Testing… testing

Time for a round-up of how I’ve spent my gaming time lately and I have to admit, it’s mostly been in yet another renaissance of the mighty State of Decay 2 – easily the best zombie game on any gaming platform to my mind – all triggered by the enticing reveals of the forthcoming next instalment, which looks marvellous. 

Handing out candy floss is not going to cut it with these guys

Between lengthy bouts of micromanaging a community of heavily armed survivors, I’ve found time to finally test out some of the titles gathering digital dust in my ever-expanding Steam and PlayStation libraries, and here’s a rundown of a few I felt worthy of a mention here.

Aven Colony

Create your own planetary settlements in Aven Colony

This was a freebie via Epic Games some time ago, released in 2017 on Team 17’s label. I’m a couple of hours in, and it’s basically a more straightforward, less Andy Weir-nerdy version of Surviving Mars (which I’ve talked about previously here as one of the most addictive of these types of games I’ve played). Aven Colony is more chilled and much prettier, set as it is on an Earth-like planet in a new sector rather than the barren scapes of sci-fi Mars, with plenty of space opera flora, fauna and vistas to entertain the new player whilst they make sure there are enough wind turbines and air filters to go around. 

Gameplay-wise, it follows the well-trodden formula of balancing your colony’s various needs and requirements against the ever-pressing environmental challenges, but does it in a way which seems to rely less on relentless, fiddly micromanagement than Surviving Mars. Definitely one I’ll be putting some more time into.


Uber-stylised, but fun, cyberpunk delivery

I’ve only given this one an hour, and nearly uninstalled it straight away as it looks at first glance like the movie Lego would have made if they’d done SFX on Blade Runner. That was until I followed the first half hour of the storyline through and realised that what the game lacks in looks it makes up for in enjoyable, well-written and well-voiced characters.

You’re a delivery driver with a flying car in a decrepit cyberpunk city, and gameplay wise it’s like unarmed GTA with 16-bit graphics and cars that move in three dimensions so, on paper, what’s not to like? I was impressed with the overall weirdness and mystery it managed to convey even with pretty perfunctory graphics, and I’ll dive back in when I feel like something a bit more interesting, I should think.

Deep Rock Galactic – PS4/PS5

Get down there and deal with those frakking bugs

This one was another punt me and a couple of friends tried out on one of our regular multiplayer gaming sessions, and ended up playing solidly once a week for a couple of months – space-dwarves with a variety of big guns, mining rare elements in an asteroid belt infested with dangerous and downright annoying Klendathu-style bugs.

It covers every fictional dwarven cliché imaginable in pure slapstick fashion reminiscent of Red Dwarf (obviously…) from start to finish, but underneath the silliness is a very cleverly put together cooperative sci-fi take on something like Minecraft (also obviously…). Get three friends together and give it a go.

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