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Diary: June Arcadia

AJ reckons

Most of my time was spent in Montreal this month. I had hoped to make some serious inroads with The Witcher 3 but it transpires that the game is really not the sort of thing you play with company around. The game lends itself to solitary play in silence, not beers and laughing.

Instead I found myself in the thrall of a couple of other things…

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Drive Any Track: as fast and furious as your music collection

Drive Any Track featured image

The future! A world composed of bright lights, dehumanising urban density and, if Drive Any Track is any measure, some frankly ridiculous transport networks. But worry not, because even if they’re intricate deathtraps for commuters, they’re pretty bloody good for yoot racers fond of musical time trials.

So, yes: Drive Any Track is the latest in a line of games using music to generate the courses on which you race. In contrast to this field’s big dog – Audiosurf and its follow-up, of course – the gameplay spin is that it’s an arcade racer rather than a high-speed version of Columns.

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Diary: May Arcadia

Shaun

AJ has also decided to get in on the shortform mixtape diary approach this month (see below), so I’m going to keep my contributions fairly short and sweet.

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Devouring Stars’ stellar warfare hungers for your attention

Devouring Stars screenshot

Considering that the Greek gods, as represented in classic Homerian epics, are usually little more than a bunch of petty, self-absorbed, squabbling superhumans, we’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of them. Sometimes they’re represented with rather more inherent nobility and stature than they deserve. Not so in Devouring Stars, a science fiction real-time strategy game that draws inspiration from Eufloria, Boid and their ilk, alongside science fiction novels like Hyperion and Ilium (both by US author Dan Simmons) which plumb literary and mythic history.

The game is currently available on Steam Early Access; it just hit its v0.3 release which added multiplayer. It’s reportedly almost feature complete; most of the remaining work concerns balance tweaks and bug fixing.

I’m a little on the fence about Devouring Stars as it stands. And that is a sentence I almost hate myself for typing. I like Devouring Stars a lot, both for what it is and for the design philosophy and SF concept behind it. But I also have issues with it, and those clash with some of the reasons I like it.

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Home is Where One Starts is what you make of it

Home is Where One Starts screenshot

Is ordinariness the new fantasy?

Well, no. Obviously not.

And yet there are enough current and forthcoming games that draw at least part of their inspiration from the everyday that one could make an argument for such a case. Take Life is Strange with its high school melodrama (er, and time travel), Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture and its meticulously realised 1980s British villages (er, and space ghost apocalypse), or the wilderness and human isolation of Campo Santo’s Firewatch (er, and… littering?).

These are three examples which admittedly took a few minutes to come up with, so clearly “ordinariness is the new fantasy” would be a bad argument to make. However, as a short intro to a review, it’ll do the job*.

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Quadrant: synesthetic, copacetic!

Quadrant featured image

Something a bit different for you today… a video review of recently released indie rhythm action music game Quadrant.

Embed below the cut.

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