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What we’ve been playing – definitely not Bloodborne on PC

7th June 2024

Hello! Welcome back to our regular feature where we write a little bit about some of the games we’ve been playing over the past few days. This week we play probably the closest thing we’re ever likely to get to Bloodborne on PC; we jump back in time in a retro-inspired RPG; and we enjoy the easy delights of this year’s Clash Mini.

What have you been playing?

If you fancy catching up on some of the older editions of What We’ve Been Playing, here’s our archive.

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Skald: Against the Black Priory, PC

Playing Skald last night, I was struck by a sense of RPGs being a kind of language. It’s a thing we pick up as we grow, in a gaming sense (and maybe a literal sense too), and it’s there working away in the background whenever we fire a game like this up. Instinctively, before we’ve even begun, we know what to do. We know how to balance things like “to hit” scores, and why they might be useful. We know what stealth is all about, and ranged attacks, and magic. We have an implicit understanding of character archetypes and how they’re going to be used. Really, we can see part-way down the tunnel of a game’s experience before it’s even begun.

There’s a lot a game can do because of that. It can assume a foundational level of knowledge and so not overly concern itself with teaching basics. It’s a bit like we’ve all been to school already and studied a bit of maths and science and so on. It means the game can jump further down the line and concern itself with the adventure rather than the mechanics. Great, that’s a good thing. RPGs helping other RPGs: it’s holistically wholesome.


But I wonder sometimes whether too much is taken for granted. It’s why I’ve always had a fascination with games that break away from the Dungeons & Dragons foundation that underpins much of role-playing games, computer or otherwise. That’s not to say there isn’t a lot of great thinking in D&D – many people spending many years thinking about this has produced some wonderful things. But is it the only way to realise a fantasy game? I’m veering off-topic here but friend of Eurogamer, Quinns, did a wonderful review for a TTRPG game called Wildsea recently, in which he spoke about this exact thing. Reprogramming our minds to reconsider what a fantasy RPG actually is.

Skald is deliberately based on old-school computer RPGs, which are based on D&D, so I know I’m not going to get a free-thinking reinterpretation of the genre here. That’s not why I’m playing it. And for what it’s worth, it does tinker with rules and do its own things. It’s not just an obedient copy. But it does make me wonder what a game like this might look like if it assumed no RPG knowledge to begin with and dreamt up something new. That would be exciting, wouldn’t it?


Squad Busters, iOS

Squad Busters.Watch on YouTube

A new Supercell game is always exciting. Last summer we got Clash Mini, and this year it’s Squad Busters, a knockabout game that brings all of Supercell’s characters together in something that shouldn’t work but does.

It’s a top-down dungeon crawl at heart, even if the dungeons are outside and in chirpy Supercell countryside. Grow a team of heroes and chug your way to victory. Tap and move your finger over the screen to move, and hold still to attack: enemies, treasure chests, trees and whatnot that give you loot.

Like a MOBA you’re trying to spend most of the game getting as powerful as possible so that when a huge haul of gems in the middle of the battlefield unlocks you can head over and get the majority of them. In low levels, where I’m still stuck, it’s mostly silly fun where I’m competing gently with players who are about as incompetent as I am. Higher up, I imagine it’s much more serious and technical. Balancing that, though, is what makes it a Supercell game.

-Chris Donlan

Nightmare Kart, PC

Image credit: LWMedia

It was Wednesday when I got the message: An item on your Steam Wishlist has been released. Nightmare Kart, a mash-up between Mario Kart and Bloodborne, was here.

Nightmare Kart comes from game dev Lilith Walther, a name you may recognise as the brains behind the PS1-inspired Bloodborne demake. It began life as Bloodborne Kart, however Walther was made to remove all the Bloodborne branding from the game ahead of its release. But, even though Nightmare Kart is now legally distinct from Bloodborne, we all know that in its soul, that’s really what it is.

Nightmare Kart is a solid karting game by any measure, but one that is made even more fun by its PS1-era aesthetic and gothic setting. There is an almost juxtaposition to the whole thing. While the music and power ups give the frantic tempo of a Sunday afternoon Mario Kart Grand Prix with my children, the gameplay also had me firing off shots at skeletons and werewolves as I skidded my way round a haunting version of definitely not Yharnam. I even died at one point, when a great big brute of a beast jumped out and squashed me. It was brilliant!

I love the detail Walther has added to the game. The game’s boosts are like Bloodborne’s rejuvenating blood vials. Power-ups include the Hunter Pistol and Chipper Chain Wheels, and you can fight bosses complete with second phase transformations during race battles. I actually don’t want to share too much more about Nightmare Kart, because it’s been such a blast seeing how each new track or battle plays out, and I don’t want to spoil anything. But let me say this: while it may not technically be Bloodborne Kart anymore, Nightmare Kart has certainly struck all the right umbilical cords, and I love to see it on PC.

And, the cherry on top? It’s free!



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