Joakim Sandberg’s Iconoclasts Out on Steam, PS4, Vita

It can be pretty frustrating to find out that something you want to fix is difficult or impossible to repair. Glued-on screens cover batteries that are all custom fit inside small cases that prevent curious people from learning how things work and fixing problems with their devices. Iconoclasts from Joakim Sandberg takes that a step further, it’s a world where a mechanic, Robin, finds that her profession is outlawed. Your mission is to get Robin and her friends together to fix things in what looks like a bit of a metroidvania side-scrolling action-adventure with a Metal Slug-y vibe to the art.

Andy Kelly likes it:

Iconoclasts is a fine game, offering both satisfyingly sharp platforming and shooting, and some really smart puzzles. It’s enormous too, packed with secret areas and other stuff to discover. And although I found the humour a little glib and childish at times, it tells its heartfelt story well. A lot of Metroidvania games go for a bleak, downbeat atmosphere, but Iconoclasts is infectiously vibrant and sunny, even if the story does occasionally venture into dark territory.

Iconoclasts is out now for $20 on Steam on Windows, macOS, and Linux, gog (same platforms)as well as the PlayStation 4 and Vita.

Tacoma Looks Great; Out August 2nd

The creators of Gone Home have a new game coming out. This time you are playing the role of protagonist Amy Ferrier on the Tacoma space station. Here’s part of Andy Kelly’s review at Windows Gamer:

The first wing of the station I can access is Personnel. Now pinned to the floor by artificial gravity, I walk into a communal dining area and an AR recording flickers to life. A timeline appears on the HUD allowing me to scrub through the memory, pausing, rewinding, or fast forwarding at my leisure. The crew, represented as digital silhouettes, are preparing for a party, and I’m immediately struck by how believable the dialogue is. It has a natural, conversational flow, never feeling contrived or overly expository.

The crew, despite appearing to Amy only as faceless, transparent figures, have nicely rounded personalities. This is thanks to the game’s impressively expressive animation and superb voice acting, which combine to create characters who buzz with life. At first the recordings don’t seem to be anything more than elaborate audio logs, passively relaying a story to you in a way games have been doing for years now. But the clever thing about Tacoma is how they cover a large area, with conversations spread between many different rooms. Say you’re observing an argument between three people and one leaves the room. If you stick around you might hear them talking about her quietly behind her back. And if you decide to follow her, she might confide in someone in another part of the station about what just happened.

The thing I love about these games from Fullbright is that they take something that is kind of ridiculous at this point, the audio log, and turn it into the centerpiece of their game. Taking an overused piece of gaming mechanics and turning it into something special drew me to O E S and Black Shades when their original developers took the escort missions that everyone loathes and made it the focus of their games.

Tacoma will be $20 and available on August 2nd for Windows, macOS, and Linux* via Steam and gog, as well as the Xbox One.

I’m looking forward to playing it.

Andy Kelly’s Steam Link Review

PC Gamer’s Andy Kelly also posted his review of the Steam Link. In addition to having some success with playing over wi-fi, he’s also got a different perspective on what kind of game play it’s suitable for:

I’ve also noticed the Link having a positive impact on my terrible attention span. When I’m playing at my desk I’m forever alt-tabbing to check Twitter or any number of stupid distractions. And I’ll usually last an hour in a game before quitting and doing something else. But camped out on the sofa, my attention doesn’t wander as much. I pay more attention to what I’m playing, and play it for longer, which is a discipline I thought I’d lost.