I thoroughly enjoyed Port Royale 2 and if your idea of buckling swash and living the life of an outlaw on the high seas involves cargo management and financial ledgers, there’s every chance that you enjoyed it as well. While the combat was about as much fun as scurvy, the economic simulation was deep enough to create a compelling experience and taking up quests across the Caribbean made it feel more like a place than a spreadsheet. Port Royale 3 looks handsome in this trailer, which also contains the greatest press quote in the history of press quotes. Observe.
Game jams are proving to be one of the most fruitful phenomena of the current era of gaming. Ludum Dare constantly throws up a bunch of fascinating stuff, and it’s tough to keep track of it all. So much of what is created – the window for making is just 48 hours – is so small and unassuming that it is likely to be missed. Tinysasters is one such microcosm, but it’s a beautiful, perfectly formed gem of an idea: terraforming an 8×8 tile based grid, while natural disasters roll in every thirty seconds to undo your work. Worth a look, if just for a moment.
The scent of parquet wax and trapped sunbeams greets you as you prise open the heavy glass door and step inside. This has to be the place, and yet, if it is, where are all the books>? Noticing your baffled expression, a librarian, all tweed and twinkling eyes, approaches. “You were expecting more books? Everyone> expects more books. At present we’ve only got the two – down there in the WW2 section (he gestures towards a shelf-lined alcove watched over by a large ceiling-mounted model of a Short Sunderland). Additional volumes should be arriving soon. Assuming, of course, visitors like yourself are willing to do their bit.”
Occasionally – just occasionally, mind – games choose to add some of our real-world bodily functions to the characters we control in them. Hunger, thirst, even nausea and sewage creation. For some reason, this is peculiarly satisfying, and as such is almost always popular with players: as most strongly evidenced by the popularity of The Sims, with its filling bladders and exponential human smelliness. But it is not just in the human-petting genre that we find such earthy processes: from Stalker’s insatiable hunger for bread and sausages to San Andreas’ hilarious obesity problem, games occasionally deign to amuse us with the things that we wrestle with every day.
The phrase “gunsmith” always makes me imagine the Ghosts ducking into a wartorn alleyway, only to discover a comfortable alcove occupied by a jolly, thick-bearded dwarf and his robust set of smelting tools. They sit down and banter for a bit over a thick hunk of black bread and some finely aged cheeses. It’s all very pleasant. Evidently, however, Ubisoft and I don’t exactly see eye-to-eye on the subject of mythril and its effectiveness in modern combat zones. Granted, when someone else says “gunsmith,” I don’t imagine that this> is what immediately springs to mind either.
Republique is an iOS project on Kickstarter. Wait, don’t run! I’ve surrounded the entire area with landmin– urgh. Well, I was going to tell you that it’s also a very intriguing idea from brilliantly talented folks who worked on Metal Gear Solid, Halo, and FEAR, but then you rudely went and exploded. But, while I gingerly sweep still-smoking bits of you off RPS’ world-renowned lawn, I’ll tell no one in particular that Republique’s bringing its highly cinematic blend of stealth and a “symbiotic relationship” with a character named Hope to PC. This won’t be a simple port, either. If you weren’t so obnoxiously dead right now, you could find out why in a video after the break.
Thelemite isn’t exactly subtle about its influences. “Melex Archer is a boring programmer who out of boredom signs up to Free Medical Experimentation at FreeMedExperiments.eu and thus, becomes a mutant ninja,” reads its description. “This game was inspired by AAA title Prototype. It involves fighting off hordes off mutants, military, tearing down buildings, and fighting off giant bosses.” And sure enough, while playing, I karate-screamed through the air and mercilessly punted each and every one of those things. I was also able to scamper up buildings like a teenage mutant ninja squirrel and build up a special attack by sort of, you know, slaughtering innocents. So basically, it’s Prototype, but in 2D and with a goofy, occasionally laugh-out-loud-worthy “story.” The controls can be kind of wonky, but it’s big, dumb fun hit with a shrink ray. So go, play, and mash X until all the bad things go away. Thanks, Hookshot.
Having watched Battlefield 3′s Donya Fortress map trailer, I have to imagine that bulls in, on, around, or stealthily tunneling under China shops are feeling a bit miffed. All of their meticulous plotting and planning – their years of drawing maps and diagrams, of learning how to draw with hooves – were rendered moot the second Battlefield 3′s Close Quarters map pack burst onto the scene. It is no simple manshoot – for that would imply that it only shoots men. Walls, floors, stairs, bridges, pillars, and ceilings crumble into tiny bits of ballistic debris, and then that debris crumbles into smaller debris. And yet, a single US flag continues to billow in the center of it all, probably shedding the fabric equivalent of a single tear. Stirring stuff, that. Be stirred – perhaps into some form of reverent casserole - after the break.
I am at once intrigued and concerned by the announcement of a new project from Lexis Numérique. Alt Mind’s plans to be a “transmedia” game, launching this Autumn, that will take place on websites, smart phones, and presumably in the real world too. The concerns? Well, first, it’s created by Orange, and although some of the best ARGs have been sponsored, that’s not normally something you learn up front. And second, it thinks it’s doing something wholly original. Which is rarely a good sign.
It’s only a matter of time before every game is released for free and not long after that, people will realise that in many cases that ‘free to play’ aspect is a little like a shop not charging admittance. There may still be a bouncer on the door, his fists like cans of spam, checking that you have a stable internet connection before he lets you inside. Silent Hunter Online is free to play and the title suggests it has a preference for the connected consumer. Despite that, I’m intrigued because I’ve spent some of the most deliciously tense hours of my gaming life pretending to be the Atlantean captain of a submersible murder machine. Radar detects an irrelevant cinematic and more details in the depths below.