Before We Leave is built on the basic principles of the classic 4x genre, except it’s actually more of a 3x game. It eschews combat an violence entirely, focusing solely on the other three Xs: explore, expand and exploit. It describes itself as a “non-violent city-building game set in your own cosy corner of the universe.” But can we really enjoy a strategy game without the ever-present threat of war and annihilation? Can we truly be content living peacefully? I mean, how will I be entertained without chainsawing someone in half?
Bearded Ladies are a Swedish who made an impact last year with the launch of Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, a tactical turn-based action game where you controlled a small group of characters that included a mutant pig. I never got a chance to play it, but the reception was pretty good. For their newest game – Corruption 2029 – Bearded Ladies seem to have focused their attention almost purely on the core turn-based action, leaving out the various other elements that weren’t quite so well recieved. That means Corruption 2029 is a very lean game, something which some people might like and others may not. So did stripping away the fat give Corruption 2029 the body of a Greek God, or did it result in something that looks like it just needs about 20 good meals.
It was 2012 when the last proper Borderlands game was launched, and during that time Gearbox Software seemed to think that they didn’t need to make another game in the franchise. And yet here we are some seven years later with Borderlands 3 having finally become a reality. There’s a lot of hype about this one and for good reason: like it did with so many other people Borderlands 2 sucked me into its looting and shooting and over the course of the seven years I’ve completed the game numerous times over. I’ve hunted down the rarest gear, shot the biggest enemies and consistently laughed at Handsome Jack’s antics.
Close to the Sun likes to label each of its chapters based on Greek mythology, mentioning characters like Icarus. So let me get a bit posh here and chat about Icarus, too. You’ve probably heard the story: Icarus is the son of Daedalus, the designer of the famous Labyrinth where the Minotaur dwelt. The tale goes that Minos imprisoned Daedalus and Icarus in a tower to keep the secret of the maze safe. The two prisoners used feathers and wax to create wings, and leapt from the tower. Daedalus told his son not to fly too high or else the sun would melt the wax holding his wings together, and not to fly too low which would wet the feathers. But because Icarus was a fucking moron he flew too Close to the Sun (HA!) and his wings melted, thus he fell into the sea and drowned. The end. Close to the Sun tries to fly up to the narrative heights of brilliance but its wings start to melt. So it tries to fly down to the cold depths of horror and nearly drowns. And so Close to the Sun never does find its balance. It never soars high in the sky, nor skims the waves. Jesus, this has turned too philosophical. I need a beer or something. Let’s just review this thing, yeah?