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Waifu bartending: VA-11 HALL-A seems like the best dive this side of Catherine photo
Waifu bartending: VA-11 HALL-A seems like the best dive this side of Catherine
by Steven Hansen

I love Catherine. Part of the reason is its block puzzles. Part of the reason is its small scale, with most playable segments taking place in the homey bar Stray Sheep. VA-11 HALL-A--or Valhalla--is that same sort of bar, packed with regulars just trying to get through their nightmarish cyberpunk existence. Games don't always need to be bombastic save-the-world-'em-ups.

Over 20 clients will come into Valhalla, where you tend bar, serving an odd cast drinks as they serve up their life stories. And the bartending is as important to the stories as the stories are to bartending as you learn what clients like and, maybe, why that talking corgi is such a racist.

You can download and play the prototype here for free or at your own price if you can spare it. You can also pre-order the full game (and get a Steam key) for $5, which is less than the full game will be at launch. With that, you'll get the Prologue as well, which you can play until Sukeban gets the full game finished. Eight bucks gets you the Prologue, full game on release, and the soundtrack.

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1:30 PM on 12.03.2014

Devil's Bluff turns to Kickstarter for its online-only murder mystery

One of my favorite mechanics that is prevalent in tabletop games but not so much in videogames is having hidden roles. Battlestar Galactica's concealed Cylons and Werewolf's bloodthirsty lycanthropes induce real paranoia bec...

Darren Nakamura

3:30 PM on 12.01.2014

Steam has Alien Isolation for half price, cheap Skyrim

"Uh-uh, no way, I've spent too much as is." I haven't yet hit that point this year but if Steam keeps it up, I might. The Exploration Sale continues with discounts on Alien Isolation ($24.99), Planetary Annihilation ($5.99), ...

Jordan Devore

1:30 PM on 11.26.2014

Already? The Evil Within is $20.39 on Steam

66 percent off The Evil Within without needing to wait in Black Friday lines? Steam's still got it. Valve kicked off its six-day Steam Exploration Sale today and there are deals on other recent releases, like Civilization: Be...

Jordan Devore

10:00 AM on 11.26.2014

Ironically, the Kickstarter for Hollow Knight looks solid

I have had my eye on Hollow Knight for a few days, but had not yet pulled the trigger on highlighting it. It is a pretty 2D action game (though the color palette is a bit muted for my taste) starring some sort of insect-pers...

Darren Nakamura

1:15 PM on 11.25.2014

Catch a jaunty tune (and an elbow to the grill) in this Tales from the Borderlands trailer

Telltale titles and Borderlands are almost polar opposites. One has you constantly making tough, game-altering decisions. The other only asks that you decide between shooting everything and dying. (Hint: you defini...

Brett Makedonski



Review: Tales from the Borderlands: Zer0 Sum photo
Review: Tales from the Borderlands: Zer0 Sum
by Darren Nakamura

[Disclosure: Anthony Burch, who consulted on the story for Tales from the Borderlands, was previously employed at Destructoid. As always, no relationships, personal or professional, were factored into the review.]

When Tales from the Borderlands was announced, it was met with cautious optimism. Telltale's basic game structure that focuses on dialogue and choice seemed like a good way to explore the harsh planet of Pandora through the eyes of people who are not mass murderers. There are a lot of colorful characters on the planet, and not everybody has a backpack full of weapons and a thirst for blood.

As it turns out, there are exciting stories to tell for those who would sooner talk their way out of trouble than fight. Telltale really knocked it out of the park with this one.

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9:30 PM on 11.24.2014

Maniac Mansion spiritual successor Thimbleweed Park meets Kickstarter goal

It's happening: the creators of Maniac Mansion are making another 2D point-and-click adventure together. Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick launched a Kickstarter for Thimbleweed Park just last week and with more than $375,000 rais...

Jordan Devore

4:30 PM on 11.24.2014

Need something free to pass the time? 0h h1 is sort of like binary sudoku

I have always been an unapologetic fan of Minesweeper. I have been playing it for longer than any other single game, and I will be playing it as long as I can imagine. It never changes in any fundamental way, but it always wo...

Darren Nakamura

5:00 AM on 11.20.2014

Get tready to learn about Hearts of Iron IV's tanks

I like it when a company modifies their logo to fit with the theme of whatever it's attached to. It's a stupid thing to like and here it's just an old timey World War II filter, but I like it nonetheless (see: SEGA matching ...

Steven Hansen

2:30 PM on 11.17.2014

Devolver Digital's new title Crossing Souls looks like an '80s cartoon

Part of me wishes that a game called Crossing Souls would be an Animal Crossing/Dark Souls crossover, but I am still pretty pleased with how Crossing Souls actually looks anyway. Will we ever get sick of the totally tubular ...

Darren Nakamura







The Talos Principle makes me feel smart and dumb photo
The Talos Principle makes me feel smart and dumb
by Darren Nakamura

Back at E3 2014, I got a brief chance to get my hands on The Talos Principle while talking to one of its writers Tom Jubert (FTL: Faster Than Light, The Swapper). In the presentation, Jubert explained the intended approach to discussing philosophy with the player, but I was only able to get through a few puzzles.

With its retail release scheduled in less than a month, I have had some more time to spend with Croteam's first-person puzzler. So far, it has made me think hard, both about the solutions to puzzles and its thoughts about sapience.

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11:00 AM on 11.16.2014

There Came an Echo story trailer shows off its voice talent

Originally slated for a June 2014 release, then pushed back to October 2014, voice-controlled strategy game There Came an Echo is now projected to release by early February 2015. That's only a few months away! According...

Darren Nakamura



Dungeons II takes a humorous approach to being the bad guy photo
Dungeons II takes a humorous approach to being the bad guy
by Alessandro Fillari

Being the bad guy has its perks. With an entire force of orcs, goblins, and other nasty creatures at your bidding, more gold you can count, and a near infinite supply of dark magic at your disposal -- it seems like you've got things pretty much handled in your conquest of the world. But fate seems to have other plans. And with a snarky disembodied voice mocking you and narrating your journey, it certainly looks like your quest for power will be a lot more difficult than you thought.

This is what you can expect in the upcoming sequel to Dungeons. During a private session at a press event by Kalypso Media, I got to spend some hands-on time with their upcoming Dungeon Keeping/RTS hybrid title Dungeons II, that aims to take a light-hearted and comedic approach to being the evilest villain in all the land.

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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