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First-person puzzler Magnetic: Cage Closed is like Portal, cubed

Guru Games isn't afraid of having their recently-announced game, Magnetic: Cage Closed compared to Portal. In fact, that's where it started: a school project designed as an homage to both Valve's famous, meme-producing first-person puzzler and lesser-known horror/suspense film, Cube.

Magnetic takes place in an alternate history version of the 1960s, where inmates sentenced to death can be sold for scientific testing. Such is your fate, as you are a prisoner charged with testing the D27 Magnetic Propulsion Device – or, in simpler terms, a magnet gun.

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For the '90s Arcade Gamer Soul: Gunsport

Wandering the halls of PAX South, a pattern begins to emerge: the 8-bit style resurgence has well and truly ended. While '80s nostalgia still rumbles throughout the booths of small developers, '90s style is what's playing on the screens. For newer players exhausted of blocky pixels in every other cult hit of the past five years, the chunky, dense neon of this 16/32-bit inspired games will be as welcome and vibrant as they were to players 25 years ago. To players of that era, games like Gunsport feel like home.

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EA snitches on Battlefield Hardline, reveals maps and modes

Following a raid by local authorities, informants at publisher EA were compelled to give up detailed information on the multiplayer maps and game modes included in the upcoming cops versus robbers shooter Battlefield Hardline.

The nine maps included in Battlefield Hardline all seem either ripped from a Michael Mann heist film or from one of the earlier, military-focused Battlefield games. Bank Job centers around an imposing financial institution that must be relieved of its cash, Hollywood Heights is populated by expansive houses likely belonging to media moguls and hip hop artists and Riptide is an ocean-front map that continues the Battlefield series' long-running fascination with gun battles set against a tidal backdrop. There's also a map called "Growhouse," but we're guessing you can figure out what happens there. A full rundown on each of the maps can be found on the game's website.

Battlefield Hardline will include seven gameplay modes, ranging from the classic to the wholly novel. Conquest is a Battlefield mainstay mode that pits teams of players (up to 64 in total) against one another in a battle to see who can control certain areas of the map. Blood Money, by contrast, is a new mode where both cops and robbers attempt to swipe money from the opposing teams' vault while gunfire rages all around. Perhaps the most intriguing new mode is Hotwire, a vehicle-focused addition in which the criminal team attempts to steal a list of cars while the cops try to stop them with extreme prejudice, leading to the sorts of high-speed gunfights pictured above. Full details on the game modes found in Battlefield Hardline can also be found on the game's website.

Battlefield Hardline is slated to launch on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC on March 17.

Trials Fusion adds online multiplayer, new DLC hits next week

As promised late last year, developer Redlynx has added online multiplayer gameplay modes to its stunt-platforming motorcycle game Trials Fusion in a new, free update.

According to publisher Ubisoft, the new online multiplayer options support up to eight players, and include three gameplay options. Online-X Supercross pits eight players against each other in a series of three races, while Private Game and Private Game With Spectator allow players to alter race parameters, ranging from track to speed and handling to the strength of gravity, before the event.

Additionally, Ubisoft has announced that the fourth Trials Fusion DLC pack, entitled "Fire In The Deep," will arrive on January 27. Described as the "biggest downloadable content pack yet," Fire In The Deep will include "11 new tracks, five new achievements and trophies to unlock, 27 new track challenges and dozens of new editor objects." Like all Trials Fusion DLC packs, Fire In The Deep is priced at $5, but can also be found among the five DLC packs included in the $20 Trials Fusion Season Pass.

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Early Access zombie survival hit DayZ tops 3 million sales

Publisher Bohemia Interactive has revealed that DayZ, the cult-hit, open-world zombie survival game, has attracted more than three million sales since its debut on Steam's Early Access platform.

DayZ arrives at this milestone only a year after reaching Early Access. Despite pragmatic warnings from DayZ creator Dean "Rocket" Hall that the Early Access version of DayZ is incomplete, the game was an immediate hit, selling over a million copies in its first month, owing largely to the cult following it attracted in its original incarnation: a modification for Bohemia's ArmA 2 first-person military sim.

"We would like to say thank you to every single one of the three million players, that have joined us on the journey of making DayZ," writes project lead David Durcak. "You all have helped make DayZ the best open world, zombie survival game. This is an amazing achievement, and we are really looking forward to start sharing with you all of our game design improvements, anti-hack solutions and other optimizations we have been working on for a majority of the last year."
[Image: Bohemia Interactive]

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How to make a game in an hour, no experience required

For many, game development seems like an unreachable dream. We envision a world where we can come up with an idea, hunch over a laptop, bang out some code and – voila – video game. Tom Francis, creator of Joystiq favorite Gunpoint, is putting together a very handy Game Maker tutorial and, while it won't make things quite as easy as they are in your dreams, you'll have a working prototype in about an hour.

The tutorial is published as a series of videos on YouTube (here's the playlist) and all it requires is a free download of Game Maker, which you may recognize as the engine that powers games like Spelunky, Hotline Miami, Risk of Rain, Gods Will Be Watching, Nidhogg and many, many more. You can download the free version of Game Maker Studio right here.

Even better, the tutorials require no programming or game creation experience whatsoever. If you can follow instructions, you can follow these tutorials. After the first two lessons, clocking in at a total of 50 minutes or so, you'll have a character that moves with the WASD keys and shoots in the direction of your mouse pointer. As noted by Francis himself: If you can shoot, it is officially a video game (also it's pretty easy to program).

Don't take my word for it though. Just check out the trailer for my upcoming indie-developed blockbuster, World of Shoo(ting). If you want to do more than just shoot, of course, you'll have to watch the rest of the tutorial series.

Breach and Clear: Deadline brings tactical thinking to zombie slaughter

A zombie apocalypse is no excuse for sloppy tactics. That's the thinking behind Breach and Clear: Deadline, an undead twist on the top-down strategy genre and offshoot of the iOS/Android game Breach and Clear.

In Deadline, ransacked interiors and mangled streets are home to various forms of infected; parasitic worms capable of "hyper-evolution" have invaded the soft, squishy bodies of the former humans that once lived here.

Okay, so they're not technically undead zombies, but the upside is that Mighty Rabbit is using the hyper-evolving worms as justification for a new campaign, a wide variety of enemies and a fresh gameplay experience.

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How to make top down horror like Noct scary? Ditch zombies

Noct, a new survival horror shooter by Chris Eskins, shouldn't be scary. Outwardly simplistic, Noct borrows the top down perspective of Devolver label-mate Hotline Miami as well 360-degree style shooting but ditches the color and detail. Dark, drab, and obscure, the black and white action is filtered through the ambient light of satellite night vision. Your blob of a character so easily killed is glimpsed through snaky sharp brambles and wandering down empty streets and detail-less warehouses. Noct should feel isolating but not scary. It's too distant, both in fidelity and in action. Yet it got me to yell, "Nope!" just like its characters do before they're run down by the blurry outline of a giant arachnid or wandering, ravenous, ill-defined bovine beast.

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Fable just the first step in getting more Xbox One games on Windows

It's easy to forget the Xbox's place inside the Windows empire. The bespoke platform is hinged on games and entertainment, looming over the console world but still living in its own fiefdom under Microsoft. The Xbox 360 and Xbox One are seen as instrumental to the software giant's goals, but their reach is about a billion behind that of Windows. Microsoft wants to dismantle the barriers within itself now, unifying games, productivity and phones under the banner of Windows 10.

The Xbox One will host new universal apps – programs designed to run on both Windows devices and Xbox architecture – alongside a Windows 10 update later this year, but that's a lesser gesture compared to what Microsoft announced on Wednesday during its Windows 10 event. Even having the Xbox and its games there, on stage, represents a change in the Windows message.

Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, took that stage to announce a PC version of Fable Legends, the latest entry in developer Lionhead's long-running and lovably lighthearted fantasy role-playing series. Not only is the game coming to Windows PC players, but it's coming in a way that allows them to play and chat with Xbox One players through Xbox Live. According to Spencer, it's the first game of several first-party Xbox games coming to PC.

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The hows and whys of time manipulation in Life Is Strange

Image The latest footage from developer Dontnod's Life Is Strange offers a detailed look at how the game's central time manipulation gimmick is supposed to work, courtesy the developers that built the system in the first place. [Image: Square Enix] ... Continue Reading

Ubisoft announces next experimental game for PC, Grow Home

Ubisoft announced a new platforming game for PC today, Grow Home. Developed by a small team at Ubisoft Reflections, the game features a red robot named BUD (Botanical Utility Droid), who travels across the galaxy to find a "new species of flora to help oxygenate his home world." While the game was built and launched internally on PC for Ubisoft employees to enjoy, the development team created it with a game pad in mind, as BUD helps a giant beanstalk-like Star Plant grow and climbs around it using the left and right triggers on a controller.

Grow Home's universe features other floating islands, so players can branch the plant out to craft their own "playground in the sky." The game is physics-based and procedurally-animated, emphasizing freedom of movement and allowing BUD to latch on to any object should he find himself plummeting to the planet. Players will be able to launch off of giant leaves, teleport to other parts of the plant and use parachute-style flowers to slow BUD's descent, all while trying to climb two kilometers up to the robot's spaceship. Inspired by Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Pixar's animated film Wall-E, Grow Home will launch on February 4.
[Image: Ubisoft]

Armello enters Game of Early Access Thrones

Digital board game Armello is available now on Steam Early Access. Developed by Australian studio League of Geeks, the strategy-RPG hybrid delivers eye candy, with analog gameplay mechanics like cards, dice-rolling combat, along with digital aspects like day/night cycles and an in-depth equipment system.

Armello is priced at $20 during this Early Access phase and playable on PC, Mac and Linux. Once development concludes, the game will make its way to iOS and Android, which is how we first saw it at GDC last year. Check out more of the game after the break.

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Jon Snow brings lack of knowledge to Game of Thrones Episode 2

The second episode of Telltale's six-part Game of Thrones saga debuts early next month, starting February 3 for PC, Mac, PS4 and PS3. Titled "The Lost Lords," the episode is also coming to Xbox One and 360 on February 4, iOS on February 5 and Android at a later date.

The Lost Lords continues the story of House Forrester, a Westeros family who in history have aligned with the Starks - not always the wisest alignment, it has to be said. Telltale's game is interwoven with HBO's TV series, and the plot takes place between the end of the third season and the start of the fifth.

If you've played the first episode then you've already had a few chit-chats with Cersei Lannister, her brother Tyrion, Margaery Tyrell and the huggably lovely Ramsay Snow. As the teaser trailer below the break reveals, another Snow is coming to the game in Episode 2.

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Spend 48 hours torturing loved ones for free in The Sims 4

EA's latest addition to its Origin Game Time vault is The Sims 4, meaning you can download it now and enjoy a free 48 hours of playing God. To do just that, get your godly ass to Origin.

Those 48 hours are real-time rather than in-game, so unless you're planning an unadvised binge you won't get the full two days of free-ness. You can start the free time whenever you want, however, as the 48-hour countdown only begins after you launch the game for the first time. Also, if you later buy The Sims 4 then your Game Time progress does transfer over.

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Creative assassination in turn-based stealth game, Ronin

Ronin, a bloody action and stealth platformer from Tomasz Waclawek, is on its way to Steam for PC this year, courtesy of Devolver Digital. It's turn-based, fast-paced and deliciously violent, starring a "vengeful heroine determined to strike down five prominent figures of a powerful corporation." There's a free, early-build demo available here.

Ronin has been lurking in the shadows of independent development lore since August 2014: Waclawek introduced it as "a Gunpoint ripoff" on Reddit, but Gunpoint developer Tom Francis kindly disagreed, calling Ronin "really fucking cool." Francis even uploaded a Let's Play of Ronin.

"It's clearly not a Gunpoint ripoff, because the core mechanics are so different," Francis said. "A lot of what it does copy is superficial, and that stuff doesn't matter. But the jump is pretty central, and if that was directly taken from Gunpoint, I'm delighted. I wouldn't want anyone to reuse Gunpoint's artwork or music, but the ideas in it are absolutely there for the taking. Every non-standard thing about it, from the jumping controls to the saving system, I did because I wanted more games to be that way."
[Image: Tomasz Waclawek]

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