Robot Squad Simulator X – Xbox One

The concept behind Robot Squad Simulator X is so perfectly suited for a video game that it makes us wonder why nobody has drawn upon it before. Here, you’re tasked with controlling various robots and drones as they undergo such dangerous pursuits as bomb disposal, crash investigation and survivor rescue, set across land, sea and indeed air.

As the name suggests this is a simulator. This means it’s quite formal and straightlaced, calling for precision movement with not much leeway for error. Crash into a wall, accidentally drop a bomb or take too long on a single task and you’ll be faced with the game over screen. Getting to grips with the bomb disposal robot’s arm takes time, requiring careful manipulation of the analogue stick. The aerial drone is tricky to control at first too, building momentum quickly. That said, a learning curve was always expected here. It helps that the auto-save kicks in regularly, so you don’t have to worry about retrying huge chunks of a mission.

Another nice idea is that each mission – of which there are 22, including a number of tutorials – has at least one unexpected moment. An early bomb disposal run throws a sniper into the mix, while a miner rescue mission ends with a panic-inducing cave-in, giving just a minute or so to backtrack.

Ultimately though, Robot Squad Simulator X is thoroughly average – it’s a slow, methodical, experience set in a world mostly consisting of dull browns and greys. Dullness is the worst of its crimes, however – if you take a punt it’s likely you’ll grow bored before becoming frustrated. That must count for something, right?

Score: Five ‘da bombs’ out of ten.

Golf With Your Friends

Party mini-golf is the order of the day in Team17’s latest console release, favouring courses filled with ramps, bumpers, moving platforms and flumes. Not sold on its silliness? It has an entire 18-hole course dedicated to Worms, complete with rolling colossal Holy Grenades, giant Exploding Sheep and ground-pounding Concrete Donkeys.  

There’s a focus on multiplayer, allowing 12 avid golfers to play at once. Simultaneously, we should add – everybody tees off and plays at the same time. Also to help things moving swiftly along, only 15 seconds of free camera time is provided, even in single player.

In a similar manner to Rocket League, it’s possible to communicate using a simple chat system allocated to the D-pad. In our experience, it was used not to praise other players but to try and speed slowpoke players along. “Come on!”

Adding to the general party vibe, both Hockey and Dunk modes feature – the former replaces the ball with a puck and adds hockey goals with cut-out goalies to courses, while the latter makes the ball extra bouncy and replaces flags with hoops. The jetpack power-up mixes things up further, having limited juice.

The amount of content here is surprisingly generous – ten different themed courses with, quelle surprise, 18-holes each. A course based on The Escapists is still to come. It’s a little lacking when it comes to presentation though, and despite the variety in settings (forest, space, pirate, etc) it isn’t that much of a looker – a fact not helped by the camera, which is prone to zooming in too close, revealing some rough textures.

As a fast-paced party game Golf With Your Friends is recommended. Those well-versed with golf sims may find this too simplistic and streamlined for its own good, however.

Score: Six personalised golf balls for Christmas out of ten. Thanks nan!