in games, review

The most anticipated simulation games

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Big Pharma | Twice Circled | website | pre order

When I was a kid, I used to play Theme Hospital for hours. I’m pretty sure I was terrible at it, but this didn’t stop me from enjoying its lovely animations. I had to wait 18 many years to experience that same feeling again. Big Pharma is one of the most polished games you’ll see this year. Developed by Tim Wicksteed, it’s an intriguing RTS game which explores the sick world of the pharmaceutical industry. Every detail of Big Pharma has been crafted to perfection. The animations, created by the incredibly talented Rob Wicksteed, are simply beautiful and perfectly match the clean aesthetic of the game. The game has also a dark aspect, which you’ll eventually experience after the realisation that the focus of this industry is not on the patients, but on the profit. As a developer, it saddens me to know the final players won’t be able to see the incredible amount of work Tim has put into the making of this game. During its development, Big Pharma has changed so many times: it’s interface, it’s graphics and even it’s gameplay. I think many developers should learn from Twice Circles that changes, even if scary, can make the difference between an average game and an awesome one.

Block’hood | Jose Sanchez | twitter | steam

Only an architect like Jose Sanchez could come up with an idea for a game which marries the simulator genre with the challenged of a residential space planning. Thanks to its relaxing and addictive gameplay, Block’hood only had to spend a bunch of days in Greenlight. Its idea is very simple: design a neighbourhood, block by block, trying to avoid its inevitable decay. As explained on its website, Black’hood as been designed in an academic environment, based on the concept of ecology and entropy. Jose is hoping the game will help players to realise the challenges that modern residential development faces. And, perhaps, making people more aware of the spaces we live in.

RIOT | Leonard Menchiari | website | steam

Having spent most of my life in Italy, I’m always very happy when I see a good Italian game having the media attention it deserves. This is definitely the case of RIOT, currently under development by Leonard Menchiari, Jendrik Illner and Simon Michel. The most appealing aspect of the game is surely its graphics. RIOT cleverly mixes 2D and 3D, bringing an impressive level of realism in just a bunch of pixels. Particularly interesting is the lighting system they have in place, which coupled with very detailed animations is able to capture all the rage and desperation of the rioters. The game allows players to chose a faction: the rioters or the authorities. The aspect in which RIOT shines surely is its fidelity with the fact its narrating; every campaign in the game is based on a real riot. RIOT is not just a strategy game like many: it’s the ultimate gamification of one of the oldest social phenomena in our society.

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