Played It: FTL: Faster Than Light

Mayday... Mayday...

This is the S.S. Space Cat, a Federation starship deep in Mantis territory. We have been attacked and boarded by pirates and are in need of immediate assistance.

Attempts to expose the invaders to space have back-fired... They disabled our life support systems before teleporting away and we are unable to re-pressurise those sectors... We've already sent two crew members in there, and both suffocated before they could even begin repairs... Fires are raging out of control, consuming even more oxygen that we don't have...

Is anybody out there? We are carrying information vital to the Federation.

Please respond!




Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
"Just in time for the holidays, NASA's Cassini spacecraft, in orbit around Saturn for more than eight years now, has delivered another glorious, backlit view of the planet Saturn and its rings. (Click to read more and get a larger view...)"

Happy holidays, you lot.

Buy yourself something nice and we'll say that it's from me.


Played It: Zeno Clash

Zeno Clash is a game about punching people. Punching people and sometimes shooting them. Or hitting them with a club.

Our anti-hero and puncher-in-chief is Ghat, a tattooed human on the run from his multi-species brothers and sisters after murdering their hermaphrodite Father-Mother. Together with his horned girlfriend, he flees civilisation: past the territory of the voluntarily insane Corwid of the Free; pursued through a desert by a squirrel-bomb throwing bounty hunter; to the End of the World, where he awakens a strange and morally ambiguous entity of incredible power...

Zeno Clash is delightfully barmy, unrepentantly imaginative and daringly original. It's also unpretentious, good-humoured and colourful. I am, sadly, not the most comfortable with beat-em-ups, but if I were this might actually be the perfect game for my tastes.


Played It: XCOM: Enemy Unknown

The original UFO: Enemy Unknown is one of my all-time favourite games and - in my opinion at least - this modern version is a fantastic update. I wouldn’t be one to say that it’s better than the original, but it does manage to improve on it in a few areas.

Being able to customise your troops, see people milling about inside your base and view the battlefield from more human angles are welcome additions. It’s just a shame that like so many of these updates (see also Deus Ex: Human Revolution) the original is actually larger and more complex. This new version also, and this is probably the clincher for me, lacks that unremittingly bleak atmosphere that made the whole world feel endangered by inscrutable alien foes.

It’s still a solid, addictive and challenging strategy game, though, and hopefully a chink in the armour of the overwhelming lack of diversity we've seen in terms of big budget game genres.