally squandered the first game's potential. We'll be sure to fetch the comfy chair and find out [that's probably enough misquoted Python now - Ed].
I love the Wii U GamePad. It's a fantastic piece of kit in terms of build quality and comfort (let's forget the crippling battery life for a moment), with a screen that should allow developers to offer new features and radical usability improvements with context-sensitive icons. Unfortunately, very few games actually use it to any great effect beyond just being another regular controller.
However, an incoming Fatal Frame sequel could change all that.Click here to read more...
Ilamentia | IndieGameStand | Beat the minimum ($1/£0.59)
Plenty of games have tried to muscle in on the first-person puzzling territory after that Valve game, but Ilamentia stands out by way of being so effortlessly surreal. Its puzzles range from spatial navigation to audio challenges and jump scares, tied together with a gorgeous aesthetic.
If that sounds like your cup of tea, you can buy the DRM-free version for 59p at IndieGameStand. You'll also receive Desura/GOG/Steam codes if and when it releases on those platforms.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is fantastic, and the director's cut ironed out some of its more annoying wrinkles. It's certainly not too shabby for a fiver, which is The Game Collection's current asking price and a £10 saving. Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII @ HUKD!
Final Fantasy's soundtrack is a thing of rare beauty, capable of packing out the Royal Albert Hall and venues worldwide thanks to Nobuo Uematsu's legendary anthems. It's a joy to listen to, but even more fun to tap along with, thanks to the excellent rhythm game/JRPG hybrid Theatrhythm that graced 3DS handhelds back in 2012.
Squeenix has now confirmed that its sequel, Curtain Call, is coming to North America and Europe later this year; containing 200 tracks, 60 characters from throughout the franchise and plenty of new modes. Definitely one to watch out for - and we'll keep you posted.
Oh, and it's pronounced 'theatre-rhythm.' Just so you know.
Halo 5 is coming. We'll probably have to wait until 2015 if the rumour mill is anything to go by, but as longtime fans of the series, we can't wait to see how 343 Industries push Bungie's legendary brand into the new console generation.
Actually, we do have a few ideas of our own - and some criticisms of Halo 4 to boot.
Halo 4 deserves to be studied in game design courses over the next few years, since it featured both the best and worst QTEs in recent memory.
The first level challenged us to climb up a collapsing superstructure in the most immersive QTE ever implemented by a videogame. Master Chief glanced left or right instead of relying on silly button prompts, allowing us to unconsciously make the right move without breaking the first-person perspective, to the extent that I had to replay the scene and intentionally fail just to convince myself that it wasn't a cutscene. It was utterly masterful (no pun intended) and we'd be happy with more of that - even in other games. Plagiarise the heck out of it, everyone.
However, we want none of the other kind of QTEs in Halo 5. The bad kind. The lazy kind. The immersion-killing kind. The 'press RB to kill the Elite' or 'hammer X to win the game' kind. No. Bad 343. Bad. Don't make me roll up a newspaper and bonk you on the nose.
eSports are all the rage these days, and Halo 5 is already perfectly placed to turn the best of its gametypes into a sensation. Grifball. Rooster Teeth's joke became a deadly serious mode, one that's as tense and tactical as it is ludicrously fun and riotously ridiculous.
So not only do we crave Grifball at launch, but we'd love loads of rotating championships and tournaments built directly into the game, supported by robust stat tracking, then perfectly accompanied by Xbox One Twitch streaming and DVR. See you in pre-season!
Oh, and we're looking for a fourth team-mate. We're undefeated in 2014. Sort of.Click here to read more...
I hope you're well-rested after a relaxing long weekend of a thousand annoying chores (fingers crossed that you managed to sneak in a beer somewhere between Ronsealing the fence and driving up the M1 to see the folks), so let's ease back into the swing of things with the latest UK charts.
Trials Fusion was last week's best new entry, which released on next-gen consoles as a £15.99 download or £30 retail box including the season pass. It's a fantastic game, though it debuted at seventh, since its physical copy was thoroughly outgunned by the likes of Titanfall and FIFA World Cup. EA should seriously look into combining football and massive robots soon, surely? Even as a Titanfall mode, it'd practically print money.
I'm also delighted that Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare is sticking around. PopCap are constantly adding new free content to their surprisingly deep and addictive shooter, which deserves a thriving player base.Click here to read more...
Apparently 37% of all Steam games sold are never actually played; just languishing tragically in our libraries. If they could, they'd sing a heartbreaking song like Jessie in Toy Story 2.
So here's some more backlog fodder! You can't resist the deliciously cheap prices on offer here, because you're weak and Gabe Newell knows it. Check out the full list here and the highlights below, some of which come courtesy of jaystan @ HUKD!
It's daylight robbery! It's a steal! It's... other larceny-related puns!
Thief isn't exactly a return to form (reviews range from half-decent to utterly atrocious - Matt likes it), so its price has been tumbling over the last month. Nine Quid seems to be about right, especially since it's a quid cheaper than our last deal and let me copy/paste the same body text. Except that bit. And that bit. And that bit. Oh lorks, I'm going to be here a while.
And that bit. Thanks to theg @ HUKD!
If you're in the market for a 3DS and would rather splash out on games rather than the more comfortable XL model, Amazon has a couple of cheeky little deals.
Prefer your handhelds to look like a Model T Ford? The black version comes with Castlevania: Mirror Of Fate, Tekken 3D and Resident Evil: The Mercenaries - which is a huge saving, but not the best selection of games you'll ever see. 'Half-decent' or 'mediocre' probably covers it.
Those who'd rather a brighter console can pick up the pink version, which includes Tetris, Freaky Forms Deluxe and Art Academy - somewhat better on the games front.
Check out the deals here. Thanks to Broxy @ HUKD!
If you're looking to pick up Titanfall but don't want to spend much money, Zavvi are offering an interesting deal of two parts. Respawn's shooter currently costs a very inexpensive £29.99, but then gets an extra discount down to a tasty £26.39 by way of a "spend £20 and 12%" offer.
Whether an Easter treat or glitch, it might be worth taking advantage of. Thanks to Chanchi32 @ HUKD!
More social wetworrk than social network, Frozen Synapse is a hardcore yet accessible strategy game designed to be played on your terms. Whether battling the AI or facing off against several opponents in asynchronous (read: play by mail) matches, it really is a special little game. Indeed, we gave it a perfect score.
You don't have to take our word for it, though, because Frozen Synapse is now free to download and play on Steam for the duration of the weekend! It's also got a discount down to £3.74, which will net you two copies - though you can undercut that via Greenman Gaming and their O3H7FE-D4NFO0-F0LIGK voucher code. It's unclear whether you'll get two copies, but I assume you will.
Salvation Prophecy may be rough around the edges, but it's one of the most ambitious indie space games in years. Ground combat, space combat and RPG elements are wrapped in a high tactical layer that, while inconsistent, is an absolute blast if it grabs you. It's only £3.99 - so why not check out our review and decide whether it's your cup of tea. Thanks and credit to uakiki @ HUKD, who found this before I did!