Category: PC

Taking Screenshots as a Gameplay Mechanic in Eastshade

Some of us just can’t help walking around virtual worlds and spamming on the F12 key to take screenshots. It’s more an appreciation of the environment and artistry than a desire to capture broken mechanics, and now that meta mentality is being turned into a game itself.

Eastshade is an upcoming PC game from Eastshade Studios in which you, as a painter, explore a fantasy-themed 3D world in search of the perfect scenery. Plop down your easel, frame the shot and watch as it’s “painted” on the canvas as an in-game, 3D object. What do you do with it? That’s where Earthshade takes its next surprising turn.

The game promises “interweaving micro-stories” and dynamic conversations with its inhabitants who reveal the story, items and new locations as you gift them paintings and interact with them. It makes me think of Animal Crossing with its innocent and interconnected community.

Take a look at the trailer above to see an early version of Eastshade in action. It’s not due until sometime in 2018 but if that seems painfully far off you can get a taste Eastshade with Leaving Lyndow which releases tomorrow for $4. It lacks the screenshot-painting mechanic but will introduce you to the Eastshade universe and its characters through a short, exploration-adventure narrative that can be finished in one sitting. It’ll also bolster the development of Eastshade itself so if it seems like something you want to dive into next year, maybe give Leaving Lyndow a try this week.

Get A Good Bundle of Indie games for $2 from



If you ever pondered to yourself “what are these indie games people are always talking about?” then has an amazing answer for you this week. “A Good Bundle” contains 151 DRM-free indie games with all proceeds being split 50-50 between the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood. The motherload of 151 titles goes for $20 with tiers at $2 for 89 games and $8 for 125 games.

The $20 tier is where indie favorites like Proteus, Gone Home, Catlateral Damage, The Novelist and Read Only Memories sit but there’s plenty of good, weird stuff at the lower levels. For $8 you get Hero Generations and Metamorphabet which already justifies the price for me but even at $2 there are gorgeous Finji titles, Pioneers and Depression Quest to check out. A lot of these games can even be played straightaway in your browser.

If you happen to be that hypothetical person wondering what’s up with indie games and you hypothetically wound up on this site, then A Good Bundle would make for a good primer on the bewildering and gargantuan indie scene at whatever price you pay. But don’t ponder it forever, the deal ends Tuesday, November 29th.

Over 4 Years later, Starbound is out today

Starbound is finally, finally, finally, FINALLY out. Let me give you some perspective on my overuse of the word finally. The last time I played Starbound was in the early beta testing period in January of 2014. When I pledged my support to the game’s crowdfunding campaign it was April 2013. When I first heard rumblings about the game it must’ve been late 2011 or early 2012. Over the last 4+ years I’ve casually watched the game’s progress reports roll in, eagerly awaiting this 1.0 release.

It’s come so far from “Terraria in space” and I’m so happy for the gang at Chucklefish. The trailer above, set to Curtis Schweitzer’s magnificent soundtrack, feels like the perfect bittersweet send off as the game launches into retail release. I hope to dig into it myself in streams and videos over the coming weeks.

Done Playing: Tetris Twist (Browser)


I’ve been a little fixated on Tetris lately so I gave the announcement of Tetris Twist more than my passing oh-they-made-a-new-one reaction. It’s also free and browser-based and built in HTML5 so there’s no need to install a dubious plug-in. That makes for a pretty low barrier to entry. Unfortunately, the biggest “twist” in Tetris Twist is the mobile gamification built around the classic gameplay, despite not being playable on a mobile device. I present the evidence:

Exhibit A: a sprawling world map of bite-size stages
Exhibit B: a 3-star rating system based on score
Exhibit C: excessive ads

What this amounts to are 90-second sessions of Tetris bookended with a commercial or sometimes a blank box where a commercial should be that requires you to refresh the entire page. This goes on and on in chunks of 20 stages, each based around a new city with a new gameplay element. The first “world” introduces score cells that sometimes force you to fill up the well with junk on purpose to reach and clear them. The combination of pre-set garbage lines and score cells adds just a little strategy to the familiar game of Tetris.

There are promises of intriguing mechanics like Gravity Mode and Hourglass Mode that I’d like to see but they’re buried behind constant commercial breaks and a finicky new control scheme. Also very mobile-centric, the default controls use only the mouse and two buttons to play. Left click drops, right click swaps out your Hold piece and there is no rotation control. Instead, the silhouette of your rapidly sinking piece “sticks” in different configurations as you move the mouse around. It enables faster play and makes risky T-Spins effortless but it fails when the speed ramps up or precision placement becomes critical. Lo and behold there are classic keyboard controls which the game never points out but the mouse is what it was clearly designed around.

Like so many other free-to-play iterations on classic franchises (I’m lookin’ at you Plants vs Zombies Adventures and SimCity Social), Tetris Twist has me torn up. I liked playing it, even with the funky new control scheme, but the constant interruptions and brief stages turned me away before I could get to the interesting new parts. But you don’t have to take my word for it, Levar, because it’s free! Try it for yourself and let me know if it gets any better after Stage 40.