Ultratron by Puppy Games is a retro-futuristic inspired robot blasting twin-stick shooter with collecting money and power ups to bolster your humanoid battle droid then take him into the arena and shoot your way to higher scores. It takes after such games as Robotron 2084 and is a really fun game which is easy to get into.
It uses the standard twin-stick set-up with right thumbstick for shoot and left thumbstick for moving the robot around, if you have any smart bombs blow them up with the right trigger and right bumper is a speed boost if you’ve bought the ability. When you complete a level your multiplier increases to a maximum of 5 which is lost if you get hit, the multiplier boosts your score and the cash you can pick up, different enemies drop different amounts. There are also various power ups to collect which you get from shooting a spider droid which occasionally darts across the screen. (more…)
I really enjoyed Interstellar, I thought it was great and possibly even one of my favourite films, it was so good that I actually bought the Blu-ray with the art book which is unusual for me! Thats how much I liked it tough and I was always disappointed there wasn’t some of proper story focused planet space exploration game to go with it (anyone who mentions the iOS game will be blacklisted!).
Enter Lifeless Planet: Premier Edition, which I’ve been looking forward to since it was announced for Xbox One at E3 2014 . It really scratched that itch of exploration and discovery for me, it’s not an action game with big explosions or an RPG with a deep level of progression its an adventure platformer which allows you to experience what it would be like to seek life on another planet, before finding an abandoned Russian town on it that is.
The Wolfenstein series made a hugely triumphant return last May when Machine Games début effort was an incredibly well received and sold good numbers, it was great to see a classic franchise return in such a way that kept aspects of the “retro” design where it made sense whilst also feeling modern and relevant, it was a game I greatly enjoyed and immediately raised Machine Games to a top-tier developer status in my eyes.
A year on and they have been busy plugging away on a standalone two-part prequel The Old Blood and spoiler alert, its pretty awesome.
Dual-wielding is where its at
Shovel Knight is the one of the many indie darlings of the recent era, the team at Yacht Club Games kickstarted it for PC, WiiU and 3DS and now the game is coming to Xbox One as well as the recent Playstation 3, 4 and PSVita release.
What sets out the later releases apart from the original launch is the platform specific content, on Xbox One it has a Battletoads level and on Playstation it features Kratos which are pretty cool additions to the game and something nice to entice fans on new platforms to invest as well as some nice fan service too.
For those aware, Shovel Knight is a classic action adventure with an 8-bit retro aesthetic where you play as Shovel Knight, a small shovel-wielding knight (shockingly) on a quest to defeat the evil Enchantress and save his lost beloved Shield Knight but The Order of No Quarter stand between him and the Enchantress. Gameplay is based around platforming, shovel hopping/slashing enemies and digging to fight through levels, collect treasure and beat the bosses. (more…)
Undead Labs debut game comes to Xbox One via Year One Survival Edition which is a definitive edition of the original Xbox 360 and PC game including the two DLCs Breakdown and Lifeline with a host of technical and gameplay improvements to tempt new and old players into upgrading.
I reviewed the game at its original release and then Lifeline last year and the same great game I enjoyed so much comes with a few new additions so I want to focus on whats new and how the game has transitioned to a new platform. I will be following up this review with more extensive thoughts on each campaign and then the future of the franchise.
State of Decay for new comers is a single player zombie survival game set in the open-world of Trumbull Valley (and Danforth city in Lifeline), your aim is survive the zombie apocalypse; build up your community, provide enough resources (food, building material, medicine, gas and weapons) to support them, complete missions and work towards escaping with your survivors in tow. State of Decay and Lifeline are story based campaigns and Breakdown is set in Trumbull County and is an endless campaign which removes the story elements and focuses exclusively on survival as you aim for high scores and progression will increase the zombie threat to provide a bigger challenge. (more…)
We Are Doomed is a twin-stick shooter from developer Vertex Pop, it’s a high-score chasing game with a colourful and distinctive art style which really stands out as it looks great.
It’s a very simple game at its core, right stick for shooting your energy beam and left stick for moving your white little ship around the grid and your aim is to shoot the polygonal enemies which appear in many varieties. As you play blue/purple coloured squares appear on the grid and are also dropped by killed enemies, collecting these increases your multiplier and your super beam charge once you have enough you can unleash the super powered weapon on your enemies, which will help you clear the board and gain a very short amount of invisibility to help you out of a tricky spot too. (more…)
LA Cops is an isometric twin-stick shooter set in the background of 60s cop TV shows, its cheesy, light hearted, brutal and fun, the art style is simple with flat (not a criticism) looking surfaces, its minimalistic and really does well in conveying the era its representing.
There are 8 story missions with 5 side missions to complete, the levels are short and some can completed in 3-5 minutes on normal and hardcore with Nightmare taking a bit longer and needing more thought but in order to stand a chance you need to replay levels, get better scores and earn more XP to improve the stats of your team.
Replaying and retrying each level is a key part of the game and thats not a problem although I found I had to do a fair amount of grinding at the beginning to get my stats up before I felt I could really do well in the levels which seems a bit unbalanced. (more…)
Pneuma is an interesting title for a number of reasons, made by a small UK based developer Deco Digital (and Bevel Studios) who made the game and juggled jobs on the side to help fund it. It’s an ambitious and intriguing puzzle game and the first Unreal Engine 4 title to release on Xbox One (and with that is a whopping 10.5gb download!)
The game itself is a first person puzzle game, you control the very self-aware Pneuma a god in this world, he narrates as you go through and is rather irritating if I was to be completely honest, I think I’m over the narrator thing (having also just played Transistor after Pneuma which had a similar sort of thing too) but I also think I’m glad it was silent, as nice as the music was.
The first thing as with many games I noticed was how it looks, Unreal Engine 4 is certainly well represented here, the frame rate is smooth, has good aliasing and impressive art direction, it’s certainly a looker and a surprising effort given the developers background, not to sound disparaging to them, it’s just I wasn’t quite expecting something that is such an impressive technical achievement as well as having great production values and presentation.
Good cricket games are few and far between, a great cricket game has never happened. The official licenses have laboured between EA, Codemasters and 505 Games for years and the Ashes 2013 game was heavily delayed and then cancelled because it was awful but luckily a savour has arrived in Big Ant Studios and Don Bradman Cricket.
Named after the Australian cricketing legend the game definitely matches up to his talents and is the ray of sunshine Cricket fans deserve with what is a different and worthy game for fans of the sport, if you’re on the fence for it then hopefully this will push you over, it’s that good.
What makes Don Bradman Cricket different and better if that it actually tries to accurately replicate the cricketing experience its well designed and intuitive in its controls, it can take time to get used but as you work on your timing and bowling precision you will very quickly start to see why I’m lavishing so much praise on it. (more…)
Confession: Ive never played Limbo before, I missed it for some reason on XBLA and then didn’t seek it out on any of the other platforms I own, it wasn’t until Microsoft dished it out to Xbox One early adopters that I decided to sit down and play the high acclaimed Limbo and I’m glad I did.
A story of a young boy in the midst of some sort of maggot-induced apocalypse looking for his sister Limbo is a really wonderful game. The art style immediately stands out, the black, white and grey shaded imagery combined with eerie minimalistic sound is really distinct and comes across well, the game oozes in atmosphere.
Hand of Fate is an interesting twist on the card game genre with battles fought action-rpg like dungeons, described as “Magic the gathering meets Nethack meets Diablo”, I think that is a reasonable group of games to compare it too.
The idea of the card building side is you have two decks, one for your equipment including weapons, shields, armour, trinkets, helmets etc and another deck for the dealer which will decide the sorts of challenges you will face and specific scenarios which as you build up your deck will give you a greater amount of influence about how you play and can allow you to somewhat make it easier than if the challenges or “dungeons” were completely predetermined. That being said the cards you pick can also give you greater rewards so picking an easy lot might not always be a good idea. (more…)
Starting with a small history of me and Geometry Wars before I get into Dimensions:
Geometry Wars Retro Evolved 1 and 2 for XBLA were two of my favourite games ever and I got to the top of the leaderboard on the deadline mode in RE2, I’ve put so many hours into them that I don’t really want to think about an actual number, its one of my favourite series and the way the series was handled since the acquisition of Bizarre Creations by Activision was pretty poor (read: non-existant), especially as Retro Evolved 2 would have been coming anyway but publishing switched to Activision after the buyout.
The 2008 classic
Its been a long time coming and when it was finally announced in August last year I was very excited especially as it was releasing in the holidays and wasn’t far away, developed by ex-Bizarre Creations staff at Lucid Games Geometry Wars 3 Dimensions was unfortunately a huge disappointment to me. (more…)
A very late review of one of the launch titles for Xbox One which I have finally completed!
Crimson Dragon was originally an Xbox 360 game via Xbox Live Arcade for Kinect and was somewhat mysteriously pulled from the marketplace before launch and disappearing to become an Xbox One launch title, retaining its Kinect controls but is also playable with a controller those who wanted to play without Kinect. The game is developed by Grounding Inc helmed by Panzer Dragoon creator Yukio Futatsugi with support from Land Ho and Iron Galaxy, published by Microsoft Studios.
So how does Crimson stack up on Xbox One then? Well its a mixed bag to be honest, I did play it with a controller and to be honest its Kinect roots showed a lot. The handling of the dragon is on-rails for the most part, you can move them side to side, up and down and do barrel rolls as well, it felt kind of wooden and difficult to really move them around quickly unless you do a barrel role which always convenient is I was trying to collect some beacons but that is partly because of the stats of the dragon I had I think. The problem as I saw it was that the dragon you control takes up a lot of space on-screen because of its Kinect root, the camera needed to be further out with a smaller dragon so I can see the battlefield better. (more…)
Unmechanical was a puzzle game made by Talawa Games and published by Teotl Studios for PC and released in 2012, now its been brought to consoles with help from Grip Games and brings graphical upgrades, improvements and a brand new episode called Extended with more puzzles and story.
You control a little robot with a propeller and dangling little wire arms who has been “abducted”, the gameplay is about solving puzzles with your only ability being beam that lets you pick stuff up like rocks, metal plates, bombs etc and move them around to wherever they need to go. Unmechanical is a fairly simple game to both its strength and its weakness.
The story itself doesn’t have any dialogue, no cut scenes or any sort of cinematic focus, its told through what you do as the robot as you complete puzzles in this underground cavern facility and I liked that style, its development has clearly been focused on the puzzles and gameplay themselves rather than adding superfluous extras that don’t necessarily fit. You also can’t “die” or fail particularly, anything like a door that needs to be hurried through can be triggered again to open and let you in, its not a particularly difficult game although that doesn’t take away from how good it is.
What I found to be the most compelling part of Unmechanical was the variety in the puzzles, only having the ability to pick and move objects up might seem repetitive but the puzzles are set out with some good variety and are fun to do. The puzzles rely on a number of things to progress, such as memorising sequences, using sound, weight, the physics, timing, magnets and so on. (more…)
Originally announced for spring last year Riptide GP2 made its long-awaited début on Xbox One last week from Vector Unit developer of the XBLA hit Hydro Thunder Hurricane and mobile racers Shine Runner and Beach Buggy Blitz.
Riptide GP2 is a sequel (obviously!) to Riptide GP which is a mobile game available on Android, iOS and Windows 8.1 with some nice upgrades to justify its console release, it runs at 1080p/60fps, with extra details and improved environments, a unique 6 split-screen local multiplayer, a deep career mode and VR challenges there are enough upgrades to make it worth buying on console even if you’ve played it on another device.
The gameplay is fast, fluid and fun as you’d expect from this sort of game racing against other jets is fun and represents a reasonable challenge in the multiple events: races, elimination, freestyle and hot lap, the first two and hot lap are fairly self-explanatory, freestyle is where you need to get a certain amount of points from doing stunts on the jet as you go up ramps such as back-flips and the like, there are lots of stunts to choose from and the more difficult ones are worth more points and successfully landing a stunt will gain you boost to help you speed around the track. (more…)