Posts with «video games» label

Finally, someone used Pareto’s economic theories to find the best Mario Kart 8 racer

Who hasn’t spent sleepless nights pondering what would happen if we applied Vilfredo Pareto's (the early 20th-century Italian economist) theories to Mario, the Mushroom Kingdom’s Italian high-jump champion and part-time elephant cosplayer? Data scientist Antoine Mayerowitz, PhD, tackled that age-old question, and the resulting work provides an objective way to tell us the best Mario Kart 8 racer combinations. Hint: It sure as hell ain’t Koopa Troopa.

When you break down the build options (including driver stats and various vehicle details) in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, there are over 700,000 possible combinations. Yikes. But once you eliminate duplicates that differ only in appearance, you can narrow it down to “only” 25,704 possibilities. How do you narrow it down to find the best racer from there? Enter Mr. Pareto.

Pareto’s theories, most notably the Pareto front, help us navigate the complexities of choice. They can pinpoint the solutions with the most balanced strengths and the fewest trade-offs. Pareto’s work is about efficiency and effectiveness. Now we’re talking.


When choosing a Mario Kart racer, you have to consider their stats for speed, acceleration, handling, weight, offroad and mini turbo. That’s a lot to weigh.

Even if you decide that speed and acceleration are the most important, you’re still left with imbalances. For example, it’s tempting to go all in on speed (like Bowser or Wario), but they have weak acceleration. However, if you prioritize acceleration instead (such as Baby Mario or Dry Bones), you may be left with quick surges that plateau at a lousy top speed.

Meanwhile, some racers are always dominated in the most important stats — meaning their balance of speed and acceleration consistently come out behind. Koopa is one example of that, so don’t pick him if you care about winning. (But you can absolutely choose him because he has cute bug eyes and a snazzy shell.)


Mayerowitz’s Pareto front analysis lets you narrow your possibilities down to the 14 most efficient. And it turns out the game’s top players were onto something: One of the combinations with the most ideal balance of speed, acceleration and mini-turbo is Cat Peach driving the Teddy Buggy, roller tires and cloud glider — one already favored among Mario Kart 8 competitors.

Of course, if that combination isn’t your cup of tea, there are others that allow you to stay within the Pareto front’s optimal range. As Eurogamer points out, Donkey Kong, Wario (my old standby, mostly because he makes me laugh) and Princess Peach are often highlighted as drivers, and you can use Mayerowitz’s data fields to find the best matching vehicles. Keep in mind that others have identical stats, so racers like Villager (female), Inkling Girl and Diddy Kong are separated only by appearances.

To find your ideal racer, you can head over to Mayerowitz’s website. There, you can enter your most prized stats and view the combos that give you the best balance (those highlighted in yellow), according to Pareto’s theories.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Prison Architect 2 is denied release until September 3

It hasn't been a great week for Paradox Interactive, and things just got a little worse for the publisher. It has announced another delay for Prison Architect 2, the sequel to a cult hit from 2015. The game had been set to drop on May 7 (which was already a delay from March 26) but now it won't arrive until September 3.

Though builds of Prison Architect 2 had been certified for all platforms, the developers at Double Eleven ran into some technical problems that will take some time to resolve. Some issues concerning memory usage and minimum spec configuration failures emerged. Although the team says its work on fixing those have been successful so far, some other technical challenges started popping up, leading to significantly more crashes.

Double Eleven will use the extra development time to improve the prison management sim's stability and to refine some of its features. Paradox says it will also take the opportunity to let players get a look inside the development process via additional developer diaries and streams. A stream is set for April 25.

Paradox notes that console players who pre-ordered will automatically be refunded due to platform policies — they'll need to buy Prison Architect 2 again to get a pre-order bonus. Steam players can request a refund if they wish.

The Prison Architect 2 delay comes one day after studio Colossal Order said it would refund all players who bought the first asset pack for Cities Skylines 2, another game Paradox is publishing. While the asset pack (which will be added to the base game for everyone) worked, there appeared to be a consensus among fans that there wasn't enough in there to justify the $10 price. There are bigger issues at play though, as Colossal Order has more work ahead to optimize Cities Skylines 2 after a rocky debut. The studio has also delayed the console release and other DLC as it focuses on fixing the core concerns.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The best PS5 games for 2024: Top PlayStation titles to play right now

Regardless of if you just got your hands on a PS5 or you’ve had the console for a while, chances are you had a good idea which few games you wanted to start out with. After playing those to death, maybe you’re on the hunt for the next title that will suck you into an immersive world. We can confidently say that all of the video games on our best PS5 games list do this in their own way, be they action-adventure titles, racing sims, puzzles and everything in between. As always, in building a list like this, we looked for must-play games that offer meaningful improvements over their last-gen counterparts when played on a PlayStation 5 console, or are exclusive to the system. We'll be updating this periodically, so, if a video game's just been released and you don't see it, chances are that the reason for its absence is that we haven't played through it for the first time yet. Either that or we hate it.

Read more: The best SSDs for PS5

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Blizzard takes aim at Overwatch 2 console cheaters

Like many other multiplayer games, Overwatch 2 isn't immune from cheaters. And it's not only an issue on PC, where cheaters use tools like aimbots. Some folks use XIM devices so they can play with a keyboard and mouse (KBM) on consoles. This is against Blizzard's rules, as KBM players typically have an aim advantage over those who use a controller, even though the console versions of the game have features like aim assist. While it's taken some time to get the ball rolling, the developer is finally doing something about the XIM problem.

XIM devices trick consoles into believing that KBM users are playing with a controller. However, in a blog post, Blizzard says it has been able to detect KBM players on consoles over the last few Overwatch 2 seasons. It has found that the cheating problem is more prevalent among higher ranked players. The developers say that use of so-called unapproved peripherals is "very rare" in lower ranks.

During the current season (which started this week), Blizzard will dish out permanent bans to the most extreme users of unapproved peripherals. It will rely on reports from other players and its own data to pinpoint those who are breaking the rules.

Starting in Season 11, which should get underway in June, the developers will tackle the issue at a broader level. The first time a console player is detected using an unapproved device on consoles, they'll be banned from Competitive modes for a week. If they keep using KBM or other unapproved peripherals in casual modes, they'll get a season-long Competitive suspension, only have the option of playing with other KBM users in Quick Play and lose access to aim assist features. It's all in the name of fairness.

There are accessibility concerns here, though, as some folks simply can't play games with a standard controller. Blizzard says that it has done its "utmost to ensure that players with accessibility needs will be less likely to trigger our detection." The developers say they will tailor their enforcement actions so that folks with accessibility needs can still land a sick Earthshatter or keep healing their teammates.

With all that said, Blizzard is looking into adding official KBM support on consoles so folks can play the game that way without negatively impacting controller players. As things stand, console and PC players are separated into separate pools for Competitive play. So to make things fair, Blizzard would need to shuffle console players who want to use a keyboard and mouse into games with other KBM players and no aim assist.

The XIM problem isn't exactly new. The Overwatch 2 developers' colleagues at Activision last year started banning Call of Duty players who spoof input devices (or just messing with them, as usual). Ubisoft and Epic have also targeted XIM users in Rainbow Six: Siege and Fortnite, respectively.

Blizzard is doing more on other fronts to try to keep Overwatch 2 fair and more enjoyable for the majority of players. It's punishing those who leave in the middle of matches more severely and taking a stronger stance on toxicity in voice and text chat.

Meanwhile, there's been a kerfuffle this week related to Overwatch 2 players being banned for using profanity. Those who use slurs or threaten others should obviously face appropriate consequences, but apparently booting out players from a game that has profanity filters for some slightly spicy trash talk is some kind of BS.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

It took 20 years for Children of the Sun to become an overnight success

Children of the Sun burst onto the indie scene like a muzzle flash on a dark night. Publisher Devolver Digital dropped the game’s first trailer on February 1, showcasing frenzied sniper shots and a radioactive art style. A Steam demo highlighting its initial seven stages went live that same day and became a breakout hit during February’s Steam Next Fest. Two months later it landed in full and to broad acclaim. This explosive reveal and rapid release timeline mirrors the game itself — chaotic but contained, swift and direct, sharp and bright.

Though it feels like Children of the Sun popped into existence over the span of two months, it took solo developer René Rother more than 20 years to get here.

René Rother

As a kid in Berlin in the early 2000s, Rother was fascinated by the booming mod community. He spent his time messing around with free Counter-Strike mapping tools and Quake III mods from the demo discs tucked into his PC magazines. Rother daydreamed about having a job in game development, but it never felt like an attainable goal.

“It just didn't seem possible to make games,” he told Engadget. “It's like it was this huge black box.”

Rother couldn’t see an easy entry point until the 2010s, when mesh libraries and tools like GameMaker and Unity became more accessible. He discovered a fondness for creating 3D interactive art. But aside from some free online Javascript courses, he didn’t know how to program anything, so his output was limited.

“I dabbled into it a little bit, but then got kicked out. Again,” Rother said. “It was just like the whole entrance barrier was so big.”

René Rother

Rother pursued graphic design at university and he found the first two years fulfilling, with a focus on classical art training. By the end of his schooling, though, the lessons covered practical applications like working with clients, and Rother’s vision of a graphic design career smashed into reality.

“There was an eye-opening moment where I felt like, this is not for me,” Rother said.

In between classes, Rother was still making games for himself and for jams like Ludum Dare, steadily building up his skillset and cementing his reputation in these spaces as a master of mood.

“Atmospheric kind of pieces, walking simulators,” Rother said, recalling his early projects. “Atmosphere was very interesting to me to explore. But I never thought that it was actually something that could turn into a game. I never thought that it would become something that can be sold in a way that it's actually a product.”

René Rother

By the late 2010s Rother decided he was officially over graphic design and ready to try a job in game development. He applied to a bunch of studios and, in the meantime, picked up odd jobs at a supermarket and as a stagehand, setting up electronics. He eventually secured a gig as a 3D artist at a small studio in Berlin. Meanwhile, his pile of game jam projects and unfinished prototypes continued to grow.

“In that timeframe, Children of the Sun happened,” Rother said.

In Children of the Sun, players are The Girl, a woman who escaped the cult that raised her and is now enacting sniper-based revenge on all of its cells, one bullet at a time. In each round, players line up their shot and then control a single bullet as it ricochets through individual cult members. The challenge lies in finding the most speedy, efficient and stylish path of death, earning a spot at the top of the leaderboards.

“It was just a random prototype I started working on,” Rother said. “And one Saturday morning I was thinking, ‘I don't know what I'm doing with my life.'” With an atmospheric prototype and a head full of ennui, Rother emailed Devolver Digital that same day about potentially publishing Children of the Sun.

“The response was basically, ‘The pitch was shit but the game looks cool,’” Rother said. “And then it became a thing.”

René Rother

Visually, Children of the Sun is dazzling. It has a sketchy 3D art style that’s covered in bruise tones, with dark treelines, glowing yellow enemies and layers of texture. Every scene looks like The Girl just took a hit of adrenaline and her senses are on high alert, lending a hectic sense of hyper-vigilance to the entire experience. It’s a game built on instinct.

“I didn't make any mood boards,” Rother said. “I didn't prepare [for] it. It was just like, oh, let's make it this color. Ah, let's make it this color…. This is something to very easily get lost in. I spent a lot of time just adjusting the color of grass so it works well with the otherwise purplish tones and these kinds of things. I spent way too much time on the colors.”

Children of the Sun went through multiple visual iterations where Rother played with contrast, depth, fog density and traditional FPS color palettes, before landing on the game’s dreamlike and neon-drenched final form. The residue of this trial and error is still visible beneath Children of the Sun’s frames, and that’s exactly how Rother likes it.

“I see it as a big compliment, actually,” he said. “In paintings, when we talk about visual art, I really like when you can see the brushstrokes. I like when you can still see the lines of the pencil before the painting got made. I like the roughness. I wanted everything to be rough. I didn't want it to be polished.”

Rother picked up the game’s soundtrack collaborator, experimental ambient composer Aidan Baker, the same way he hooked up with Devolver. Rother was a fan of Baker and his band Nadja, and he wanted a similar droning, slowcore vibe as a backdrop for Children of the Sun. On a whim, Rother sent Baker a casual message asking if he’d like to make music for a video game.

“He was like, ‘Well I've never done it, so I don't know,’” Rother remembered. “So we met one evening and then afterwards he was like, ‘Yeah, let's just do it.’ Instead of just emulating something that I like in the game, I somehow managed to get straight to the source of it. And that was a really nice experience.”

For Rother, Children of the Sun has been a lesson in trusting his gut. He hasn’t found the proper word in English or German to describe the atmosphere he created in the game, but it’s something close to melancholy, spiked with an intense coiled energy and bright, psychedelic clarity. He just knows that it feels right — visuals, music, mechanics and all.

“That's kind of how I live my life,” Rother said. “Not that I'm, like, super spontaneous or just flip-flopping around with opinions or these kinds of things. It's more about doing things that feel right to me without necessarily knowing why.”

When he booted up that Quake III demo disc and started making 3D vignettes for game jams, Rother didn’t realize he was building the path that would eventually lead him to a major publishing deal, a collaboration with a musician he admires, a big Steam release and a game about cult sniping called Children of the Sun. When Rother takes a moment to survey his current lot in life, he feels lucky, he said.

René Rother

“I feel like in the last three years, somehow, lots of things fell into my lap,” Rother said. “Although I still had to do something for it. I needed to be prepared for this moment, that required work.… But in the time where I prepared myself, I was not aware that I was preparing myself. So that's how the feeling of luck gets amplified a bit more.”

“Luck” is one way to describe it, but “artistic instinct” might be just as fitting. Children of the Sun is available now on Steam for $15.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Analogue Duo review: A second chance for an underappreciated console

We are living in a second golden age for console gaming. Active communities, open developer tools and easy distribution have given new life to many once-dead systems. If there's one company who deserves the most thanks for bringing a love for '80s and '90s cartridge-based console gaming back to the semi-mainstream, it's Analogue.

It started with the CMVS, an obsessive (and expensive) wood-grained reboot of the iconic Neo Geo. Then came the Analogue Nt in 2014, which brought easy, high-def NES gaming to our homes . In 2017, the Super Nt did the same for SNES gaming, then the Mega Sg for the Sega Genesis and, most recently, the Analogue Pocket, which supports everything from the Game Boy to the Neo Geo Pocket thanks to a series of adapters.

Analogue's latest is something different. While all those before have lived and died by their cartridge ports, the new Analogue Duo takes us to the next generation of gaming: optical. That's right, Analogue has entered the multimedia era with this love letter to one of Japan's most beloved consoles, a machine that barely made a dent elsewhere in the world.

That system is the TurboGrafx-16, known as the PC Engine in its home market of Japan. It launched there in 1987, beating the Sega Genesis to market by two years and the SNES by three. It rocketed to huge popularity, ultimately outselling Sega and keeping pace with Nintendo for much of its life. By the end of its run, its library offered nearly 700 games.

It didn't fare so well in the US. The TurboGrafx-16 didn't come here until 1989, arriving after the Genesis brought blast processing to the masses. Nintendo and Sega soon engaged in a marketing war of epic proportions. NEC's humble TurboGrafx-16 didn't stand a chance.

It didn't help that it wasn't really a 16-bit console. Though it offered support for 16-bit graphics, it only had an 8-bit internal processor, so it couldn't match the power of the competition. The add-on CD-ROM didn't help. Despite hitting the market years before the Sega CD, the Genesis add-on included an additional processor to deliver an early taste of 3D processing. The TurboGrafx drive was just that: an optical drive.

The system struggled in the US for a few more years before NEC pulled the plug in 1994. In Japan, new games hit the system all the way through 1999, meaning that even the most hardcore enthusiasts in the US missed out on the bulk of the PC Engine's best titles.

And, since the Analogue Duo can play imported games just as readily as local ones, it's a great excuse to dig deeper into that library.

Out of the box

Tim Stevens for Engadget

The Analogue Duo is a slender console that shares an aesthetic similar to the PC Engine Duo, which was released in the US as the TurboDuo. NEC's Duo integrated the CD-ROM peripheral into a single, sleek, unified device. But, the Analogue unit feels far nicer. Its plastic body feels sturdier than the brittle stuff used on consoles back in the '90s, and the bottom is even rubberized. In fact, the Duo feels more like a high-end piece of home theater equipment, whereas the TurboGrafx-16 feels like a 30-year-old toy.

Up front are two slots. On the left is where cartridge-based games go, either on HuCard or TurboChip, the two media formats NEC used over the years. On the right is the CD-ROM slot.

Output to your display is via the HDMI port on the back, but there's also a 3.5mm headphone jack with its own volume knob if you want some private listening. You'll also find a port on the side for wired controllers, but since this uses the smaller Japanese connector, not the larger American one, you'll need an adapter to use TurboGrafx-16 controllers.

Around the back is an SD card reader for firmware updates or the like, plus a USB-C port through which the system gets its power.

At the heart of the system is an Altera Cyclone V processor, a dual-core Arm Cortex field-programmable gate array (FPGA) chip that can be effectively coded to act like any other processor. It's that core which enables the Duo to emulate the PC Engine and all its derivatives over the years.

There's none of the lag and glitchy performance that you'll get when running ROMs through an emulator. This is as close as you're going to get to a modern reboot of the PC Engine, but with much cleaner output.



Whether you're playing domestic or imported games, everything will look stellar. As with previous Analogue releases, the Duo outputs a 1080p signal over HDMI, resulting in the absolute cleanest way to play your games on a modern digital display.

While there are ways to get an HDMI signal out of a TurboGrafx-16, ranging from RGB adapters that clip on the back to outputs soldered onto the system itself, even running through something like a scanline converter you're unlikely to ever get a signal this crisp and clean.

But for those who like to preserve a taste of the old school, Analogue includes a few different gameplay modes to deliver a CRT-like look and feel.

To be fair, even the greatest of games for this system don't offer much in terms of high-fidelity graphics compared to modern titles. But there are plenty well worth your time. Gate of Thunder is one of them, and it’s among the best side-view shooters, or shmups, ever to hit a console. The quality of games like this helped establish the PC Engine's success in Japan.

Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, though, is generally believed to be the single greatest title for the system. Released on CD-ROM in 1993, exclusively in the Japanese market, this is still ranked among the top Castlevania titles of them all.

It's damned good, and plays excellently on the Analogue Duo. Load times for this game and others are quite fast, and the drive isn't as noisy as many console CD-ROM add-ons were back in the day.

Gaming on the Analogue Duo

The Analogue Duo delivered flawless compatibility and playback for virtually every game I threw at it, with only one falling short: SCI: Special Criminal Investigation — which, thank goodness, has nothing to do with the CSI television series. SCI is the sequel to Chase H.Q., which was big in American arcades. Its unique mix of driving and shooting, as well as the inclusion of amazing period cars like the Nissan 300ZX Turbo made it a real favorite of mine. In fact, this was the first game I tried to play on the Duo.

So, imagine my horror when the Analogue system wouldn't play it or even recognize it. It just displayed a blank screen, much like what happens on a region-locked US TurboGrafx-16 console when trying to play a Japanese game. So, I went into the Duo's settings, explicitly changed the region to Japan, and the game played without issue.

This is the only game that the Duo failed to appropriately identify the region of, which is a minor annoyance at best that I'm sure will be fixed soon in one of Analogue's frequent updates.

Firmware updates are easily applied via the integrated SD-card reader, which is also where your save games for CD-based titles are stored. This makes them easy to back up or even edit. With the appropriate USB adapter, it's also possible to import your old save games.


Tim Stevens for Engadget

If there's one fly in this ointment, it's the controllers. As usual, Analogue partnered with 8BitDo to provide peripherals for the Duo. The $24.99 gamepad is the standard offering, and while it looks good in photos, in the hand it's somewhat underwhelming.

For one thing, it feels just as light and flimsy as 8BitDo's other products, with buttons that rattle when you shake the thing. The controller doesn't even offer the same weight and solidity as the original TurboGrafx-16 controllers, which certainly aren't standouts themselves.

But the 8BitDo controllers have a major advantage: they're wireless. They pair quickly and easily with the Duo and work without lag. They also feature a dedicated home button to bring up the Analogue menu.

There is, though, one final kicker with the controllers: they charge over micro-USB. It's 2024, 8BitDo. Even Apple has moved to USB-C.


I really enjoyed testing the Analogue Duo. It was an opportunity to play releases I hadn't dug out in years, and also to experience some games I hadn't yet tried, all rendered in immaculate detail.

That said, it's easy to see this as a very niche release for Analogue, a company whose obsessive fans are already far from mainstream. Software emulation is infinitely cheaper and still delivers great results, but those of us who love classic console gaming know that there's just something different about running it from the original media.

Whether that extra something is worth the extra cost is between you and your accountant. Despite being Analogue's most expensive release in years, and despite supporting a decidedly underappreciated console, the Analogue Duo is yet another excellent quality of life improvement for retro gamers and collectors. I can't imagine playing my HuCards any other way.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Supergiant shows off Hades II's gameplay and new god designs

Supergiant Games just treated Hades fans to an extensive look at the game's upcoming sequel. Seriously — the developer hosted a three-hour livestream that showed off Hades II's gameplay, new features and mechanics, as well as the new designs for its characters based on the gods of Greek mythology. Supergiant's Creative Director Greg Kasavin and Studio Director Amir Rao demonstrated the abilities of the game's new protagonist, Melinoë. While she's the sister of Zagreus, the first title's protagonist, and Hades II is a direct sequel to the original, Kasavin and Rao said players don't need to have prior knowledge of the first game and of Greek mythology to enjoy it. Old fans, however, will catch "delightful references" here and there. 

Melinoë is a witch and assassin, who's adept with her staff and can wield magic, and has a pretty different playstyle from Zagreus, as the gameplay footage showed. Kasavin and Roe also showed off new gods like Apollo, returning ones like Aphrodite and Demeter, new resources and various environments within the game. They played the technical test version of Hades II, however, which means certain environments and elements could still go through some changes before the final product is released. 

The developer is hoping to fix any issues technical test players might find expeditiously so that the game can go into early access, which is expected to take place sometime this spring. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes, by Sayonara Wild Hearts devs, comes out on May 19

The surreal puzzle game Lorelei and the Laser Eyes hits the Nintendo Switch and PC on May 16, as revealed at Nintendo’s Indie World Showcase event. This is a big deal, as the game’s being developed by Simogo, the company behind the mind-blowing adventure Sayonara Wild Hearts, which was one of our favorite titles of 2019. It’s also being published by Annapurna Interactive, who helped steward games like Stray, Open Roads and Cocoon to digital store shelves.

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes was originally teased a couple of years back and looks to be a more frightening experience than Sayonara Wild Hearts. The game’s title is quite literal, as you play as someone named Lorelei who has, wait for it, laser eyes. It’s set inside of a mysterious mansion, with a mostly black-and-white color palette. It looks positively soaked in vibes.

There are all kinds of different puzzles to solve as you explore this mansion, so expect the gameplay to change on a dime, just like Sayonara Wild Hearts. Despite the brand-new trailer, much of the title is still soaked in mystery, which is likely a purposeful move by the devs and publisher. We do know that it’s non-linear, so you can explore and solve puzzles at your own pace.

This is Simogo’s ninth game. In addition to Sayonara Wild Hearts, the Swedish company made Year Walk, The Sailor’s Dream and Device 6. All of these games toyed with surreal imagery and unique gameplay mechanics, and Lorelei and the Laser Eyes most definitely follows suit. There’s no price yet, but eager players can already wishlist it on Steam.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Yars Rising revives a 40-year-old Atari game as a modern metroidvania

How many of you had “sequel to a game from 1982” on your Nintendo Indie World Showcase bingo card? If so, you just won big. Yars Rising is a modern metroidvania take on the Atari 2600 classic Yars’ Revenge, and all it took was 42 short years to reach fruition. By my math, this is the longest break between sequels in gaming history, and it's not even close. 

That’s not the only interesting tidbit about this game. As previously mentioned, it’s a metroidvania, but this one is made by WayForward. For the uninitiated, the company’s basically a metroidvania and retro-gaming factory, going all the way back to the Game Boy Color and the original Shantae. Since then, WayForward has released a slew of fantastic Shantae titles and many other games in the metroidvania genre, including the criminally underrated The Mummy Demastered. WayForward also helped with Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, which is considered the spiritual successor to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The devs know their stuff.

Now, Yars Rising may be the sequel to Yars’ Revenge, but that doesn’t mean it plays anything like it. The original was an early version of what eventually became known as shoot 'em ups, like R-Type and Ikaruga. The new one is a sidescrolling platformer in which you play as a person, and not a flying alien bug. However, there looks to be plenty of narrative nods to the original.

In addition to traditional metroidvania action, the developer promises “a balance of stealth and combat” and plenty of “retro-inspired mini-games.” It’s coming to consoles and PCs later this year. In the meantime, I’ll start preparing for Yars Returns in 2066.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Shadow platformer Schim is coming to PC and consoles on July 18

It's always nice to get a release date for a game that's caught the eye whenever it has popped up. We've had a few looks at Schim, a pretty puzzle platformer, in previous game showcases. It emerged during Nintendo's Indie World stream on Wednesday that the game is coming to Switch, PlayStation, Xbox and PC on July 18. The creators say it will run smoothly on Steam Deck too.

You'll take on the guise of a schim, a frog-like creature that's linked to a human but gets separated from them. To get back to your person, you'll need to leap from one shadow to the next. Schim seems to play around with light and shadows in intriguing ways, such as a forklift activating to give your character access to a new area horizontally and pulling back on a sign to propel yourself further forward.

Schim uses an abstract art style that hopefully lends itself to moderately challenging gameplay. Developers Ewoud van der Werf and Nils Slijkerman, who have worked on the game for four years, also say that each level will feature small stories. I'm looking forward to this one.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at