SpeedRunnersT
Jun 06
By Matt Gander In Reviews 2 Comments

A 2D side-scrolling racer with looping stages and minuscule sprites, SpeedRunners recalls Sonic 3’s oft-forgotten two-player mode. It plays by the rules of different retro classic, however – Codemasters’ legendary Micro Machines. The idea is to outrun other players, causing them to fall behind and become edged off the screen. We could’ve use Codemasters’ own two-legged racer Micro Maniacs as an all-encompassing comparison here, but few seem to remember it.

Although the art-direction holds some appeal, with its swinging ‘60s superhero vibe and all, SpeedRunners isn’t much of a looker. Indeed, many scoffed when it was revealed as this month’s Xbox One ‘Games with Gold’ freebie. Spend just a few minutes with SpeedRunners though, and it quickly becomes that it’s impeccably designed. At a time where most multiplayer-focused games are shoved out the door and balanced and tinkered with in the weeks and months that come, it feels refreshing to play something that has clearly had countless hours of playtesting.

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weapons are surprisingly nuanced

There’s a surprisingly large assortment of stages, each as well-designed as the last. They’re packed with ceilings to grapple onto, sharp bends, switches to flick – which open and close alternative paths – and obstacles to slide under. Knowing level layouts inside and out gives some advantage, especially when a well-timed ceiling grapple can propel you ahead of the pack, but with set-pieces relatively few it’s still possible to come out on top when traversing a lesser-used, or completely unfamiliar, stage.

When playing online only the Metro Station stage prompts a jeer or two after being selected, with this being the opening stage used to teach the basics. In addition to a tutorial, there’s also a brief story mode to play through, lasting around an hour. As well as introducing the characters – which vary from a balding gentleman in a shark costume, to a bipedal, rifle-toting, deer – the story mode is generous with XP, getting you well on the way to unlocking new maps, weapons and ranked battles.

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Tekken71
Jun 05
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Bandai-Namco must be pleased as punch. Tekken 7 has become the first in the series to shoot straight to no.1 since 1998’s Tekken 3.

For those curious about entries prior, 2012’s Tekken Tag Tournament 2 had to settle for #2, while 2006’s Tekken 6 debuted at #8.

Tekken 7’s arrival knocked Injustice 2 down to #3, with Overwatch remaining at #2 thanks to price cuts.

GTA V and FIFA 17 dropped a place each, falling to #4 and #5 respectively.

At #6 it’s Bethesda’s Prey. Ghost Recon: Wildlands held onto #7, while Horizon: Zero Dawn and Rocket League re-entered the top ten at #8 and #9.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe sees us out at #10.

Dishonored 2, Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Ultra Street Fighter II all departed the top ten meanwhile, with Street Fighter II falling all the way from #10 to #34. Ouch.

As for other new entries, Ubisoft’s Star Trek: Bridge Crew boldly arrived at #16 while MXGP 3: The Official Motocross Videogame made #22.

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Jun 01
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

When compiling this week’s new release round-up we were surprised to find very few reviews of Harvest Moon: Skytree Village online, despite it launching in the US over six months ago.

Destructoid’s review may give incite as to why. They awarded it a middling 5/10, suggesting Natsume likely kept it out of critic’s hands due to it being less-than-great. We’re speculating here, of course.

Skytree

For those not aware, Skytree Village tinkers with the classic HM formula, adding numerous elements pilfered from Minecraft. “Once I had finished the main storyline, it became quite apparent to me just how empty this game is. Yeah, I was still able to get married and start a family, but there’s no exploration, festivals are a joke, villagers provide no source of entertainment, and upgrading my tools to their fullest potential took for-ev-er”, warned Dtoid.

We’d like to think the developers have spent the last few months improving things for this European release, but chances are they’ve simply added a few more language options. We haven’t heard otherwise, so be sure to wait for a few more reviews to surface before stumping up £29.99.

The 3DS sees another two releases on the eShop this week. Drone Fight (£3.99) is a colourful 3D racer offering CPU Battle and Time Attack modes, while Mysterious Stars 3D: Road To Idol (£6.29) is a puzzler involving dot-to-dot puzzles.

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Things are even busier on Wii U, with four new releases due. A Drawing’s Journey (£6.29) is a point ‘n click adventure with a whiff of MS Paint about it, Armored ACORNs: Action Squirrel Squad (£6.29) offers four-player couched-based brawling, Preston Sterling and the Legend of Excalibur (£2.50) is belated conversion a largely ignored PC adventure game from 2016, while Bonk’s Revenge (£5.39) sees another Turbografx game added to Virtual Console. We like a bit of Bonk.

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Tekken72
May 31
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

Nobody can deny THQ Nordic hasn’t made the most of their THQ acquisitions. Case point: Lock’s Quest, a Nintendo DS tower defence game from 2008, makes the jump to PS4, Xbox One and PC this week. While it may have been more at home on 3DS and PS Vita, with its tiny 2D sprites and all, many are pleased to see it receive a digital makeover as it’s something of a cult classic.

THQ Nordic also released Victor Vran for consoles on Tuesday. This Diablo-like RPG managed to amass a small following on PC, gaining decent reviews along the way. It’s available in both standard and Overkill editions, with the Overkill pack featuring the Fractured Worlds and Motorhead DLC. And yes, that’s Motorhead as in the rock band.

LockQuest

Both Lock’s Quest and Victor Vran are available both at retail and on the download services, with Lock’s Quest costing a mere £14.99. It appears that the retail release of Victor Vran has been pushed to next week, though.

Arguably the biggest release of the week is the eagerly awaited Tekken 7, with scores so far including 8/10 from The Metro, 8.0 from GameInformer, and 4/5 from GamesRadar. “Despite some narrative missteps, Tekken 7 is still a compelling, exhilarating experience. Find the right sparring partner and it will entertain you indefinitely,” said GR.

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Friday13
May 30
By Matt Gander In Blog 3 Comments

Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed a certain game managed to elude last week’s new release round-up – the Kickstarter-funded Friday The 13th: The Game, which snuck out on Friday. We guess waiting until October 13th – the next Friday 13th of 2017 – was out of the question.

It’s a shame publisher Gun Media couldn’t hold off until then, as not only would it have been a stroke of marketing genius, but first impressions suggest that it sorely needs more time in development. Those who took the plunge and coughed up the rather extravagant £31.99 asking price have compared it to an early access title, full of bugs and features that haven’t been implemented properly. Or even at all, as is the case of the planned single-player mode. That’s being added later down the line. The fact that the developers have plans for future updates is encouraging, at least, suggesting they aren’t about to grab your money and run.

While we haven’t played it for ourselves yet – £32 is a bit out of our comfort zone for something of questionable quality – we have watched half-a-dozen live streams, first impression videos and such.

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Most players agree that there’s something of significant substance here, but currently, it’s buried under a tonne of problems. Poor matchmaking seems to be the biggest criticism, with lengthy waiting times to get into a match. Jim Sterling also bemoans of clunky controls, glitches, hilariously daft facial expressions, and a general whiff of dullness. When Jason isn’t hot on your heels, it’s simply a glorified scavenger hunt.

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May 29
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Nintendo Switch big-hitters Ultra Street Fighter II and Disgaea 5: Complete both managed to enter this week’s UK top 40.

As was to be expected, it was a case of the former vastly outselling the latter – Ultra SF II made #10 while Disaega 5: Complete settled for a lowly #36.

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Arriving at #27, PS4/XO adventure RIME hardly set tills ringing either. We imagine it sold immeasurably better on the digital download services though, as is usually the case.

System 3’s remake of Constructor failed to make a top 40 appearance, meanwhile.

Going back to the top 10, Injustice 2 held the top spot for a second week running.

Blizzard’s Overwatch had a good week too, shooting back up to #2 thanks to a price cut and the apparent popularity of recent ‘free play’ weekend.

GTA V remained at #3,while FIFA 17 rose a few positions to #4. Then at #5 it’s Bethesda’s Prey.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe held onto #6, Ghost Recon: Wildlands moved up one place to #7 and then at #8 Dishonored 2 makes a surprise re-appearance. The stealthy shooter received a significant price drop last week, currently available for £10 (or less) just about everywhere. Yes, even in GAME.

At #9 it’s Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which means Nintendo has three Switch games in the top ten. It’s not all smiles, though – Fire Emblem Echoes had a sluggish second week, falling from #5 to #26.

Sony’s PSVR shooter Farpoint dropped heavily too, falling all the way from #2 to #19.

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May 25
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

This Friday’s double-whammy of Ultra Street Fighter II (£34.99) and Disgaea 5: Complete (£49.99) bring the Switch’s amount of retail releases into double figures.

Reviews for both went live earlier this week. We were expecting SFII to arrive in a blaze of glory, but the reception has been lukewarm at best with the high-price tag coming under fire. The Metacritic currently stands at 67% with only a handful of reviews awarding it anything higher than 7/10.

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JRPG Disgaea 5: Complete seems to be going down far better, with a Metacritic of 84%, comprising of eight 9/10s. No reviews below 7/10 yet, in fact.

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RIME_06
May 24
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

We were expecting The Farm 51’s Get Even this week, but in light of the attack in Manchester publisher Bandai-Namco has made the decision to postpone its release. It’s now due out 23rd June.

It’s a pretty busy week for new releases regardless, being the end of the month and all.

On Nintendo Switch there’s a double-whammy of Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers and Disgaea 5 Complete. Reviews scores for SFII are all over the place, sadly, with the main criticisms being the price (£34.99) and the terrible first-person mode. The Metro felt it was merely mediocre, giving it 5/10, while US Gamer gave it an equally middling for a 3/5. On the higher end of the score spectrum we have Trusted Reviews‘ 4/5 and God is a Geek’s 7/10.

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Reviews of Disgaea 5 are starting to surface also, with scores so far including 7/10 from The Metro and 4/5 from Game Revolution.

While neither game has received a critical mauling, we did expect to see a more positive reception for both, especially in the case of Street Fighter II.

Sticking with Nintendo, there’s Darksiders: Warmastered Edition on Wii U, a game many feared cancelled at one point. Like the PS4/XO version, it’s a cheapy cheap £14.99. This isn’t the final Wii U release, we should note – Cars 3 is due out next month on every format with a pulse. We may also see Just Dance 2018 on Wii U, but don’t quote us on that.

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