SpiderHeck is one of the most enjoyable local multiplayer games I’ve played in a very long time. This game takes elements from beloved games such as Smash Bros., Worms, and N+ to combine into a wild experience that was both exciting and humourous. There were times when we would burst out laughing at the insanity on screen. SpiderHeck would make a perfect addition to any game night, especially when playing locally. There are a couple of issues that I’d love to see addressed. I should be able to sign all local players into their own accounts, but this isn’t the case. I wish there were a few more customization options for difficulty and accessibility. And I’d love the ability to create my own arenas. Despite these minor issues, SpiderHeck is absolutely brilliant. Grab some friends and play it as soon as possible.
Children of the Worm is absolutely the type of expansion that Back 4 Blood deserves. It is substantially better than the awful first expansion. This expansion brings a new Cleaner, four new enemies, and six new levels to play through. The levels feel like they’ve been carefully constructed to showcase both the new enemies, especially the snipers, and the hordes of Ridden. There are some minor annoyances, such as a ridiculous overabundance of bear traps strewn about. However, all in all, this is a worthy addition to Back 4 Blood. If the third and final Back 4 Blood expansion follows this formula, we’re in for a treat.
The Forza Horizon 5 Hot Wheels expansion is really easy to recommend if you enjoy Forza Horizon 5. It adds a brand new, Hot Wheels-themed region and 10 new Hot Wheels cars that you can earn for your collection. You’ll get hours of playtime from Hot Wheels park, from ranking up to Legend status to developing your own tracks in the creator. It’s worth noting that this Hot Wheels expansion is also quite a bit more enjoyable than the recently released Hot Wheels Unleashed game, which makes me wonder… when Playground Games are done exploring the world of Fable, maybe they should be tasked with a full-on Hot Wheels game. At any rate, I would highly recommend the Forza Horizon 5 Hot Wheels expansion.
Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium shouldn’t have much difficulty finding an audience. For folks like me who grew up in the arcades, there are plenty of nostalgic hits here that will motivate a purchase. Thankfully, gamers can purchase titles individually or as a full collection. It might be hard to justify buying the whole collection if you already own Capcom Fighting Collection. This was poor planning on Capcom’s part. Despite this, there is plenty of other content to enjoy here, including a variety of titles that can be played with a second player. I believe that this collection should have been released as more DLC for the Capcom Arcade Stadium. Still, I’m grateful to finally get a chance to play, and replay, these classic games.
The Capcom Fighting Collection is a reminder of a time when Capcom was the king of making fighting games. It’s great to finally have the opportunity to enjoy the entire Darkstalkers franchise. It would be a damn shame if Capcom didn’t follow this release up with a brand new Darkstalkers installment. While I would have preferred updated visuals, the gameplay for the most part still holds up today. I hope Capcom adds the ability to quick save in each game individually, as opposed to a shared quick save among all 10 games. While this collection only features a small fraction of the fighting games Capcom has released, it’s still a worthy release and I imagine most fighting fans will want to add it to their collection.
PAC-MAN MUSEUM+ is yet another compilation of PAC-MAN titles, most of which fans have probably played before or purchased in previous compilations. It’s not a bad mix of games, and it was a fun way to show my kids these classic PAC-MAN games. However, I still feel like this was ultimately a cash-in for PAC-MAN’s 42nd anniversary. I would hope we’ll see a better, more complete collection on his 45th or 50th anniversary. I’d love to see some PAC-MAN World Rally, the PAC-MAN World games, and PAC-MAN Vs. all included in a future compilation. For now, if you’re new to PAC-MAN, this is a great entry point. If you’re a die-hard fan, there might be a couple of PAC-MAN titles on here that you’ve been jonesing to play. For the casual fan, you’re probably better off sticking with a previous compilation you likely already own.
It’s great to see new content in Back 4 Blood, it’s a shame the developers opted to make the new areas so difficult. Visually, these new areas are bland and dull. Clearly, the focus was to provide the most hardcore of Back 4 Blood players a new challenge. For the rest of us, these new hives aren’t even worth trying. On a positive note, the two new characters are a welcome addition to the cast of heroes. Beyond that, it’s really hard to recommend the Tunnels of Terror unless you and your squad are Back 4 Blood professionals. Casual fans need not apply. What a damn shame.
Any Nickelodeon fan could easily name off a dozen or so characters notably absent from the game’s roster – as a TMNT fan, the lack of Raphel, Donatello, and the expansive list of their villains, such as Shredder, Bebop, Rocksteady, and more, is a big disappointment. I imagine we’ll get some DLC in the future, in fact, there have already been some rumours about who might be included. My only hope is that they’ll provide new stages in addition to new characters. If you’re finally bored of Smash Bros. Ultimate and need a similar alternative, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl might scratch that itch, but just barely.
Cruis’n Blast is arcade racing at its best. Yes, it’s buggy. Vehicles will clip through damn near anything. There is very little realism here. But none of that truly matters. For the 2 minutes you’re racing, it’s just this blur of fast and furious gameplay with wild, over-the-top set pieces and blazing fast speeds. While 29 tracks are included, a handful of those are very similar. I’m really hoping we’ll get a DLC drop at some point with a collection of new tracks and vehicles, just to add some longevity to the overall experience. A lack of online multiplayer doesn’t bother me but could be a downer for others. If you’ve played previous Cruis’n games before, you know what you’re getting into. I had an absolute blast playing Cruis’n Blast and highly recommend it for any speed junkies that need a quick, fun fix on their Switch.
If you’re currently an Xbox Game Pass subscriber, then you have no choice at all – download Microsoft Flight Simulator right at this moment and experience this amazing accomplishment in gaming. Yes, this game is a simulator, but it’s a simulator that does so many things right.
It’s difficult to know who Ayo the Clown was made for. The game’s visuals and story were clearly made with a younger audience in mind. Yet, the gameplay can get so frustratingly difficult, especially during boss fights, that I can’t imagine any kids wanting to play it. My oldest played a couple of levels but got bored. My middle child played a couple of levels and got frustrated because he couldn’t get the jump ability. I played the first half of the game on medium, but the boss fights were just so poorly designed, I ended up turning the difficulty down to easy to finish the game. If you’re desperate for a platformer, you might find some redeeming qualities here. Overall, the game took me under 5 hours to beat, but completionists might need an extra few hours. This game could have been something exceptional, and hopefully, the devs take this criticism as an opportunity to add more polish to the game with future updates.
Maneater is an absolutely brilliant game. In fact, it was one of my favourite games of 2020. The action-rpg style of gameplay combined with the shark mechanics creates such a unique and fresh experience, it’s hard not to recommend it to any gamer. Keep in mind though, this is about a shark that will eat damn near everything, including people, so if you have some younger shark fans in the house, you might want to reconsider exposing them to it. Though truth be told, my little guys tried it and got a kick out of it. It’s worth noting that the issues we noted in our original review are still present in this version, including the sometimes awkward controls, repetitive gameplay, and occasional wonky camera.
I Saw Black Clouds is awful. The story is stupid and confusing. Halfway through the game, you’ll be treated with this bizarre twist completely negating the first half of the story, and then the final half is a rushed mess that ruins anything the first half of the story had built up. The filming is brutally amateurish. I can’t help but think this mess could have been saved by a director who had a better understanding of camera angles, movement and so on. The only redeeming quality is that when you replay the game, you can skip any scenes you’ve previously watched – this will allow you to experience alternative scenes faster. Ultimately, there really is nothing here worth recommending. I Saw Black Clouds so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.
Lust From Beyond is a difficult title to review. On one hand, there are a variety of technical issues and design limitations, likely due to budget constraints, that make the game look dated. However, there is a nice variety of content and areas throughout the game and the story is deep and robust. The game is linear, but there are moments when it doesn’t feel linear – and there are some choices you can make that do impact certain outcomes. It’s rare that a game can create an adventure, filled with sex and nudity, without it feeling like it’s just about the sex and nudity.
I’m sure the biggest question on Crazy Taxi fan’s minds is how well does Taxi Chaos scratch that very specific itch. I can happily report that it scratches it very, very well. The Arcade and Pro modes will give you the same rush you got out of Crazy Taxi, and the new Free roam mode will have you spending hours scouring the city for hidden collectibles. Of course, if you’re not a fan of hunting down collectibles, Taxi Chaos might lose it’s steam pretty quick. The visuals do the trick, with only a few minor hiccups. There are some occasional glitches here and there – this one time I hit a weird jump and ended up flying in the air as high as the tallest buildings – but they’re few and far between. The voicework gets repetitive real quick, but eventually I just learned to zone it out. I do wish they had some licensed tracks here, but I get music licensing can be pricey. While I’ve easily logged in a dozen or so hours into Taxi Chaos, I’m still itching to get back into Free roam to find every last collectible. I truly hope the team at Team6 Game Studios are hard at work at some DLC, because I would love more content.
When I finished Call of the Sea, I couldn’t help but smile. It was such an incredible journey with an intriguing story and a well-thought-out ending. From start to finish, with the exception of a couple of frustrating puzzles, I truly enjoyed this game. Considering it’s is launching on Xbox Game Pass, there is absolutely no reason for Xbox Series X/S or Xbox One gamers to not give this gem a try. The sheer amount of love and care that went into crafting this world should be the new standard that all devs strive to achieve. I can’t wait to see what Out of the Blue have in store for us next, and I truly hope we’ll return to the world of Call of the Sea in a future title.
Bright Memory is a very, very short game. I played through it twice, each time the total game time was between 30-40 minutes in length. There isn’t a lot of reason to replay the short campaign either, save for earning Achievements – they even included an Achievement for finishing the game three times. You can dress Shelia up in four different costumes, including the ever-popular school girl outfit, but you really only see them during cutscenes. The game hits a lot of high notes visually, but some design choices, like the bizarre water drop issue and the screen tearing issues, detract from the overall presentation.
Pikmin 3 Deluxe offers the most complete version of Pikmin 3 that fans could hope for. If you’ve previously enjoyed Pikmin 3 on the Wii U, there isn’t a ton of reasons to come back, except for a handful of new bonus missions, added difficulty options, achievements, and the ability to play the entire game via local co-op. Make no mistake, Pikmin 3 Deluxe is an absolutely brilliant game, and everyone who owns a Switch owes it to themselves to experience it first hand. Pikmin games are a truly unique and pleasurable experience unlike any other real-time strategy on the market. Still not convinced? Nintendo has a Pikmin 3 Deluxe demo available on the eShop and your progress will carry over to the full version. However, it is worth reiterating that I really wish Nintendo took the extra step to include both Pikmin 1 and 2 in this package. The entire series should be available for everyone to enjoy. With that said, don’t sleep on Pikmin 3 Deluxe, it’s a plucking good time and just enough to tide us over as we continue the long wait for Pikmin 4.