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Jonathan Lester

PREVIEW | Radial-G: Kickstarting the Virtual Reality WipEout we've been waiting for

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Kickstarter, Oculus Rift, PC games, Project Morpheus, PS4 games, Racing Games, Tammeka Games, VR

Radial-G is intense. As an alumni of the WipeOut and F-Zero school of racing, it throws us into antigravity sleds and shoots us down insane twisting tracks, glued to the exterior of wildly crooked tubes that grant us a full range of motion. We'll dodge through fan blades, hurtle over speed boosters and ultimately jostle for position against 31 opponents. The sheer sense of unadulterated velocity is astonishing, even mindblowing.

However, perhaps the most impressive thing about this in-progress indie racer is that it also fully supports the Oculus Rift, allowing you to leap right into the cockpit and immerse yourself in its ridiculously hectic action... without throwing up all over the keyboard.

This is because Radial-G's development team has real pedigree, or in other words: they know what they're doing. They've worked on military-grade simulators before, clearly experienced in mitigating the effects of simulation sickness. Several staffers hail from Acclaim and Black Rock Studios, having previously developed many a racer. Producer Sam Watts even put in a long shift at NCSoft, contributing to Wildstar and other MMOs.

Most importantly, Tammeka Games are only asking for £50,000 to get the ball rolling on Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight - and you can try the free demo right now whether you have an Oculus Rift or not. PS4 owners should pay attention, because a certain Mr. Yoshida has also given it both thumbs up with Morpheus in mind.

If you're tired of waiting for Nintendo and Sony to get their act together, Radial-G is shaping up nicely.

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Star Citizen gunning for $50 million, will make its own languages

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
PC games, Roberts Space Industries, Space Sim, Star Citizen

Star Citizen gunning for  million, will make its own languages

"Do you speak Banu?"

Star Citizen's astonishing crowd funding campaign shows no signs of stopping as Chris Roberts' space sim blasts through the $48 million mark, having finally released a playable component. We'll now get a fun new in-universe advert for the Retalliator ship line, but Roberts has bigger plans for what happens when the war chest hits $50 million.

Specifically, he'll commission a team of linguists to create entirely new complete languages for each alien race. Qapla'!

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Get 14 games for £2.99 in the Scorched Bundle - including Skyward Collapse & No Time To Explain!

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
PC games

Get 14 games for £2.99 in the Scorched Bundle - including Skyward Collapse & No Time To Explain!

Bundle Stars often outdo themselves, but The Scorched Bundle is absolutely insane value. £2.99 will net you no less than fourteen games, including some real gems and a few bad apples.

Specifically (and with links to our reviews!) you'll get //N.P.P.D. RUSH//, Clones, Crystals of Time, Deponia, Fortix, iBomber Attack, Ignite, LightFish, Litil Divil, No Time To Explain, Q.U.B.E. Director’s Cut, Skyward Collapse Complete, Super Killer Hornet: Resurrection & The 39 Steps.

Not bad for less than a London pint, eh? Thanks and credit to LagunaLoire @ HUKD, who found this before I did!

The Humble Store Summer Sale ends today, grab a bargain while you can!

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
PC games

The Humble Store Summer Sale ends today, grab a bargain while you can!

The Humble Store has decided to end the summer sale with one last hurrah by reprising several of the best deals from throughout the last fortnight. Broforce and Banished are both a steal at £5.99, Risk Of Rain will only set you back £2.99, The Last Federation will delight 4X fans for £6.99 and Shadowrun Returns is an easy recommendation for RPG aficionados at £2.49.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, so be sure to swing by the splash page and see what takes your fancy. Thanks to jaystan @ HUKD, who rounded up some of the smartest bargains!

Mario Kart 8 Wii U only £29.99 at GAME today

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Nintendo, Wii U games

Mario Kart 8 Wii U only £29.99 at GAME today

Mario Kart 8 | GAME | £29.99
Review
Free Game Promotion!

If you own a Wii U but haven't picked up Mario Kart 8 yet, now's the time. £29.99 is the cheapest price we've ever seen for the superb racer, and better yet, you've still got a couple of weeks to claim your free downloadable game. Don't forget, because missing the opportunity to grab the likes of Pikmin 3, Wind Waker HD or The Wonderful 101 gratis should not be missed. There may indeed never be a better time to get involved. Do it.

Deal expires at midnight tonight. Thanks to 5rivers59 @ HUKD!

Devs want Early Access on consoles, but do we?

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Early Access, Microsoft, PS4, Sony, Xbox One

Devs want Early Access on consoles, but do we?

A decade ago I'd have laughed in your face if you suggested that thousands of gamers would willingly pay to play unfinished games, but here we are. Alpha funding is now a big deal and a very good thing too in the main, allowing small studios to get investment, community and publicity while letting us into the development cycle first-hand. Huge advantages for everyone involved, despite the increasingly hefty drawbacks of a system that enables unscrupulous liars to make bank and buries quality Steam software under a mountain of utter crap.

It's clear that Early Access (alpha funding by any other name) is still undergoing some growing pains on PC, but developers and hardware manufacturers are now calling for a similar system to be implemented on home consoles. To be perfectly honest, I'm not convinced they're entirely ready yet.

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PREVIEW | A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build is cuddly & cunning

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Alan Hazelden, Benjamin Davis, Games previews, Indie Games, Mobile games, PC games, Puzzle games

PREVIEW | A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build is cuddly & cunning

A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build lives up to its name, but you wouldn't know it at first glance. In fact, it looks positively adorable.

Sokobond designer Alan Hazelden and Game Jam veteran Benjamin Davis have conspired to create something truly lovely; a soft, warm and decidedly festive little puzzler starring a loveable lonely monster. All it wants in life is to create snowmen by rolling up snowballs, which become new friends to hang out with and cuddle, like Tanya above. Cuddling is already directly coded into the game -- just flick the stick to initiate a big old bear hug. Playing it is therefore much like drinking a great big mug of Horlicks on a bitterly cold day, making you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

"It's a puzzle game about being a monster and making snowmen," Davis told me at the Develop Conference last week, lulling me into a false sense of security with the simple pitch. Right before A Good Snowman started spanking my brainpan.

PREVIEW | A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build is cuddly & cunning

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Gorgeous shooter Myriad targeting PS4: "it looks ridiculously cool"

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Erlend Grefsrud, Indie Games, PS4 games, SHMUP

Gorgeous shooter Myriad targeting PS4: "it looks ridiculously cool"

Yesterday we previewed Myriad, a truly eyepopping indie game that elevates twinstick shooting into an artform in and of itself. Inspired by the works of Kandinsky, it allows us to reshape levels on the fly, creating dynamic unique masterpieces every time we play.

It's a fascinating concept and a ton of fun even at this early stage, and though the preview build was naturally running on PC, developer Erlend Grefsrud has designs on Sony's new-gen machine due to its unique streaming opportunities.

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Assassin's Creed: Unity trailers retcon the revolution

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
PC games, PS4 games, Ubisoft, Xbox One Games

Assassin's Creed: Unity trailers retcon the revolution

Do you hear the people sing, singing a song of angry men? No? Good, and that's just how we like it. Russell Crowe has been forcibly gagged and dragged out of the Parisian streets for a double bill of Assassin's Creed Unity trailers, which will probably make a reasonable substitute for actual news on what's shaping up to be another painfully slow week.

You'll see some intriguing exposition that blends real events with Assassin's Creed canon (which will be enough to tell you that my limp Les Mis joke is chronologically flawed!), followed by a gameplay trailer showing off fluid animations and enormous crowds.

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Valve VR Guru predicts a grim money-grubbing future

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
VR

Valve VR Guru predicts a grim money-grubbing future

VR specialist Fabian Giesen resigned from Valve back in 2012, having contributed to their Virtual Reality programme and prototypes. His reasons for doing so have now been made clear: a genuine concern that unscrupulous companies will use the tech to monetise your every waking moment.

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We're not super-excited about dressing up Pikachu in adorable outfits, honest

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
3DS Games, Game Freak, Nintendo, trailer

We're not super-excited about dressing up Pikachu in adorable outfits, honest

We'll be able to make secret bases, transform Metagross into a powerful new form and dress Pikachu up in adorable outfits in this year's Pokemon remake. As a grown man, perhaps I ought to make some sort of dismissive comment here, but you know as well as I do that we can't bloody wait.

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Antichamber only £1.99 on the Humble Store today

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Antichamber, Indie Games, PC games, Puzzle games, Steam

Antichamber only £1.99 on the Humble Store today

Antichamber | Humble Store | £5.09 (RRP: £14.99)

Mindblowing price for a mindblowing game. Ends at 18:00.

Thanks and credit to jaystan @ HUKD!

Get ClusterPuck 99 for 59p on IndieGameStand

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Indie Games, PC games

Get ClusterPuck 99 for 59p on IndieGameStand

Clusterpuck 99 | IndieGameStand | £0.59 minimum (RRP: £4.68)

Local multiplayer-loving PC owners should make a beeline for this utterly ridiculous party game, which is a little like twinstick battle pong... to the extreme! Eight players can get involved, but you'll only need 4 for a game on. Well worth picking up, and remember that its RRP is £4.68 when it comes to choosing your price.

Codemasters Flash Bundle contains DiRT Showdown, DiRT 3, Flashpoint Red River & more for £3.51

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Codemasters, PC games

Codemasters Flash Bundle contains DiRT Showdown, DiRT 3, Flashpoint Red River & more for £3.51

The Humble Codemasters Flash bundle runs until 18:00 today, giving you a decent amount of videogame for £3.51. You can pay what you want for Overlord
Overlord & DLC, Operation Flashpoint: Red River, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising and Rise of the Argonauts, or beat the magic number to also receive DiRT 3, DiRT Showdown and Overlord 2.

Thanks to chyllyphylly @ HUKD!

PREVIEW | Myriad makes & breaks worlds, reinvents the twinstick shooter

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Erlend Grefsrud, PC games, PS4 games, SHMUP

PREVIEW | Myriad makes & breaks worlds, reinvents the twinstick shooter

Myriad: Make The World/Break The World is the most drool-inducingly gorgeous videogame I've seen in quite some time.

Inspired more heavily by Kandinsky than Bizarre Creations, this impossibly handsome shooter resembles the mad offspring of Rez and a lava lamp at first glance. I could have stared at it all day during the Develop Expo last week, transfixed as a configuration of striking circles danced and organically evolved before my eyes. As an art installation, it's astonishing.

What's more astonishing, though, is that it's also one of the most innovative twinstick shooters out there. Games are meant to be played, after all, and Norwegian games journalist-turned-developer Erlend Grefsrud has managed to cook up one hell of a Big Idea.

PREVIEW | Myriad makes & breaks worlds, reinvents the twinstick shooter

Chances are that you've probably played a twinstick shooter (or twenty) before. The left stick moves. The right stick aims and shoots. Once again we find ourselves controlling an angular minimalist spaceship, blasting constantly-spawning enemies in claustrophobic arenas. Powerful cannons and recoil initially confounds, but on a basic level, Myriad feels comfortingly familiar.

The visuals, though, are like nothing you've seen before. Your ship is the only angular entity in a world of perfect circles and soft curves, angrily disrupting the equilibrium by throwing out a jagged torrent of straight lines. Seemingly furious at your unsightly intrusion, an army of rounded foes constantly attempt to chase you down, harassing you and forcing you to weave through the tight confines of an arena consisting of a haphazard array of overlapping circles. It's a visually arresting aesthetic that, once you've wrapped your brain around it, begins to hint at surprising hidden depths.

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Watch Dogs sells 8 million copies, now top dog in the UK Games Charts

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
UK Games Charts, UK retail

Watch Dogs sells 8 million copies, now top dog in the UK Games Charts

Watch Dogs is still one of the most divisive game releases of 2014, but there's no quibbling with the numbers. Love it or hate it, thrilled or disappointed, eight million copies sold is a huge start for a new franchise. Not to mention a chart success guarantee. What did you make of Aiden Pearce's debut?

On the subject of new franchises, though, Tomodachi Life has sneaked into the Top Ten this week. Nintendo's quirky life sim is is bizarre and banal, but surprisingly fun to dip into little and often. It's also screenshot gold, as you can see above. Yes, that is Reggie and The Cat from Red Dwarf X in the background.

Otherwise expect plenty of familiar faces in the UK Games Charts, as detailed below.

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Tekken 7 will be "the final battle"

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Bandai Namco, Tekken 7

The Mishima family are up to their old tricks again as Bandai Namco announces Tekken 7 with grim predictability. The new teaser trailer promises "the final battle," presumably Kazuya squaring off against Heihachi, convinced that the powerful pensioner has killed his mother. Or something. Expecting anything less than a needlessly convoluted yet pointless story from the series is delusional.

However, we can expect Unreal 4-powered visuals, which means that Tekken 7 should be eminently scalable and headed to both new-gen consoles at the very least. Could it be time for a PC version? We'll find out later this month.

Still no Tekken X Street Fighter, mind.

Huge Focus Home Interactive Sale hits Steam today!

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Focus Home Interactive, PC games

Huge Focus Home Interactive Sale hits Steam today!

Focus Home Interactive have tipped us off about a massive Steam sale starting tonight at 18:00, so consider yourself forewarned and forearmed. Though they're definitely not the most consistent of publishers, they're certainly willing to take a punt on plenty of genres, meaning that everything from RPGs to MOBAs, shooters, puzzlers and RTS games are all up for grabs at differing discounts.

My personal highlight would be EYE: Divine Cybermancy at a 90% saving, which I still rate as one of the most ambitious FPS games ever made since Deus Ex. Yes, it was far too ambitious for the engine and dev team, but worth playing to see how indie studios can push boundaries in loads of weird and wonderful directions. Aarklash Legacy will also be available for less than £4, which is a hidden gem of the first order.

Earthbound will be £4.19 on Wii U this week

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
JRPG, Wii U games

Earthbound will be £4.19 on Wii U this week

PSA (Potential Savings Alert): Nintendo has announced that legendary SNES RPG Earthbound will be available for the bargain price of £4.19 this week, as part of the latest round of eShop special offers. Shigesato Itoi's masterpiece still feels fresh, anarchic and surprisingly mature today; a fascinating blend of the mundane, the hilarious and the Lovecraftian.

If you've never checked it out (of course none of us have, seeing as you'd almost certainly have to download a ROM to play it these days... wink...), it's high time you got involved with a genuine classic. The discount will kick in after the eShop update (usually midnight on Thursday night/Friday Morning) so I'll be sure to remind you nearer the time.

BioShock Infinite & Peggle 2 round off the Xbox 360 Ultimate Games Sale

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Xbox 360 games

BioShock Infinite & Peggle 2 round off the Xbox 360 Ultimate Games Sale

Microsoft's Ultimate Games Sale is coming to an end today, with hefty discounts on BioShock Infinite (£6.59) and Peggle 2 (£9.99) headlining the final clutch of downloadable Xbox 360 deals. Racing fans can also pick up Split/Second for £2.99, which was an oft-overlooked cult classic.

Once more for the road: here are your links courtesy of The Major.

Bioshock Infinite Games on Demand 67%
Modern Warfare 3 Games on Demand 60%
NASCAR 14 Games on Demand 58%
Peggle 2 Arcade 50%
Painkiller Hell & Damnation Games on Demand 80%
Split/Second Games on Demand 75%