Picture of Steve Haske

Steve Haske


FeatureAztez is a beat 'em-up with a twist

Black and white and red all over.

Team Colorblind's Ben Ruiz loves beat'em ups. Bayonetta, God of War, Devil May Cry - you name it and he's played it. But as much as he loves the genre, Ruiz wants to do things a little differently. So he's taking matters into his own hands by creating a brawler (of sorts) that's as esoteric as they come.

FeatureSamurai Gunn is another PS4 indie to get excited about

Kurosawa and pixel-art meet in a duel to the death.

There's something about Samurai Gunn that brings the samurai film Yojimbo to mind. Back in 1961 Akira Kurosawa told the story of a wandering ronin who stumbles into a turf war between two rival gang lords attempting to claim a small village in feudal Japan, and it went on to inspire Sergio Leone's famous string of spaghetti westerns starring Clint Eastwood's nameless anti-hero. It's not the backdrop of Samurai Gunn, a fast, bloody 8-bit indie, that reminds me of Yojimbo, though. It's more the central theme of rivalry.

FeatureSex, death and bright colours: Exploring the strange world of Suda 51's Killer is Dead

"Maybe sexuality in games shouldn't be as big a taboo, but at the same time I live in a country where sexuality is pretty crazy."

It's been a year since Grasshopper Manufacture's rock star founder Suda 51 was doing the rounds for Lollipop Chainsaw, a game whose tongue was stuck so firmly in its cheek it was in danger of poking through the other side. There was something absent there, though - a part of me wished that Suda was building a Japanese version of The Warriors (or even something that more closely resembled Koko Dai Panikku, the violent '70s Japanese high school outcast film Lollipop was inspired by) instead - and the end result fell well short of its outlandish potential. Lollipop Chainsaw lacked a certain something - it was missing a little of the style that's made Suda's name.

FeatureFrom the writer behind FTL comes The Swapper, a philosophical platformer

Channelling the spirit of '70s sci-fi, Facepalm Games explore the ethics of cloning.

The Swapper's a cold, strange game. As it starts, low key lighting sets the mood in a series of deliberately-paced rotational shots: a small planet orbits an incandescent star; a space station orbits overhead, bathed in a melancholy blue; an escape pod launches, fleeing dangers unknown. The whole scene only lasts a minute and a half from fade-in to lunar landing, but the languid pace hearkens to the internalized mode of sci-fi films like Moon or Solaris, brooding and mesmerisingly obscure.

FeatureGears of War: Judgment Preview: Shifting up the Gears

Judgment's free-for-all reflects the title's broader freeform intensity.

Gears of War is no longer just a game about killing monsters - in the multiplayer space, anyway. Showing off a new free-for-all deathmatch mode for the upcoming series prequel Gears of War: Judgment, Epic's showcase at PAX Prime 2012 gave a glimpse into a seemingly alternate future that once was a franchise impossibility: COG killing COG.