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!
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...
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.
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!
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!