PC BATALJ, henceforth stripped of exuberant capitalisation, has released. It features three distinct factions, WEGO combat, a crisp aesthetic and the seal of quality you’d expect from DICE alumni. It is without a doubt one hell of a game. At least. I think it could be. Possibly one of the year’s best, caught in the right light. But so far, in this online-only game, I’ve yet to find a single match.
Did you play Crest? That gorgeous but rather abstract Swedish affair that you’d swear was a Molyneux tulpa? No? Your sins are forgiven, because as is often the case with indie titles that don’t hit the ground running, Eat Create Sleep have relaunched their tribal papercraft terrarium, with new elements, overhauls and tweaks. Additions that will entice the agnostic and convert the disbeliever.
PC/Mac • Deemed the great moral challenge of our time and discussed at length during summits the world over; the lack of modern mech-based tactics games is reaching a tipping point. The last true Front Mission was released in the mid-Oughts. Do people even remember CyberStorm? I’d love to count the Super Robot Wars titles, but they’re niche and chibi and aesthetically repugnant. Don’t @ me, friends. I’m being cruel to be kind. There is an undeniable, intractable vacuum. Warborn, however, is stepping up.
I’m not really a shmup guy. I mean, I dig so much about the genre, but my atrophied synaptic responses would make Bell 101 owners think they were living in the fast lane. That is, until I played Morfeo’s Furious Angels. A mouse-based frisson of physics-heavy turning, burning and gunning. A papercraft aesthetic, accommodating responsiveness and simple controls coalesced to form one of 2017’s top games. Play it if you haven’t. A convert’s testament. Turns out, we’re getting a follow-up, and deliciously soon.
PC I recently waffled in a Scrye about INSOMNIA: The Ark, written calmly henceforth as Insomnia. It’s quite the thing, especially if you go in blind. Given that you’re reading this, I suspect there’s a forfeiture of surprise in your immediate future, but that doesn’t detract from Insomnia’s beguiling premise overcoming its somewhat flawed execution. Flawed, I hasten to add, in that Eastern Bloc way. An ambitious pursuit of atmosphere; a journey through time and space, anchored to a colossal star city, where dimensions appear to be a lot less demarcated than first thought.
PC • If there’s one thing missing from today’s high-tech landscape of centrifuge-killing viruses, hacking, long-game defense projects designed surreptitiously in conjunction with Silicon Valley, it’s the warm glow of a NORAD CRT. Fear not, for Terminal Conflict is here to return you to the good old days of mutually-assured destruction.
PC/Mac/Linux • The first game I ever played was PC Research’s 1983 survival horror game, 3-Demon. And by survival horror, I obviously mean a first-person vector riff on Pac Man. John D. Price and Rick Richardson’s intimate maze-em-up was austere and unsettling, branded as a seminal experience into soft, impressionable neurons. So, imagine if that sort of ambience dropped tired old phantoms for battlesuits in a near-future subterranean lair? Das Geisterschiff, which arm should I present for cannulation, come November 25th?
Here’s a collision of interesting things. Remote Games are the blokes behind Isotopium: Chernobyl, and the premise is pure magic. Players control wheeled drones and remotely roll around a scale model of the infamous reactor and nearby town, searching for energy caches and seeking out new locations. Slivers of escape room meets Joe Haldeman’s Forever Peace. It’s currently in Kickstarterdom. And you can play a timed demo right now. Go on.
PC • Here’s a bold prediction. Kerberos Studios‘ Pit of Doom will be a runaway hit. And not just one of those cult sleepers, name-dropped for cred at gatherings of those in the know. A bona fide smash. It sounds ludicrous to predict the fortune of an unfinished game, one still slick with Early Access afterbirth, but I have that tingling sensation. Could be the creeping onset of Zuul poison, though. You never know.
PC, Xbox, PS4 • Listen up, nuggets. You should all be familiar with Black Lab Games‘ dark horse tactical gem, Battlestar Galactica Deadlock. Quite possibly the best licensed game this side of, heck, Dark Forces. A terrific tactical starship game based on the paradigm-shifting show of the 2000s, one that I’d put in my top five — count ’em, five — games of all time. Well, there’s a new expansion coming out very soon, and it sounds all manner of tasty.