NeverAlone
Jul 06
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

After knocking around on other systems for many months, Never Alone and Funk of Titans finally arrive on Wii U this Thursday. Never Alone we’re pleased to see. Funk of Titans? Not so much.

Those who missed Never Alone (£12.99) on PS4 and Xbox One are in for a short but sweet treat. This snow covered side-scrolling adventure was developed in collaboration with the Iñupiat, an Alaska Native people, and tells a story that has been shared for generations. We gave the Xbox One iteration an 8/10 last December, claiming that it’s more than a worthy way to spend an evening.

Funk of Titans

While Never Alone arrived to (mostly) rave reviews, Funk of Titans (£8.09) pretty much flunked. The Metacritic stands at a miserable 43% with a fair few 3/10 reviews behind it. “Even if you could play Funk Of Titans on your phone, for free, it is so ludicrously sketchy and tedious that it would still be impossible to recommend” said gamesTM.

Capcom’s Megaman Battle Network 4 Blue Moon and Megaman Battle Network 4 Red Sun (£6.29 each) from 2003 are this week’s Wii U Virtual Console offerings. Curiously, Network 4 is considered the black sheep of the series due to the lack of storyline and some odd design choices.

Over on 3DS there’s just one new game due out Thursday – Spicysoft’s BIKE RIDER DX2: GALAXY (£2.69), a 2D racer where each “track” is based on a sign from the zodiac. Lasers, whirlwinds and spiked blocks act as obstacles while power-ups turn your racer into a frog and give the ability of flight. Screenshots and a video can be found here.

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And now onto the main attraction – 14 titles from 7 studios across 6 countries, it’s the Wii U’s Epic Indie Sale. Download one (or more) of the following acclaimed indie hits at their regular price and the second can be had at a heavily discounted price. From WayForward there’s Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse (£6.39 – regular price £15.99), Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition (£3.59 – £8.99) and Mighty Switch Force! 2 (£2.00 – £5.00). Two Tribes Publishing meanwhile offer EDGE (71p – regular price £1.79), RUSH (71p – regular price £1.79), Swords & Soldiers (99p – £2.69), Toki Tori (69p – £1.79) and Toki Tori 2 + (£5.19 – £12.99).

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BatmanAK2
Jul 06
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Last week’s UK chart was rife with activity – there were five new entries in the top 20 alone. This week? Not a single new arrival and the top three remains unchanged.

This means Batman: Arkham Knight takes the top spot for a second week running, and is followed by LEGO Jurassic World and The Elder Scrolls Online.

The Witcher III: Wild Hunt and GTA V both move up a position to occupy slots #4 and #5.

The rest of the UK’s top ten is then formed of Yoshi’s Woolly World, Minecraft: Xbox Edition, FIFA 15, CoD: Advanced Warfare and Minecraft: PlayStation Edition.

It’s pleasing to see Yoshi’s Woolly World in the top ten for a second week. Splatoon, incidentally, is on the rise up from #19 to #15.

Over in the single format charts the Wii U sees a new number one – LEGO Jurassic World, which finally launched last Friday. Hyperdimension Neptunia Re-Birth 3 meanwhile entered at #3 in the PS Vita chart.

NoTime1
Jul 05
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

Demos are in decline it would seem. This comes as no surprise – in addition to adding extra development costs to already bulging budgets, it so transpires that playable demos were often counterproductive in driving sales. After trying out a demo gamers often felt that they’d ‘been there and done that’ and as such all lost interest in buying the full game on a whim. A decent trailer was found to be more effective in bagging a sale, hence why even the smallest of releases have glitzy trailers these days.

But while demos are now seldom seen (18 months into the Xbox One’s life, the amount of game demos available is barely into double figures) trials with time-limits are becoming more and more common. The difference between the two is that trials offer the full experience, rather than a small segment intended to impress. Once the designated time limited is reached, you’re then prompted to pay up to either unlock or pre-order the full game.

Far Cry 4 on PS4 was one of the first to feature trial keys that could be sent to friends, allowing two hours of co-op play. The Crew, Trials Fusion, How to Survive and Metro Redux have since followed in Far Cry’s footsteps, allowing 2 hours of play.

NoTimeTo2

No Time to Explain takes the accolade of becoming the Xbox One’s first pre-release trial. Once downloaded the full game can be played for thirty minutes. Even the achievements are unlockable, although going by True Achievements its only possible to unlock a single achievement within that timespan.

tinyBuild’s action packed adventure resembles one of The Behemoths’ efforts – like Alien Hominid, No Time to Explain made its debut on Newsgrounds – but has more in common with the almighty Super Meat Boy, requiring pixel perfect platforming skills and lightening quick reflexes.

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Neptunia-Re-Birth-3-JP-LE-Pre-Orders
Jul 01
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

If your plan to beat the heat is to stay inside and play videogames with an ice pack down your pants, then you’re in luck – they’re currently on offer at Robert Dyas. Also: there’s a small smattering of new releases out this week.

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From the looks of things a trio of titles are heading to retailer – the belated Wii U version of LEGO Jurassic World (also heading to the eShop on Friday, priced £34.99), the even more belated 3DS movie tie-in Paddington: Adventures in London and the catchily titled PS Vita JRPG Hyperdimension Neptunia Re-Birth 3: V Generation.

Reviews of that last one haven’t been great so far, including a 6.5 from PlayStation Lifestyle and an alarming 35% from Gaming Trend. Repetitive, lazy, bare boned and boring are just some of the words they used to describe it. Oh dear.

Bombing Busters

Over on PSN both the PS4 and PS Vita see three new arrivals each. On PS4 there’s Arcade Archives Renegade (£7.99), blatant Bomberman clone Bombing Busters (£5.79) and gloomy 2D adventure Whispering Willows (£9.79). It’s a bit banal and simplistic when it comes to puzzles, reports PlayStation Universe. PlayStation Lifestyle’s review paints an even bleaker picture, giving it a significantly lower score.

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ArkhamT
Jun 30
By Matt Gander In Reviews No Comments

The Joker is dead. Just in case your memory needs a jog, Rocksteady’s final entry in the Arkham saga begins with the Joker’s body slowly entering a cremation furnace. An unprovoked twiddle of the analogue stick ignites the fire and as soon as the flames touch his smeared, highly flammable, face paint Batman’s former nemesis is left burnt to a crisp. It’s a memorable, if grizzly, intro. Perhaps even grizzly enough to single-handedly allot Arkham Knight its 18+ age rating. Batman doesn’t kill, after all.

This clearly presented Rocksteady with a problem when it came to incorporating Batman’s latest high-tech toy – a heavily armoured incarnation of the Batmobile. Ploughing into thugs and other hired muscle is possible, but instead of leaving a squishy mess all over Gotham City’s pavements they’re merely sent spinning in an electrocuted state. The Batmobile packs some heavy firepower when in ‘Battle Mode’ too. It, quite literally, is a tank. When opening fire on criminals though the hefty metal shells are automatically replaced with non-lethal knockout rounds. Batman – the considerable crime fighter.

Batman: Arkham Knight

The Batmobile is called into action for a couple of very different reasons. Batman is up against a formidable duo formed of the Scarecrow and the titular Arkham Knight, a mysterious armoured foe who has a small army of skilled soldiers, aerial drones and unmanned tanks at his disposal. He knows Batman’s tactics inside out, and with armored APCs roaming the streets Bats is forced to bring out the big guns to even the odds. The other reason merely design related to prevent over familiarity with Rocksteady’s previous works. It’s fair to say even hardened fans would have had trouble stomaching another Batman game where Bats spends more time gliding through the air than fighting crime – something the disconnected Arkham Origins suffered from.

The Batmobile can be used remotely, summonable by the push of the button. As long as the bridges are down in the desired area at least – this is Rocksteady’s method of preventing players getting ahead of themselves. It’s a bit of a tricky beast to control at first, colliding into everything left in the wake of the evacuation forced by Scarecrow’s hand, but soon proves to be more than just a means of getting around – it’s an integral part of the experience, used in puzzle solving, combat and beyond.

Although far from subtle, ‘Battle Mode’ vehicular combat is nuanced and satisfying, with each enemy vehicle type having a weak spot to exploit. Land a direct hit and the unmanned drones explode in a glorious shower of technicolour sparks. When parked nearby a Batmobile takedown can be performed during melee combat, while the winch and electric harness can be used to shift obstacles and power devices. Many of the optional Riddler puzzles in particular involve the Batmobile in some form, including a couple of underground race tracks. In the grand scheme of things, or at least in Riddler’s scheme, these races are trivial inclusions – there’s an elaborate side-story to free a captured ally from Enigma’s clutches.

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oot1c
Jun 29
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads 4 Comments

For a second week running the Wii U is being treated to a trio of prime Virtual Console cuts. We thought this may have something to do with Nintendo trying to make amends for the less-than-stellar E3 showing, but it’s more likely a simple case of filling gaps in the eShop schedule.

Just a single Wii U indie release is due this Thursday – Padaone Games’ Roving Rogue (£7.19), a 2D co-op platformer with pixel art visuals. The trailer can be found below and gives a good idea of what to expect – castles environments filled with constantly rising lava and whatnot.

After a three week delay, LEGO Jurassic World finally hits Wii U on Friday. It’s set to cost £34.99 in digital form. Why the delay? Warner never provided an official statement, so your guess is as good as ours.

BlackHoleRising

Then there’s the Ménage à trois of Virtual Console big hitters. We haven’t seen Nintendo fans this excited about impending eShop arrivals since Earthbound landed.

They are the utterly essential The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (£8.99), often forgotten Nintendo DS classic Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon (£8.99) and the GBA’s Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising (£6.29). The only downer is that Ocarina of Time is the sluggish 50hz PAL version.

Finally for Wii U happenings, there are two discounts to mull over – SDK Paint (£2.99 until 9th July) and the apparently pretty good Zelda-alike Ittle Dew (£4.49 until 30th July).

The biggest 3DS release of the week is undeniably Shingeki no Kyojin: Humanity in Chains (aka Attack on Titan). It’s arriving as a premium priced release – £34.99. Nintendo Life reports that it’s a rough diamond: “An underwhelming presentation and an unwieldily camera make it a tougher sell for non-fans, but if you’re willing to overlook those flaws, unchaining humanity can be a blast”.

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Batmobil
Jun 29
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

An unprecedented amount of games have entered the UK top twenty this week. Unprecedented for this time of year, anyway. Say hello to five fresh faces.

batverano

Batman: Arkham Knight is, predictably, the UK’s new number one. It’s Warner’s 4th numero uno of 2015 following Dying Light, Mortal Kombat X and last week’s chart topper LEGO Jurassic World. That’s now at #2.

Chart-Track informs that Arkham Knight not only managed to beat Arkham City’s launch week sales, but it also “comfortably” outperformed The Witcher III – the previous fastest selling game of 2015.

The next highest new entry is Yoshi’s Woolly World at #4. Curiously, it takes that position in both the all-formats and individual format charts.

We hoped Splatoon would stick around in the top ten for another week, but alas, Nintendo’s colourful shooter has taken a tumble from #8 to #19.

Then at #10 it’s FF XIV: Heavensward. Fellow console MMO The Elder Scrolls Online is still in the top ten too, currently at #3.

Two-wheeled racer MotoGP 15 meanwhile makes its arrival at #13 with the Xbox One version proving to be the most popular.

The fifth and final new entry for the week is fighting game mash-up J-Stars Victory VS+ at #18. It was the PS4 version that came out on top. The PS3 version made #5 in the PS3 chart while the PS Vita entered at #3 in the PS Vita top 20.

amiibo_Yoshi_lifestyle_02
Jun 25
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

Yoshi’s Woolly World arrives in Europe this Friday, bringing along a trio of woolly Yoshi amiibo with it. Considering we’re still yet to see a single Splatoon amiibo in the wild it’s sad to say that unless you’ve pre-ordered chances of finding one are slim.

YoshiWW

Best dig out your great gran’s knitting needles, then. Or perhaps hope your local game emporium has the game and amiibo pack in stock – that’s probably your best bet for bagging a fluffy Yoshi.

The US delay strikes us as a little odd. American gamers did receive Kirby and the Rainbow Curse a few months before Europe, so this could be the reason. Nintendo definitely felt need to put space between the Wii U’s big hitters, whatever the cause may be.

As it happens, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse and Yoshi’s Woolly World appear to be very similar in terms of quality – both are fun and well made, but lacking true innovation. This has lead to some mixed reviews – everything from 9/10 to 6/10.

Does the £30 price tag make up for any alleged shortcomings? Here’s a review round-up:

9/10 – Nintendo Life: “Yoshi’s Woolly World has been a long time coming, but it’s been absolutely worth the wait. It’s accomplished platforming within Yoshi’s quirky and unique template, and has enough soft cuteness to charm young gamers and melt the hearts of the most jaded of veteran gamers”

8.5 – God is a Geek: “If you are the type of person who plays a game just to finish it and see the end credits, then there is a possibility that after six to eight hours of solid play, you will see the end credits, the smile will disappear from your face and you will feel slightly disappointed that it ends so soon. However, for those secret hunters, for those who boast a full roster of Pokémon on their 3DS, a complete collection of Amiibo on the shelf, or for those with young children they want to play games with, then Yoshi’s Woolly World promises to be a real treat”

8.5 – Nintendo World Report: “Yoshi’s Woolly World is the best Yoshi game I have ever played. The controls feel extremely solid and the gameplay quirks just keep coming that makes it a unique experience. With over 50 levels to explore and many secrets to undercover, the game will keep you going for quite a while too”

8/10 – TheSixthAxis: “Despite a few technical problems and design missteps, the variety, and thoughtfulness, of the myriad mechanics make it a pleasure, as you advance through each world exploring every nook and cranny. Once again, the Wii U makes an excellent argument for its existence, especially when it’s giving players time in the company of one of Nintendo’s most beloved characters”

7.4 – IGN: “Yoshi’s Woolly World is a cute and colourful platformer, with plenty of ideas but only a few great levels”

7/10 – The Metro: “In Short: A perfectly competent platformer, perhaps Yoshi’s best since Super Mario World 2, but one that is far less unique than its visuals suggest”

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