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.

NSwitchDS_TumbleSeed_01_mediaplayer_large
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.

IceColdBeer

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.

Prey3

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.

Little Nightmares (2)

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img_beginner
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.

NintendoSwitch_PuyoPuyoTetris_KeyArt7
Apr 27
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

Two big name releases are vying for attention on Switch this week. Sadly, all signs point to Puyo Puyo Tetris being overshadowed by Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. It’s understandable, to be fair – Mario Kart remains one of Nintendo’s best-loved properties.

Puyo Puyo Tetris’ pricing seems to be the main issue for the lack of fanfare. The eShop price has been set at £34.99, which is roughly in-line with the retail version. The PS4 version meanwhile can be found for £19.99 on the likes of Amazon. Maybe if the Switch version had a similar price tag then it would doubtlessly generate more of a buzz.

The colourful crossover puzzler is certainly deserving of it, gaining an 8/10 from Nintendo Life and a 9/10 from Push Square (PS4 version).

puyo-puyo-tetris

The eShop price for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has been set at £49.99. With the likes of Amazon and Tesco Direct stocking the superlative kart racer for £42, you might want to stick to online retail for this one.

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ba_01
Apr 26
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

The Switch hasn’t even reached its two month anniversary yet, and already it has two 10/10 games behind it. The first, obviously, was Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The second? Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. It may not have been the game that sold the Wii U, but it may become the game that sells the Switch to the masses.

The Metro, The Guardian, GamesRadar, God is a Geek and Nintendo Life all dished out top marks, while IGN went for an 9.3. “Returning players have seen a lot of this game before, but the overhauled Battle mode and its five additional ways to play are a great reason to pick it up” they said.

Switch owners have another new release to consider – Puyo Puyo Tetris (also on PS4). Like MK8 Deluxe, this isn’t a new game per se: it was first released in Japan back in 2014. This marks the first time it has been released outside of Japan however and its first time on Switch. Deep Silver has decided to leave the Xbox One version in Japan though, which is a tad disappointing.

The PS4 version can be found for around £20-£25 online. It looks like Switch owners will be paying over the odds for it, as the Switch version is around £30-£35. Check back in a day or two for eShop pricing.

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Wonder Boy The Dragon's Trap (3)
Apr 24
By Matt Gander In Retro, Reviews No Comments

The first two Wonder Boy games were intended to be coin guzzlers, ushering arcade players along with haste and a sense of urgency. A simple case of hot-footing it from one level to the next before the time limit was up, with no time to stop and explore.

It wasn’t until the third Wonder Boy that SEGA’s also-ran mascot – bested by Alex Kidd – broke free of its arcade shackles, starring in a console-only adventure that was well ahead of its time. So far ahead, in fact, that its open-ended nature is often mimicked by the indie adventures of today. It’s an ideal candidate for a remake.

Although it wasn’t referred to it at the time, least not that we can recall, The Dragon’s Trap was the Master System’s answer to Metroid. A quaint village acts as a hub, and from there branching paths can be found – both above and below ground – that lead to new areas, each of which requires a certain skill to access. Unlike Metroid however, these skills don’t come in the form of weapon and armour upgrades but rather new creature transformations.

Wonder Boy The Dragon's Trap (7)

During the game’s opening, a curse (the titular trap, no less) turns Wonder Boy – or newcomer Wonder Girl, if you prefer – into a fire-breathing lizard. The only way to break the curse and become human, sorry Hu-Man, again it is to take down a hierarchy of dragons, gaining a new transformation each time.

it’s clear Lizardcube had the utmost respect for the source material

There’s a slight learning curve as Wonder Person builds up momentum as they run. As such, it’s quite easy to accidentally collide into enemies early on, while sword strikes often miss their mark. Once acquainted with the inability to stop on a dime though, death doesn’t come quite as quickly.

Enemy attack patterns and their static locations also quickly become consigned to memory, and so with each attempt, it’s likely you’ll get that little bit further. Every now and then it’ll throw you an unexpected – and sometimes much needed – lifeline too, be it a full health recharge power-up or a blue potion that grants a second life.

Little in the way of progress is lost upon dying either, as any gold collected is retained. This is used to purchase new swords, shields and armour. The Dragon’s Trap wasn’t just ahead of its time due to being non-linear – it had RPG elements too, with new items boosting stats and such.

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