Trials is as punishing and perfect as ever. It's a game of ludicrous excess and controlled restraint, as you scream over a ludicrous gravity-defying jump one moment and deftly feather the throttle to make it across a nasty gauntlet of overhangs the next. The interplay between speed, power, weight, balance, gravity and physics is one again spot-on, challenging us to excel through skill and perseverance, all while desperately attempting to shave miliseconds off our par time, beat our ghost and humiliate our friends.
Trials Fusion should be everything we want from a Trials sequel, then, but some new features and window dressing deserve a closer look.
We're in the future now, and Trials Fusion won't let you forget it. From the first second you boot it up, an annoyingly brain-worming theme song proudly proclaims "welcome to the future! Man! Machine! The futuuuuuuuuure!" while displaying a shiny armour-clad rider atop a slick skyscraper. It'd be a great excuse to introduce some futuristic new technology, but no, it basically boils down to a somewhat forgettable storyline involving two AIs (which features a few fun one-liners that you'll hear repeated ad nauseam each time you restart a checkpoint) and a vibrant colourful new aesthetic to punch up the tracks. We've come a long way since Trials HD's uninspiring collection of brown crates and grey pipes.Click here to read more...
Yesterday we reported that 37% of all Steam games are never played... and it's time to throw some more games onto your backlog with the Groupees Clash 3 bundle. You'll get eight games, including the fantastically fun Gun Monkeys, trippy Master Reboot and hectic retro-inspried Ultratron, for 60p.
And also Home Sheep Home 2, alongside some digital albums.
Not bad, considering that you'd hardly get any change for a packet of crisps.
Steam Greenlight is a dog-eat-dog popularity content, so every little helps. Hence it's time for the twelfth Indie Royale Debut bundle, which includes eight games that want your attention and votes.
You'll need to beat the minimum price (which changes periodically, but won't reach over £3.00 by my reckoning) to receive Gearcrack Arena, Luna’s Wandering Stars, Pester, Rot Gut, Selknam Defense, Storm over the Pacific, You Are Not A Banana: Chapter 1 & Yrminsul.
I can only personally vouch for Pester, which is a simple yet satisfying bullet hell/danmaku shooter that first released as an Xbox Live Indie Game. Naturally you won't get Steam codes (DRM free downloads and/or Desura only, I'm afraid) - until or unless the games eventually get Greenlit.
We've all got a Steam backlog. No matter how fastidious or frugal you are, those Humble Bundles and Christmas sales are just too tasty to resist.
Don't deny it - and don't worry, because you're in good company. In fact, it transpires that almost 37% of all Steam games ever purchased have never been played or even installed.Click here to read more...
Virtual Reality is all about immersion. You've doubtlessly watched us hacks overuse this somewhat nebulous term to within an inch of its life over the last few years, but being able to get into our games, to be absorbed by them and enter a new reality for a while, is what many of us strive for. Considering that Oculus Rift is designed to effectively create a new reality around us, it's absolutely perfect for atmospheric games.
Private Eye is all about harnessing that power for a psychological thriller set in 1950s New York, wherein players become a wheelchair-bound gumshoe forced to relive the events that led up to his disablement, all while cracking a new case. It surrounds you with the videogame equivalent of Rear Window, letting you look around the environments in 360 degrees and spy on your neighbours from an intimate new perspective, all while building a sinister and tense atmosphere around us. Considering that the pitch was created as part of a VR Jam by single developer Jake Slack, Private Eye is already rather impressive.
It also has the privilege of being my first hands-on with Oculus Rift -- should that be eyes on? -- so naturally I was nearly violently ill all over the fine folks at EGX Rezzed 2014. At least we managed to interview Slack afterwards.Click here to read more...
We're huge fans of Traveller's Tales' LEGO games, due to their accessible platforming, fun factor, respect for their source material and gently anarchic sense of humour, so this massive Steam sale is right up our alley. They're charging between £2.49 to £3.79 for the likes of Batman and LOTR, but the headline act is the fantastic LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, which costs less than £4. Do it.
Anyway, here's the selection - thanks to and courtesy of Webhead @ HUKD!
£9.99 won't buy you much heroin, but it will get you something infinitely more addictive courtesy of The Game Collection. Thanks to Arsenal1234 @ HUKD!
Unreal Tournament is the best multiplayer FPS ever made. Ever. Ever.
Epic Games' superb shooter is still the benchmark for online multiplayer, featuring an extraordinarily enormous selection of the best maps ever made, the best guns of all time, loads of mutators, a bountiful cornucopia of modes (most of which laid the foundations of the games we play today) and even a fabulous singleplayer campaign. Not to mention more than a decade of fantastic mods and user-generated content. It's superb, a skill-based arena that you can play on your terms and a game for the ages. The GOTY Edition is only £1.49 at GOG.com, so you don't have to take our word for it.
HOWEVER, I assume that the impending GameSpy shutdown is going to cripple its server list, so you might need to swap some IP addresses or organise some LAN events if modders can't cobble something together...
Bundle Stars' Toxic bundle is another seriously impressive compilation, at least in terms of the potential savings. £3.59 will net you Darkout, Desperados 2: Cooper’s Revenge, Heroes of Annihilated Empires, Runespell: Overture, S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Clear Sky, Shadow Man, The 11th Hour, The 7th Guest, Tribloos 2 & Xotic Complete on Steam: a whole heap and helping of game.
I'd personally recommend Runespell: Overture, Xotic and STALKER: Clear Sky as the standout games of the pack - alongside the dated if hilariously cheesy (and incredibly difficult) puzzle classic The 7th Guest. Darkout is a reasonable craftbox but never quite delivered on its promises.
Platform: PC (reviewed, £6.99) | iPad version in development
Developer: Lightmare Studio
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Aliens are out to steal our cows and it's up to us to defend them. With towers.
Beyond its B-Movie premise, Beware Planet Earth! initially appears to be a friendly if incredibly generic tower defence title. As adorable martians trundle along their preset paths with bovine abduction on their minds, we'll place a small selection of static turrets to halt their advance. Some deal direct damage. Others slow or debilitate the hordes. Our war economy is fuelled by currency dispensing machines that create a cog every few seconds, which we have to click to redeem -- thus adding a hectic resource collection minigame to the proceedings -- but otherwise it definitely feels like a retread of very old ground.
Stick with it, though, and Beware Planet Earth! might just surprise you.Click here to read more...
Final Fantasy VIII | Greenman Gaming | £4.00 (RRP: £9.99)
Story: boring and convoluted | Characters: Terrible | Controversy level: high
Voucher Code: O3H7FE-D4NFO0-F0LIGK
Final Fantasy VIII is only £4.00 on PC thanks to Greenman Gaming's O3H7FE-D4NFO0-F0LIGK voucher code, which is the good news. The bad news is that, in my opinion, it's not particularly good. A moany tosspot goes on a convoluted adventure with a bunch of forgettable idiots, experiencing gameplay and a Junctioning system that resembles an Excel spreadsheet.
However, I daresay you'll find a billion people who strongly disagree, and you could well be one of them!
These three high-profile games have all been individually discounted to around the £4.99 mark over the last few months, but if you're in the market for the lot, MacGameStore's Aspyr Fantastic 3 bundle is pretty impressive. $19.95 equates to roughly £12 over here, which is a decent saving. Thanks to pgregg @ HUKD!
Indie Bundles aren't just about the big better-known games, as evidenced by this left-field little number. Groupees' Retro Bundle 3 includes Nosferatu, Another Perspective, 6180 the moon and Noir Syndrome for $1 minimum - alongside Dreaming Sarah, The LootCastle, Litil Divil, Droid Assault if you beat £1.79.
There's an interesting mix of genres and art styles here, though the only game I can personally vouch for is Droid Assault: an awesome and intense retro-themed shooter. Thanks to jaystan @ HUKD!
Dragon Commander is utterly bonkers and we really rather love it. Risk-style strategy and RPG depth meets RTS combat that lets you fly around as a dragon with a jetpack. Ridiculous, but it works. If you read our review and like what you see, Steam are flogging it for £10.19, a considerable saving.
The Wolf Among Us is a gritty and stylish re-imagining of classic fairytales, throwing The Big Bad Wolf, Snow White and other characters into a procedural police drama in the seamy heart of 1980s New York. Bill Willingham's comic series shouldn't work as well as it does, but it works a treat, and Episode 1 was an utter doozy - with Episode 3 bringing the series back to standard after a slower second outing. Like The Walking Dead, it mainly focuses on conversation and attitude choices, soaked in atmosphere and tension that's released with action or sickening revelations.
You can read our reviews for more details - which DO NOT SPOIL the big twists so far - then pay significantly less than even Steam's deal price on Greenman gaming. Credit to BuzzDuraband @ HUKD, who found this before I did!
Blackguards is a tough, staggeringly long and very capable turn-based strategy game that puts you in control of a team of utter reprobates. Though its story isn't really strong enough to support its monstrous length, but if you're a fan of the genre, it's going to be fantastic value. Especially since you can save a whopping £15 on Steam.
The Walking Dead: 400 Days isn't as good as its parent game, offering some strong stories and big choices but nowhere near enough time to fully flesh them out. However, it's also eighty-seven Pence. Which forgives a lot of things. Thanks to bandwidthbob @ HUKD!
Developer: Triumph Studios
Publisher: Triumph Studios
I've been searching for a new 4X addiction for some considerable time now, and Age Of Wonders III is almost certainly it. Years in the making and completed with a hefty bung from Markus "Notch" Persson, this fantastical turn-based sequel offers streamlined grand strategy, incredibly tense tactical battles and compelling RPG elements to boot. Somewhere between Civilization V, X-COM, Heroes Of Might & Magic, Warlock and Spellforce, it allows you to create your own hero from various unique classes and races, then lead their faction to victory through exploration, expansion and ruthless extermination.
But more importantly than that, Age Of Wonders III just creates a wonderful and unpredictable world to live in every time you play. This is a land where steampunk flame tanks and terrifying dragons do battle against rainbow unicorns and pixies. You'll find a "longsword of dire penguin slaying" before being assaulted by flocks of ravenous depraved aquatic birds from beyond the pale. Every hex you uncover, every cavern, temple, woodland glade and dark corner of the expansive maps holds opportunities for treasure, adventure or advancement - or new threats to desperately repel.
Wonders never cease. Which is why the review took so long.Click here to read more...
Indie Royale's latest offering -- The Atomic Bundle -- is a bit of a mixed bag. For a paltry sum (that fluctuates over the course of the sale, but rarely makes it over £3), you'll get excellent scrolling shooter Humans Must Answer alongside legendary classic The Chaos Engine. As an Amiganaut, I must warn you, it has not aged well. At all. Still, it's slightly better than the rubbish Super Killer Hornet: Resurrection.
Anyway, here's the selection: Cube & Star: An Arbitrary Love, Fields of War, Humans Must Answer, Livalink, Super Killer Hornet: Resurrection and The Chaos Engine. Definitely a niche one, but excellent potential savings nonetheless.
Penny Arcade's ornately-titled RPG series is fantastic, but should you buy just the last two episodes of it? Though I'd recommend the first pair for their humour alone, episodes 3 and 4 switched developers from Hothead games to Robert Boyd, who crafted a genuinely superb double whammy of sprite-based RPGs that feature unique combat mechanics alongside gags and references aplenty. It's all in our reviews - and it can all be yours for just over a quid.