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FTL: Faster Than Light Review: Second Star to the Right and Straight on ‘Til Morning

ftl-bannerIn the Inside review, I mentioned the 2009/10 rise of indie gaming that really kicked off thanks to Xbox’s Summer of Arcade that put those games front and center. That bled into the Kickstarter boom earlier this decade. One of those games that was funded in part by Kickstarter was FTL: Faster Than Light which showed that not only are people willing to pay for games that they want but that they can also be commercially and critically successful.

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Her Story Review: Law & Order

her-story-headerExperimental games are a hit or a miss. I’m not entirely sure that you will ever find a near universal opinion on any game but games that find themselves outside the standard mould are especially prone to that. People will either absolutely love new and different games and mechanics or they will resoundly reject them.

I use that as the intro to this review because experimental is an appropriate catch-all term to describe Her Story. It’s a mystery game that sees you dig through old police interrogation videos to determine the truth in a 21-year-old case.

It might not have a proper win state. It might rely on FMV in the style of a, well, 21-year old video game. It might be a game that’s only combat is your brain against itself. But it’s easily the best game I’ve played this year so far.

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E3 2015: PC Gaming Show Trailer Roundup

e3-2015-pc-gaming-show-headerFor the first time, E3 had a dedicated show for PC gaming. At some point, I’ll probably pontificate over the dangers of a marketing event that was put together by a video game magazine that supposedly provides independent journalism at another time. For now, a lot of smaller developers brought their new wares to E3 through this new PC gaming show. If you’re a fan of indies and didn’t like what you saw on consoles, this was definitely the conference for you. If you’re looking for triple-As, maybe next year.

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ClusterPuck 99 Review: Drop The Puck

clusterpuck-99-headerIf there’s one complaint that I have as a primarily PC gamer, it’s that there aren’t many sports games on the PC. Sure, there’s FIFA and NBA 2K but there’s no Madden, no MLB (okay, it’s basically PlayStation exclusive but you know what I’m getting at) and no NHL. That last one’s really burning me because I willingly played those NHL game re-skins that EA was putting out for PC from NHL 07 to NHL 09. And, no, eSports doesn’t count because the vs. AI modes of MOBAs and CS:GO aren’t particularly fun and the AI kicks my ass repeatedly at SC2.

And that brings me to ClusterPuck 99. With sports games lacking on PC and licenses for pro sports costing an obscene amount of money, devs have to be creative with sports games. And that’s exactly what PHL Collective have done with ClusterPuck 99. They’ve taken the important parts of hockey and soccer and distilled it down to the essential experience. Then they went mental and added spikes and turbo pads and death. You know, the important part of sport.

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Microsoft Is Late with Payments to Indie Devs

xbox-live-indie-games-headerMicrosoft doesn’t have the best reputation in the indie gaming community. They didn’t have many fans before eliminating self-publishing on the Xbox One at the console’s announcement and subsequent reversal. They aren’t going to win any more with the latest scandal.

A number of developers on the Xbox Live Indie Games Marketplace have come out to say that Microsoft is late with their third quarter payments by over two weeks.

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Critics Corner: Transistor

transistor-headerI’m not saying that there haven’t been any noteworthy games released over the last few months but prior to this week, we hadn’t done a Critics Corner metareview of a game in two months. Transistor leads off an unusually packed late-May release lineup. You’ve got Wolfenstein, Watch Dogs and Mario Kart 8 leading the big budget productions while Transistor represents the indie contingent.

Supergiant Games had only one game under its belt prior to this week but having Bastion as its only title made it as close to video gaming royalty as one game will get you. Now, they’re back with Transistor. While the game tries not to be Bastion, it’s hard for reviewer (and gamers, I’d imagine) not to draw the inevitable comparison between Supergiant’s two games.

The game’s story and gameplay are a bit divisive with some critics absolutely loving how the story was done and the new style of gameplay while others just weren’t interested in what Transistor was offering. Everyone agreed that the art style and audio were absolutely fantastic.

But enough of my intro and summary. What did the critics think of Transistor?

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FootLOL: Epic Fail League Review: This Ain’t Football

footlol-epic-fail-league-headerNot every football (or soccer, in North America) game is super realistic sim that allows you to take over almost every major club or player from around the world. Not every football game is even about football.

Enter the very poorly named FootLOL. FootLOL is a bit like Football Manager if Football Manager was made by someone completely out of their minds. You don’t lead your team to victory with superior tactics, player management and inspired decisions. You lead them to victory with land mines, artillery and stampeding cows.

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Little Racers Street Review: Top-Down, Bottom-Up

little-racers-street-bannerIf you race it, chances are that I’m going to try to review it. That includes the recent release of Little Racers Street, former an Xbox Live Indie Game that was ported over to PC on Steam. I haven’t had the best of luck with top-down racing games but maybe this will be the one to change things for me. Maybe…

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Make Way for 2014’s Game of the Year: Goat Simulator

It’s only the start of February and we haven’t seen the likes of The Witcher 3, Titanfall or inFamous: Second Son but I think that the 2014 GOTY (or is that GOATY?) has just been announced.

Goat Simulator is a little indie game by Coffee Stain Studios that puts you in the hoofs of a goat. The developers describe the game thusly:

“Goat Simulator is a small, broken and stupid game. It was made in a couple of weeks so don’t expect a game in the size and scope of GTA with goats. In fact, you’re better off not expecting anything at all actually. To be completely honest, it would be best if you’d spend your $10 on a hula hoop, a pile of bricks, or maybe a real-life goat.”

Square Enix Launches Collective Game Funding Platform

square-enix-collective-headerBack in October, Square Enix announced their new Collective program that was a combination of Steam Greenlight and crowdfunding into one platform. Proposed indie games are presented to users, they vote on which they’d like to see made (similar to Greenlight) and those selected by the community go to crowdfunding to get money to make it.

This week, Square Enix officially launched Collective and unveiled the first three games to be put the community for approval.

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