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.
Youtubers Life OMG Edition is a life simulator first and foremost, with the U-Tuber aspect almost irrespective of the core game cycle. In fact, you could seamlessly replace “recording Youtube videos” with “creating song” or “recording podcast” and this could quite easily be “Garageband Life” or “Soundcloud Life” instead. Where the game does succeed is to highlight how a Youtuber’s life is, I imagine, bizarre and hard work at times, especially when you’ve got creepy events like fans offering you cash for an item of your clothes. It’s droll and witty at times but a slog and confusing at others, presents a skin deep interpretation of dating but with a strangely appealing structure that keeps you playing. While the core cycle has been done many times before and better than it is here, there’s a youthful, innocent charm to Youtubers Life that’s undeniable. Unfortunately, that doesn’t cover up all the peculiar leaps of logic and the pedestrian, mundane nature of the game.
If Gunfire Games fix the technical issues with Darksiders 3 – and I sincerely hope they get that chance – this will then be the sequel that the series deserves. As of right now though, this game is showing far too many frayed edges, bugs and glitches that’ll be enough to make you Furious.
The base Let’s Sing 2019 package is a sold, feature filled singing game with an eclectic yet mildly disappointing mix of music that’s best played with Microphones because of issues with the mobile app. It’s a shame that so many of the more iconic songs have been reserved for the DLC packs, making the Platinum version of this game the best/more expensive option for the game. At the current price though (£49.99), it’s still less than 80 pence per song, which is a good deal. If you’re looking for a night in with a group of friends, a bottle of wine and a sing-song, Let’s Sing 2019 is peerless right now. Just make sure you have some microphones handy.
Despite some initially awkward controls, a few difficulty spikes and some fool hardy camera angles, Steel Rats is a wheelie good time. An excellent art style, nuanced and enjoyable combat, testing platforming, metroidvania-esque level design, meaty audio and some unique traversal mechanics combine to make this game feel much bigger than the sum of its unoriginal parts. While it’s not going to win any Game of the Year awards, this is a game that’ll keep you highly entertained for a week or so.
Timber Tennis: Versus will become repetitive long before you’re unlocked every skin it has to offer and doesn’t do anything unique, proving to be little more than super powered Pong when you really get down to it. A lack of innovation however doesn’t detract from what is a fun little pixel art arcade game with surprising tactical depth and a cracking soundtrack.
Grip: Combat Racing is a content filled tribute to a fan favourite racer from the good ol’ days. If you liked Rollcage, you’ll likely love Grip. Slick combat, fast racing, splendid visuals and a pumping soundtrack from the likes of Hospital Records including Full Kontact and Mart-E that’s driving you ever forward, it’s a joy to play…eventually. The track design and it’s lack of obvious visual clues on where to go next, however, make the first few hours with Grip a litany of crashes against its unpolished edges.
A lack of official music from the TV show and being devoid of any vocals from the pups themselves does dampen the excellent attention to detail applied elsewhere however, which is a big disappointment to the young fan in my house who is so used to singing along to the theme song and to the Pup Pup boogie.