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Peasant's Quest title

Hello everyone. Come, take a seat and listen. A while back I challenged Chris Kemp to be a real gamer and play Peggle. He played it for a week, wrote about his experiences, and emerged a broken man. In retaliation, during last week’s Podcast, he challenged me to play a little game called Peasant’s Quest. The game has changed my life. Hit the jump to see how.

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crimsonland

MUST… KILL… GAH

Coming home from a long, hard day at work, the last thing you want to do is think. You want to sit down, relax, shut the brain off and get involved in some mindless, stress-relieving carnage. There are more than a few games that sate this desire, but one in particular from 2003 won the hearts of a lot of gamers: Crimsonland. It was one of the earliest examples of blood-soaked arena shooters and one of the first games to move the action to a 2D plane in the wake of Serious Sam.

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Hexcells V0 2013-07-22 13-23-38-28

I absolutely hate Minesweeper. That tiny piece of fluff-ware that seems to be bundled in so many operating systems simply irks me to no end. I feel this way because, while there is some strategy involved, most of the gameplay boils down to blind luck. And when chance takes preference instead of direct influence over the outcome, I simply lose interest. With this bitter taste in my mouth, I was cautious when I approached Hexcells, whose description bears more than a passing resemblance to the infamous ‘sweeper. Thankfully, my prejudices weren’t realized and I found it to be a rather delightful puzzle experience.

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enemy_starfighter_header

It’s rather embarrassing you see, because this game has been around for over a year already. I’m tempted to throw in an obscure Star Wars reference about ships this small not having cloaking devices, and then liken Enemy Starfighter to the Millennium Falcon, but in explaining that analogy I have inadvertently obviated its need. So let’s carry on then!

Enemy Starfighter is another upcoming space simulator that’s gleefully riding atop the crest of the genre’s resurgence. I for one welcome our new space sim genre overlords because they remind me of my youth when I’d while away the weekends playing Wing Commander and X-Wing Vs. TIE Fighter. I’m waiting for EA’s inevitable realisation that space simulators are a thing once again, and for them to go on and announce a new Star Wars space simulator. That distant shrieking you’ll hear shortly after that announcement will in all likelihood be me as I spin around in circles, get dizzy and puke from excitement.

Enemy Starfighter, however, is not big budget. It’s nowehere near as gargantuan a project as Star Citizen, but that doesn’t mean that it’s something that should be ignored. Allow me to put this game firmly on your radar (assuming you were, like me, fast asleep and completely oblivious to its existence because we’re terrible, terrible human beings) by describing it as such: it’s pretty much Homeworld but you fly the space ships as well. OH GOOD GOLLY BUT IT HAS MY ATTENTION NOW.

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shadowgate5

Remakes have always been a touchy subject, but lately it seems as if the topic has ignited a whole new inflammatory debate, with all manner of sanctimony attached to every side’s argument. Our very own Chris Kemp decided to tackle this controversy recently, and suffice to say things weren’t exactly rosy. It becomes even more of a problem when you’re dredging up a really old game like Shadowgate, giving it a new paint job and trying to simultaneously appeal to both a new generation and old fans alike. Is this modern remake of a 30 year-old classic up to the task?

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necrovision1

It’s been a century since the Great War (later downgraded to simply the First World War) broke out, but despite being arguably the most significant conflict in all of human history, it gets relatively little attention from game developers. There’s a lot of material with which to make a solid shooter experience, yet FPSes typically fall back on either World War II or zombie themes. But what if we threw history out the window and took some drastic liberties with a World War I-themed shooter? By, say, throwing zombies and other supernatural monstrosities into the mix? Well, somebody already did that. Back in 2009, as a matter of fact, and the result was NecroVisioN.

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crs01

I say, do you folks fancy some retro-style shoot-‘em-up action? Mindless, twitchy, pixelated and frantic? With bullet-hell sensibilities ripped straight from the 1990s? Then you might just enjoy the strangely-titled Cho Ren Sha 68k.

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neverhood1

About that Doug TenNapel guy… you know who I’m talking about, right? The same dude who brought the world Earthworm Jim? Yeah, him. He’s a fellow with some strange ideas, isn’t he? Oddball characters and offbeat humour are his specialties, so it’s not too surprising that a few of his works flew under the radar of mainstream appeal. Today we’ll be looking at The Neverhood, one of TenNapel’s efforts which graced the world way back in the Windows 95 era in the form of a point-‘n’-click adventure game.

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Don’t bother him with details.

Ever since George Lucas decided to retcon the Star Wars continuity, prequels have been all the rage. Some attempts have been more successful than others: compare Star Trek: Enterprise and Hannibal Rising to, say, Smallville, and it quickly becomes apparent that prequels are a hit-or-miss affair. On the gaming side of things, The Legend of Zelda is the biggest culprit when it comes to endless retconning, but fans can hardly fault the series since they love it so much. With regressive storytelling being so risky, it’s no wonder companies like Valve opted to ditch prequels entirely and mainly resort to exploring backstory to flesh out their scenarios. It’s therefore been up to fans to take up the mantle of fully imagining a pre-GLaDOS Aperture Science facility in the aptly-named Portal: Prelude.

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The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II takes place in Borgovia, a land where gothic meets geek and dark creatures are met with darker puns. It’s an action RPG in the tradition of Torchlight and Diablo, with a baroque style of its own. It’s my first real outing with the inimitable young monster hunter Van Helsing and his wise-cracking, ass-kicking ghost companion Lady Katarina, having played the first game only briefly. And, despite an incredibly slow start, balance issues and a couple of niggly bugs, Van Helsing II is a fun romp for the price.

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