TheLastofUS
Jul 31
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

It’s the end of the month, which means there’s a bumper crop of new releases just in time for payday. Well, maybe not quite a “bumper crop” – only three new titles are heading to store shelves this week.

That’s still more than what the past two weeks have seen, though, and the arrival of The Last of Us Remastered marks the end of a dry spell for PlayStation 4 owners.

You can bet that The Last of Us Remastered is far from being the last revamped PS3 release – rumours persist that Journey, The Unfinished Swan and Beyond Two Souls are enroute to PS4 too, giving those who missed them first time round another chance to sample their somewhat acquired delights. Many PlayStation 4 owners have jumped ship from Wii and Xbox 360, and so Sony clearly wants to capitalise on that fact.

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New features for TLoU Remastered include a resolution bump up to 1080p, an additional difficulty mode, eight new multiplayer maps, behind-the-scenes commentary and the critically acclaimed Left Behind DLC. Bonuses for the ‘Day One Edition’ meanwhile include extra cash for the multiplayer mode, increased weapon/reloading speeds and two character skins that unlock once the adventure has been beaten.

The majority of gaming sites have simply reposted their reviews of the PS3 version with an addendum. That’s to say, it has received another batch of 10/10s.

Expect it to take the top spot in the UK chart next week and then stay there for the rest of summer. Unless we’re mistaken, the next big release is September’s Destiny.

Sacred3

Over on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, RPG Sacred 3 is sneaking into stores. This isn’t to be confused with fellow European RPG Risen 3, out in two weeks’ time. This four-player hack ‘n’ slasher bares resemblance to Diablo 3 and is also receiving a ‘Day One Edition’ containing two pieces of DLC.

Although Sacred 2 received above scores that were way above average – the Metacritic stands at 71% – it’ll probably be a good idea to wait for a few reviews of Sacred 3 to appear before opening your wallet.

LEGO Ninjago Nindroids meanwhile continues the yearly trend of handheld-exclusive LEGO titles. LEGO Legends of Chima: Laval’s Journey – last year’s effort – wasn’t too bad. Expect this to be a similar platforming fare aimed at younger gamers.

PurePool

On PSN there are two new downloads of note. Pure Pool on PS4 has a hefty 30% discount for PS Plus Subscribers, bringing the price down from £7.99 to £5.59. Features include four game modes, online tournaments, global leaderboards and the ability to create an AI powered persona that plays games on your behalf.

2D Metroidvania-alike RPG Rogue Legacy also has a discount for PS Plus members, making it £7.99 instead of £9.99. It has Cross-Buy support too, across PS4, PS3 and PS Vita. Review scores so far include a 9/10 from GameStyle and an 8/10 from Push Square.

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Screenshot.331548.1000000
Jul 30
By Matt Gander In Mobile Games No Comments

Released in 2012, Wordament was Microsoft’s first iOS game to feature Xbox achievements. Although it wasn’t much of a looker, all kinds of technical wizardry was going on behind the scenes – every two minute match was played online, with scores shown on a leaderboard at the end. Sequel Snap Attack takes everything that made Wordament one of the most addictive word games around and gives it a good polish and a new twist.

The original was based around forming words from a 4×4 grid. This sequel however has more in common with Scrabble, including score multiplier tiles.

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The ‘snap’ part of the game’s subtitle comes from the fact that every match has two, or sometimes three, words already placed on the grid. The idea is to then ‘snap’ seven letter tiles onto these pre-placed words to make new ones.

It’s a simple idea, granted, but it’s one that allows for a far richer experience. In Wordament we sometimes struggled to find new words towards the end of the match, having exhausted our lexicon. Here, we often find ourselves still forming words right until the very last second. Snap Attack’s larger scope is evident in the leaderboards – scores are vastly higher.

Like before, Snap Attack is played online. There are no lobbies or such – play is continuous, with one game commencing thirty seconds or so after the previous ends. During match downtime all possible words from the last game are shown as well as a leaderboard which offers the ability to track the scores of your “Frenemies”.

Regrettably, Wordament’s biggest fault rears its head again here – you’re still placed into games with mere seconds left on the clock, forcing you to then twiddle your thumbs until the next match starts. That said, it’s hard to see how the developers could have prevented this without having to resort to a traditional lobby set-up. This is a continously played game after all.

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WiiUVC_PopnTwinbeeRainbowBellAdventures_04_mediaplayer_large
Jul 28
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

For us, Nintendo’s Virtual Console platforms aren’t so much about reliving our misspent youth but rather experiencing the games we missed out on first time round.

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Pop’n Twinbee Rainbow Bell Adventures is one fine example – Konami’s Super Nintendo platforming sequel received rave reviews back in the ‘90s, but we were never able to track down a copy. As such, we’re pleased as punch to see it making its way onto Wii U VC this Thursday.

It entails robotic trio TwinBee, WinBee and GwinBee taking down giant bosses with their huge metallic fists and indulging in some traditional – and not so traditional – 2D platforming. Konami were even kind enough to throw in a head-to-head mode for good measure. Fans may be interested to hear that the aspect ratio has been fixed for this VC release.

A few other titles are joining Pop’n Twinbee (and GwinBee) on Wii U this Thursday.

There’s the retro-influenced shooter XType Plus (£2.69) – which boasts a procedurally generated difficulty level – and Ice Cream Surfer (£4.49) which appears to be a webcomic turned into a 2D shooter. Featuring 16-bit style visuals, it sees titular hero Ice Cream Surfer taking on an army of vegetables who are out to destroy the ‘Flavour Galaxy’. Why? Because they’re angry about kids loving ice cream and hating vegetables.

Sticking with the retro theme, there’s Midtown Crazy Race (£4.49). In the developer’s own words: “This game is a tribute to the car games from late 90s”. Sadly, it would appear to resemble the likes of London Racer and other notoriously poor PSone racers, rather than the likes of Ridge Racer and similar much loved classics. They have at least managed to get 32-bit visual style bang on. That’s…something.

BombingBastards

Bombing Bastards – and yes, that’s really what it’s called – is the final Wii U release of the week. This too has retro running through its veins, resembling the almighty Bomberman. It features a five player mode, boss battles and over 30 different battle arenas. We’d wager that this one is worth a look.

FamilyKart3D

Over on 3DS, mobile sliding puzzler 2048 is making a very welcome appearance and at a mere £1.19 to boot.

If racing is more of your thing – and you’ve rinsed Mario Kart 7 for all its worth – then you may be interested in Family Kart 3D (£4.49). Ignore the dull name as believe it or not this is from Arc System Works, of Guilty Gear and BlazBlue fame. Nintendo Life found it be a good, if straightforward, clone of Mario Kart 64.

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lego_movie_wii_u_packshot_2d_eng_jpg_jpgcopy
Jul 28
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

With the film now out to buy, The LEGO Movie Videogame has shot up from #12 to #5 in this week’s UK chart. It’s #1 in the Xbox 360 chart and makes a re-entry in both the Wii U and 3DS top tens.

The movie’s release has seemingly helped to bolster sales of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes and LEGO The Hobbit, as well as causing LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes to reappear in the lower echelons of the top 40.

The rest of the UK’s top five sees only a slight shuffle. Watch_Dogs is top dog for another week while FIFA 14 holds onto #2. Then at #3 it’s Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition followed by Sniper Elite 3.

Wolfenstein: The New Order meanwhile makes a notable exit from the top ten, dropping from #4 to #12. Mario Kart 8 likewise departs, falling from #10 to #16. Fellow Nintendo title Tomodachi Life is back on the rise however, up from #14 to #11.

It’s interesting to note that the current full price Wii chart comprises of just seven titles, suggesting Chart-Track struggled to find ten different Wii games sold at full price last week. Crikey.

Expect to see The Last of Us: Remastered take the top spot next Monday. With the kids off school, LEGO Ninjago Nindroids may do well too. Another LEGO game – just what we all need.

IronSky
Jul 25
By Matt Gander In Most Played No Comments

If you browse Xbox Live’s ‘Games on Demand’ service regularly you may have seen that Iron Sky: Invasion was recently added. This movie tie-in is one that we’ve never seen in the likes of GAME and CeX, despite it allegedly receiving a UK retail release. The 2012 movie on which it’s based is arguably just as little-known.

Chances are though that both the game and film are slightly better known elsewhere in Europe – all of the review quotes on publisher TopWares’ site are in German, and it also received the collector’s edition treatment elsewhere in the world. The Götterdämmerung edition came with a copy of the film on DVD and a few other bits and pieces.

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It’s a space combat simulator (to use the word lightly), set in an alternative universe where the Nazis managed to perfect space travel. They’ve spent the last 70 years building a base on the moon, amassing a vast armada to unleash onto the world when it’s least expected. As a combat pilot, this is where you come in.

It’s fair to assume that Iron Sky: Invasion didn’t have a colossal budget. This actually works in the game’s favour – the FMV mission briefings have a pleasingly trashy feel to them. Characters are heavily stereotyped; the actor’s facial expressions are over-exaggerated as they deliver clichéd dialogue. They’re like something out of Sewer Shark, Night Trap and other notoriously poor FMV games from the early ‘90s.

The music too helps to create an atmosphere. When docking at one of the various space stations – each of which belongs to an allied nation – some rather out of the blue music begins to play. Dock into the US space station, for instance, and a softly sung rendition of the American national anthem can be heard. Considering we were expecting this to be a po-faced shooter, it took us by surprise somewhat.

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nnt108
Jul 24
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

Two new retail releases may be out this week. We’ve emphasised the word ‘may’ there as Freedom Factory’s Kick-Ass 2 and Bloodbath were both originally due out in April and have seen regular delays since.

There are no reviews of Kick-Ass 2 around, but Bloodbath received a critical mauling when it launched on PC last month. Even with price-tags around the £25 mark, it would be wise to approach these two Xbox 360 and PS3 brawlers with caution.

Bad news if you were expecting Tropico 5 on Xbox 360 this week – it appears to have been moved back to the end of August.

Over on PSN, Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty is being dished up at a slightly eyebrow raising £17.99. A “re-creation” of the original Oddworld – to use the developer’s own description – it’s out now on PlayStation 4 with PS3, PS Vita and Wii U versions to follow.

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Reviews so far have been incredibly positive, including 9/10 from Eurogamer and a 9.0 from Now Gamer.

Destructoid meanwhile gave it an 8/10. “Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty is roughly the same frequently soul-crushing, yet unique and rewarding game it was in the ’90s. Even if you hated it back then, it’s probably worth investigating the remake just to see if your puzzle skills have improved, even if there aren’t a whole lot of extras ready for you this time around. In the end, Abe’s adventure is a tale worth telling,” they said.

Entwined

After making a surprise appearance on PS4 during E3, Entwined is now available for PS3 and PS Vita with Cross-Buy support. The £6.49 download entails keeping a fish and bird apart, for their love is forbidden. The left stick controls the bird; the right stick the fish. Not a game for all and sundry, certainly, but many of those who took the plunge were left hypnotised by its gloriously abstract artwork.

Then there’s the eagerly awaited The Walking Dead: Season 2, Ep. 4, Amid the Ruins, out now for £3.99. Sadly, IGN found it be be “another typical Telltale fourth episode slump”, giving it a 6.0. Polygon gave it the same score, calling it “a major step back from the series’ normally high standards”. I think we can all guarantee though that Telltale won’t let fans down with episode five’s final conclusion.

ForgottenWars

Ubisoft’s Forgotten Wars – or Might & Magic: Duel of Champions – Forgotten Wars to use its full title – is another out now on both XBLA and PSN. This £7.99 card battler comes hot on the heels of last week’s Magic 2015. Odd choice of timing there, Ubisoft. Just like Magic 2015, additional card packs cost £3.99.

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TransformersHumanAllianceT
Jul 22
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

Some games are so bad they’re good. Judging by the trailer alone, SEGA’s new arcade shooter Transformers: Human Alliance is one of those games.

Bad voice-acting, comically poor cut-scenes, character models that don’t quite look right – this has all the hallmarks of a classic SEGA shooter. We all know deep down that The House of the Dead wouldn’t be anywhere near as memorable without the notoriously poor voice overs. Even the deluxe sit-down arcade cabinet looks delightfully tacky. The presumably cheaper upright cabinet, slightly less so.

TransformersHumanAlliance

Set during the original movie trilogy, it sees Optimus, Bumblebee and Sideswipe gunning down Decepticons while on the hunt for Megatron. Sam and Mikaela also appear – the trailer shows the Transformers saving their human hides on a couple of occasions. We assume that’s them, anyway – the human character models resemble something from the PlayStation 2 era.

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SuperToyCars
Jul 21
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

An intriguing assortment of new releases make their way to the Nintendo eShop this week. If none of these float your boat, a bunch of NES games are being offered at discount prices for NES Remix owners too.

To start us off there’s Neko Entertainment’s Wooden Sen’SeY (£8.00), a traditional platformer set in a “Japanese steam rock world”. The Official Nintendo Magazine handed out 65% back in April. The PC version passed a lot of gamers by, but chances are that it’ll perform a little better on Wii U.

Then there’s Super Toy Cars (£6.99) from Eclipse Games, which likewise was first released on PC earlier on this year. Although it didn’t receive many reviews, the few that can be found online are mostly positive. It’s a ‘table top racer’ similar to Micro Machines and other games of yore, offering local play for 4 players, 12 tracks and 16 different vehicles that each have their own handling models. It looks alright, this.

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