Overruled! has a few decent ideas in hand, the game-changing card system is especially quaint and brings much needed elements of luck to an easily mastered game. The local experience is phenomenal and proves to be close to couch warfare at its best, but simply falls flat on its face everywhere else.
Hyper Void is not without its fair share of fun, producing some eccentric and vibrant experiences with its procedural environments. Unfortunately, it's still very light on additional content and offers next to no incentive to continue the fight once you've exhausted the short run of levels.
There's a clear feeling of Martyr being spread way too thin across all the ideas at play, and pretty much every aspect of the game suffers as a result. If it could've trimmed some of the fat and instead focused on a select few features and mechanics, we might well have had a ground-breaking 40K release on our hands. Instead, what we're left with is a half-baked example of what could've been. Buried under its own ambitions to be everything at once is a solid Warhammer 40K story and a slow-burning, serviceable ARPG experience whose shortcomings may be more easily excused by fans of the source material the developers so honorably follow.
Dark Souls III: Ashes of Ariandel misses the mark. It fails to fill a large, fresh environment with tangible reasons to stay there any longer than a few hours, and although the new weapons and gear are some of the best in the game, you'll want to play about with them somewhere other than The Painted World. Each boss battle feels generic and produces a dead end, feeling unrelated as a result. The experience constantly builds itself up but never climaxes, falling flat without spectacle leaving you to lug your new arsenal of weapons and gear back to the Firelink Shrine, your work in The Painted World apparently complete. The Arena finally constructs a functional environment for something long curated by the community, but removes something in the process thanks to reward-less matches that fail to emulate the underground fight club feeling found in the main game.
Schrödinger's Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark's heart is certainly in the right place; for the most part it offers a weird and solid platforming experience in an original format only to become bogged down by bland level design and often unnecessarily complex gameplay mechanics. It's an admirable premise that certainly aims to offer insight and accessibility to one of science's most intimidating concepts, but loses focus and steam in all of the wrong places.
It's colorful and quite ridiculous; it's simple, accessible and well populated. Hardware: Rivals has most of the ingredients present to cook up a fantastic arcade experience, but it's missing a vital ingredient: fun. The sluggish pace that permeates everything from movement and destruction to respawning and leveling up constantly holds it back. Even unlocks are few in number and, being mostly cosmetic, carry little to no incentive in the first place. If someone hooked Hardware: Rivals up to an espresso drip, then we'd certainly have an entirely different game. Alas, there's a solid mound of squandered potential here, below a deceptively enticing facade.
It's an undeniably cute platforming adventure that's sure to provide a good few hours of enjoyment, but this is mostly due to it not stepping out of the norm. The Adventures of Pip does little wrong simply by not doing much at all, its colorful stages, tight mechanics and often humorous writing are all disappointingly dulled by an overwhelming and unshakeable sense of déja vu.
It doesn't cover any new ground, or do anything of great significance, but Fat Princess Adventures is a solid and playful RPG experience in its own right. It's a relaxed title that'll be a sure hit with most, especially if you turn the excessive blood off for your kids. Combat is overly basic and often gets too hectic while the presence of the run-of-the-mill story is more than welcome. It's a new bake for the Fat Princess franchise, one that's at least worth a bite.
If you're a die-hard Duke devotee, then World Tour is probably your holy grail, bringing the original onto new hardware with some gimmicky yet functional additions, delivering the most definitive Nukem romp yet. For the Duke Nukem virgins among you, though, it's probably best putting this back on the shelf to wait for a drastic price drop. Although it's nowhere near the mess that Duke Nukem Forever was, this massive heap of fan service will fail to resonate with those unaccustomed to the breed of shooter found back in the 90s.
The asymmetrical multiplayer genre seems to be a real tough nut to crack with each heavy hitter coming out swinging, only to be plagued by nuances that trip up the experience and expose debilitating cracks in the mechanics. Unfortunately, it seems that Dead by Daylight suffers much the same fate. It's honestly really good fun, but the more you play the more its issues rear their head and become points of ire.
With such a long-running pedigree, it's easy to see why Team 17 hasn't even attempted to re-invent the worm destroying wheel with Worms Battlegrounds. This is a competent game, but it's barely a refinement of a release that you've almost certainly already played. The dated gameplay, exaggerated British humour, and wacky weaponry mean that this will please if you're looking for more of the same – but while fans will simply be satisfied to see the series slither onto the PS4, newcomers may ponder how the franchise has even made it this far.
Surgeon Simulator: Anniversary Edition's concept will almost certainly be lost on a few, but if you play with a combination of patience and trial and error, then you'll often yield positive results. The clunky controls are unforgivable, but its humorous attitude towards surgery is endearing, creating an experience that's as weird as it is funny. This isn't a game for perfectionists looking for a true simulation of a busy A&E department: it's more like a training ground for psychopaths looking to learn the ropes, shave a few eyebrows, and play with lasers.
For all its promise of revolution, Evolve seems to consistently trip where its spiritual predecessor – Left 4 Dead – seemed to excel. The balancing is actually too good, causing it to fall apart when someone doesn't play correctly. The monster gameplay is pleasantly the best aspect, but feels undercooked anywhere else but Hunt mode. This is surely a game that'll only improve as its community stabilises, but right now it's hard to recommend unless you've got a group of willing friends.
A handful of matches with Stardust Vanguards is actually heaps of fun and will certainly be shortlisted among the usual titles picked for game nights. The hectic sci-fi vibe is brilliant and the soundtrack is a thumping thing of beauty. Sadly, things can grind to a halt after a few games and the things that got you going several rounds earlier aren't doing anything for you now. It's a specific game for a specific time and place, made even more specific thanks to its purely local set up which acts as both a blessing and a curse, in almost equal measure. It's hard to pinpoint why it suffers with fatigue quite so badly but, irrespective, it's fully worth having in your library, albeit just for that one night in with your friends you'll all remember for a long time to come.
The Fall takes inspiration from all the right games, merging Metroid-style platforming and atmosphere with Dark Souls difficulty and Portal writing. Its deep and thoughtful explorations into the technicalities of AI are intelligent and surprisingly thought provoking. It's unfortunately hindered by clunky mechanics and overly complicated puzzles that often border on the obtuse when it comes to the specifics required to finish them. Google will be your best friend when playing through this, but try and avoid cheating or giving up entirely; solving The Fall's conundrums is actually somewhat worth the hassle for once, proving to be a creative and rewarding challenge that shows creativity and promise.
Bedlam is undeniably an enjoyable kick for those who grew up in the '80s and '90s, surely drawing from personal experiences with the games it's emulating. The eccentricities found in Brookmyre's writing may work to alienate those merely passing through, but for those drawn in by the familiarity of its charming block graphics it'll simply be an added bonus. If you're still missing the days of dial-up LAN games of Quake then this is well worth a look, but if you have no idea what that first sentence meant, well you're probably better off giving it a miss altogether.
Not as light on content as its predecessors, the core mechanics of Skullgirls continues to work beautifully on almost every level. Staggeringly good animation dolls up its unforgiving control scheme, while the bonkers roster provides innumerable strategies and play styles. It's brutish welcome is certain to dissuade many newcomers with unrelenting AI and unnecessarily obscure move lists, but those that make it past the opening trials will be rewarded with one of the most unique and charming 2D fighters in a long time.
Assassin's Creed: The Ezio Collection wasn't exactly heavily requested, but here it is anyway. While the trilogy is starting to show its age, this is unquestionably the best way to experience it if that's something you want to do. Some minor visual hiccups aside, each instalment of Ezio's story is present and intact here, and, quite frankly, having them all in a single package is an incredible amount of game for your money whichever way you cut it.