Digital Blend: Antichamber amazes, Temple Run 2 breaks records, and Black Ops 2 drops DLC

digital blend antichamber amazes temple run 2 breaks records and black ops drops dlcWelcome back to Digital Blend, our weekly look at the world of downloadable video gaming that exists at the fringes of the mainstream. That means we look at the hottest new mobile game releases, downloadable content drops on consoles and PCs, indie darlings that deserve your love and attention, and the best gaming values out there for under $20.

Keep your comments and feedback coming. We want to hear from you! Did you try something you read about here and enjoy it? Is there a particular game you think we’ve overlooked or news you want to share? Any questions you are dying to ask? Let us know! Your thoughts, feedback, suggestions and (constructive!) criticism are welcome, either in the comments section below or directed at yours truly on Twitter, @geminibros.

Making headlines…

Temple Run 2 has sprinted its way into the record books. Developer Imangi had reason to celebrate earlier this week when the sequel to the wildly popular endless runner racked up a record-setting 50 million downloads in 13 days, making it the fastest-growing mobile game yet. That’s less than half the time that it took for Angry Birds Space, the previous record holder, to reach the same sales figure (that one took 35 days). The fact that Temple Run 2 is free-to-play probably helped, but it’s an admirable achievement all the same.

Gabe Newell holding a faux minigun* Valve boss Gabe Newell turned some heads earlier this week when he expressed his belief that the biggest threat to the success of the company’s Steam Box initiative isn’t from Microsoft and Sony gaming consoles, but rather from Apple. He explained that the iPhone maker’s ridiculous market share coupled with its increasing number of steps in the direction of the living room are cause for worry, in a speech given at the University of Texas’ Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

* Bethesda Softworks is officially on iTunes. The publisher revealed earlier this week that the soundtracks from seven of its games are available for purchase on Apple’s music store. The list of games is pretty much what you’d expect Bethesda to trot out for sale: all three latter-day Elder Scrolls games (MorrowindOblivion, Skyrim), Fallout 3Fallout: New VegasRage, and Dishonored. Prices ranges from $9.99 to $15.99. MUSIC.

* ArmA dev Bohemia Interactive is apparently a fan of NVIDIA’s Project Shield mobile gaming device. The developer added another game to its 2013 lineup earlier this week, with ArmA 3 and the standalone version of DayZ to be joined by the strategy game, ArmA Tactics, one of the first confirmed titles for the Shield. Described as a “turn-based close combat strategy game,” Tactics puts players in control of a four-person Special Forces squad in combat situations inspired by the other games in the series.

digital blend antichamber amazes temple run 2 breaks records and black ops drops dlc me3 teaseMass Effect 3 is due for more DLC. BioWare indicated as much late in 2012, with word emerging that the full writing team had reassembled for something in the realm of post-release content. The intrigue grew earlier this week when executive producer Casey Hudson and producer Michael Gamble separately tweeted unfamiliar screenshots bearing the Mass Effect 3 logo. Neither offered any details, but the hint comes across clearly enough: Stay tuned!

* 4J Studios released the latest title update for Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition earlier this week, but it is unfortunately not the update that fans were looking for. The UK-based developer has done incredible things with the console port of Mojang’s PC hit, issuing update after update in 2012 that brought the console release fairly close to its PC predecessor in terms of features. The big item that continues to be missed is “The End,” which is Minecraft‘s literal endgame (though you can keep playing after you complete it). This week’s title update unfortunately did not add that material, instead focusing on squashing a handful of bugs. It’s fine, we’re good, the tears are all gone now. But the wait for The End continues.

Top buys of the week…

digital blend antichamber amazes temple run 2 breaks records and black ops drops dlcAntichamber :: PC :: $19.99

This game is amazing. You’ll be getting a proper review early next week, but Alexander Bruce’s long-in-development first-person puzzle game is too outstanding to go without being mentioned here the week of its release. Trailers don’t do the marvel of what Bruce delivers here any justice at all. The trippy environments are gorgeous in their own minimal way, but the it’s the gameplay that truly impresses. Puzzles are rooted in non-Euclidean geometry, which essentially means that you’re running around a series of spaces that all feel like M.C. Escher fabrications. The game constantly builds on itself with new ideas and mechanics too. I can’t recommend this one highly enough. Pick of the week for sure.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II Revolution DLCCall of Duty: Black Ops 2 – Revolution DLC :: Xbox 360 :: 1,200 MS Points

Call of Duty fans celebrate this week with the coming of more Black Ops 2. The expected four multiplayer maps and one Zombies map are joined by a new weapon and an all-new competitive multiplayer mode for Zombies. It’s a lot of content, more than fans have gotten used to seeing from Call of Duty DLC. It’s all great stuff too. We skipped the review in favor of a getting started guide, so check it out right here for tips on getting around and surviving in all of these new locations.

skulls of the shogun review a perfectly executed slice strategy 2Skulls of the Shogun :: Xbox 360 / Windows 8 / Windows Surface :: 1,200 MS Points / $10 / $5

Skulls of the Shogun is an important game for its cross-platform capabilities within the Microsoft ecosystem. It doesn’t matter what flavor of Windows or Xbox you’re running; this game can be played on it, and can be played against other players on any platform. It also happens to be a charming, exceptionally well put together turn-based strategy game designed to appeal to people who don’t like strategy games. Anthony loved it, and so do I.

digital blend antichamber amazes temple run 2 breaks records and black ops drops dlc proteusProteus :: PC :: $9.99

Nitpickers can waste all the time they want arguing over whether or not Proteus qualifies as a game. As for me, I’ll be busy in the corner exploring it’s beautiful and ever-changing world. Described as “a game of audio-visual exploration and discovery” by creators Ed Key and David Kanaga, Proteus drops players into a lush, seemingly alien world and sets them loose. There isn’t any specific goal or task laid before you; you simply explore, soak the world in, and reflect on your surroundings. The world changes every time you play, and it always ends up being a memorable experience.

Crysis 3Crysis 3 multiplayer beta :: PlayStation 3 / Xbox 360 / PC :: FREE

This is more of a PSA than anything else. Electronic Arts is offering free multiplayer beta access to Crysis 3 for one and all until a week before the game’s February 19, 2013 release. The beta amounts to two modes – Crash Site and Hunter – as well as a sampler look at some of the built-in social features that will be further fleshed out in the finished product. Go play it. It’s fun and it costs you precisely zero dollars.


You can now get a Surface Laptop 2 for $800 at the Microsoft Store

Along with deals on other variants, starting configurations of Microsoft's Surface Laptop 2 are now going for $800 online at its retail store, cutting $200 from its usual $1,000 starting price. 

Need help getting the Sleeper Simulant in 'Destiny 2'? We’ve got you covered

The Sleeper Simulant is one of the coolest new Exotic weapons you can unlock in the Warmind expansion of Destiny 2, but it's an involved process that will take awhile. Here's everything you need to know.

How to make a clan in ‘Destiny 2’ and where to go from there

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Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in 'Destiny 2: Forsaken'

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.

‘Fortnite’ removes the Infinity Blade weapon after player backlash

Following player backlash over the Infinity Blade weapon's inclusion in Fortnite's battle royale mode, Epic Games decided to remove the weapon from the game completely. It was not limited to a special mode.

Want every suit in 'Marvel's Spider-Man' for PS4? Here's how to get them all

Marvel's Spider-Man features a whopping 33 different suits for Peter Parker to wear as he swings across New York City knocking out baddies. Here are all the suits and how to unlock them.

New ‘Stardew Valley’ content on the way, as game’s maker freezes next project

Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone said that he will continue working on new content for the indie farming simulator. The developer previously said that he will devote all his time to his next game, but that has been placed on hold for now.

Everything about 'Red Dead Online', including its new microtransaction store

Red Dead Online will gradually rolled out to Red Dead Redemption 2 players via a beta. We've got all the details about the beta's suite of competitive and cooperative modes, as well as what to expect going forward.

HDR monitors are beginning to have an impact. Here are the best you can buy

HDR isn't the most common of PC monitor features and is often charged at a premium, but the list of available options is growing. These are the best HDR monitors you can buy right now.
Virtual Reality

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Prices drop, but our favorite stays the same

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the two big names in the virtual reality arena, but most people can only afford one. Our comparison tells you which is best when you pit the Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive.

Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro: Which console is more powerful?

Far from cooling down, the console wars are only getting more intense. We compare Microsoft's Xbox One X to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro to help you decide which premium console is right for you.

Find the perfect weapon in 'Call of Duty: Black Ops 4' multiplayer with our guide

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has several different guns to choose from in its multiplayer mode, and they're split across multiple classes. Here's a guide to all of them and when you should use them.

Underwater survival game ‘Subnautica’ free on Epic Games’ online store

The award-winning underwater survival game Subnautica is currently available as a free download on the Epic Games store. The Steam challenger looks to attract players with a new free game every two weeks.

Kanye West wants to meet ‘Metal Gear Solid’ creator Hideo Kojima, for some reason

Rapper Kanye West wants to meet video game designer Hideo Kojima in New York. Nobody knows the reason behind the meeting, but fans are speculating that it may have something to do with Death Stranding for the PlayStation 4.