God’s Trigger is a smorgasbord of twin stick goodness. It takes the challenge of Hotline Miami, the genre innovations of Mr Shifty, blends it with a fun, pulpy if shallow narrative and then blends it with as much blood splatter as humanly possible. It doesn’t do anything particularly new but it does provide a twitchy, immensely gratifying 9 hours of action with the occasional satisfying set piece.
It’s the repetition that truly hampers The Princess Guide however. Aside from new traps to use and increasingly larger and more dangerous foes to fight, very little changes throughout the game. Beat up monsters. Move on to next area. Beat up Monsters. Repeat Ad infinitum. Because the mechanics are either poorly explained or shallowly implemented, the sheen of this game wears thin very quickly and without the unique aspects of its predecessor Penny-Punching Princess, it becomes a slog very quickly.
Despite its issues, The Occupation is thrilling, even with its lack of traditional life threatening situations. Hiding behind chairs to wait for Steve the Security guard to leave after you’ve accidentally set off an alarm, nervously awaiting the full 2 minutes for a safe to open while desperately hoping someone doesn’t walk in on you, hiding under a desk while a file slowly transfers to a disk, waiting just out of view until someone opens a door than attempting to follow them in unseen – The Occupation is full of moment to moment nail biting situations where time is your enemy and your most precious resource.
As Twin-Stick shooters go, The Walking Vegetables: Radical Edition is a competent entry. If you’re a fan of the genre and play a lot of them, as this critic does, this game might feel a little too familiar though. It makes no attempt to break new ground or innovate on any of its mechanics, meaning that despite fighting off a unique enemy in the form of fruit and vegetables, you might as well be playing any number of other titles in the genre.
Crimson Keep has very few redeeming qualities. The reflective light effects on the monsters look great, the procedural generation means that each new run is different and the music is pleasant enough. That’s about it. Roguelike purists that can dedicate enough time and effort to overcome this game’s hefty challenge might get a kick out of dying repeatedly here – but in a genre that’s becoming ever more accommodating and innovative, the luck dependent progress, sluggish combat and deeply punitive nature of the game feels archaic compared to its modern day peers.
That’s the crux of The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame. It is little more than a curated version of LEGO Worlds with the procedural generation removed and quests strung together to form a semi-coherent path through the loose beats of the movie plot. While this does divorce itself from the formula that TT Games have used for 14 years, delivering on the change that many have called for for years, it’s sorely lacking in the kind of whimsical charm, comedy, quest variety and purposeful design that the series has become famous for.
Unfortunately, while the past 4 instalments in the Far Cry series have all been excellent, New Dawn is not. The post-apocalyptic paint job and garish yet joyful weaponry do nothing to hide the fact that you’re doing exactly the same thing once again – except this time it’s pink and are facing off against even less interesting villains. The best moments of Far Cry New Dawn are when it’s referencing what happened in Far Cry 5 and for a pseudo-sequel, this shouldn’t be the case.
While the core of ChromaGun hasn’t changed since 2017, with ChromaGun VR it’s a vastly more enjoyable and immersive experience, almost as if this was its natural home. While there’s still some frustrations around puzzleS being able to become unsolvable with a simple misfire, potentially throwing away 10 minutes of progress, other frustrations have been cast aside thanks to the VR control methods. As far as I’m concerned, ChromaGun VR is the definitive way to experience this game.
Some mild frustrations and pacing aside, Pikuniku is disarmingly agreeable, revelling in the random while telling a surreal and well-structured story. Both my kids (they’re the reason this review is so far after release, hogging the Switch to play this) and I have had a tonne of fun with this game, inspiring bemused, furrowed brows and face splitting smiles a plenty.
As imaginary sports games go, FutureGrind is one of the most rewarding on the PS4 – not because of any in game trophy or narrative pay off. No, it’s because everything in FutureGrind is achievable but challenging and any failure is because you’re thumb wasn’t fast enough or you weren’t paying enough attention.
What could have been a decent sized expansion to 8-Bit Armies has shaped into its own fully fledged release, for which it probably deserves. More charming and fun than a simple reskin though, 8-Bit Hordes is an accessible Warcraft-meets-Command & Conquer RTS that’s as deep as you want it to be but comes with many of the same issues as its predecessor.
Smoke and Sacrifice is a visually splendid survival RPG that has a strong narrative and a well designed and implemented resource system. The PS4 version is also a great port of the PC version, the control system feeling natural and intuitive. The repetition and bland fetch quests, coupled with hit and miss combat (pun intended) however, mean that getting to the games best moments can occasionally feel like a slog.
Nubla 2 showed some promise in the half an hour of actual game play I managed to get with it – but a glitch in Chapter 1 followed by the game becoming quite literally unplayable because it won’t let me get past the initial menu means any and all of that potential is squandered.
As a port of a mobile game, Lightwood Games have done a good job of bringing their One Word by POWGI game to PS4. It works flawlessly on consoles. For those desperate to play word puzzles on their PS4, this (and POWGI’s other titles) are the only real options. The “written for a lift” music, forgettable nature of some of the quotes and unnecessarily obtuse nature in how they’re often presented however means there’s plenty of other, better, cheaper competition out there – just not on the PS4. Still, an easy Platinum trophy will make the hunters’ dreams come true.
Jagged Alliance Rage! isn’t the threequel we’ve been patiently waiting for. Instead, this is a spin off the does things a little bit differently, some of which lands and some of which doesn’t, especially on consoles. The humour and light heartedness does carry much of this game because without it, you could be playing any number of grid bound, turn based games. It’s this attitude though that makes it assuredly a Jagged Alliance game worthy of the name that’ll carry you through till 3 finally sees the light of day.
An unnecessary story and a small niggle aside, Big Crown Showdown is an enjoyable, accessible, family friendly party game that’s suitable for any gamer, no matter how small. It’s a colourful tool for getting up to mischief with a group of friends on your couch or across the world with online play. Having a party this Christmas and want a new game to play? Give some serious consideration to adding Big Crown Showdown to the mix.