Sep 21
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

In the absence of a Virtual Console service for Switch, the Wii U continues to receive the occasional retro re-release or two. This week it’s the turn of Konami’s 2D shooter Detana Twin Bee (£6.29), an early entry in the Pop’n TwinBee series. Fun fact: it was given the name Bells & Whistles in the west.

The Wii U gets another shooter this week, in the form of Super Ultra Star Shooter (£1.79). The price tag definitely reflects the more than apparent low budget – it looks worryingly simplistic.

The same can also be said for RCMADIAX’s GUIDE THE GHOST! (£1.39) on 3DS. We had to do a double take when checking the screenshots for this one – it looks like it would be more at home on the Magnavox Odyssey. We aren’t even overexaggerating for comic effect – look for yourself.

After arriving on Switch last week procedurally generated platformer 36 Fragments of Midnight (£2.69) makes the jump to 3DS. Nintendo Life reports of a fleeting 15min competition time, which is a little hard to swallow even with the cheapy cheap price tag.

Onto bigger and better things we go. On Switch, two new fighting games are vying for your time and money. Reviewers claim that Pokkén Tournament DX (£49.99) is lacking in content but it’s a perfect fit for the Switch regardless due to its pick-up-and-play nature. The simple controls apparently transfer to JoyCon play perfectly. Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 (£54.99) has been tailored for the Switch too, gaining a host of new features such as wireless battles for up to six consoles.

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Sep 21
By Matt Gander In Reviews No Comments

This Kickstarter-funded platformer makes its inspirations incredibly clear, name-dropping such games as New Super Mario Bros, Metal Slug, Joe & Mac, and Trine within its product description.

The individual elements from each are easy to pinpoint. It brazenly borrows Super Mario’s bonce bouncing, Trine’s focus on character swapping, and Metal Slug’s controllable vehicles. And of course, the prehistoric setting is lifted straight from Joe & Mac, rampaging giant dinosaurs and all. Weirdly though, Caveman Warriors doesn’t feel like any of the games previously mentioned.

This is mostly due to the presence of a stamina bar. Each of the four characters has their own skill that’s often called upon to progress, and every time this skill is used, stamina reduces significantly.

This has a huge impact on the pace overall. A good example: Liliana is the only character able to throw a projectile the full length of the screen. It’s by far the most useful skill of all, but only three spears can be thrown before the stamina bar is depleted. This makes it vital that every shot finds its target, or face the consequence of waiting a few seconds while your chosen caveman stops to mop their brow.

JanduSoft should have added ‘Ninja Gaiden’ to their list of inspirations

Mighty warrior Jack can lob axes and smash through walls, club-carrying Brienne has a bullet-absorbing shield, and the blue-haired shaman Moe has a pet monkey that can distract guards. These skills are all available from the outset but only come into play as things progress. This goes a long way to making each level feel suitably different from the last, never mind the fact that all eight stages have different settings, new enemies, and a boss to beat.

The two vehicular stages are remarkably different to one another as well, adding variety.

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Sep 20
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games 1 Comment

Forever striving for comprehensiveness, our hallowed new release round-up evolves once again.

Hopefully, it’s a step in the right direction – last week’s cut ‘n paste effort left us feeling unclean. Only the laziest of journos resort to re-posting press releases, after all.

This week sees a trio of new beat’em ups battle it out, while fan favourite Final Fantasy IX makes a surprise arrival on PS4. Those who claim FF VIII was the better game are clearly mistaken.

The Raiders of the Broken Planet beta and the open-world space adventure Morphite appear to be worth a look, too. SteamWorld Dig 2 also hits the Switch eShop tomorrow, ahead of next week’s PS4/PS Vita release.

New release showcase:

Project Cars 2 (PS4/XO)

Arriving with less fanfare than expected, Project Cars 2 is nevertheless off a decent start with the Metacritic score of 87% currently surpassing the original (83%). Improving on almost every aspect, some reviewers even claim it’s the best console racer currently available.

Reviews:
9.2 – IGN: “The handling has been tuned to a T, the content is excellently curated, and the amount of variety and racing available in it is delightfully daunting. Even if you don’t care about the developer’s esports aspirations there’s still a mammoth solo racer here that’s always ready to roll whenever you are”

8.5 – PlayStation Lifestyle: “A solid focus in its career mode combine with tight community integration, which all mixes with a heaping helping of esports activities, giving fans and new racers alike plenty of reasons to buy Project CARS 2”

8.0 – God is a Geek: “While it is much more accessible than its predecessor, thanks to the new controller settings (that remain fully customisable, and I suggest you do just that to get the most out of the handling), it is still far more brutal and unforgiving than anything else in its niche. But it’s also the most comprehensive racer out there, and even its AI issues won’t stop you from having a fun and rewarding time”

Pokken Tournament DX (Switch)

The Switch receives another Wii U hand-me-down, and guess what? It fits like a glove. While the lack of content remains a concern, it’s still a decent alternative to ARMS.

Reviews:
9/10 – TheSixthAxis: “With an expanded roster that only improves on an already great lineup, fantastic gameplay, and an increased range of challenges and modes, Pokkén Tournament DX is true fighting game gold”

9//10 – Nintendo Life: “Pokkén is also a solid choice for Switch because it perfectly suits the console’s local multiplayer ethos; the game’s control scheme fits perfectly on a single Joy-Con, which means you can take the fight with you anywhere you wish”

8/10 – The Metro: “A Pokémon fighting game may not seem like the most obvious spin-off idea, but the end result is a surprisingly fun and inventive multiplayer game”

Marvel Vs Capcom Infinite (PS4/XO)

Those who keep a close eye on the gaming scene will have no doubt noticed the backlash against Capcom’s latest brawler. Marvel licenses aren’t as easy to obtain as back when this franchise started, resulting in a sporadic rooster that’s missing some key inclusions. The art direction has come under fire too, prompting Capcom to give the likes of Chun-Li a last-minute makeover before launch.

Reviews:
8.25 – GameInformer: “Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite is a fighting game that tries to appeal to everyone, and it largely succeeds (unless you’re a die-hard Wolverine fan)”

7.5 – Polygon: “Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite is an Eyesore, but an exciting and expressive one”

7.5 – Destructoid: “Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite is sterile on the surface, but a functional as hell fighter. I’m fine with that. Are you?”

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Sep 18
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Destiny 2 managed to fend off all newcomers, holding the UK chart’s top spot for a second week running. No surprise there, really – Bungie’s sci-fi opus is still the talk of the town.

The fact that NBA 2K18 outperformed PES 2018 does come as a surprise, however.

Take 2’s sports sim had the biggest ever UK launch for a basketball game, and its chart position (#2) is also the franchise’s highest so far.

Konami’s PES 2018 had to settle for #3, with a sales difference of 1.5k copies.

The budget-priced Dishonored: Death of the Outsider made #6. Its arrival seems to have had a knock-on-effect on Dishonored 2, which fell from #6 to #20 this week.

The well-received Metroid: Samus Returns rolled in at #8, while also claiming no.1 in the 3DS chart.

Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition on Switch narrowly missed a top ten placing meanwhile, debuting at #11.

Finally for this week’s new arrivals, NHL 18 turned up at #23. This means it was a no-show for EA’s NBA Live 18. It even failed to break the individual format top 20s.

As for the whereabouts of recent releases, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is now at #14, Knack II plummeted to #25 on its second week of release, while Monster Hunter Stories on 3DS fell sixteen places to #37.

Sep 14
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

How’s about that Nintendo Direct, eh? We had a feeling a new mature title was on the agenda given the 11pm show-time and the conference’s 18+ age rating, but we never expected a double-whammy of DOOM and Wolfenstein II. Minecraft for New 3DS was a nice surprise, too.

As for games you can play right now, oh boy oh boy, it’s another busy week with ten new Switch releases in total, plus a demo of Square-Enix’s JRPG project OCTOPATH TRAVELER. That’s a working title, if you couldn’t guess. What’s the betting it remains as Octopath Traveler? High, we’d imagine.

NBA 2K18 (£54.99) and Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition (£29.99) arrive on both the eShop and at retail. Unlike the upcoming FIFA 18, NBA 2K18 has the same content and features as the PS4/Xbox One versions. As for Rayman, the consensus is that it’s a great version of a great game, but the new features – including a Kung Foot tournament mode – aren’t worth the asking price if you already own it on Wii U.

Like last week’s new arrivals, many of this week’s titles are belated conversions. Procedurally generated platformer 36 Fragments of Midnight (£2.99) makes the jump from PC, Beach Buggy Racing (£9.99) debuted on Xbox One to mixed reviews, fetching pixel art strategy RPG Kingdom: New Lands (£13.49) went down a treat on Xbox One and iOS, while turn-based dungeon crawler Quest of Dungeons (£7.99) was met with a positive reception on Xbox One back in 2015.

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Sep 13
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

With a site revamp on the agenda, this week’s new release round-up features a new format. It’ll no doubt evolve slightly over the next few weeks, but hopefully, it’ll prove to be easier to read as well as being more informative.

Best of all, this new format gives every new release an airing; no game left behind.

This week sees another slew of sports games, with NBA 2K18 and PES 2018 likely to storm the UK charts next week, while Samus makes a triumphant return on 3DS, along with accompanying amiibo.

Then we have Dishonored: Death of the Outsider. No reviews are live yet, but the £15-£20 price tag makes it less of a gamble, not to mention the series’ solid reputation.

Hopefully it won’t be the last Dishonored game we ever see.

Retail and digital releases:

PES 2018 (PS4/XO/PS3/360)

‘Where Legends Are Made’ encapsulates the return of PES, with new features, modes and an unparalleled gameplay experience. This year’s edition brings the biggest changes to the award winning series seen in a decade, which will set a new standard for soccer games, and raise expectations for the future of the franchise.

No part of PES 2018 has been left untouched, giving you new ways to play with a number of gameplay improvements, Online Co-op, Random Selection Match, and a complete presentation overhaul with lifelike player models, new menus and real player images.

PES 2018 embraces the world of eSports with new integration of PES League across Online modes, including a new 3v3 competitive mode allowing users to join forces to win big prizes. This, alongside bringing the PC version to a level that meets the quality standard of its PlayStation 4 counterpart, only scratches the surface of the significant changes to PES 2018

NBA 2K18 (PS4/XO/PS3/360/Switch)

The highest rated* annual sports title of this console generation returns with NBA 2K18, featuring unparalleled authenticity and improvements on the court.

*According to 2008 – 2016 Metacritic.com”

Dishonored Death of the Outsider (PS4/XO/PC)

Take on the role of Billie Lurk (aka Megan Foster), once one of Dunwall’s most notorious killers-for-hire. Reunited with your old mentor, the legendary assassin Daud, you undertake the greatest assassination ever conceived: killing the Outsider, a god-like figure whom Billie and Daud see as instrumental to some of the Empire’s most dishonorable moments.

As you venture deep into the grimiest corners of Karnaca to uncover the mystery of the Outsider and his origins, you will face deadly opposition, ancient powers, and difficult decisions that will forever change the world around you

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Sep 13
By Matt Gander In Retro No Comments

Those who frequent Twitter may have come across @SEGACDGames, a rapidly growing account featuring spoof box art for SEGA’s ill-fated add-on.

The choice of format is a stroke of genius – the SEGA CD (aka the Mega CD) had a rather eccentric library, comprising of low budget FMV games, platformers starring quintessentially ‘90s heroes, terrible movie tie-ins, and numerous games with endorsements from long-forgotten celebrities.

Many of these never made it to Europe, which only makes the SEGA CD’s line-up even more intriguing. Today we’re looking at five of the weirdest games the system had to offer.

Panic!

Known as Switch in Japan, Panic! was billed as a point ‘n click adventure. That was pushing the definition somewhat – like many of the FMV games of the era, the whole thing was nothing more than a trial and error memory test.

After being sucked into their TV, Slap and his dog Stick had to find their way out by interacting with numerous everyday objects. Each button press generated a different animation, with some Monty Python-esque humour on display. Statues would flap their arms and fly away, elevators would grow and shrink and size, while messing around with a vacuum cleaner prompted it to suck up the backdrop, leaving nothing but a white screen.

Pressing buttons in a correct order was the only way to progress; there was no inventory, puzzles, or anything of the sort. A point ‘n clicker in the loosest sense.

US magazine GamePlayers wheeled out the good old “The developers must have been on drugs!” line for this one. Generally, though, critics found it to be rather pointless.

3 Ninjas Kick Back

The movie on which this platformer is based was a critical and commercial failure, making only $11m back on its budget of $20m. The game itself didn’t fare too well either. It wasn’t terrible; just an incredibly bland 2D platformer that offered nothing new.

Knowing that they had a possible flop on their hands, Sony Imagesoft (the Japanese giant had a small presence in the industry prior to launching the PlayStation) even made the decision to throw in fellow movie tie-in Hook to sweeten the deal.

Now here’s the weird part. Occasionally the action came to a standstill and Grandpa Mori Shintaro – the franchise’s equivalent of Mr Miyagi – popped up in the corner of the screen to explain objectives. He appears utterly confused by the whole thing. Bewildered, even. Think along the lines of Patrick Moore on GamesMaster after being asked yet another question about Zelda III.

Shame there wasn’t a cheat code to make Shintaro randomly pop up and yell “Toasty!”

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Sep 11
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Coming as a surprise to absolutely nobody, Destiny 2 is the UK’s new no.1. It had the biggest launch of 2017 so far, beating previous record holders Horizon Zero Dawn and Ghost Recon Wildlands.

There’s a slight sting in this tale, however. Physical sales were down an estimated 58% over the original Destiny, which launched three years ago. According to leaked figures, D1 sold 417k copies at launch whereas D2’s week one sales were 175k.

There are a few explanations for this shortfall. Firstly, digital sales aren’t included in the UK chart – it’s likely digital pre-orders far exceeded that of the original, with many eager to play the moment servers went live.

Secondly, the PC version isn’t due out until next month. And thirdly, the original Destiny launched on a Tuesday, giving it an extra day to generate sales.

We’d wager that some gamers have simply chosen to wait for a ‘complete edition’ instead, due to the franchises’ DLC oriented nature. The lack of pre-launch reviews may have also had an impact.

Despite all this, Destiny 2’s launch shouldn’t be marked down as a failure – Bungie reported 1.2m players were online concurrently over the weekend. US sales are yet to be revealed too, which could show an all-together different story.

The UK top 40 saw a few other new entries this week. Sony’s Knack II made #12, Capcom’s Monster Hunter Stories arrived at #21 – while also topping the 3DS chart – and the Switch’s Binding of Issac: Afterbirth debuted at #36.

As for other occurrences of note, ARK: Survival Evolved and Everybody’s Golf have both left the top ten after just one week on sale, while Yakuza Kiwami has left the top 40 entirely. It won’t be long until Agents of Mayhem suffers the same fate – Deep Silver’s colourful shooter is currently clinging in at #39. Only a sub-£20 price drop can save it now.

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