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Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire

Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire by Whalehammer Games in Canberra

When a space-faring civilization collapses and leaves behind a medieval dark age, the young princess Tahira must step up and lead her people — which is where you come in, taking charge of Tahira in this tactical, turn-based RPG. Tahira is an unwilling princess, forced into a leadership role at a young age and struggling with anxiety, which is somewhat understandable when the unstoppable enemy that destroyed your galaxy-spanning empire is constantly hounding you.

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Until Dawn

Being a PS4-exclusive interactive movie, the temptation to compare Until Dawn to previous titles like Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls is obvious. With its focus on choice and consequence, though, as you play through you’ll find yourself comparing it more and more to a Telltale game, specifically The Walking Dead, in my case.

But while the gameplay might remind you of a Telltale title, Until Dawn is placed firmly and deliberately in the “interactive movie” genre. It studiously and overtly uses tropes common in the “teen slasher” subgenre of horror – teens alone in a cabin in the wilderness, easily definable character stereotypes like “the bitchy cheerleader” or “the loveable nerd” – so that the player immediately understands what’s going on.

Once the setting is quickly and easily established, the player can then focus on what the game wants you to focus on – your choices and their consequences for the characters.

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Death Squared

Death Squared by SMG Studio in Ultimo

Most puzzle games require you to help your ally so that you both succeed together as a team — but in Death Squared, the focus is on trying your hardest not to accidentally kill them. The premise sounds simple enough: there are two cuboid robots, who have to stand on their respective circles to complete each level. But one mis-step, and you kill your partner. Probably with lasers.

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