Rock, Paper, Shotgun

What are we all playing this weekend?

5 months 1 week ago

I have an extremely annoying neck and shoulder ache that I can't get rid of, but on the other hand I found the backing to the right earring in my all-day black studs. On a third hand, I found this after I bought a replacement pair. Less ideal. But at least video games have never let me down. That's an egregious lie, though. Games let me down all the time. Which ones are you pinning your hopes to this weekend? Here are ours.

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Author
Alice Bell

Elden Ring publishers Bandai Namco cancel at least five games, target future “emphasis on quality”

5 months 1 week ago

Coming off of 2022’s biggest game in Elden Ring has been a tricky time for Bandai Namco, it seems. The publishers have announced that they have cancelled “at least” five games in the works to help overcome a significant drop in income over the last year, adopting a new approach to development that will focus on quality.

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Author
Matt Jarvis

Alan Wake 2 is Remedy’s fastest-selling game yet, shifting over 1.3m copies, but hasn’t made a penny of profit

5 months 1 week ago

Alan Wake 2, last year’s best horror game, best game overall or best-game-featuring-an-unexpected-but-extremely-welcome-musical-dance-number depending on who you ask, has shifted over a million copies. Musical dance numbers don’t come cheap, though, so it’s still yet to turn a profit - despite outpacing the momentum of any of Remedy’s previous games, including Control.

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Author
Matt Jarvis

If you're enjoying Cobalt Core, you should play Sunshine Heavy Industries

5 months 1 week ago

I promise I'm not trying to turn RPS into a Soggins the Frog fansite, but... If you have a) been enjoying Cobalt Core as part of RPS Game Club this month, and b) especially like it when Soggins turns up with his ship of malfunctioning missile launchers, then I implore you to make Sunshine Heavy Industries your next port of call in your Steam library. It's what the Cobalt Core devs Rocket Rat Games made first, and you can immediately see a lot of shared DNA between the two games - not least its chunky, charming pixel visuals and some crossover between its cast of characters - including our pal Soggins.

It is, I should stress, a very different game to Cobalt Core - it's a sandboxy spaceship builder with zero combat involved, for starters - but I've been playing it again this week ahead of some other Game Club-themed articles I've got cooking, and I've been having a lovely time with it. Not least because I get to spend more time with Soggins the very smug frog, all while listening to even more excellent chill tunes from Cobalt Core composer Aaron Cherof.

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Author
Katharine Castle

Baldur's Gate 3's latest patch improves smooching, idle animations, and a bazillion other things

5 months 1 week ago

Baldur's Gate 3's latest update has, as per most of their updates, a colossal number of improvements. Notably, there are new animations for folks who hunker down in your camp and a speedier way to dismiss unwanted companions. But most importantly of all, the smooching has been improved tenfold for fans of romance, or voyeurs who relish virtual characters trading saliva.

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Author
Ed Thorn

Hello Neighbor's creator is making a Home Alone-esque game that looks a lot like Hello Neighbor

5 months 1 week ago

I'm kind of fascinated by what happened to Hello Neighbor. The original, a stealth horror game against a creepy AI that learned your likely movements, was hugely popular in alpha in 2016. The series was acquired by TinyBuild in 2020, and since then there has been a heroic number of spin-offs. There's one set in an amusement park, a multiplayer game called Secret Neighbor in which one small child is actually a large adult man in disguise, a direct sequel called Hello Neighbor 2, and a VR game called Search And Rescue. I think everyone got a bit of Neighbor fatigue there, lads.

This might include the original creator Nikita Kolesnikov, as (still under the auspices of TinyBuild) he's made a new thing. Currently on Steam for playtesting, the project currently known as RBO isn't falling far from the home invasion tree, as players will either be a home-owning Protector - a McCallister, if you will - or an Intruder, or Wet Bandit.

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Author
Alice Bell

Skull and Bones’ PC performance is mostly smooth sailing, but do stow it on an SSD

5 months 1 week ago

Because it’s somehow my job to worry about the technical fidelity of electronic toys, I’ve been eyeing the long-overdue arrival of Skull and Bones with some nervousness. After nearly a decade of delays, you’d probably just want to get it out the door, right? Skip straight to the open-world pirate adventuring, none of that 'making it work on a range of graphics cards' nonsense.

But nope. For all its other shortcomings, Skull and Bones performs alright on PC, very often more smoothly than its system requirements suggest. Though I’d still recommend abiding by its SSD storage requirement – following the rules might not be very piratey, but installing on a hard drive will curse you to some pretty tedious load screen waits. Geoffrey Rush would hate it, honestly.

While Edwin sequesters himself in the starting area, let’s head below deck for a closer look at Skull and Bones’ PC particulars. That includes a full rundown of its graphics options – which include ray tracing and DLSS – and a quick guide to the best settings for an ideal prettiness-to-performance ratio.

Author
James Archer

Streets Of Rogue 2's latest dev diary is a crash course in proc-gen map building

5 months 1 week ago

The first Streets Of Rogue was an RPS favourite when it launched back in 2019 (we literally couldn't stop playing it), and we've known for a while now that its sequel, Streets Of Rogue 2, is due to arrive later this year. Ahead of the game's launch, developer Matt Dabrowski has started releasing a series of dev diary videos detailing his design process and how it's all coming together. The latest is about how he creates the game's proc-gen open worlds and biomes, and it's a fascinating watch if you've ever wondered how its particular blend of randomised chaos works behind the scenes.

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Author
Katharine Castle

This refurbished 850W Corsair Shift PSU is £84 vs £150 new from Scan UK

5 months 1 week ago

Corsair's Shift series of power supplies are one of my go-to recommendations, thanks to their reliable power delivery and convenient side-mounted connectors, and now you can pick up a factory refurbished 850W 80+ Gold unit for just £84 from Scan, versus £145 for the very same PSU new at Amazon or £150 at Scan. That's a huge, nearly 50% saving, and well worth it - even for a factory refurb unit with a 12-month warranty.

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Author
Will Judd

Logitech's excellent G915 TKL low-profile wireless mechanical gaming keyboard is 55% off at Amazon UK

5 months 1 week ago

The Logitech G915 Lightspeed TKL is a phenomenal gaming keyboard with low-profile mechanical switches, reliable Lightspeed wireless and a compact layout, yet Logitech normally ask well over £100 for it - and double that when it first launched! Today though, the G915 TKL Lightspeed is 55% off, dropping it to the more reasonable price of £99.

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Author
Will Judd

Payday 3 sales "significantly lower" than hoped, but Starbreeze focused on "long-term success"

5 months 1 week ago

Payday 3 developer Starbreeze say their co-op heist 'em up is underperforming both in terms of sales and player numbers. They also say they're committed to turning around that performance, with updates to come in 2024 which will revamp progression, the UI, add a solo mode and an offline mode, and more.

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Author
Graham Smith

V Rising's 1.0 changes to PvP, endgame and armour detailed ahead of spring release

5 months 1 week ago

V Rising remains on track to reach 1.0 in the second quarter of this year, in what finance people call Q2 but I like to call Aprilmayjune. The latest developer blog post goes into detail on some of the new features coming for the full release and in particular its changes to PvP, higher tier weapon and armour, and vampire fashion.

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Author
Graham Smith

No Man's Sky Omega update takes aim at new and lapsed players with free weekend and pirate dreadnought

5 months 1 week ago

Hello Games describe No Man's Sky's latest Omega update as being geared towards newcomers and "lapsed players looking for a way back in". Hey, they're talking about me! I haven't played the wide-eyed space game since before the pandemic, partly because I only own the PS4 version and now that I'm RPS news editor, I'm not allowed to touch consoles any more. Seriously, they burn my skin on contact. Anyway, let's have a gander at the trailer.

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Author
Edwin Evans-Thirlwell

The Electronic Wireless Show podcast S3 episode 6: Skull & Bones is finally about to come out

5 months 1 week ago

It's happening! Why I played Skull & Bones back when it wasn't even a live service game. But now it is, and it's out this weekend. We talk a bit about how long it has been coming out, why it's been in development this long, and why they didn't just release the sucker the two or three previous times they got close to doing so. Honestly, I hope it does okay. We also talk about the games we've been playing this week, and Nate challenges us with a game of Palworld Pal: real or fake? PLUS the giant game dildo and our recommendations this week.

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Author
Alice Bell

Supernatural spaceship shooter Underspace shows admirable ambition in its Next Fest demo

5 months 1 week ago

I respect a game with wild ambition. Declaring your game "the spiritual successor to Freelancer" is bold and ambitious, considering how the spaceship sim is still so beloved after 20 years that our readers voted it your 16th favourite space game of all time. This ambition is wild when the tiny development team is led by someone best known for replacing Skyrim's dragons with Thomas The Tank Engine. So while I'm not much of a spaceship sort, I had to check out the demo for Underspace, which aims to combine Freelancer shoot-o-trading space action with a dash of Lovecraftian horror.

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Author
Alice O'Connor

Can we use tracking tech for good? (aka: a game automatically knowing if I've forgotten the controls?)

5 months 1 week ago

Tracking technology isn't perfect. Actually, that's an understatement. Tracking technology has many pitfalls, including how Google Maps can be accidentally used to track people, and the fact that if you systematically turn off cookies, your internet browsing experience becomes increasingly bizarre. I am offered adverts for afro hair care products and huge bags of puppy kibble, because the algorithms no longer have any idea who I am or how many small dogs I have. And yet.

Surely this technology has reached the point where, if I open a game for the first time in several weeks, it should be able to tell I haven't played for a long time, and ask if I would like a small refresher of the controls.

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Author
Alice Bell

I'm not sure I'll ever leave the prologue area in Skull And Bones

5 months 1 week ago

Last night I spent an hour in Ubisoft Singapore's Skull And Bones, the much-reconceived, nigh-mythical open world pirate game that has been in development since 2013. Taking a leaf from the book of feared intergalactic corsair Samus Aran, the prologue starts you off at the height of your bucanneering powers, with a mighty gold-and-scarlet galleon at your disposal that is shortly blown to bits by the English Navy.

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Author
Edwin Evans-Thirlwell

A Reddit user's ant-infested PC has destroyed my hopes for a real life Discworld computer

5 months 1 week ago

People who read my articles have exceptionally good taste, which is why I will assume you are already intimately familiar with Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. For those who are not and somehow got here by mistake, it will save me a lot of time if you go away and read them all. Oh fine, I will explain Hex. And also, if I have time, a real life man with ants in his computer.

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Author
Alice Bell

Islands Of The Caliph is a colourful and cleverly condensed griddy RPG

5 months 1 week ago

I have never enjoyed those grid-based dungeon-crawling games. I dislike the very notion of dungeon-crawling in general, frankly, but the awkward juddery squareskipping rat-toucher games have always left me absolutely cold.

You will be shocked and aroused to learn that I preface with all this just so I can make an exception of Islands Of The Caliph. Does this mean she's becoming more open minded, or just that she's found a way to gripe and complain even within a recommendation? Who can say, readers.

What I can say is that I don't merely hate it less than its genremates. I think it's a bloody great little RPG, full of charm and detail that never drags it down.

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Author
Sin Vega

This Cobalt Core mod adds hapless frog Soggins to your crew for extra chaos

5 months 1 week ago

If you've been enjoying the excellent Cobalt Core as part of this month's RPS Game Club, you may well have stumbled into Soggins the frog along your travels. Running into this hapless buffoon is always a delight in Cobalt Core, as he's one of the few special characters who doesn't instantly attack you on sight. Rather, the task here is always to try and save him from his own idiocy - namely, his malfunctioning ship that keeps firing his missiles right back toward him. He's an ungrateful little sod if you do rescue him from certain doom, but I kinda love him for it anyway - and thanks to an industrious pair of modders, you can now have Soggins join your crew to inflict his own special brand of personal chaos on you.

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Author
Katharine Castle

Palworld's community manager reminds people impatient for updates that playing other games is fine

5 months 1 week ago

If you told me at the start of the year that Palworld would break Steam records, I would've done a hearty "no no" chuckle. But here we are, with the survival game exceeding 19 million players and Pocketpair probably wondering how they managed such a feat. With its success has come the inevitable slew of impatient people saying the game's dead because it's not received updates fast enough, or folks saying it's lost a hefty percentage of its player base, and others saying its viewership numbers over on streaming services have plummeted. Palworld's community manager Bucky has gently reminded folks that not only is this discourse "lazy", but to play other games instead.

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Author
Ed Thorn

Embracer have laid off 8% of their global workforce since their "restructuring" began

5 months 1 week ago

Embracer have released their interim financial results for Q3, October-December 2023, in which they share details of the conglomerate's on-going efforts to "restructure" and reduce their massive debts, to the tune of hundreds of layoffs over the past year.

Amid the talk of revenues, profits and losses, we learn that Embracer have laid off 8% of their global workforce since announcing their restructuring program in June 2023. According to the report, Embracer's total headcount has fallen from 16,243 in the period October-December 2022 to 15,218 in the period October-December 2023. The number of Embracer studio game projects in development, meanwhile, has fallen from 224 to 179.

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Author
Edwin Evans-Thirlwell

Homeworld 3 studio Blackbird Interactive hit with layoffs

5 months 1 week ago

The studio behind Homeworld 3, Homeworld: Deserts Of Kharak, and Hardspace: Shipbreaker have cut a number of jobs, explaining this is "part of a realignment plan that's necessary because of new projects that were shelved by some of our partners". Blackbird Interactive haven't confirmed the number of people who lost their jobs, nor have they said what the mystery projects were. It's been a grim year for people working in the video games industry, with thousands losing their jobs, and we're only halfway through February.

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Author
Alice O'Connor

Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered's modern controls are an absolute travesty

5 months 1 week ago

Readers, consider this is a public service announcement for (deep breath) Tomb Raider I-III Remastered Trilogy Starring Lara Croft. Do not, for the love of all that's ancient and holy, play this game with its newly-added modern control scheme. The original tank controls are by far and away the best (and only real) option for going back and experiencing Lara's OG adventures from the late 90s, and I'm not just saying that out of nostalgia. The modern controls are bad, plain and simple, and are as much an enemy to Tomb Raider's incredibly precise mode of 3D platforming as the tigers and wolves that stalk its trap-filled catacombs. They are utterly maddening, and the antithesis of everything Tomb Raider stands for. I implore you, do not go anywhere near them, for your own sake as well as Lara's.

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Author
Katharine Castle

Helldivers 2 will "never" get PvP because Arrowhead don't want a toxic community

5 months 1 week ago

If you've been yearning to take up arms against Super Earth as either an arachnid, a robot or a filthy (managed) democracy-hating human traitor, then I have bad news, roughneck. Helldivers 2 will "never" get a PvP mode, according to Arrowhead's CEO Johan Pilestedt. The reason? They want to avoid encouraging any toxic behaviour in the new shooter's multiplayer community.

Given that Helldivers 2 is a game with mandatory friendly fire in which you can kill team-mates by respawning right on top of them, I fear the Good Ship Camaraderie may already have sailed, but I'm very early on in my Helldiver career, and I'm... intrigued by how Arrowhead's efforts at community curation sit alongside/within the game's premise of playing a dirty space fascist locked in an endless xenophobic crusade.

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Author
Edwin Evans-Thirlwell

The best value AMD gaming CPU is £25 off for Valentine's Day

5 months 1 week ago

The AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D is my current go-to high-end gaming CPU recommendation, on account of its brilliant top-tier performance at a mid-tier price. The CPU normally costs around £375, but today it's down to £350 at Amazon UK. This isn't the cheapest we've ever seen this model, but it's the best price recorded in 2024 so far and a solid £25 below the going rate.

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Author
Will Judd

The RTX 4070 Super is already below RRP in the UK - £539 vs £579

5 months 1 week ago

The RTX 4070 Super is a rather good deal, offering a significant boost in gaming performance over the earlier RTX 4070 - in fact, it's closer to the 4070 Ti than the vanilla 4070. That makes it a great choice for gaming up to 4K, while costing just a bit over the £500 mark - £539 to be accurate after a £50 discount that puts it below the UK RRP of £579.

That price is for a relatively modest Zotac Twin Edge model which fits easily even into small form factor PC, but thanks to the efficiency of the Ada Lovelace architecture the card should still run quite cool and quiet.

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Author
Will Judd

What's better: health pick-ups looking like cartoon hearts or Doomguy's pet rabbit, Daisy?

5 months 1 week ago

Last time, we conducted citizen science with a rare suggestion from a reader, and you decided that being able to reroll your build is better than instant-death bottomless pits. May you live a long and happy live refining by degrees, rather than slamming into hard lessons. This week, in celebration of Valentine's Day, we turn to matters of the heart, of loves and organs. What's better: health pick-ups looking like cartoon hearts or Doomguy's pet rabbit, Daisy?

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Author
Alice O'Connor

The Sims 4 has added vitiligo in a free update

5 months 1 week ago

A new update for The Sims 4 has added options to give characters vitiligo, the autoimmune disorder which causes patches of skin to lose pigmentation. Rather than a handful of preset full-body patterns, The Sims 4's vitiligo impressively comes as loads of patterns for separate bodyparts, so you can create a wide range of effects. And no, you don't need to buy an expansion for it.

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Author
Alice O'Connor

Happy Valentine's, you can win a huge and official Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood dildo

5 months 1 week ago

We've eschewed any Valentine's theming this year, but Edwin put this in our news queue last night as a sort of dare for our evening shift, and let the record show I am less of a coward than Graham Smith. The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood, a visual novel Tarot-themed card game from perennial (perhaps perineal, in this case) favourites Deconstructeam, was praised by Edwin in his review, and I was going to use the same strapline for this news post had he not got there first. Because now, in time for the season of romance, they've teamed up with sex toy purveyors Uberrime to create a frankly prohibitively massive dildo as an official tie-in for the game, which can be won in a free competition by three lucky people living in either the UK, EU, US or Canada (as in, they each win their own dildo; they don't have to time share).

I mean I say "prohibitively", but I don't know your life.

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Author
Alice Bell

Ubisoft France workers celebrate Valentine's Day by striking against "badly balanced rewards systems"

5 months 1 week ago

A number of Ubisoft France employees are on strike today after the collapse of union negotiations with Ubisoft management, who have reportedly proposed a budget for wages "that would be lower than inflation for the second year in a row". The strikers are calling it a "badly balanced rewards system". Cheeky devils!

The news comes care of a post from Le Syndicat des Travailleurs et Travailleuses du Jeu Vidéo, who have evidently been doing their homework on videogame humour. That research has paid off, for here I am writing about the strikes, though I think I probably would have written about them anyway.

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Author
Edwin Evans-Thirlwell

Helldivers 2's always-on friendly fire makes for excellent playground humour

5 months 1 week ago

When it comes to co-op shooters and most other multiplayer games, it's often the case that friendly fire is switched off by default or there are endless systems in place to make it a punishable offence. In Helldivers 2 it isn't actively encouraged, nor is it punished. Accidentally vaporising your teammate with an air strike is all a part of the campaign for democracy and freedom, a hilarious byproduct of human error. I gushed about it in my review, and cheery RPS fanzine PC Gamer wrote up a quick piece on the specific ways it eeks out silliness.

But comedy isn't just accidental in Helldivers 2, oh no. I think it encourages playground behaviour of the worst order: smacking your mates into things.

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Author
Ed Thorn

Granblue Fantasy: Relink review: a slick JRPG wedded to the rule of cool

5 months 1 week ago

Granblue Fantasy: Relink is a JRPG that is ticking off many of the action RPG tropes. It would be in danger of becoming workmanlike, such are the number of things you can tick off on your fingers like a plumber ordering parts: boss fights against improbably huge glowing monsters, an evil god, catboys, numbers popping off enemies, women who appreciate the combat applications of a thigh-high split skirt, anachronistic sunglasses, horned giants carrying halberds of the same approximate size as a caravan.

In practice, though, you sort of can't be mad at Granblue Fantasy: Relink. It's built around a layered combat system that seems impenetrable if you don't take some time to understand it. But really, Granblue Fantasy: Relink is just a game so committed to the rule of cool that the entire setting is physically impossible, and every battle is a disorientating Panic! At The Firework Factory that flirts with being a photosensitivity nightmare. I'm not selling it as such, but it's actually charming.

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Author
Alice Bell

The Silent Hill 2 remake's combat trailer misrepresents the game, according to one of its own developers

5 months 1 week ago

The Silent Hill 2 remake's State of Play trailer doesn't give a full and proper representation of the game, Bloober Team's president Piotr Babieno has observed in an apparent swipe at publisher Konami, who Babieno portrays as responsible for the upcoming horror game's marketing. If you missed it, the trailer in question focuses on the "modernised" combat. It shows alleged "everyman" protagonist James Sunderland getting all Gears of Warry with some maggoty marionettes and rancid demon nurses.

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Author
Edwin Evans-Thirlwell

Fantasy extraction game Dungeonborne was February's most played Steam Next Fest demo

5 months 1 week ago

February's Steam Next Fest demo bonanza officially concluded on Monday, and Valve have now revealed the 50 most played games you all tucked into across the week-long event. Ordered by the number of unique players that spent time with them during Next Fest proper (meaning all those early demo plays from earlier in the month haven't been counted), the most popular game of the lot was one that was only formally announced right at the end of January. So congratulations Dungeonborne - your blend of PvPvE dungeon crawling and fantasy skelly monsters clearly struck a chord with this year's Next Festers.

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Author
Katharine Castle

Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor early access review: pick of the bunch

5 months 1 week ago

Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor is a delicious piece of mad science: what if you spliced the ale-sodden DNA of Deep Rock Galactic’s dwarven miners with tissue samples from a Vampire Survivors-like autoshooter?

It shouldn’t work, surely. It would be easy to look at this spin-off and question why it takes the co-op out of one of the best co-op games on PC, or to shovel it aside as a cynical attempt at latching onto the popularity of autoshooters/Survivors-likes/bullet heavens (delete as preferred). But you’d be a smooth-handed leaf lover, my friend, as not only does DRG’s mix of horde shooting and rock smashing translate remarkably well to the format, even this early access version is heaps of subterranean fun.

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Author
James Archer