Waking Mars - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Katharine Castle)

Waking Mars is possibly the most chilled out 2D jetpack game in existence. I came across it during that lazy, turkey-stuffed interim between Christmas and New Year’s Eve back in 2013, and I’ve never felt such inner peace while playing a video game. It’s a story of quiet wonder, where the aim isn’t to destroy, evade or do battle with hostile, alien creatures, but to watch them grow and flourish as you venture further and further into the depths of our neighbouring red planet.

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ASTRONEER - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

Cute space survival sandbox Astroneer isn’t far from the finish line, say developers System Era Softworks, it’ll be bounding out of early access in just a few months – February 6th, specifically. The studio have some big plans for the release – the launch version will include a “new exploration-focused adventure”, taking you to new planets full of interesting new things to poke around, or be poked by. The launch version will also support cross-play with Xbox One folks, hopefully ensuring a healthy and well oxygenated player-base for a while. A stardate trailer lies below.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

Screenshots from the fan-updated OpenRA.>

EA have now officially announced their Command & Conquer remasters, and they look to be in good hands. Several of the strategy classics’s original developers are returning, including talent from ex-Westwood folks Petroglyph and original composer Frank Klepacki. Together, they’re polishing up the original Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn, along with its alt-history cousin C&C: Red Alert, plus all expansions for both games. Preempting the cynics amongst us, EA have also confirmed that there’ll be no micro-transactions. The devs announce the news below.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Robertson)

>Over the course of my six or so hours with it so far, Fallout 76 has revealed its certainly a game that’s more fun for what you see and come across than for how you act and what you do. It’s lucky that the world itself, a bruised edition of West Virginia, is beautiful, putting Bethesda s previous post-apocalyptic sets to shame in both its overall topography and in the details of colour and shape in everything from its trees and leaves to its burned out cars and anonymous cadavers.

Certainly, posing next to a freshly slain mongrel has never given me as much cause for a smile. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

One more fighter steps into the ring this November 30th, and cheaper than expected – Arika’s Fighting EX Layer, spun off from the oddball Street Fighter EX series. Starring the returning, colourful and non-Capcom-owned cast of Street Fighter EX (plus a guest appearance from King Of Fighters’s Terry Bogard) it’s a fast and twitchy arcade fighter, and a good one at that. Originally released on the PS4 a little light on features, the upcoming PC version looks to be a much more fleshed out package of punches. Below, a honking great 36 minutes of PC version footage.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Everyone wants in our our (Post-)Apocalyptic Day, casting doom and gloom all over. First Bethesda launched Fallout 76 early to meet us, and now the latest bargain Humble Bundle packs a load of games with visions of the future ranging from ‘society sucks now’ to ‘slug cats have replaced humanity’. Its theme is ‘Dystopian’ and its games are pretty deece, with some you’ll not often see bundled up, including the wonderful/horrible Rain World and smashing cyberpunk first-person spooker Observer. Some good games for a good price.

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This War of Mine - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

They say truth is the first casualty of war, which makes This War Of Mine‘s latest expansion – The Last Broadcast – equivalent to playing on hard mode. Not only do you have to cope with the usual dangers of keeping a band of civilians alive and safe through a brutal, messy war, but this expansion has players riding the razor’s edge – uncovering and reporting the truth through it all. It’s the second of 11 Bit’s three season pass scenarios, and introduces new systems, characters, locations and dilemmas to the uncompromising survival scenario. A trailer reportedly lies below.

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Mad Max - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

>One of the post-apocalyptic games that many people think was overlooked was Mad Max. Created by Just Causers Avalanche, it’s an open-world driving/punching realisation of the long-loved, thankfully now Gibson-free franchise. Sand, mutants, spiky cars, and explosions. So many explosions. So to celebrate this first day in our newly destroyed Earth, I’ve put together a gallery of things going boom.

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Occupy White Walls - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

There’s an odd appeal to constructing and decorating your own little space in an MMO – Occupy White Walls takes that concept, builds on it and discards all else. Released into early access today by Stiki Pixels, it’s a free-to-play (entirely so at present) creative sandbox with an artistic focus. Players construct, light and decorate your own little art galleries, choose what pieces to display, how and where, and hopefully earn cash to expand further from visiting NPCs and the tips they leave. From the bit I’ve played, it’s rather relaxing. An early trailer hangs below.

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Aeon of Sands - The Trail - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

>

I doubt it’s just me who finds it incredibly hard to take in the infodump that begins most games. I try! I read, “It was the final day of the third season of the Sharmani, so Reslator gathered his bag and made his way down the Triamblate Path…” and I’m already just staring at letters, not absorbing information. It’s just made up names in made up places doing made up things, and I’ve no chance whatsoever of retaining it, and worse, understanding it in context when the action begins.

Which makes the opening of post-apocalyptic blobber Aeon Of Sands, due out early next month, one of the most brilliant pieces of design I’ve seen in forever>.

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