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Vessel

Jamestown, Vessel, Greed Corps, Naval Warfare & More | £0.65 | Groupees | PC

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Greed Corps, Indie Games, Jamestown: Legend Of The Lost Colony, PC games, Vessel

Jamestown, Vessel, Greed Corps, Naval Warfare & More | £0.65 | Groupees | PC

Steampunk Game & Music Bundle | Groupees | £0.65 ($1)
Jamestown Review | Vessel Review

Utterly fantastic value if you don't own Jamestown, Vessel or Greed Corps. Thanks to techpops @ HUKD!

The Underdogs Of 2012 | Top Ten Games You Didn't Buy

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Derrick The Deathfin, Dragon's Dogma, Game of the Year 2012, GOTY 2012, Hybrid, The Secret World, Underdogs, Vessel

The Underdogs Of 2012 | Top Ten Games You Didn't Buy

2012 has brought us some massive games and shattered sales records with merry abandon, but the fact is that plenty of deserving titles managed to slip under our gaming radar into pitiful ignominy. It's time that we championed the underdogs: the games you probably didn't buy - or even notice - throughout the last twelve months.

Before we begin, you need to understand that this list is not an objective measure of raw quality. Instead, we passed these games though a hungover discussion on New Year's Day totally amazing top-secret algorithm that also takes sales figures and how little a splash they made in the mainstream gaming consciousness into account.

10: Hybrid

The Underdogs Of 2012 | Top Ten Games You Didn't Buy

Confused art direction aside, 5th Cell's multiplayer shooter had a lot going for it. Jetpacks. Boomsticks. A persistent war fought through multiple seasons. What's not to like?

Sadly, Hybrid spectacularly failed to light up the Summer Of Arcade... perhaps because it came out scant weeks before Counter-Strike: GO. Whoops.

9: Dragon's Dogma

The Underdogs Of 2012 | Top Ten Games You Didn't Buy

Dragon's Dogma gave us everything we've been missing from JRPGs: meaningful customisation that lets us truly become the main character. Then it added responsive combat mechanics, the deep Pawn NPC system and mythical creatures to stab up like nobody's business.

It charted well enough in Japan to warrant a sequel, but we feel that Dragon's Dogma deserved more recognition and sales over here.

Click here to read more...

Game Of The Year Awards 2012 | Best Indie Game

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
A Valley Without Wind, Best Indie Game 2012, Dear Esther, Defender's Quest, FTL: Faster Than Light, Game of the Year 2012, GOTY 2012, Hotline Miami, Lone Survivor, Thomas Was Alone, Torchlight II, Vessel

Game Of The Year Awards 2012 | Best Indie Game

Selecting the best indie game of 2012 is no easy task, and not just because there are so many fantastic titles to choose from. As independent and boutique gaming continues its meteoric rise, it's getting harder and harder to define what the word 'indie' really means. Is it one man in his bedroom or garage? A relatively large team with a multi-game deal from a major publisher? What was once an ostracised segment of games development has become a massive part of the mainstream market, and a force to be reckoned with over the coming years.

We've taken the decision to include Fez and Journey in 'Best Download/Marketplace Game', which went live earlier today, simply because the competition is more relevant in that category.

So, down to business... and Merry Christmas!
NB. Click on the thumbnails for price comparisons and the game's title for the relevant review where available.

Title

Description

Game Of The Year Awards 2012 | Best Indie Game

A Valley Without Wind

A Valley Without Wind is enormous, life-affirming and brilliant. Enormous randomised worlds, tight platforming gameplay and infinite scope for exploration made for an addictive indie classic.

Game Of The Year Awards 2012 | Best Indie Game

Dear Esther

Though only a 'game' in the most tenuous of senses, this interactive oddity still gives us pause for thought and introspection. Dear Esther may be maddeningly surreal and abstract, but we'd urge you to give it a go.

Game Of The Year Awards 2012 | Best Indie Game

Defender's Quest

One of the very first indie games of 2012 proved to be one of the very best. Defender's Quest managed to perfectly fuse RPG and tower defence mechanics into a gloriously compelling experience, which we're still dipping into eleven months after launch.

Game Of The Year Awards 2012 | Best Indie Game

FTL: Faster Than Light

If you love roguelikes, space operas and always dreamt of being the one in the big chair saying "Make it so!" then this is the game for you. FTL is massively replayable, hugely rewarding and genuinely thrilling at times. Engage!

Game Of The Year Awards 2012 | Best Indie Game

Hotline Miami

Hotline Miami is a sleazy, shocking, often unpleasant and thoroughly worthwhile use of a few hours. Dennaton Games' "f*ck 'em up' is as compelling and exhilarating as it is brutally raw.

Game Of The Year Awards 2012 | Best Indie Game

Lone Survivor

A one-man masterclass in effective survival horror design. Utterly tense, disturbing and unforgettable despite its two-dimensional trappings.

Game Of The Year Awards 2012 | Best Indie Game

Thomas Was Alone

Thomas Was Alone is a bona fide indie masterpiece that reminds us that you don't need glitzy graphics to create relateable characters with meaningful depth. A minimalist triumph.

Game Of The Year Awards 2012 | Best Indie Game

Torchlight II

Runic Games may have less than 40 developers on staff, but they delivered what is perhaps the best loot grinder since Diablo II. Practically perfect in every way.

Game Of The Year Awards 2012 | Best Indie Game

Vessel

A truly superior puzzler and one of 2012's most cruelly under-rated games. Massive quantity and exceptional quality made for a truly wonderful purchase, brought home with exquisite art direction and liquid modelling.

Click here to read more...

Game of the Year Awards 2012 | Best Platform/Puzzle Game

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Best Platform/Puzzle Game 2012, Fez, Game of the Year 2012, GOTY 2012, LEGO Lord of the Rings, LittleBigPlanet Vita, New Super Mario Bros. U, Quantum Conundrum, Stealth Bastard Deluxe, Thomas Was Alone, Trials Evolution, Vessel

Game of the Year Awards 2012 | Best Platform/Puzzle Game

We've been blessed with some utterly cracking games in the platform/puzzle genres this year, so much so that, again, the shortlist is notable for its many absences - not because those games were bad, but simply because there just wasn't any room. Both LEGO and Mario had double returns this year, with NSMB2 and LEGO Batman 2 narrowly missing out on slots in the table below. We could have counted Journey amongst the contenders in this category but ultimately felt that there were finer exponents of "pure" platforming and puzzling - though the unbridled joy with which we glided and floated across the desert provided some of the most striking and unforgettable memories of the year. Fantastic marketplace titles such as Quantum Conundrum, Mark of the Ninja, The Splatters and Vessel didn't quite make the cut, though that says more about the abundance of quality this year rather than anything particularly disparaging about those two games.

It should be noted, too,  that two of the very best platformers of the year arrived on iOS of all places. Written off in some quarters as a platform that would never be able to provide quality platformers, iOS served up the delicious double whammy of Beat Sneak Bandit and Rayman Jungle Run this year to silence detractors.

Put simply, if you were a platform/puzzle fan, 2012 was stuffed with win...

NB. Click on the thumbnails for price comparisons and the game's title for the relevant review where available.

Title

Description

Game of the Year Awards 2012 | Best Platform/Puzzle Game

Fez

In many ways, Fez reminded us of Portal. Both create moments of supreme frustration in the player at the limits of knowledge and understanding, and both provide exceptional payoffs when the player finally overcomes those hurdles. If you were willing to play the game and truly get involved, Fez rewarded you time and time again. With its simple conceit (and fantastic execution), Fez took a commendably mature approach to letting you discover things for yourself. It was a flawed work of brilliance to be sure (*cough* patches), but brilliance nonetheless.

Game of the Year Awards 2012 | Best Platform/Puzzle Game

LittleBigPlanet Vita

LittleBigPlanet Vita was a triumph of handheld development, an unprecedented creative outlet that will remain relevant, varied and important throughout the console's lifespan. The campaign was great fun while it lasted, and once the community got into full swing, it literally became the last Vita game you'd ever need.

Game of the Year Awards 2012 | Best Platform/Puzzle Game

LEGO Lord of the Rings

LEGO Lord of the Rings was charming and delightful, as all of Traveller's Tales' LEGO games have been. But it was also phenomenally authentic, with a humourous irreverence that proved simultaneously both utterly LEGO and absolutely LOTR. Superb fun with a friend, with some wonderfully cracking setpieces, it narrowly edged out LEGO Batman 2 to make this list. Made unmissable by having TT's LEGO pranks set to the RSC tones of Ian McKellen. And Boromir being killed with a banana.

Game of the Year Awards 2012 | Best Platform/Puzzle Game

New Super Mario Bros. U

New Super Mario Bros. U might not have proven to be a revolution, but its tight level design, unpredictability, new features and thoughtful MiiVerse implementation made it one of the most enjoyable Mario games in years. A nigh-essential purchase for early Wii U adopters despite not being a perfect ambassador for the new system.

Game of the Year Awards 2012 | Best Platform/Puzzle Game

Stealth Bastard Deluxe

A triumphant fusion of pure stealth, cerebral puzzling and technical platforming, Stealth Bastard Deluxe finally let us shower Curve Studios in money as they built upon their fantastic, free, retro-tinged stealth-em-up, making it an essential purchase for fans of both genres and one of the most exciting indie games of 2012.

Game of the Year Awards 2012 | Best Platform/Puzzle Game

Thomas Was Alone

Mike Bithell's Thomas Was Alone delivered a bona fide indie masterpiece that reminded us just how powerful, engaging and ambitious videogames could be...all via the medium of geometric shapes. But even if you didn't buy into that, perhaps it was "just" a really neat puzzle game with great voice acting and a killer soundtrack. Either way, you owed it to yourself to play Thomas Was Alone this year.

Game of the Year Awards 2012 | Best Platform/Puzzle Game

Trials Evolution

As well as being bastard hard, Trials Evolution was also enormous fun. Whether shaving nanoseconds off of your times, or enjoying the pick-up-and-play appeal of the multiplayer modes and racing your friends, Trials Evolution delivered ultimate satisfaction and boundless entertainment. Better yet, RedLynx took a leaf out of Media Molecule's book, providing a comprehensive level editor that has ensured that there's not been a week gone by this year without having engaged in some fast and furious motorcross platforming. Unmissable.

Click here to read more...

Game of the Year Awards 2012 | Best New IP

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Best New IP 2012, Binary Domain, Dishonored, Dragon's Dogma, Endless Space, FTL: Faster Than Light, Game of the Year 2012, GOTY 2012, Journey, Sleeping Dogs, The Secret World, Vessel

Game of the Year Awards 2012 | Best New IP

We saw a number of franchises return this year, some older than others, with many taking risks to refresh and revitalise their good names. With the middle ground dissipating, and the current console cycle slowly entering its twilight years, it might have perhaps been understandable to worry a little over new IPs. Thankfully, once again, an indie sector blessed with even more ways of getting games in front of an audience delivered wholeheartedly.

And they weren't the only ones.

NB. Click on the thumbnails for price comparisons and the game's title for the relevant review where available.

Title

Description

Game of the Year Awards 2012 | Best New IP

Binary Domain

Like the very best mad scientists, Binary Domain proved incredibly entertaining, stuffed with smart ideas, and occasionally got things wrong. But the very fact that it tried to innovate in such a relatively lazy genre was worthy of applause. Boasting some incredible boss battles, slick gunplay, and a cracking story, Binary Domain threw off any Gears-clone tag it might have attracted and became a barnstorming title that married the best East and West had to offer.

Game of the Year Awards 2012 | Best New IP

Dishonored

Dishonored did better than simply revive the stealth genre, it made us wonder why the hell it went away in the first place. Arkane delivered a blank canvas in Corvo Attano, with a commendably mature approach to player freedom that asked much of you, and delivered ultimate gameplay satisfaction in return. In Dunwall, we had one of the finest video game worlds of this generation. Nothing short of astonishing.

Game of the Year Awards 2012 | Best New IP

Dragon's Dogma

It was broken in places, and Gransys was one of the more forgettable worlds we've seen from an RPG, but Dragon's Dogma was one hell of an endearing game. Breathtaking combat, an innovative Pawn mechanic, and deep customisation options made it a firm favourite in spite of its flaws. Plus, the opportunity to take down a hole bunch of mythical beasts made it all the sweeter. Refreshingly mature.

Game of the Year Awards 2012 | Best New IP

Endless Space

A sensational 4X title, Endless Space was absolutely epic in scope, but packed with dense, enjoyable features and boasted an intuitive, palatable GUI. Its infinitely customisable sandbox gave us plenty of toys and things to occupy your time, providing profound choice and variety at every gameplay level. As Douglas Adams said: "you just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is."

Game of the Year Awards 2012 | Best New IP

FTL: Faster Than Light

A bona fide Kickstarter success, FTL allowed us to take control of our own ship and live out our fantasies of become Captain Kirk/Picard/Reynolds/Hunt. In fact, the mod tools meant you could pilot the Enterprise, or Serenity if you really wanted. A little repetitive, and frequently punishing, FTL was nonetheless genuinely thrilling, hugely rewarding, and deeply satisfying.

Game of the Year Awards 2012 | Best New IP

Journey

Gloriously life-affirming, utterly transcendental, Journey was one of those few games that not only provided a thoroughly unique experience, but also deeply personal one too. It didn't matter whether or not you considered it art, or even if you defined it as a "game", one thing was for sure: it was absolutely unmissable.

Game of the Year Awards 2012 | Best New IP

Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs was this year's little-big game that could. Dropped by Activision whilst it was still True Crime: Hong Kong, Square Enix snapped it up after a year in the wilderness and dropped it over the summer. Wei Shen's adventures provided the perfect antidote to the traditional sunny lull. Perfectly sized, utterly OTT, United Front Games refused to take themselves too seriously, instead providing an immaculately balanced open world game, stuffed with things to do, and supported with a near endless stream of cracking DLC.

Game of the Year Awards 2012 | Best New IP

The Secret World

Funcom's loyalty to an archaic subscription model might have proven unwise, but that shouldn't take away from the fact that The Secret World was an outstanding game. Smart scripting, hugely imaginative world-building, cracking combat, and compelling content made TSW an attractive prospect...until you factored in the system requirements and the monthly payments, and a little game called Guild Wars 2.

Game of the Year Awards 2012 | Best New IP

Vessel

Vessel was a truly superior puzzler and one of 2012's biggest indie hitters. Boasting quality, quantity, innovation, and impressive competence abound, as StrangeLoop provided one of the finest puzzlers we've seen since the original Portal emerged from Valve's vaults.

Click here to read more...

Steam Autumn Sale: Jon's Indie Pick

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy, Fairy Bloom Freesia, Fortune Summoners, Hard Reset, Indie Games, Krater, PC games, Rock of Ages, Steam Autumn Sale, Vessel, Waves

Steam Autumn Sale: Jon's Indie Pick

Steam's Thanksgiving sale is in full swing (as you doubtlessly know), but as an aficionado of Indie games, I can't help but feel that some of the smaller titles offer some of the the most worthwhile savings. From the puzzling prowess of Vessel to the deadly delights of EYE: Divine Cybermancy, I've reviewed plenty of cracking left-field titles over the last few months, and many of them can now be picked up for pocket money prices.

Note that all of the following are on sale until November 27th, and I've included links to our reviews where possible.

Click here for the list and links >>

PSA: Last Day To Get Humble Indie Bundle 6

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Dustforce, Indie Games, Jamestown: Legend Of The Lost Colony, PC games, Rochard, SPAZ, Torchlight, Vessel, Wizorb

PSA: Last Day To Get Humble Indie Bundle 6

All good things must come to an end, and this is a friendly reminder that Humble Indie Bundle 6 will sadly expire at 23:00 tonight.

It's one of the most impressive indie bundles yet: a perfect fusion of massive quality and lesser-known titles that deserve your attention. You can see all the games in the banner above, but you'll only need to check out our 9/10 Dustforce review, 9/10 Vessel review, 8/10 Rochard review, 8/10 Jamestown review and 8/10 Wizorb review to know that you need to get involved to avoid seriously kicking yourself down the line.

Dustforce, Rochard, Shatter, SPAZ, Torchlight & Vessel | Pay What You Want | Humble Indie Bundle | PC, Mac & Linux

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Dustforce, Indie Games, PC games, Rochard, SPAZ, Vessel

Is this the best Humble Indie Bundle ever? Possibly. For the bargain price of whatever the heck you want, you'll get the utterly superb liquid puzzle sensation Vessel (one of the best games of the year), the brilliant puzzle-platformer Rochard, insane strategy/shooter hybrid SPAZ, the gorgeous Shatter and the inestimable Torchlight. If you're willing to beat the average (currently £3.52), you'll also get Dustforce, which we rated 9/10.

Wow. This is a big one.

Steam Summer Sale Daily Deals Round-Up | 18th July

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Avadon: The Black Fortress, Dungeons Of Dredmor, L.A. Noire: Complete Edition, Q.U.B.E., Steam Summer Sale 2012, Super Meat Boy, Total War Mega Pack, Vessel, Zombie Driver

Steam Summer Sale Daily Deals Round-Up | 18th July

Alright then folks, you know the drill by now. Steam have given us nine more deals on their front page, and we’ve got the best of the bunch highlighted below for your convenience. Check them out below!

L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition | £6.24

The standard edition is currently going for a fiver in this sale, but for £1.24 extra you can get the entire collection of DLC to go with the main game. The game itself may falter during the action sequences, but the rest of the experience is definitely worth a look, especially at this price.

Steam Summer Sale Daily Deals Round-Up | 18th July

Total War Mega Pack | £8.74

Yowzer. With the exception of Shogun II, this Mega Pack contains ever Total War game that has been released, including their expansions. That’s a lot of war for under a tenner.

Steam Summer Sale Daily Deals Round-Up | 18th July

Super Meat Boy | 2.99

The tough-as-nails platformer gets a hefty reduction in today’s listings, and at £3 it is worth every penny. Also on sale is the soundtrack, so if you fancy being reminded of the torment after you’re done it will only set you back £1.24.

Steam Summer Sale Daily Deals Round-Up | 18th July

Indie Bundle VII | £6.99

It’s all change in the indie department once again. Your five offerings today are Avadon: The Black Fortress, Dungeons of Dredmor, Q.U.B.E., Vessel, and Zombie Driver.

Steam Summer Sale Daily Deals Round-Up | 18th July

Yesterday’s deals are still in action, but you’ve only got until tomorrow morning to take advantage. For the rest of today’s listings be sure to head over the Steam front page.

Top Ten Games So Far In 2012

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Crusader Kings II, Dragon's Dogma, Draw Something, Fez, Gravity Rush, Journey, Kid Icarus, Mass Effect 3, Top Ten, Top Ten Games So Far In 2012, Top Ten Tuesdays, Vessel, Waking Mars

Halfway through 2012, now that the E3 backlog has been shifted, it's time to take stock of the past six months. We've had games aplenty and, although it seems everyone's saving nearly all of their big guns for the winter gridlock, the first half of the year has seen some fantastic games. Here are our highlights from 2012 thus far...

Honourable Mentions

Diablo III - It finally arrived, and is awesome. Apart from the DRM. And the lack of a proper end-game. And the fact that it was built around an auction house. And the fact that it wasn't properly stocked. And the persistent connection issues.

But that aside, Diablo III is absolutely brilliant.

Top Ten Games So Far In 2012

Sine Mora - The alliance between Digital Reality and Grasshopper Manufacture yielded an absolute cracker early this year with a steampunk SHMUP that managed to breathe some new life into a classic genre.

Total War: Shogun 2 – Fall of the Samurai - In an age of on-disc, day one DLC, in an age of publishers demanding that every last drop of gameplay is as fully monetised as it possibly can be, it's refreshing to find a company that still releases expansion packs as they used to be. There was so much brilliant content to this that frankly Creative Assembly could have released it at full price.

10. Waking Mars

Top Ten Games So Far In 2012

Sifting painfully through the endless swathes of poorly organised titles in the app stores for something of real quality can be frustrating. But every so often you come across a game like Waking Mars. A scientifically-minded platform-puzzler built around giving and creating life to the red planet rather than taking it away, Tiger Style's game proved to be a perfect synthesis of aesthetics and execution, delivering a strikingly complete and joyously satisfying experience.

Click here to read more...

Vessel | £3.99 | Steam | PC

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
PC games, Puzzle games, Strange Loop Games, Vessel
Discuss:
PC
Vessel | £3.99 | Steam | PC

Vessel is one of 2012's truly great games: an indie puzzler that's all about quality and quantity - it plays brilliantly, looks incredible and lasts around twelve hours. Strange Loop Games have recently patched their superlative liquid puzzler with a hefty patch, and to celebrate, have also slashed the price.

Get on this if you have any love of puzzle games, indie games or, well, good games.

Strange Loop Games Interview | Vessel Post-Mortem, Console Ports & Indie Insight

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Indie Games, interview, PC games, PS3 games, Puzzle games, Strange Loop Games, Vessel, Xbox 360 games

Strange Loop Games Interview | Vessel Post-Mortem, Console Ports & Indie Insight

"It Was As Much Discovery As It Was Creation"

Vessel is amazing. After many long years of painstaking development, Strange Loop Games delivered a sensational indie puzzler last month; a debut title that featured exquisite fluid modelling, cerebral solutions, lavish art design and over twelve hours of content. Naturally I was keen to sit down with these ex-Pandemic veterans to discuss Vessel's development history, upcoming console ports and the myriad trials faced by independent developers... as well as getting a first hand assessment about the state of the burgeoning indie scene today.

Jonathan Lester (Dealspwn): Hi there, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. First off, could you please introduce yourself to our readers and explain your role at Strange Loop Games?

John Krajewski (Strange Loop Games): My name is John Krajewski, I designed Vessel and programmed it along with my partner Martin Farren.

Dealspwn: Can you give us a short history of Strange Loop? How did you guys get together? Why 'go indie' in the first place?

Krajewski: Strange Loop consists of a close knit group of 4: me, Martin, and our artists Mark Filippelli and Milenko Tunjic. Despite being close knit we're actually very far spread apart, Martin and I are in Seattle and Milenko and Mark are in Australia. We all used to work together at Pandemic Studios in Brisbane, which is how we know each other.

Strange Loop Games Interview | Vessel Post-Mortem, Console Ports & Indie Insight

Click here to read more...

Vessel "Out This Year" On PS3 & Xbox 360

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Awesome, Exclusive, Indie Games, PC games, PS3 games, Strange Loop Games, Vessel, Xbox 360 games

Vessel "Out This Year" On PS3 & Xbox 360

Outstanding PC Puzzler Already Running On Consoles

Vessel, the exceptional fluid-based puzzler from Strange Loop Games, is already one of 2012's most impressive titles - indie or no. However, excitingly, console players will be able to try out the exceptional experience for themselves before the end of the year.

Click here to read more...

Vessel Tech Videos Give Us Watery Retrospective

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Developer Walkthrough, Indie Games, Prototype, Puzzle games, Strange Loop Games, trailer, Vessel

Vessel Tech Videos Give Us Watery Retrospective

Indie puzzle-platformer Vessel released last month to massive critical acclaim. It's one of the most cerebral, most competent - and best value - puzzle games we've played since the original Portal, and we lavished it with steaming dollops of deserved praise in our 9/10 review.

In order to give players an insight into the development process behind the sensational fluid physics and modelling, Strange Loop Games have proffered some prototype tech videos that show off the liquid physics engine deftly handling surface tension, viscosity and pressure. Definitely something to enjoy while you're buying and downloading it.

Click here to read more...