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Apr 03
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Despite what seemed to be a quiet launch, Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 Remix managed to enter a very respectable #4 in the UK chart. It also made #2 in the PS4 chart.

The top three positions remain unchanged: Mass Effect Andromeda at no.1 for a second week running, followed by Ghost Recon: Wildlands and LEGO Worlds. Mass Effect 3 only managed one week at the top of the chart, dethroned by EA’s own FIFA Street, curiously enough.

There isn’t much movement in the rest of the top ten. GTA V remains at #5, Horizon Zero Dawn falls to #6, FIFA 17 sits at #7, Zelda: BotW drops two places to #8, Rocket League is at #9 and then at #10 it’s Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.

While Kingdom Hearts was the only new arrival in the top 40, there are a few re-entries. The highest charting of these is Destiny: The Collection at #24. Rainbow Six: Siege is back in at #25 while Halo 5: Guardians resurfaces at #29.

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Mar 31
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

April looks set to be a busy month for the Switch with LEGO City Undercover, Mario Kart 8, Puyo Puyo Tetris, Constructor HD and a tonne of eShop releases due. Before that little lot though, this week’s eShop update sees March end on a high with a double-whammy of Snake Pass and ACA Metal Slug.

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Many critics claim that Sumo Digital’s Snake Pass has a rather Nintendo-like feel to it, and as such, it’s more than an ideal fit for the Switch. Eurogamer also notes that it performs admirably on Nintendo’s new console, which bodes well for future multi-platform UE4 titles.

For those who haven’t been keeping tabs on Snake Pass, it’s a platformer with a twist – there’s no jump button. Instead, our colourful hero must wrap themselves around objects and twist and turn along poles and such. We’ve spent an hour or so with the Xbox One version and found it to be both creative and rather pleasing on the eye.

Metal Slug needs no introduction. Or at least, we hope that’s the case – it’s was one of the NeoGeo’s defining shooters. The debatably superior Metal Slug 3 is already available on Switch, but those looking to satisfy a retro inch would do well to grab this re-release too.

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SnakePass
Mar 29
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

Despite being around since the days of PlayStation 2, Sumo Digital has always acted as a studio for hire. This has lead them to work on some big-name franchises and sequels, with Forza Motorsport being perhaps the biggest. Snake Pass sees the Sheffield-based studio break tradition to create something a long-time coming – their first IP to call their own.

While its creation does seem to have something to do the fact that Yooka-Laylee’s Kickstarter was a runaway success, we’ll avoid being cynical on the grounds that Snake Pass is far removed from your typical platforming fare. As the name suggests, you’re cast into the role of a slithering snake. The colourful critter slides around the tribal-eque environments in a realistic manner. In other words, it’s a platformer minus the ability to jump. You’re prompted to think like a snake and use the objects around you to reach higher ground, with a little help from an equally colourful feathered friend.

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Reviews are full of praise so far, with scores including 8/10s from both Pocket Gamer and Nintendo World Report, and a solid 7/10 from Forbes. Solid Snake, see? Eurogamer meanwhile noted that the Switch version holds up well when compared to the other versions, which bodes well for other Unreal Engine 4 powered releases on the system.

Usually we see a bunch of big name releases hit store shelves at the end of every month, but being as busy as it has been, this month is the exception. Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 and 2.5 Remix on PS4 – which gained a 3.5/5 from Twinfinite and a lofty 9.0 from PSU – and a retail release of Rogue Stormers on PS4 and Xbox One appear to be the week’s only retail releases.

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Everything
Mar 29
By Jake In Reviews No Comments

Be anything. Pushing the definition of what we call a game. Narration by a dead philosopher. Playing itself if you let it. Everything about Everything is positively ripe for analysis, aching for discussion, gagging for scrutiny. But I don’t want to.

Since playing Everything, I’ve found myself thinking about whether I found it deep, whether I identified with its themes, whether it’s art. You know, like an absolute wazzer. But that’s not what I was thinking about while actually playing it.

Then I was thinking about how some of the wonky animation reminded me of French animation A Town Called Panic; thinking that the snatches of dialogue things have to share with you at one point started to sound like a particularly bleak edition of Your News on BBC Radio 4’s iPM programme.

Those are, I realise, also the thoughts of an absolute wazzer, but the point is they were much more satisfying and entertaining thoughts.

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DiscJamScreenshot_10
Mar 28
By Matt Gander In Reviews No Comments

This opening paragraph was going to detail how Disc Jam borrows elements from Speedball 2, Windjammers and good old everyday tennis, but it suddenly dawned upon us that it’s essentially Discs of Tron, right down to the ill-fittingly skin-tight outfits and quintessentially ‘80s neon hues.

Like all compelling sports games, including the ones already mentioned, Disc Jam relies heavily on fast reflexes and an acute sense of timing. As for rules and scoring, it borrows from tennis – or badminton, if you prefer – the most. The idea is to either hurl or lob a space-age disc, ideally aiming for the back of the court. Hitting the back of the net scores 10 points; causing it to hit the ground via a lob or a failed catch earns 7 points. Fortunately for those not quick on the draw, it’s possible to recover from fumbled catches – a few precious seconds are given to try and regain control.

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The first to score 50 wins the set, with 2 sets required to win the match. Sets are generally quite close, and there’s potential for some lengthy – and gripping – rallies, but the obtuse scoring system does lead to some odd final scores. I.e. a winning score of over 50, against the opposition’s 48.

The disc is far deadlier than your everyday Frisbee, exploding on impact to send the opposition flying across the court – and sometimes even out of the arena – wonky ragdoll physics and all. The quicker it’s caught and returned, the faster the disc flies – a gameplay mechanic that relies on perfectly timed button presses.

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MEA_March-30
Mar 27
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Mass Effect: Andromeda is the UK’s new number one. It had the third biggest launch of 2017 so far, trailing behind Ghost Recon Wildlands and Horizon Zero Dawn.

Chart-Track claims that it’s EA’s first no.1 since FIFA 17 but we believe they’re mistaken – Battlefield 1 topped the chart in October, whereas FIFA 17 launched in September.

In terms of franchise sales, Andromeda only had the third best week one sales – Mass Effect 3 remains the fastest selling at launch. We should however note that the series has an odd history – the original was an Xbox 360 console exclusive, while Mass Effect 2 didn’t arrive on Xbox 360 and PS3 simultaneously.

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Chart-Track also notes that sales of Andromeda were split 55% PS4, 41% Xbox One and 4% on PC. The PC version still managed to make #12 in the individual format chart, though.

With the new Mass Effect at #1, Ghost Recon Wildlands’ two-week run ends. That’s now at #2.

LEGO Worlds also dropped a single position to #3, Horizon Zero Dawn fell to #4 and then at #5 – seemingly like always – it’s GTA V.

Zelda: Breath of the Wild remained at #6, FIFA 17 fell two places to #7, Rocket League dropped to #8, Infinite Warfare is now at #9 while Forza Horizon 3 saw us out at #10.

Aside Toukiden 2 topping the PS Vita chart, no other new entries can be found within the UK charts. This means Vikings – Wolves of Midgard, This is The Police and Troll and I didn’t get a look-in. Last week’s FlatOut 4: Total Insanity was another no show, incidentally, failing to even make the individual format charts.

We do see a few risers in the top 40 off the back of discounts and hardware bundling. Halo Wars 2 is up all the way from #26 to #11, while Forza 5, Ryse: Son of Rome and Rare Replay continue to climb for a second week thanks to retailers clearing out old Xbox One stock, with Rare Replay back in top 20 at #18.

WorldofGoo
Mar 24
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

The Switch receives its first sports game this week in the form of ACA NeoGeo Neo Turf Masters (£6.29). Don’t let the fact that it’s a re-release of a sports game from 1996 put you off – it’s held in high regard, often referred to as one of the greatest arcade sports games of all-time. Easily up there with NBA Jam, Punch Out!! and Windjammers. That last one has a good chance of appearing on Switch at some point, too.

Another three indie titles are available on Switch this week, all of which are from the same developer – Tomorrow Corporation. World of Goo, Little Inferno and Human Resource Machine graced the Wii and Wii U some time ago. Little Inferno – a minimalistic puzzler based around burning things – was a Wii U launch title, in fact, while physics-based World of Goo was one of the finest WiiWare titles.

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Human Resource Machine meanwhile is Tomorrow Corp’s newest release, which is also a puzzler. This one is set in an office and involves sorting tiles with basic commands to get your staff to work efficiently. NintendoWorldReport gave it an 8/10, claiming that there’s no better place to play it than on Switch.

Time appears to have been very kind to 2009’s World of Goo too, with Destructoid giving this new Switch iteration a 9/10. “After all these years, it remains a delight from damn near top to bottom” they said. Little Inferno has received scores quite as hot, but it’s going down well enough to garner a 72% Metacritic.

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Andomeda
Mar 23
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

Upstart publisher Maximum Games are yet to break into the big leagues, with the biggest release so far – to use a term lightly – being the mediocre Mark McMorris Infinite Air. Troll and I – out this Friday on PS4 and Xbox One with a Switch release to follow – doesn’t look set to change things with the first reviews to go live being lukewarm at best.

It’s a co-op adventure with a focus on teamwork, similar to The Last Guardian and Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom, using the troll’s brawn combined with the stealth tactics of his newfound chum Otto to progress.

“The cinematics lack any production value, and are often janky and impetuous which isn’t helped by every cut scene maintaining gameplay graphics like some low-quality PS2 game” said CGM before handing out a 4/10.

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Forbes wasn’t too impressed either, giving it a 6.5 while highlighting technical issues and other problems, albeit minor. “Here’s hoping the bugs get patched out and that we eventually get a Troll and I sequel, one that focuses on cleaner controls and a more emotionally engaging story,” they said.

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