Publisher: KeokeN Interactive
Release Date: Oct 10, 2019
Are road trips even fun? It’s certainly a nice thought, tearing down a sunlit road with your mates, chugging brews in the back and tunes on the CD player. But I can’t think of any I’ve been on that aren’t outright misery, crammed in the back on a family jaunt across the country, parents arguing over a map while the sausage rolls start stinking up the cab. Still, could be worse. Unlike Overland‘s unfortunate nomads, I don’t recall ever fending off wild dogs with a 2×4 every time we stopped for petrol.
But Finji are finally ready to make the trip. Fill ‘er up and pack your bags, Overland hits the road.
With so many great keyboards to pick from these days, finding the best gaming keyboard for you and your budget can be tricky. First, you’ve got to figure out whether you’d rather save some money and get a cheap membrane-based one, or maybe splash out a bit and get a mechanical one instead. However, even if you do decide to go down the mechanical keyboard route, the next question you’ve got to ask yourself is what kind of switch you want, as this can affect everything from the speed of each key to how it feels and sounds in everyday use. Our best gaming keyboard guide is here to help.
To aid you in your quest to find the best keyboard for gaming, I’ve put together all of my top recommendations across a bunch of different price points. Below, you’ll find everything from the best membrane gaming keyboards and the mechanical gaming keyboards to the best wireless gaming keyboards and those you can use in your living room if you’d rather kick back on the sofa instead of sitting up at your desk. Whatever your budget, we’ve got a best gaming keyboard recommendation for you.
Publisher: Panic Inc
Release: September 20th
From: Epic Games Store
What’s the deal with geese? It’s a question I’ve been asking myself for the better part of a decade. Admittedly, it’s a rather odd question to have been mulling over for so many years, but for my whole time at university I lived in extreme proximity to them, and it had an impact. My campus was stuffed with the things. As I’d fall asleep at night I’d hear them honking away outside, having a right old laugh with the resident ducks and swans. Those cackling honks would also be the first sounds I’d hear waking up in the morning, too, the conversation no doubt still flowing about their daring escapades playing chicken against cyclists, or snapping at drunks in the night.
They were, and are, obnoxious, belligerent birds (except barnacle geese, beautiful creatures about which I will not have a bad word said), and even now I still feel a small shudder in my soul whenever I catch sight of one. But those ungainly birds of years gone by have nothing on the goose from Untitled Goose Game. That hulking white menace is evil incarnate. And I absolutely love it.
Untitled Goose Game--a game in which you play as a jerk goose who waddles through a small English town ruining everyone's day-- feels like a miniature version of Hitman, but with mischief instead of murder. Like those games, it's all about learning an environment inside-out and figuring out how to play various people and systems against each other to achieve your goals. You wander between four small, quaint locations and tick off objectives from your list by wreaking havoc on the people you encounter and generally being a nuisance. At first, you're annoying a man as he tends to his garden, turning on his sprinklers as he stands over them, stealing the keys to his gate, nicking his produce, and generally getting in his way. The game continues like this, as the goose's to-do list demands that it causes upset to most of the people it encounters. Working through the game means figuring out how each element interacts with everything else and how to corralling various people, who all react to the goose differently.
It's a comedy first and foremost. Figuring out how to complete each objective might be essential to your progress, but the real fun is in seeing how harried you can make everyone. When you need to make a man spit out his tea, steal his shoes, and ruin his garden, you might start to feel sorry for him, but you also won't want to stop terrorizing him. The goose can only run, grab onto things, honk, and flap its wings, but through some combination of these actions you can manipulate the folks you encounter and cause chaos. One character might run in fear if you honk at them; another might bend over if you drop something for them, giving you a chance to steal their hat; another might leave their post if you steal something of theirs and drop it far away, giving you the chance to go back while they're distracted and steal the object you were really after all along.
The humor of Untitled Goose Game is built into the mechanics and animations; seeing the goose waddle along, honking and flapping its wings, is inherently amusing and satisfying even before you start causing mischief because of how perfectly evocative it is of a real bird. The clean, colorful visual style is also a treat. But the reactive soundtrack is what really sells the goose's charms. The music, based on Claude Debussy's Préludes, springs into action dynamically based on the goose's actions, punctuating moments when it shocks someone and adding a buoyancy to any scene involving a chase. It gives the game a feeling of farce; at its best, it's reminiscent of a Buster Keaton film, especially since there's no dialogue.
The objectives you're asked to complete often require some lateral thinking. Getting into the headspace of the goose and figuring out how a few actions can spiral into something that's going to annoy one of your targets is very entertaining. Sometimes it's immediately clear what you need to do, and sometimes the solution is more abstract, but most objectives will name an object that you can find within the environment. In the second location, for instance, you're told to "get on TV"--the solution isn't immediately obvious, but finding the TV you need to interact with is not difficult. Untitled Goose Game lightly leads you towards its puzzle solutions without explicitly holding your hand through them, so figuring out a clever solution is rewarding.
You need to complete all but one objective in each location to advance, which is a nice concession, as it means you can progress to the next area even if one of the puzzles just isn't clicking for you. Sometimes it's just a matter of figuring out what needs to be done and then doing it, but you also need to practice some level of finesse: The goose can't get too close to anyone who's going to try to shoo it away, and you'll often need to be stealthy, sneaking under tables, causing distractions, and hiding behind bushes and in boxes like a long-necked, web-toed Solid Snake.
Each area also features a fetch quest objective, for which you need to gather several items and put them in one place while making sure that you're not caught. These objectives are the least fun, generally, because too much is left to the imagination; the first one asks you to "have a picnic" by dragging a variety of particular items to a picnic blanket, but once you've done so the objective is immediately complete, with no additional vignettes or animations to reward all that effort. Untitled Goose Game's best objectives reward you not only with a feeling of satisfaction, but with a fun, charming bit of interaction between the goose and the people it encounters, whether that means watching a man stumble around with a bucket on his head or watching someone else wearily resign themselves to their favorite hat being gone.
Untitled Goose Game is also extremely short. When I reached the end, I was surprised at how little time it had taken--I had only been playing for about two hours. Thankfully, after the credits roll you unlock a new list of objectives across the now fully unlocked map, but there isn't the same incentive to complete them when you know that you won't be rewarded with a new location to explore, or even, necessarily, new interactions. Most of them are twists on previous objectives or more complicated versions of things you've already done, often involving moving items between different locations.
I'm glad that those extra objectives are there, though, and I had a good time working through them. It's just a shame that there isn't a bit more, because Untitled Goose Game ends far before I felt like I'd had my fill or seen everything the game was going to throw at me. Being short isn't inherently bad, but Untitled Goose Game's playground could stand to be bigger. I wished that I could keep riding the high of unlocking new areas and messing with new people, and it still felt like there was plenty of room to escalate things.
For all the jerkiness I performed, my favorite moment in Untitled Goose Game was the one scene where the game leaned into the goose's charms. I wandered up behind two people having a chat at the pub and hit the button dedicated to honking. The two women turned to look at me, startled, but far less hostile than most of the characters I'd encountered. When I stood in a specific spot they mimed commands for me to perform, fulfilling one of my objectives while absolutely delighting the two women. Untitled Goose Game is a hilariously antagonistic experience most of the time, but I identified strongly with these characters and how lovable they found this horrible goose.
The important thing is that Untitled Goose Game is a hoot. It's a comedy game that focuses on making the act of playing it funny, rather than simply being a game that features jokes. Wishing that it was longer speaks to how much fun I had with it. There's nothing else quite like Untitled Goose Game; it's charming and cute despite being mean, and both very silly and very clever. It's also probably the best non-racing game ever to feature a dedicated "honk" button.
Coming back from a holiday is always a bit of whirlwind of catch-up and trying to make sense of what happened while I was away. Turned out Apple Arcade happened, so now we have a whole new thing to look at and see what it brings to our favourite hobby. As essentially a friendlier home for premium games, I hoping we'll see more of the games we really want flock back to iOS... although I know many have separate reservations about subscription models in general.
Since I wasn't back until Wednesday the first half of the week was still being 'covered', which is why we had a couple of older list refreshes we hadn't seen in a while and some news. The later half of the week was rounding off some gaps I wanted to fill. Mario Kart Tour is coming and we haven't really talked about it much until this week, and then there was the Talisman DLC we missed out on from the end of August. Finally, I'm kinda digging Pokemon Masters at the moment, so you'll see me doing stuff there.
Meanwhile, in mobile gaming...Apple Arcade
The biggest news this week doesn’t have anything to do with a single game, but many. Apple’s new premium subscription service Apple Arcade. It’s now been released into the wild where you can get access to a wide range of games for just $4.99 usd a month. Apple have around 100 games already in place for launch, and we imagine more will come. I might even need to add a new section to this column covering new Apple Arcade releases.
I’ve got Michael working on a new guide that’ll sift through some of the Arcade’s more desirable releases, but right off the bat you can get access to the likes of MiniMotorways (Mini Metro sequel), Cat Quest 2, Beyond a Steel Sky and Cardpocalypse, to name but a few.iOS 13
We thought we’d also remind our iOS users of a bit of tech related news - iOS13 has also dropped. Anyone with an iPhone 6S or iPhone SE or newer phone will be able to get it.
Updates for GameCenter, the ability to use console controllers, Dark mode and more are part of the update, so make sure you have a poke around when you can to see what’s new. For the first time, this update is NOT being rolled out to iPads. Apple tablet devices are getting their own bespoke OS called ‘iPadOS’ which will have dedicated features - that’s due to drop at the end of the month on September 30th.New Game App Releases
We’re a little behind catching up on new game releases this week, so while there are a few things worth highlighting I haven’t had a chance to take any of them for a spin or do a top-line overview. Still, these are the ones you should be interested in, and we’ll endeavour to get full reviews and/or in depth articles as soon as we can:
- Through the Ages first expansion, Leaders & Wonders, is now available as an IAP on both Android and iOS for $4.99
- This is the Police 2 launched on iOS and Android while I was away. While we weren’t as impressed with the first title, we’re hoping this sequel has stepped up it’s game. You can pick it up for $6.99 and we’ll have our full review done ASAP
- Other games that have caught our eye this week are rogue-like dungeon crawler Undervault, and free-to-play card game Mythgard which has entered open beta.
Elsewhere, Football Drama is a soccer management game that darks a rather satirical take on managing a football team in modern times. It’s a more narrative driven experience, but actually involves both deck-building and turn-based tactical mechanics, so we’re very intrigued. It’s available on iOS and Android for $4.99 and is on our review list.Updates & Sales
Rebel Inc. has received it’s fourth major update since launch, titled the ‘Azure Dam’ Expansion. It adds a new map (Azure Dam), a new Governor called the Development Director as well as a new mechanic that allows you to collect intel on specific regions to see if they’d like to see certain improvements rolled out to them.
Add on top of that the usual round of bug fixes and balancing, and this is a nice meaty update to get you back involved. The team have also said they’re not done with the game yet, and they’ll be plenty more content down the road.
We’ve missed quite a few sales and there doesn’t seem to be anything especially noteworthy this week. Nothing you haven't seen before anyway, although I’m pleased to report an Android-specific discount, for once, as Rusted Warfare RTS is down to $0.99 on Android.
Seen anything else you liked? Played any of the above? Let us know in the comments!
Adventures With Anxiety is a free work of interactive fiction by Nicky Case. It’s about Sergeant Jack Magnum, elite leader of the deadly facepunch squad. Or it’s about anxiety, whatever.
You play as the anxiety. It’s a little red dog that clings to its human like a raincoat, but detaches when it detects danger it must warn them about. It’ll take about half an hour and it’s pretty nice.
Borderlands 3 weapons are absolutely ridiculous in pretty much every way. Blasting far beyond the standard set by the previous games in the series, the game throws gun after gun after gun at you throughout its lengthy campaign, each with a multitude of attributes and effects that can completely change how the gun is used and how effective it can be in the right hands.
There’s a lot to know about the weapons of the Borderlands, which is why we’ve put together this here Borderlands 3 weapons guide, complete with a fully detailed weapons cheat sheet available in 2k resolution for your second monitor! Have a scroll below and we’ll also go over various aspects of gunplay and weaponry in Borderlands 3 in more detail, from Anointed weapons to rarities, elemental damage, and much more.
Raise the purple flag, comrades. PlanetSide Arena came out yesterday, bringing some royale to PlanetSide 2’s vast battles in a spin-off game of jeeps and jetpacks. Its big thing is that everyone has a quad in their back pocket, but another major draw are the big 12-person team battles. That’s in keeping with the scale of the bottomless futurewar, but is it as shooty and adrenal-gland-taxing as other battle royale games? Sin and Brendy crash landed on the murderplanet and joined some big fights to find out.
After Rockstar launched their new wee store client doodad this week, folks who wanted to play Grand Theft Auto V offline on PC were finding themselves unable to. Did Rockstar sneak in a new DRM measure when wedging the new Rockstar Games Launcher into the game’s guts? Naw, they say it was a bug, and now it’s fixed. The fix does involve going online one last time, mind.
Termie’s quite a busy robot these days. The nonspecific robot skeleton has been popping up in other people’s fights with startling frequency lately. Need someone to help chainswordgun an alien bug in half in Gears 5? Terminator’s there. Bashing interdimensional martial artists in a bloody tournament with cold, metal fists in Mortal Kombat 11? Yeah, sure, a gruffer Arnie-shaped Termie’s there too. It’s probably about time ol’ T got his own game and stopped mooching off others.
Well, cor blimey, they’ve only gone and announced Terminator: Resistance, haven’t they?
Spending over a hundred quid on a keyboard is a big ask at the best of times, which is partly why half the entries currently populating my best gaming keyboard list all come in well below that. Over two hundred quid, though? That’s positively extortionate. But man alive does the £210 / $250 Logitech G915 Lightspeed Wireless make an incredibly strong case for itself.
Like any good hacker, Crypto – not to be confused with Krypto, The Superdog – has been quietly operating behind the scenes for a long time. He’s taken the spotlight before, blowing up the dinosaur-b-gone tower that kicked off Apex Legends’ first season, but we’ve never caught sight of this mysterious bad boy. In the last few days, that’s begun to change. After making fleeting appearances and BSOD’ing terminals all around Kings Canyon, Crypto is ready to take a one-way trip to Apex Legends on October 1st.
I’ve been superintending Saracens, Saladins, and Scouts in the Fulda Gap for the last few days courtesy of Armored Brigade (this column concludes with some thoughts on the current state of the game plus a competition with two expanded copies as prizes). This restricted play diet in combination with some compelling TV documentaries has turned my thoughts to the Troubles, a conflict that my extensive wargame library insists never happened.
The 25 pictures in a cluster foxer are arranged in 5 discretely/discreetly themed clusters. Pictures in a particular cluster must be cardinally contiguous to be valid. For example, A1, B1, C1, D1, D2 is a possible cluster, unlike A2, B2, C2, D2, E3. To fully defox today’s enlargeable puzzle identify the themes and constituent images of all five clusters.
Developer: Killmonday Games
Publisher: Killmonday Games
The thing about Misfortune Ramirez Hernandez, the titular protagonist of Little Misfortune, is that she only has a few animations, and one of them is falling flat on her face. That’s part of the lot she’s been handed in life, and as her thematically appropriate name might suggest, the rest of it isn’t great either.
But for every time she takes a spill, she also has an animation for getting back up. And for everything else, there is glitter.
Ahhh, FIFA. Like the setting of the sun, the drawing in of the nights, the putting on of an old winter coat, there's both an inevitability and a level of comfort that comes with the release of a new FIFA game. The football season is properly back. The squads are correct again. A couple of new features to keep us occupied through the long, dark nights. All is right with the world.
FIFA 20 might not be the series at absolute peak form--so far, Volta doesn't seem like the revolution it perhaps could have been and Career Mode still feels underdeveloped--but modern FIFA is such a broad, deep, and complete offering that it remains a must-buy for football fans.
On the pitch, FIFA 20 is remarkably similar to last year. Sports games do change year-on-year--I just feel that rate of change is slowing as we reach the end of this console generation. So while there are some welcome improvements--more natural first touches and more satisfying ball physics--things feel very similar to FIFA 19 once you walk out of the tunnel.
Set pieces, have, however, received a bit of a makeover--specifically direct free kicks and penalties. In a throwback to the halcyon days of FIFA 2003, both now have you aim a reticle at the precise location you want to place the ball. Then, incorporating last year's genius timed finishing mechanic, you'll need to press shoot again at the right time, while also adding curve in the case of free kicks. Both take a little time to get used to, but they offer greater depth and satisfaction when you smack one into the top corner.
In another nostalgic move--and in an attempt to offer greater improvements off the pitch--FIFA 20 introduces a new mode, the FIFA Street-like Volta Football, bringing street soccer to the main series for the first time. You control a squad of street superstars aiming to become the world's best in a journey that takes you across various unique, exotic locales. These three-, four-, or five-a-side matches are shorter and more chaotic than a standard 11-a-side game, and they feel sufficiently different and entertaining to become a worthwhile staple in FIFA's roster of modes. Fancier tricks and flicks and simplified tactics make it a mode that feels a little more focused on, well, fun, than the more traditional game types--but don't expect the depth FIFA Street gave us all those years ago. There are no Gamebreaker shots here, and it's not as easy to utterly humiliate your opponent with outrageous nutmegs and rainbow flicks. Volta League, the mode's online portion, hasn't been populated enough to find a match so far, so we'll bring you more on that in the days ahead--but the ability to play against human opponents, recruit opposition players, and kit your created character out in new gear means this will almost certainly present more longevity than the mode it replaces, The Journey.
Volta's campaign mode, meanwhile, is a single-player, uh, journey in which you'll face off against AI teams. The world tour structure is compelling and those locations are well-realized, with unique personalities and play styles of their own. However the characters you share your travels with are so irritating, and the writing so aggressively How Do You Do, Fellow Kids, that it becomes a bit of a chore to play. Hopefully, more time with the mode will lead to these characters endearing themselves a little more. In a final, strange note, Volta requires an internet connection, even when playing the single-player mode, for reasons that remain unclear.
Career Mode is FIFA's other main single-player offering, and it comes with a raft of new features. Proper conversations between manager and players are finally possible, for example; players will come to you to complain to or thank you about their game-time, as they have for many years, but you now have the opportunity to reply, with the aim to keep their morale--and hence performance levels--high. The system is shallow, with the morale bar seemingly the only variable you can affect, and messages still repeat far too often, but it at least feels a little more interactive than the stagnant old email system.
Similarly, pre- and post-match press conferences have been overhauled, and they now appear more like those seen in The Journey in previous seasons. Again, the objective here is to maintain your team's morale, and again there isn't much more to it, but it is more visually and intellectually stimulating than a simple menu screen, as it was before. The final big new feature is dynamic player potential, which I haven’t gotten deep enough into a save to test just yet, but I’ll report back on its effects soon.
Disappointingly, despite all the changes, Career Mode still feels a little barebones so far, and it still contains a number of inaccuracies. The transfer window ends erroneously late for English clubs, for instance, while VAR and short goal kicks are yet to be introduced into FIFA at all. Transfer negotiations are unchanged, save for two new background locations in which to hammer out a deal, and scouting and youth teams are the same for yet another year in a row. Career Mode has taken some steps forward this year, but a revolution is needed.
Ultimate Team, meanwhile, continues its expansion and is now bigger and better than ever. The adoption of a Fortnite-esque battle pass model in FUT Seasons--not to be confused with FUT Seasons, the sub-mode--is somewhat confusing, but a masterstroke. It essentially manifests itself as an expansion of the existing daily and weekly challenges, with new tasks you can work towards over multiple weeks. Rewards include packs, players, new cosmetic options including tifos and balls, and more. It all adds another way to be rewarded and another objective to work toward--especially useful for those who struggle to compete in the weekend league (which, by the way, is unchanged and hence remains as moreish, and as grindy, as ever).
FUT's other new addition is Friendlies, which are a new way of playing casually within Ultimate Team. There are no great rewards for playing FUT Friendlies, but you do still earn coins, and, crucially, player injuries, contracts, fitness, and your playing record remain unaffected. The community has been crying out for a place to go when they can't face the pressure of Rivals or Squad Battles, and finally they have it. It also contains the same in-depth stat tracking and bizarre mode variants as was introduced in FIFA 19's Kick Off mode, along with new House Rules options. They're a weird, entertaining place to go to have fun with friends and they mean that, if it wasn't already, Ultimate Team really feels like its own game now. You might understandably disagree with its pay-to-win tendencies--yes, spending more money on packs means you're still more likely to get Lionel Messi than someone simply grinding for in-game currency--but FUT is as compelling and complete as game modes come, and I am horribly obsessed once again.
Completeness appears to be the ethos FIFA lives by, and despite the omission of Juventus (forza Piemonte Calcio), this year's game feels more complete than ever. The same goes for its aesthetics and licensing, which continue to offer the closest virtual approximation of real-world football--or, more accurately, Sky Sports' version of football--available.
Flawed and iterative, but comforting, complete, and compelling, FIFA 20 is as frustrating and as essential as ever. The Journey and FIFA Street will continue to be missed, but Volta offers a genuinely different option for those who want to dip in and out across FIFA's smorgasboard of game types, while Ultimate Team continues its route to world domination. It's just a shame Career Mode continues to stagnate--even if EA has finally remembered it exists.
Editor's note: With servers online but currently unpopulated before release, we'll bring our final verdict on FIFA 20 soon, once we've had more chance to test out Pro Clubs, Volta League, and Ultimate Team.
If you’ve been bumming about Borderlands 3 with a handful of stuttering frames to your name, I have some underwhelming news. Developers Gearbox have released a hotfix that “does not include issues that the community is immediately concerned with”, along with a statement to say they’re working on those. They’ve also posted a list of (possibly) helpful tips to help with framerates and deal with saves if they’re still not working after Monday’s save-specific hotfix. (Psst. Just turn cloud saves off.)
Eliza is a visual novel about Evelyn, a woman starting work as a ‘proxy’ for the eponymous service. The service is counselling by algorithm. The proxies sit and listen, while clients say whatever they have to say, and the system takes measurements of things like heart rate, vocal stress and such, before analysing keywords used and delivering a reply. You read the script it generates, and nothing more. That’s the job.
The game itself is about everything to do with that. Counselling. Crunch in the tech industry. Ethics and isolation and empathy, and Men In Tech. And it’s about recovery. You get dialogue options here and there, but until the final act there’s not a lot in the way of big decisions. I mulled over those closing decisions for longer than I’ve thought about many I’ve made in real life. Indeed, if it seems I’m sticking to the slightly dry facts in this intro, it’s because if I start talking about how much this game has spoken to me, I don’t know if I’ll be able to stop. It is doing so much. I have lost sleep thinking about it. And I am glad.
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.
That’s the name for this sort of thing, isn’t it? Though it needn’t be confined to just Kevin Bacon. If you’re good with names and faces and you’re after a fun little game to play with a friend or two to pass the time, “Six Degrees” is perfect. Here’s the best way to play.