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May 11
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads 1 Comment

Microsoft and Mojang took their sweet time bringing Minecraft to the Wii U, releasing it just as the console entered its twilight years. All change for the Switch – Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition (£19.99) is out this week, and word has it that it’s no slapdash effort.

Review scores so far include 9/10s from Nintendo Life and Nintendo World Report, a 4.5/5 from USGamer and top marks from Time. “I can say it’s arguably the finest iteration of Swedish studio Mojang’s magnum opus yet,” reported Time.

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Minecraft is joined by a couple of other big hitters – cult classic beat’em up ACA NeoGeo Garou: Mark of the Wolves (£6.29), and NBA Playgrounds (£17.99). 1999’s Garou: Mark of the Wolves is often regarded as one of the finest 2D brawlers of all-time. The Dreamcast and PS2 releases command high sums, so here’s your chance to play it without having to sell a kidney.

NBA Playgrounds has been refered to as the spiritual successor to NBA Jam, and although critics claim that it does have its shortcomings, reviews are generally positive.

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Polybius
May 10
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

As of 10th May 2017, the legendary Polybius became a reality. Confused? Don’t be. Word has it that the original Polybius debuted in arcades in 1981, but was yanked after gamers complained of amnesia, insomnia and hallucinations. Apart from one unfounded claim of somebody owning a ROM image of the game, there’s no proof that it ever existed – it’s the stuff of urban legend.

Step forward Llamasoft, who this week launch their psychedelic shooter of the same name on PS4. It begins with a screen warning of possible seizures and other side-effects, and although it’s presented in a tongue in cheek fashion, it’s something that should still be adhered to. Polybius is a kaleidoscope of colour, with pulsating tunnel sequences and neon hues galore. Our first initial impression from an hour-or-so of play is positive. It’s easier to get into than Space Giraffe, but not quite as pure and refined as Tempest 2000. Still very compelling though, and it has a horsesome – sorry, awesome – soundtrack.

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LocoRoco Remastered and NBA Playgrounds have also turned heads this week. It seems that no LocoRoco reviews are live yet, but it’s still generating a buzz regardless – it was one of the PSP’s defining games, and the £11.99 (or £9.59 with PS Plus) asking price puts it in the impulse buy range.

NBA Playgrounds meanwhile is a new NBA Jam all but in name. “(…)thanks to some smart ideas and novel twists there’s an enjoyable tribute to be found here,” said Eurogamer. They did however warn of looping commentary, long loading times and an issue with the stamina bars vanishing from sight whenever a player moves to the bottom of the court. IGN dished out a 7.4 meanwhile: “With plenty of attitude and a decent take on 2v2 arcade basketball, NBA Playgrounds recaptures some of the old magic.”

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Fallout Shelter
May 09
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

Years ago, we ran a feature titled ‘Conversion for Conversion’s Sake’ looking at various games converted to consoles unfit for the task at hand. It appears to have been lost in the great Games Asylum content purge of 2005, but if memory serves a lot of GBA games were on the list including Konami’s Silent Scope. A light-gun game on a handheld, minus its famous sniper rifle peripheral? That’s a case of conversion for conversion’s sake right there.

Nowadays consoles boast similar hardware, and as such can handle whatever developers throw at them. Gone are the days of underpowered handhelds, hard to program consoles, two-button joypads and such; there is no specialist hardware out there, save perhaps for VR headsets. This poses a potential problem should we ever want to compile a new list of bizarre choices for unconventional conversions, but rest assured that the free-to-play Fallout Shelter would make the cut. The Xbox One version from earlier this year, specifically.

Fallout Shelter (4)

Fallout Shelter achieved great things on mobile, topping mobile charts and helping to introduce a new pool of gamers to Bethesda’s mega franchise. That was back in 2015, so you can imagine that the belated Xbox One/Windows 10 release came as quite the surprise. The Fallout 4 train had been and gone. Fallout’s popularity certainly hasn’t waned over time, however, with new pieces of merchandise appearing regularly, and new copies of Fallout 4 still easily found.

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Prey2
May 08
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Never underestimate the popularity of Mario Kart. Nintendo’s latest entry in the colourful kart racing series holds the UK chart top spot for a second week, fending off Bethesda’s Prey.

Prey had to settle for #2, with the PS4 version being the biggest selling despite the original being an Xbox 360 exclusive. That was a very long time ago, mind.

The rest of the top ten sees a slight shuffle, with all the usual faces present. GTA V, Infinite Warfare and LEGO Worlds occupy the remaining top five positions.

Rocket League, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, FIFA 17, Horizon Zero Dawn and Forza Horizon 3 then take positions #6 through to #10.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Little Nightmares and Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 all depart the top ten meanwhile, falling to #11, #12 and #13 respectively.

Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series was the only other new entry aside Prey, storming in at #31. Persona 5 does make a re-appearance however, back in at #35 thanks to a second print run.

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May 04
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

This week’s UK eShop line-up was never going to topple last Friday’s double-whammy of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Puyo Puyo Tetris, but it’s still a decent assortment of new titles nevertheless.

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On the Switch there’s the acclaimed SNK shooter ACA NeoGeo Blazing Star (£6.29) and TumbleSeed (£11.99), a physics-based action game with roguelike elements. It’s also loosely based on an old mechanical arcade game from Tatio known as Ice Cold Beer, in which two joysticks are used to manoeuvre a slanted platform while balancing a rolling ball.

Replace those two joysticks with two JoyCons, and you have a perfect fit for the Switch. The Guardian was left mightily impressed, awarding it top marks earlier this week. “Nintendo Switch owners should immediately add TumbleSeed to their collection. This mid-priced roguelike is available for PC, Mac and PS4, but both its aesthetic and its core mechanic fit particularly well on the Switch, especially in portable mode,” they said.

A demo of the retro revamp Blaster Master Zero also hits Switch this week, just in time for the new GunVolt extra playable character DLC (free until 18th May, £1.79 thereafter).

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Prey1
May 03
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

Grubby old £5 notes go out of circulation on Friday. If you have a wad stashed under your mattress, say around £50 worth, Bethesda’s Prey seems a fine way to get rid.

There were some concerns about Bethesda’s latest glitzy big-budget shooter, mostly stemming from the fact that it uses CryEngine. Since the demo went live last week anticipation levels seem to have swiftly risen, however. It’s unlikely that we’re going to see any reviews ahead of release – Bethesda doesn’t issue pre-release copies anymore, in fear of leaks and such – so definitely give the hour long demo a whirl before coughing up the cash, or searching under the sofa cushions for any discarded old fivers. Actually, do that anyway – sofa money is free money.

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Prey is joined by three others on store shelves this Friday: episodic adventure collection Dreamfall Chapters, action JRPG AKIBA’S Beat on PS4/PS Vita, and World to the West – an adventure that has been likened to Zelda: A Link to the Past. Destructoid awarded it a 7/10 earlier today. “The World to the West evokes a lot of fun and I can’t stay mad at it for not aspiring to be revelatory,” they said.

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Little Nightmares (3)
May 02
By Matt Gander In Reviews No Comments

Those who can’t tolerate questions being left unanswered will doubtlessly find Little Nightmares problematic. This eerie puzzle-platformer provides lots of thought provoking moments, but by the time the ending credits roll you’ll no doubt be left with a dozen unanswered questions. Set in a nightmarish realm, it’s very much an experience left open to your own interpretations.

Some explanations wouldn’t have gone amiss, certainly. There’s no plot to speak of; no dialogue, cut-scenes, or inner monologues. Outside of an achievement pop-up, the heroine’s name isn’t even muttered once. The only reason we know they’re referred to as ‘Six’ is because it’s mentioned on the back of the game’s box. Haunted by an image of a stern-looking woman, it’s clear that Six is trapped in a dark and sinister place from which she must escape. You learn more about the Six’s confines and her captors through natural progression, but she remains an enigma throughout.

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May 01
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the UK’s new number one, becoming Nintendo’s first chart topper since 2011’s Pokémon White.

It’s also the first Mario game to claim the top spot since 2008’s Mario Kart Wii.

In terms of week one franchise sales, reports suggest it outsold both Mario Kart 8 on Wii U and Mario Kart 7 on 3DS but it fell slightly short of beating Mario Kart Wii. Considering the Switch has been on sale for less two months, that’s quite the accomplishment.

The superlative kart racer is setting tills ringing in the US too, with Nintendo of America confirming that 459,000 copies were sold on launch day alone. Crikey.

The UK top 40 sees another new face at #2 – Sniper Ghost Warrior 3. Despite the lukewarm reception – resulting in a Metacritic of 57% – CI Games’ shooter did manage to claim the top spots in both the PS4 and Xbox One charts.

GTA V dropped one place to #3, while the physical release of Bandai-Namco’s Little Nightmares debuted at #4. The individual format chart shows that PS4 version was the biggest selling, and by quite some margin.

Benefiting from a 68% sales boost, Zelda: Breath of the Wild rose from #10 to #5.

LEGO Worlds is at #6, last week’s no.1 Ghost Recon: Wildlands fell to #7, Infinite Warfare remained at #8, FIFA 17 dropped several positions to #9, and then at #10 it’s Horizon Zero Dawn.

As for other newcomers, Outlast Trinity from Warner Bros. put in a surprisingly strong showing at #14 while Puyo Puyo Tetris entered at #18 with the Switch version proving the most popular.

Cities Skylines: Xbox One Edition also managed to break the top 40, entering at #38 during its second week on sale.

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