Ludic Linux

  • Rimworld

    If anyone gets nosy, just... you know... shoot 'em. Politely.

    Rimworld is a sci-fi colony management game set on the untamed frontier. The game’s devs cite Firefly and Dune as influences and it certainly shows — the worlds you’re colonising are wild and lawless, sparsely populated by tribes and other colonies, some of whom will be friendly and others decidedly not.

    The other major influence is, of course, Dwarf Fortress, from which Rimworld takes its approach to deep simulation — colonists have body parts and internal organs, psychological states and moods, relationships with other colonists and animals, needs, desires, prejudices and preferences and so on. The simulation is not as deep as that of Dwarf Fortress — Rimworld doesn’t generate thousands of years worth of history, mythology, geological activity etc. — but it’s deep enough.

  • Hyper Light Drifter

    Dodging off ledges

    There are lots of pretty looking indie games around but, often, the beauty is superficial. Pretty pictures on top of what is barely a game.

    Hyper Light Drifter is beautiful all the way down. Its gorgeous aesthetics are married with intelligent, inventive game design choices throughout. Each aspect of the game’s design speaks in unison with all others — this isn’t a jam session, it’s a symphony.

  • Shadwen

    Queen of the swingers

    Shadwen is getting a bit of kicking from reviewers and I’m here to tell you why they’re all wrong.

    I think the fundamental problem is that the devs are presenting Shadwen as a stealth game. It really isn’t. I get the feeling that fans of games like Thief, Deux Ex, Dishono(u)red and so on are buying this, expecting a similar experience, and feeling disappointed when they get something else. Reviewers, too, seem to be treating it as a straightforward stealth game and judging it in that context.

  • Stellaris

    Oh shit, it's 5am

    Stellaris represents a determined effort on the part of Paradox to take what people love about Crusader Kings II and Europa Universalis IV — the complexity and emergence, the intrigue, the weirdness and the sense of telling your own story — and bring it to a wider audience by making it more accessible.

    It’s a tough thing to do as, to a great extent, what made those games difficult to approach was also what, further down the line, made them interesting. Can Paradox really simplify something like that without compromising its fundamental identity and losing what it essentially is?

    In short; yeah they can and have. But of course it’s a little more complicated than that …


    It's the most innovative shooter I've played in years

    I need to get this out of the way at the start: SUPERHOT is beautiful.

    I’m partial to constructivist and suprematist art so maybe I’m influenced by that — the explosions of red polygons, the solid black weapons and white ground make screenshots look like artworks by Rodchenko, Lissitzky or Malevich — but this game really is aesthetically stunning. There’ve been times when I’ve died because I was so distracted by the beauty of the scene before me that I failed to notice the bullet about to enter my face.

    SUPERHOT is a first person shooter with the central conceit that time only moves when you do (which isn’t quite true, time moves very very slowly when you’re stationary) allowing the player to pull off some crazy John Woo-esque moves that wouldn’t be possible in a normal shooter. Punch a man in the face, grab his gun from the air as he drops it, shoot him with his own gun, turn 180°, throw the gun in the air and punch the man who was behind you in the face after side-stepping the bullet he just fired, turn to your left and catch the gun you threw, shoot the man to your left and so on.

  • OpenVPN for Gaming

    How I got it set up

    I’m no expert, certainly not in networking, so this isn’t so much a HowTo as a HowIDid. I’ll show you how I set up OpenVPN to allow my friends and I to play old ass games that only work on LAN (in our case, Titan Quest and a spot of FlatOut 2, both via Wine in my case, of course). This solution works for games which rely on UDP broadcast (i.e. games where you can’t just enter a direct IP, you have to look for games on the local network).

  • Snakebird

    Has genetic science gone too far?

    Snakebird is an absurdly cute abstract puzzle game. It’s one of the hardest puzzle games I’ve ever played, second only to the how-did-a-human-being-make-this-thing SpaceChem. Snakebird’s difficulty doesn’t derive from complexity — all you can do is move one of up to three snakebirds in one of four directions — it’s about abstract logic and creative thinking.

    And it really is preposterously cute. Just look at this little fella:

  • Grow Home

    The joy of sandbox

    Grow Home is ostensibly a game about growing a plant in order to get home. And also collecting things. None of that is why you keep playing though, that’s not what it’s really about.

    More than anything, Grow Home reminds me of Just Cause 2.

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