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Gaming Review

Downloadable games round-up: Antichamber, Proteus, more

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Released on Wednesday, Feb 6 2013

Each week, Digital Spy rounds up the biggest downloadable gaming releases with reviews and trailers. This week's games include a mind-bending puzzler from the mind of Alexander Bruce, a short but sweet title that draws you in with its ambiance and a dungeon crawler that's best played with friends.

> This week's biggest mobile games reviewed

Antichamber

Developer: Alexander Bruce
Platforms: PC (Steam)
Price: £14.99 / $19.99

It's hard to believe that Antichamber was developed by one person, because this independent first-person puzzle game is a remarkable achievement in game design.

Antichamber excels in its ability to play with your mind with non-Euclidean geometry. Puzzles have the tendency to screw with your perspective to the point where nothing makes sense. What if, after entering a room, you turn around only to find the hallway behind you is completely different to the one you walked through?

Antichamber


However, what makes the mind-benders work, and the clever part about them, is that they can still be solved logically.

The game doesn't handhold you - it gives vague and cryptic hints, but otherwise expects you to figure out everything yourself. And because of the unusual nature of the puzzles, there'll probably be many times where you get stuck and a little frustrated. But when you figure out the solutions, it's really satisfying.

The main slight against Antichamber is its personality, or lack of. It's visually interesting but also feels atmospherically empty and austere. If you can embrace that, though, and you have enough patience to crack the obstacles in your way, there may not be a puzzle game this year more rewarding as this one.


> Download 'Antichamber' from the Steam store



Proteus

Developer: Ed Key and David Kanaga
Platforms: PC (Steam)
Price: £6.99 / $9.99

Proteus is a first-person ambient exploration title that isn't your standard conventional game. From the moment you swim up to the island, it demands that you immerse yourself in the surroundings.

Much of the game is minimalistic - objects are blocky and the island has nothing for you to do as such. You can chase frogs or climb mountains, but for no other reason than to make the world something more than a bunch of pleasant-looking pixels. Care enough about the island, though, and you'll be rewarded with low-key but satisfying moments.

Proteus


It also has an endpoint, too. Day turns into night and spring into autumn and winter until your time on the island is wrapped up in a surprisingly poignant conclusion.

Though it only takes around 45 minutes to see the ending, the short length and the procedurally-generated island are good reasons to experience Proteus a second or third time. But whether you'll want to or not will heavily depend on how enamoured you are with the world.

Proteus is very much a niche title. Without any real objective or storytelling hook, the open-ended nature will no doubt bore some. That said, its attempts at emergent gameplay are commendable and worth experiencing if this type of game appeals to you.


> Download 'Proteus' from the Steam store



Dungeonland

Developer: Critical Studio
Platforms: PC (Steam)
Price: £7.99 / $9.99

Published by Paradox Interactive, Critical Studio has produced a Diablo-like dungeon crawler in Dungeonland. On a basic level, it takes a lot of cues from that sub-genre of games, but it's clear that the developer was keen to nail the multiplayer.

Players control one of three standard classes - warrior, rogue or mage - before they're plumped into one of three short themed campaigns that draw inspiration from theme parks. The levels themselves are brimming with personality, aesthetically colourful and easy on the eyes.

Dungeonland


The online co-operative mostly works for a few reasons. The game is brutal in difficulty (stated upfront by the fact that the lowest setting is named 'Hard'), encouraging teamwork and coordination. You'll be relying on your party to revive you countless times. And although there's an unlock shop to spend your hard-earned coins, you never get too overpowered meaning your whole party is fairly even as far as your abilities and survivability go.

There's also a 'Dungeon Maestro' mode where one player becomes the dungeon master, with an overhead view of the level. It's a little unbalanced in favor of the maestro, but the concept of spawning monsters and setting traps for the other players to withstand is actually really neat.

Unfortunately, playing solo is not that fun. Without friends, you're supported in your party by bots, who are mindless and quite incompetent. It becomes even more challenging to get through levels, and without the aspect of teamwork, the whole experience is just dull and not very enjoyable.


> Download 'Dungeonland' from the Steam store


What downloadable releases have you been playing recently? Add a comment in the space below!

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