Quadrilateral Cowboy

This scrappy, surreal escapade cleverly uses programming as a game mechanic, but can't quite follow through on its ideas.

Quadrilateral Cowboy review

Quadrilateral Cowboy review

A fistful of $variable$.

In Quadrilateral Cowboy, a surreal indie game of hacking and heists, you pull out your 'deck' - a briefcase-sized, late-80s/early-90s portable computer with a fold-out screen and a DOS prompt - and type on it to hack systems and command gizmos. Only, you're not really doing this. You're actually gazing into the virtual reality goggles of another chunky bit of retro computing in your hackers' lair, surrounded by flickering CRTs, humming mainframes and whirring tape decks, planning some future heist in the 'real' world. Only, you're not really doing that either. You're typing on your own keyboard in your own room, playing Quadrilateral Cowboy. (I recommend using a mechanical keyboard for the full, clattering, War Games wish-fulfilment.) Wheels within wheels!

Quadrilateral Cowboy

Publisher & developer: Blendo Games

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At 35, you die a little. Or rather, you accept the life you will not lead, you say goodbye to it, and this, it turns out, is a quiet form of dying. Happy new year! At 35, I acknowledge that I'm unlikely to rob a bank. I probably won't even wait in an unmarked van outside the bank, tapping away at a terminal as the grids go down and my sexy accomplices wriggle through vents and hop across elevator shafts.

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Titanfall! Destiny! The Witcher 3! The Last Guardian (hopefully)!

2014 is upon us, and it promises riches and glory unlike any year before it. With their launches under their belts, the next generation of consoles will, hopefully, show us what they're made of. Virtual reality headsets may make their mark on the mainstream. And with a raft of crowdfunded games due out over the next 12 months, 2014 should tell us whether all that money we pumped into promising projects on Kickstarter was worth it.