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Feb 09
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

The Wii U release of Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath was put on ice several months ago, but that doesn’t mean Oddworld Inc. has lost all interest in the Wii U – Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty! launches on the UK eShop this Thursday with a temporary discount to boot – it’ll only set you back £11.99 until 25th February (£15.99 thereafter).

Having played the PS4 version, we can safely say that it’s a very welcome addition to the Wii U’s library.

Two other new releases are also en route – Minecraft clone Discovery (£5.99), which focuses on crafting and landscape creation rather than exploring and survival, and Jones on Fire (£4.59), a fire-fighting platformer with abstract visuals. Apparently it plays better than it looks, but we aren’t entirely convinced.

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There’s a duo of Virtual Console releases to consider as well – the GBA’s Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team (£6.29) and the DS’s Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team (£8.99). Reviews were mixed upon original release, with both dungeon crawlers receiving a mixture of 5s, 6s, 7s and 8s.

We recall Nintendo Gamer magazine (RIP) being rather unimpressed with both, should that help your purchasing decision.

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Feb 08
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Despite arriving to decent reviews in 2012, Gravity Rush on PS Vita didn’t perform too well in the UK chart. To wit: it entered at #11 at launch and then swiftly left the top 40 the following week.

Four years later, PS4 revamp Gravity Rush Remastered has struggled to even break the top 20 – it’s in at a lowly #34 this week, and only made #17 in the PS4 chart.

Anime tie-ins Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 and Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth soared in comparison – Naruto entered at #3 while Digimon Story debuted at #11. Both are published by Bandai-Namco, who we imagine are quite pleased with those placings.

The incredibly well-received XCOM 2 meanwhile made #20 in its physical form.

Arguably though, the biggest story in chart land is Call of Duty: Black Ops III bagging a 9th number one, dethroning previous chart topper LEGO Marvel’s Avengers in the process. The superhero blockbuster is now at #2.

FIFA 16 moves down one position to #4, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege falls to #5 while GTA V holds onto #6.

At #7 it’s Just Cause 3 and then at #8 we find Star Wars Battlefront, which appears to be making a slow descent out the top ten.

At #9, all the way up from #20 due to price cuts, it’s Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.

Minecraft: Story Mode then rounds off this week’s top ten.

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is the week’s biggest riser – up all the way from #40 to #16 – while Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is the biggest faller, dropping from #8 to #30.

3DS-exclusive Final Fantasy Explorers has had a rough time too, departing the top 40 after just one week.

TheWarT
Feb 07
By Matt Gander In Reviews No Comments

We went into This War of Mine knowing only that it’s a survival game putting children at its forefront. This ignorance was partly our own doing, as we didn’t pay a great deal of attention to it prior to release. We aren’t entirely to blame though, as publisher Deep Silver hasn’t exactly been shouting about it from the rooftops either.

Turns out we should have known what we were in for all along – it’s a very similar experience to Team17’s current early access survival game Sheltered, only set during a raging Eastern European war instead of after a global apocalypse. The tone is a lot darker too, with some very heavy themes present including suicide and violence against children. These two subjects in particular are handled in a very sensitive and careful manner, intended to educate on the lesser reported consequences of war. The result is something of an emotional rollercoaster – those who find themselves becoming attached to their characters in The Sims need not apply.

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Initially, This War of Mine presents you with a pre-scripted campaign with an increasingly challenging difficulty level. You’re bestowed control over a group of war survivors who have settled in one of the few houses still standing. An orphan child then joins the group shortly after the basics have been mastered, making the promise that they won’t eat much or cause too much trouble. Fail to keep them safe and content and only the former will prove to be true; it only takes one unfortunate event turn a child’s tears of laughter to tears of sadness.

Resource management is at the game’s core, with a focus on making sure there are enough supplies – food, weapons, medicine, and crafting materials – to make it through to a proposed ceasefire. Each member of the household can be given one task at a time, and their needs have to be kept an eye on such as hunger, tiredness and any signs of potential illness. Generally, the person who went out scavenging the night before should rest up during the day while the others gather rainwater, cook food and make improvements to the house. Daytimes can drag once the daily chores have been carried out. Fortunately, the option is there to skip ahead to nightfall.

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ThisWar4
Feb 04
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

There were three of us to begin with – Pavle, Marko and myself (Bruno). Caught inside a war zone, we decided the only way to survive was to stick together. Fleeing with next to nothing, we came across a large house mostly untouched from the bombings. Although most of the furniture had been destroyed, the electrics worked and the kitchen cupboards still contained some food. Why such a large building hadn’t been targeted by raiders yet is a mystery, but we were thankful of somewhere to call home. We even found a few small luxury items like coffee and tobacco. In a time of crisis, a smoke and a fix of caffeine are amongst the few things we can look forward to.

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We were in high spirits to begin with, even though we didn’t know how long the war would last. We had our health and each other.

After a rough first night we set about constructing a second bed so that we didn’t have to share. A radio too, so we could listen to music and updates regarding potential supply drops. Daytimes often dragged as there wasn’t much to do, aside making a few improvements to the house and collecting rainwater so we could make homemade booze. It tasted disgusting, but you’d be surprised by what we could trade it for. Traders drive a hard deal, but usually we could wangle some vegetables and roll-ups out of them in exchange for our hooch. Tins of food and medical supplies however set us back a hefty amount items; items we could only gain by looting nearby buildings.

It was only safe for us to explore and scavenge while under the cover of darkness. Although we probably could hit multiple locations during nightfall, we decided that only one of us should venture out at night and ransack a single location. When exploring somewhere for the first time, we only had a rough idea of what to expect. Some locations hadn’t been looted yet and were filled with as many items as we could carry. This was the best case scenario. Worst case: we’d run into armed looters, who’d only give us a few seconds to turn around and leave before opening fire or giving chase. This is how Pavle, a former football player, met his end. Pavle chose to break into a property and steal. Maybe if he had more patience – and was lighter on his feet – he would have gotten away with it. Regardless, we all had to deal with the fact that he was no longer with us. This was a dark day.

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With just myself and Marko left, we took turns in sleeping, guarding and scavenging. One slept or guarded the house while the other looted. Spirits quickly started to worsen, especially after Marko was attacked one night while I was exploring a nearby school. The raiders cut him badly, forcing him to become bedridden, and also took some of our stuff. I bought him food and medication, but supplies were dwindling. Fortunately a neighbour dropped by almost every day to see if we had anything to trade. I once had to exchange almost all of our firewood and tobacco for a single roll of bandages. For a while it looked like Marko wasn’t going to make it, but after a few days he pulled through.

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Feb 03
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

February is hardly crammed with big name releases – Far Cry Primal and PvZ: Garden Warfare 2 are about as ‘big’ as this month gets. Thankfully there’s a sizeable assortment of smaller low-budget titles, indie releases and obscure Japanese games to keep us going. Next week in particular looks set to be a gem of a week for JRPG fans.

There are a couple of JRPG out this week, too. As mentioned in our Nintendo eShop round-up though, The Legend of Legacy on 3DS has arrived to an incredibly mixed reception – everything from Nintendo Enthusiast’s 8.5 to EGM’s middling 5.5.

As much as we’d like to recommend DIGIMON Story: Cyber Sleuth instead – out Friday on PS4 and PS Vita – we’re still waiting on reviews, despite it being released in the US on Tuesday. All we have to go on are Metacritic user reviews (we know, we know) which appear to be written by uber hardcore Digimon fans. It’s probably alright, in fairness – the Digimon World RPGs were good clean fun.

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Sticking with all things Japanese, we have Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4. Last-gen versions have been ditched in favour of PS4 and Xbox One, a move that may disgruntle younger Naruto fans. Again, we’re still waiting on reviews. We put this down to the US release being a week away.

At least we can vouch for Gravity Rush Remastered. Yes, it’s a remastering of an old PS Vita ‘launch period’ title. The £20 price tag goes someway to compensating for this, though. Reviews would suggest that it has survived the jump from handheld to console, with scores including 4/5 from US Gamer and 8.0 from Destructoid. You can thank Bluepoint Games – who converted Titanfall to Xbox 360 and had a hand in Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection – for this cracking conversion.

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Feb 01
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads No Comments

This Thursday sees the final dose of Super Smash Bros. add-on content arrive on the UK eShop, including Fire Emblem‘s Corrin and Bayonetta herself. Also: Tails and Knuckles attire.

The final assortment before being bundled together to form a Nintendo NX launch title? Perhaps, if last week’s rumours are true. Like many others, we don’t see how Nintendo could create an all-new Smash Bros. in time for the NX’s launch – rumoured to be this year.

From 4th February the following add-ons will be available on both Wii U and 3DS:

Bayonetta & Umbra Clock Tower Set (£5.39 for one platform or £6.29 for both) – Includes Fighter (Bayonetta), Umbra Clock Tower stage, new stage music and new trophies.

[Fighter] Corrin (£4.49 for one platform, £5.39 for both) – Includes Fighter (Corrin), new stage music and new trophies.

[Mii Fighter Costume] Bionic Set (69p for one platform, £1.09 for both) – Includes Bionic Helmet and Bionic Armour, for Mii Brawlers only.

[Mii Fighter Costume] Takamaru Set (69p for one platform, £1.09 for both) – Includes Takamaru Wig and Takamaru’s Outfit, outfit for Sword Fighters only.

[Mii Fighter Costume] Ashley Set (69p for one platform, £1.09 for both) – Includes Ashley Wig and Ashley’s Outfit, outfit for Sword Fighters only.

[Mii Fighter Costume] Gil Set (69p for one platform, £1.09 for both) – Includes Gil’s Helmet and Gil’s Armour, armour for Sword Fighters only.

[Mii Fighter Costume] Tails Set (69p for one platform, £1.09 for both) – Includes Tails Hat and Tails Outfit, outfit for Gunners only.

[Mii Fighter Costume] Knuckles Set (69p for one platform, £1.09 for both) – – Includes Knuckles Hat and Knuckles Outfit, outfit for Brawlers only.

[Bundle] Mii Fighter Costume Bundle #6 (Wii U & 3DS) (£4.14 for one platform, £6.54 for both) – Includes all Mii Fighter Costumes listed above.

[Bundle] Collection #6 (£14.02 for one platform, £18.22 for both) – Includes all Fighters, stages and Mii Fighter Costumes listed above.

[Bundle] Bumper Fighter (£31.43 for one platform, £37.73 for both) – Includes Fighters (Mewtwo, Ryu, Lucas, Roy, Cloud, Corrin, Bayonetta), Stages (Suzaku Castle, Midgar, Umbra Clock Tower), new stage music, new trophies, profile icons.

[Bundle] Stage Bundle (£9.45 for one platform, £13.05 for both) – Includes Stages (Dream Land (64), Peach’s Castle (64), Hyrule Castle (64), Super Mario Maker, Pirate Ship (Wii U Only) and new stage music.

A shout out goes to Nintendo Life for clarifying what each pack contains – Nintendo’s official presser is something of a garbled mess.

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LEGOMarvelT
Feb 01
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

LEGO Marvel’s Avengers has become the UK’s first new no. 1 of 2016, dislodging Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 from the top spot in the process. In doing so, it becomes the 8th LEGO game to shoot straight to the top.

The individual format chart reveals that the PS4 version was the biggest selling, followed by Xbox One and then Xbox 360. The superhero blockbuster also topped the Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, PS Vita and Wii U charts.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 falls to #2, FIFA 16 drops to #3, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege remains at #4, and then at #5 it’s Star Wars Battlefront.

At #6 it’s GTA V, down from #3. Just Cause 3, MGSV: The Phantom Pain, Fallout 4 and last week’s new arrival Resident Evil Origins Collection round off the top ten.

MGSV: The Phantom Pain is the week’s biggest riser, in fact, going from #24 to #8. This is down to retailer promotions – the Xbox 360 was available on Amazon for a mere £11 last week, while GAME currently has the current-gen versions for £20.99.

3DS-exclusive Final Fantasy Explorers made its debut at #11 while Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo entered at #26. Fellow new release This War of Mine: The Little Ones failed to break the charts, however. We’re hoping this one performed better on the digital services – it’s a genuinely moving experience.

GBA
Jan 28
By Matt Gander In We've Got Issues No Comments

Single format magazines were rife in the ‘80s and ‘90s, even if the format in question didn’t have the largest of user bases or the busiest of release schedules. If there was a gap in the market, it was soon filled. SEGA Master Force magazine is a good example, arriving in the Master System’s twilight years after 8-bit SEGA fans frequently complained about the lack of coverage in the likes of SEGA Pro and Mean Machines. Another example: Europress’ GB Action magazine, which took pride in becoming the world’s first and only Game Boy magazine.

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Issue #1 launched in June 1992 for 99p, with a cover reporting an inside scoop on Nintendo’s upcoming colour Game Boy.

“During a brief wander around the Consumer Electronics Show, I popped my head round the corner of a mysterious looking room, and there is was. No doubt about it” the writer claimed. Now that’s quality journalism.

In fairness though, some very educated guesses were made about the GB’s successor, such as not to expect a technical powerhouse – just a minor update. The mock-up screenshots were very similar to the real deal, too. Their speculated release date of September 1993 was way off, however – the Game Boy Color didn’t arrive until 1998.

GB Action lasted for 41 issues, with the final issue – dated August 1995 – featuring lumbering dinosaur brawler Primal Rage on the cover. The magazine’s cancellation was unfortunately timed, as Pokemon mania was just around the corner – the game that single-handedly propelled the handheld back into the limelight, extending the system’s life until (and beyond) the Game Boy Color’s arrival.

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The price tag soon rose to £1.25, but even so it remained one of the cheapest gaming mags around. The price did reflect the size however – most issues clocked in at around 60 pages. Arguably, the price reflected quality too – you only have to browse through a few issues to notice hefty amounts of padding, suspiciously high review scores and features that had little to do with the Game Boy whatsoever.

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