• chevron_right

    Pawnbarian masterfully blends Chess-like rules with a puzzle-roguelike / GamingOnLinux · Tuesday, 5 October, 2021 - 14:19 · 1 minute

Pawnbarian is a dungeon crawling roguelike but not one you've played before. It's turn-based and tile-based but your movement is based on the rules of various Chess pieces you have in cards. Note: key provided by the developer.

An absolutely fantastic idea that's presented wonderfully. It's easy to get into and quite difficult to properly master your way through the various dungeons offered. A tactical dungeon crawler that needs you to carefully plan you moves, and think ahead otherwise you're dead. You are a warrior piece on a 5x5 chessboard thrown onto the tiny dungeon floor with a bunch of enemies, including bloodthirsty Capybears, imposing Golems, and eldritch Blightsacks.

youtube video thumbnail
Watch video on

The way it works is that you're given a deck of cards, each representing a traditional Chess piece and you play them to be able to move your hero. Each card has the movement rules of the corresponding Chess piece, so your movement is limited to where they would be able to go on the small boards. As you progress through you get to buy more health or upgrade your cards to get additional powers.

If you already know the basics of Chess, it's simple to get into but thanks to the setting it does require plenty of new thinking due to the varied types of enemies with their unique hostile abilities. Land on an enemy to destroy them, make it to the top of the board to promote a Pawn to a Queen which then gives your new card a big boost.

Pawnbarian can actually be quite difficult when faced with the varies enemies. Some of them cannot be taken down while you're right next to them, some have a wide area they can attack in while others can fire from a distance. It can get a bit complicated the first few times, as you need to learn the abilities of each piece. The game communicates what will happen nicely though, as you always know the tiles enemies will be able to attack you in so it's all about planning around their attacks and possible movements.

It really is such a glorious blending of games that doesn't leave much room to dislike it, everything fits together very nicely.

You can buy it on Steam .

Article from taken from the RSS feed.
  • chevron_right

    Hexteria cleverly mixes together a tile-based puzzle game with a competitive strategy game / GamingOnLinux · Tuesday, 5 October, 2021 - 13:45 · 1 minute

Turn tiles, spread across the board and hopefully capture all of the tiles before your opponent does. Hexteria is a game of tactics and constant thinking plus it’s rather good. Note: copy provided via our Steam Curator .

A very simple concept, all you do is take it in turns to rotate a hexagonal tile with an arrow on it, the direction the arrow points will spread your colour to other linked tiles. All you have to do is take over all the tiles coloured in by your opponent.

It can be surprisingly difficult because even though each match has the board set, the way it plays out can be different each time, it all depends on the first couple rotations which really gives it the unique feel.

youtube video thumbnail
Watch video on

With a full single-player campaign that gives you little challenges for each of the 42 levels, it’s certainly not short on replayable content. There’s also the versus mode which you can play against the AI in random maps, you can play online with up to 6 people and there’s even a level editor.

It does mix in some special tiles too that helps to keep it fresh. Some point in both directions to capture more, some rotate a different way, some tiles require other tiles to be pointed at both ends and more. There’s a huge amount to like about how well done Hexteria is for such a simple basic mechanic that keeps me wanting more from it. I'm going to enjoy this for some time to come.

Game Features:

  • Online and Offline Multiplayer for up to 6 players
  • Single Player Campaign with 42 levels
  • Use the Level Editor to create, share and play your own levels
  • AI controlled players with 4 difficulty levels
  • Unique challenges which will grant you 5 different powerups!

The only issue I had in my playthrough is that setting it into fullscreen turned it black, this has been reported to the developer. Other than that it worked fine. If you like strategy games it’s worth picking up, especially for the multiplayer too which can be a lot of fun

Don't sleep on this one. You can buy it on Steam .

Article from taken from the RSS feed.
  • chevron_right

    Bugvasion is a quirky comedy Tower Defense game out now for Linux / GamingOnLinux · Tuesday, 5 October, 2021 - 13:11 · 1 minute

Aliens have come to the Earth but they’re tiny so they’ve brainwashed various bugs to invade your home, so it’s time to step up and build some towers. Note: the developer sent over a key.

This is the first game from developer Full Screen Games that originally released back in February, however they’ve ported it to Linux just recently with it releasing a native build back in late September.

youtube video thumbnail
Watch video on

The developer mentioned they went for the welcoming cartoon-like style of early Micro Machines with the Tower Defense genre to give a rather unique look in the genre. Similar to a lot of other TD games mechanically with you facing waves from a few different locations in each level. This is not a game to just sit back and relax while your towers do the work though, as some of them require manual interaction to keep working. There’s a poison sprayer for example which gradually runs out, so you need to keep an eye on it to reload it.

In between missions you also get to unlock new towers, upgrade towers to be stronger and also unlock various special abilities. You start off with two of these abilities that enable you to do things like squish bugs with your fist or shoes, with you also being able to supercharge your abilities to get more out of them.

Each level also has a special environmental feature too. Since each is set in a small part of your home, these little bugs are running through and you get a few household items to use against them like glue to slow them or what looks like a Pez launcher to block them. It’s thoroughly quirky and that’s why I liked it.

Not particularly long or challenging but good overall. You can buy it on Steam .

Article from taken from the RSS feed.
  • chevron_right

    OK, hear me out: Having a desk bike is actually pretty great / ArsTechnica · Sunday, 5 September, 2021 - 13:15 · 1 minute

the bike seat and desktop of the desk bike with a laptop and wireless keyboard on top

Enlarge / Behold: It is both desk and bike. (credit: Corey Gaskin)

If you work from home, it's a good idea to spice up the home office from time to time. Some of us have been living the telecommuting life for longer than others, and while we at Ars have some extensive experience (and an equally comprehensive guide on the best gear for home offices ), we still like to periodically change things up to meet our dynamic needs. That's how I found the Desk Bike.

Well, that, and I'm recovering from a foot injury that recently got me into biking as a mode of low-impact exercise. Nevertheless, Flexispot's V9 Desk Bike now sits in my room and gets consistent use. You (or your kids) might have seen this very bike make waves on TikTok recently—Flexispot's ad campaign proved a savvy and fruitful move, garnering over 2.5 million likes and coverage from many media outlets.

It's well-known that exercise, even in the form of a 30-minute daily walk, produces a wide range of positive impacts on physical and mental health . But as of 2018, 80% of American adults don't meet that daily threshold. It can be hard to peel ourselves away from the computer and actually move our bodies, but not doing so is literally killing us . The Desk Bike isn't a magic bullet for healthy living, but it can help you be more active and get out pent-up, fidgety energy during the day.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • chevron_right

    Aliens: Fireteam Elite is out and works right away on Linux with Proton / GamingOnLinux · Tuesday, 24 August, 2021 - 09:17 · 3 minutes

Aliens: Fireteam Elite from Cold Iron Studios is a brand new co-op third-person shooter, which is out officially today and it works rather well on Linux with Steam Play Proton . Note : key personally purchased.

Since I am an absolute fanatic when it comes to the Alien franchise, I couldn't pass up this opportunity. Not only that, we don't get a lot of good online shooters that work well on Linux with so many blocked by anti-cheat. Thankfully this is one game that seems to just work. Testing with the latest Proton 6.3-6, everything appears to work out of the box.

It's pretty clear that this is something of a budget game though. It's nowhere near the quality of Alien: Isolation but it's the first reasonably good Aliens shooter we've had in a long time. Remember Colonial Marines? Gearbox destroyed that and my hopes of any future alien blasting games. Also a surprise to even see this being released since Cold Iron has been through multiple owners which complicated the development.

Here's how it looks on Linux with Proton:

youtube video thumbnail
Watch video on

Running it on Linux everything seems to work reasonably well. The initial short cutscene (if you can even call it that), NPC voices, matchmaking, gamepad or mouse both work fine. On Linux though, there's the notable stuttering and frame-drops when you load it up for the first time since we are running it through a compatibility layer, which needs to load everything in and build up a shader cache. It doesn't take long for it to get smooth though, so it's just an initial inconvenience.

There's also a few settings with the MangoHud overlay (top left in the video) that will cause performance to drop severely. Even when not recording though, performance is all over the place. With my 2080 Ti, it will go from over 100FPS and randomly drop down hard to 30-40FPS but with no clear reason why. Some firefights with tons going on stays over 60FPS happily, while I've seen other smaller fights flick all over the place.

As mentioned it's a budget game, and that's pretty clear (if the lower than usual price didn't give it away). For example: voiced dialogue for NPCs is great but characters just stand staring at you with no lip syncing. It's a little funny to see from a brand new release, especially for a major franchise but you don't see much of it so it's a minor issue. They clearly spared the expense on any cutscenes too, of which there's basically none. It's all about the running and gunning. There's also no FOV slider, so it's pretty claustrophobic. There is a keybinds menu though, so you can happily set up the controls how you want them.

I'm a simple man - I like to run around shooting Aliens as if I'm a Colonial Marine and this hits the mark for that. Living out that fantasy gives you an initial high while playing. The fact that I can do it on my favourite operating system day-1 is lovely thick chocolate icing on top of the cake. However, it's not going to be for everyone because it really is quite a basic cover shooter. Fun to see aliens hopping from wall to floor and swarm you, so it's very much like Left 4 Dead Aliens. It's repetitive in exactly the same way all other shooters are.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite will keep me busy for the next week but after that? It remains to be seen if it has any staying power. It's fun enough for now but it's not massively exciting once you've played a few rounds. The developer has plans for a bunch of free post-release content and any extra purchasable content will only be cosmetic.

You can buy Aliens: Fireteam Elite from Humble Store and Steam .

Article from taken from the RSS feed.
  • chevron_right

    Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut: Reflections, both literal and physical / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 19 August, 2021 - 22:05 · 1 minute

Ghost of Tsushima 's Iki Island expansion, included in the new Director's Cut version of the game, presents an even better narrative than what we saw in the base game. The Director's Cut, which releases on August 20, also brings new armor sets, a director's commentary, and a digital art book. The PlayStation 5 edition costs $69.99 , and the PlayStation 4 version is $59.99 —though you can upgrade a PS4 copy of the base game to the Director's Cut for $19.99 . (Note: A co-op multiplayer mode was not available in the prelaunch review code.)

The Iki content is separate from the stories and characters of the original game, which took place on the mainland. Ghost of Tsushima 's protagonist, Jin, is still the main character, and as he travels to the island of Iki, he encounters an isolated people who resent outside influence, especially from samurai like him.

Jin is viewed with suspicion, even as the Mongols—the primary antagonists of Ghost of Tsushima —continue their raids on Iki's outnumbered pirate population. The islanders' distrust of outsiders is explained as the plot unfolds, and the new material explores themes ignored by the original game. The expansion focuses on Jin's propensity for violence and gives thematic weight to the frequent battles that result in ludicrous body counts. Ghost of Tsushima retains its brutal gameplay, but the narrative forces players to consider the downside of cutting down anyone who looks at you funny.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • chevron_right

    Fitbit’s Luxe activity tracker is a stylish way to casually care about fitness / ArsTechnica · Monday, 16 August, 2021 - 11:30

Fitbit Luxe on a users wrist

Enlarge (credit: Corey Gaskin)

In the game of fitness wearables, it’s hard to give everyone what they want. That’s why Garmin offers a seemingly endless array of watches , Apple currently sells no less than three Apple Watches , and Fitbit has an array of wearables from kid-centric trackers to a smartwatch the company hopes can one day detect early symptoms of COVID-19.

The Fitbit Luxe, which retails for $150 , is the latter's latest style-focused fitness tracker. It attempts to provide some smartwatch luxuries in a device that looks like a piece of jewelry. The Luxe is a cute tracker, but it has some questionable choices and oversights to be aware of—most of which are endemic to Fitbit devices.

If you’re looking for an ultracasual fitness tracker and a stylish smart device for your wrist, the Fitbit Luxe could be one of your best options. If you’re looking to get active and stay active, though, you may want to look elsewhere.

Read 45 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • chevron_right

    Jupiter Hell shows off how brutal and thrilling a roguelike can be and it's out now / GamingOnLinux · Saturday, 7 August, 2021 - 09:34 · 1 minute

It's done! Jupiter Hell, the roguelike from ChaosForge is officially out now and it's easily one of the best turn-based action games I've played in some time.

While it might not seem like it due to how smooth it is, Jupiter Hell is an actual roguelike with a grid-based movement system but it's so slick it often doesn't feel like it when you're playing. A favourite of mine to follow during development that looks good, performs beautifully and is a pleasure to keep coming back to.

"Jupiter Hell is a classic, turn-based roguelike set in a 90s flavored sci-fi universe. Set on the moons of Jupiter, the game pits a lone space marine against overwhelming demonic forces. Rip and tear zombies, demons and unmentionable monstrosities, using classic weaponry such as shotguns, chainguns, railguns and the trusty chainsaw. All to the shine of CRT monitors and the tune of heavy metal!"

youtube video thumbnail
Watch video on

The 1.0 update is a big one too that completely replaces and improves the end-game. The Beyond area is no more, instead there's now Dante Station to blast through. This includes a whole new final boss battle, which will really challenge you. The developer said you should expect to die on this one. On top of that there's three new enemies, lots of UI improvements, lots of bug fixes and lots of smaller improvements throughout the game to make it feel like the finished experience.

I find myself coming back to Jupiter Hell often because despite being quite brutal, it's surprisingly accessible. It's one of the most streamlined roguelikes I've played. Due to this though, it's not a particularly deep game when it comes to your character (there's a few classes) and world interactions. That said, what's there is freaking glorious. Screenshots simple don't do it a single bit of justice, you have to play it and see it properly in motion to really get the feel of it because a lot of it is in the atmosphere and the constant decision making you're doing.

Find Jupiter Hell on Humble Store , GOG and Steam .

Article from taken from the RSS feed.