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What we've been playing

A few of the games that have us hooked at the moment.

Paradise Marsh - a constellation shaped like an octopus saying "I really don't get what's the deal with legs anyway."
Image credit: LazyEti

25th August, 2023

Hello! Welcome back to our regular feature where we write a little bit about some of the games we've found ourselves playing over the last few days. This time: wandering, witches, and "Whaat!?".

If you fancy catching up on some of the older editions of What We've Been Playing, here's our archive.

Paradise Marsh, PC

Paradise Marsh trailer.Watch on YouTube

There's nothing like a walk to get you out of a bit of a rut. And I've recently discovered that virtual walks can do the trick to.

Paradise Marsh is one of my favourite places for a restorative wander. This is a beautiful chunky world filled with ever-changing colours. The game itself is a bit of a collectathon, albeit a very charming one. Once that stuff out of the way though, there's a real pleasure in just picking a direction, setting off and watching the landscape strobe and change.

Even better, Paradise Marsh remembers to include the sky as well as the earth. Look up and there are constellations fidgeting in the cosmos. Throw in some evocative sound effects, and Paradise Marsh is a place I really don't want to leave.

Chris Donlan

Clash Mini, iOS

Another week, another Clash Mini update.

This week has been all about the Witch. I hate playing against the Witch in Clash Royale and I've never gotten the hang of using her myself. She advances along and spawns skeletons and she's just a nightmare to deal with.

But in Clash Mini I love the Witch! She spawns skeletons! And as you upgrade her she spawns more! At 4 Elixir, she's high cost, but the high risk of maxing her out makes her more of a thrill to use. I spawn her at the back and I'm happy to lose a round or two as she gets up to full power. Then, all of a sudden, my enemy's over-run by skeletons, skeletons, skeletons.

Right now, she's the heart of every deck I make. I'm sure I'll be bored of her by this time next week and on to someone else.

Chris Donlan

Card Shark, Switch

Card Shark.Watch on YouTube

TikTok has recently realised I like card tricks, so my feed is now filled with flourishes, false shuffles and impossible feats of card tracking across endlessly shuffled decks. One of my favourite magicians on the platform is Jeremy Tan, who's based in Singapore. He can do incredible card manipulation, while offering cheerful, whimsical patter, and each trick is capped with his signature move where he leans into the camera and exclaims, "Whaat!?"

Normally this would drive me back to my own deck of cards, now hopelessly dog-eared from years of practising the Spring during Zoom calls. But this week I picked up Card Shark again instead, the beautiful, maddening game about con-men of yesteryear. It's lovely to move through France as a terrible rogue cheating at cards and slowly planning vengeance against those who have wronged me. What a brilliant game this is.

What I love most about Card Shark is how practical it is. Its manipulations are a series of hard won skills made from in-jogging, carefully placed accomplices, and all manner of sleights of hand. I am in awe of the ways that this digital game brings its virtual cards to life with sound effects and clever control set-ups.

There's something else, too. Card Shark always remembers to make you work your magic under pressure. The game is in progress, the clock is ticking, and other players are growing suspicious. Can I pull off something incredible? Can I make my rivals at the table lean in and say, "Whaat!?"


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