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Mushroom 11 is the next great puzzle-platformer photo
Mushroom 11 is the next great puzzle-platformer
by Jordan Devore

Everyone I know who's tried Mushroom 11 won't shut up about how good it is. After clearing the first two levels today in a preview build, I'm joining them. 25 minutes well spent.

This is a puzzle-platformer unlike any I've seen before. You guide a green blob through a post-apocalyptic world -- up cliffs, through tunnels, over toxic sludge -- by erasing parts of it. Each time you click on the ooze, you'll trim its cells and fresh replacements will pop up somewhere else; do this enough and it'll start to move (though not always in the exact direction you want).

It's fun to aimlessly "push" the blob forward across the ruined world, but traversing obstacles requires careful planning, quick improvisation, or both. In one puzzle, I anchored the organism to the perimeter of a cave suspended above lava and chipped away at it in such a way that a makeshift limb stretched down and left toward solid ground without falling straight to its fiery doom.

A later section, a boss fight against a giant mutant spider, involved launching the blob off a seesaw and navigating up and around the creature's jabbing arms. Sequences like this are frenetic. You have to rapidly erase cells to maintain momentum but you can't overdo it; the blob won't rematerialize mid-air. Brute-force attempts at puzzle solving proved futile by the second level.

All that said, I'd recommend watching footage or, better yet, playing the game yourself next year on PC/Mac/Linux (pre-orders come with a preview). It's tough to convey what makes Mushroom 11 such a treat in text, but pick it up and you'll understand the appeal in seconds. Tell your friends.

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10:30 AM on 11.06.2014

This seems like a bad title for a game, but it's Snot

I'll admit: I very nearly deleted the email about Snot without a second thought. How could a game named after nasal mucus be worth even a few seconds of my time? Still, I did my due diligence and played the video attached, a...

Darren Nakamura

12:45 PM on 11.04.2014

When You're Gone tells its story of love lost in painted comic style

In life, everybody deals with love, loss, and regret. When You're Gone's premise is built on the relatability of its story: A middle-aged man reflects on his life and comes to terms with "the one who got away." Protagonist S...

Darren Nakamura



Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel illustrates the danger of nebulous season passes photo
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel illustrates the danger of nebulous season passes
by Darren Nakamura

Over the weekend, details came out of PAX Australia regarding the first downloadable Vault Hunter for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. At first, it looked to me like a commendable gesture for a series that receives a lot of criticism on its downloadable content policy. To include a new character in addition to the originally promised content for those loyal enough to buy a season pass seemed worthy of applause. However, that image was based on a misinterpretation of the official blog post's line that references "all four of the upcoming add-on content packs," and a few other (incorrect) assumptions.

As it turns out, the Handsome Jack Doppelganger Pack is DLC #1 for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (November 11 is upcoming, after all), and I could only feel more disappointed by that revelation if I had actually purchased this iteration's season pass. My condolences go out to those who did.

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7:30 PM on 11.01.2014

Jack's doppelganger in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel will fight using digital clones

2K announced at PAX Prime that one of Jack's look-alike bodyguards would be the first DLC Vault Hunter for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, but information past that was scant. Pieces of his back story can be found via semi-hidde...

Darren Nakamura

8:00 PM on 10.30.2014

Steam's Halloween sale isn't just spooky games

What timing. I'm wrapping up my replay of Monolith's hobo smash-'em-up / survival horror game Condemned: Criminal Origins and while it's not nearly as scary as I remember it being in 2005, it's sure worth $3.73. Hoping to sha...

Jordan Devore

8:00 PM on 10.28.2014

Wow, a Humble Indie Bundle I'm going to buy

It's been some time since I've last gone in on a Humble Indie Bundle. These days, if a game is around long enough to wind up packaged at a discounted rate, it's already made its way into my library, or I'm just not interested...

Jordan Devore

7:30 PM on 10.28.2014

Laser Fury looks like Diablo but neon and radical

I do not mean to suggest that Diablo is not good, but the dreary look never really grabbed me, even with Diablo III's improvements in that respect. Laser Fury, on the other hand, takes a hold of my eyes immediately...

Darren Nakamura

3:00 PM on 10.28.2014

Particulars explores the subatomic world next month

I always appreciate seeing science represented in games, outside of the typical "heroes need to clean up the mess these mad scientists made" trope. Videogames can be so powerful as tools for learning, and that potential is s...

Darren Nakamura



Review: Dreamfall Chapters Book One photo
Review: Dreamfall Chapters Book One
by Alasdair Duncan

It wasn't surprising to hear that the long-awaited Dreamfall Chapters would be split into separate episodes -- it's in the name, really. Episodic adventure games are well established now, so in my mind, separating a new Dreamfall game into smaller chunks isn't a bad idea.

Book One starts at the end of 2006's Dreamfall: The Longest Journey so if you've been dying to see what happens to Zoë, Kian et al. then you'll be glad to have this story continued. Series newcomers might be left scratching their heads, wondering what's going on. Trouble is, this episode doesn't do much to help you understand what's happening. You're left wanting more.

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5:30 PM on 10.24.2014

More Slugcat gifs? More Slugcat gifs

What's that? You didn't get enough Rain World gifs this week? What's that? Timmy is trapped in a well, rehabbing from that awkward back spasm in mop up? What's that? Old Man Tim is going to be lights out tonight in his s...

Steven Hansen







Very Quick Tips: Civilization: Beyond Earth photo
Very Quick Tips: Civilization: Beyond Earth
by Darren Nakamura

Civilization: Beyond Earth is fantastic, but even though it does a lot through tutorial popups, missions, and the Civilopedia to help new players, it can still be daunting. With several new systems in place, even series veterans could benefit from a bit of a head start. Learn from my mistakes.

Some of these tips apply to the Civilization series in general, but most of them are specific to the new stuff found in Beyond Earth.

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Review: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth photo
Review: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth
by Darren Nakamura

"Civilization, but set in the future on an alien planet." That is really all Firaxis and 2K needed to say to get people excited for the next entry in the long-running turn-based strategy series. There is a fair amount of new ideas to be found here: new systems to explore, new technology to research, and new obstacles to overcome.

But even with everything new, Civilization: Beyond Earth is still Civilization, but set in the future on an alien planet. And it is exactly as good as that sounds.

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2:45 PM on 10.22.2014

Slugcat gifs? Slugcat gifs

It's been a while since I've espoused my love for Rain World. It looks even smoother in this interesting Kickstarter update, as the game has transitioned to Unity. The update is a good read, but if you're just here for the gifs, well, I feel you. Ain't nothing wrong with that.

Steven Hansen

6:00 PM on 10.20.2014

The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 still needs some work

We've talked before which games use Steam Early Access best. Titles like Prison Architect and Sunless Sea are two that come to mind for me; these are games that have a perfectly playable and enjoyable core game that has been ...

Alasdair Duncan

5:00 PM on 10.17.2014

Retro-Pixel Castles is all the work of just one person

Trendy survival games like Rust and Don't Starve have had one interesting feature that rarely get's talked about: you can't actually win at these games. That's the main concept behind the small-scale Retro-Pixel Castles, an ...

Alasdair Duncan