What we’ve been playing | Eurogamer.net

23rd February 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: deliveries, hotlines, and awkwardly hung paintings.

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

Death Stranding, PC

Cover image for YouTube videoEverything We Loved About Death Stranding (And Everything We Didn’t) – Death Stranding Gameplay

Look at Death, just Stranding there.

I’m playing through Death Stranding at the moment, and it’s the perfect drizzly game for February. Has there ever been a game so in love with the rain? Not just when it’s falling, but the way it leaves the landscape after it’s stopped, and the way you feel when you know that rain is coming. Death Stranding is the very spirit of that magical, sonorous word Petrichor. Just looked it up properly: the smell of rain.

There’s more than that to it. I wonder, as I play, whether Kojima is a look-upper or a look-downer. I remember Spielberg talking about this once: when he walks around he looks up at the sky, and you can see this in his films, which tend to be expansive, eager for unlikely good fortune. I’m a look-downer, partly because I’m clumsy and always tripping, partly because I cannot shake away the last traces of shyness. But there’s a beauty to looking down, to seeing the ground move past like some finely-made alien landscape in which you’re approaching some kind of landing strip.

Death Stranding feels like it was made by people who spend far too long looking at the ground. The ground is lumpy, surprising, endlessly rutted and pitted and tricksy. It feels like its own little planet down there, not just the surface but a whole biome of its own. I head out across this mossy, rocky terrain, trying not to slip, hoping for helpful ladders and ropes, and I think about how much beauty is always waiting, just at shoe-level, eager for us to see it.


Home Safety Hotline, PC

Cover image for YouTube videoHome Safety Hotline | Launch Video

Not, um, the Home Safety Hotline I’d like to call.

Nowhere near as scary as its trailer suggests, but funnier than it has any right to be, Home Safety Hotline is the satirical SCP Foundation spinoff I never knew I wanted. It has no ties to the SCP’s spilling collection of stories, but its own roster of creatures and emphasis on reading their lore will be familiar to anyone who’s ever gone down the SCP rabbit hole.

Home Safety Hotline could almost be classified as an internet rabbit hole of its own, rather than a game, as its only gameplay sees you trawling animal, monster, and general home danger entries in a 1990s-style PC operating system. Your goal is to listen to the increasingly disturbing callers and match the correct entry to what the problem in their home could be. Mice, black mould, bed teeth, boggarts, it’s all a gross possibility! Do well enough and you earn a very unique promotion, but throw too many bad guesses out there and you get an equally unique dismissal…

The humour of Home Safety Hotline is an offbeat treat, and owes a lot to the voice actors who lend their talents to each quirky caller, and your increasingly deranged supervisor Carol deserves equal praise. Even with its goofy humour, there’s still enough folktale creepiness in the actual creature entries and their accompanying, grainy pictures to get a horror kick from playing.

It only takes an evening to complete, but that’s probably a good thing. I don’t want to be thinking about bed teeth any longer than I have to.


A Little to the Left, Xbox

Cover image for YouTube videoA Little to the Left is coming to Xbox & PlayStation!

Phwoar! Look at that cutlery drawer. A Little to the Left.

I’ve found that some of my best discoveries on Game Pass come from randomly clicking on titles to pass some time, which is exactly what happened with A Little to the Left. It’s a cosy puzzle game designed for the part of your brain that loves order, or restoring order, and it has a mischievous cat, which I’m totally okay with.

Puzzles range from simple tasks like stacking pieces of paper in size order, to more complex tasks like angling images using slants to determine which way they should lean. It’s enough to challenge, but not frustrate, and it’s all helped greatly by a handy in-game hint system, in which you use a rubber to rub out as much of the clue as you need. It’s a satisfying thing in and of itself; I found myself rubbing smiley faces into it rather than do anything productive.

I think what I like most about A Little to the Left, at the moment, is how pressure-free it all feels because of it, and how it doesn’t look down at you for reaching for a hint.

Wonky pictures, here I come!


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