Thomas Whitehead


82 games reviewed
77.7 average score
80 median score
58.5% of games recommended
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This is the third time we've reviewed this game, on each occasion a more feature-packed and improved iteration. Despite its 2010 roots - and pop culture references to match that time - it stands up extremely well, as pixels this stylish and action this chaotic don't lose their edge. Retro City Rampage DX is still an anarchic, almost overloaded game that bombards the senses while, at the same time, maintaining impressive polish in its gameplay. Whether you're playing it for the crazy story, excessive retro-styled violence or a mix of both, it still has the goods.

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7 / 10 - Piczle Lines DX
Sep 4, 2017

Piczle Lines DX is relatively pricey (at launch) for a download puzzle game, but it offers 300+ sizeable and quality picture conundrums to solve; it'll take most players a long time to solve every image. It's a fun mechanic that feels like a clever combination of other puzzle styles, and the option to detach the Joy-Con and use the touchscreen alone also makes it an appealing game for a bit of quiet downtime slouched in a comfortable chair. Its smartphone legacy lets it down a little in presentation, and beyond solving lots of puzzles it's lacking any smart variations in modes or even multiplayer. Nevertheless, in terms of serving up plenty of challenging content it does the job rather well.

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Aug 28, 2017

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a must have for Switch-owning fans of turn-based tactical games. More importantly, such is the style and depth on offer that it's also ideal for those that haven't played much of the genre, for whom 'X-COM' sounds like a silly acronym from a war movie. It introduces the concept in the best possible way, and then utilises its own ideas for what becomes a smart and - at times - deliciously challenging experience.It's perfectly acceptable to be surprised by Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, as many have been since its E3 reveal. The end result delivers on all of the potential that we could suddenly see back in June; even if you don't actually like the Rabbids, this game - and its familiar Mario cast and setting - is so good that Ubisoft's mascots are likeable. Well, almost.

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9 / 10 - Sonic Mania
Aug 16, 2017

Sonic Mania is a true return to form for the mascot, in his 2D 'Classic' guise at least. It celebrates the glory days of the original games while also enhancing their qualities and taking on new ideas. From new areas, imaginative second acts and some delightful boss encounters, the development team has poured a lot of passion and talent into the project. The occasional bug and a couple of brief and cheap areas deprive it of Sonic-style perfection, but it's pretty darn close.Is it the best Sonic game ever? It's in the conversation, though the classics it's honouring may stake a claim for slightly greater 'flow' in the campaigns. Frankly, it's better just to call it a dead heat and skip the argument - Sonic Mania belongs in the company of the games to which it pays tribute - the Blue Blur is back.

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Aug 10, 2017

Infinite Minigolf is another solid arrival on the Switch eShop, and most importantly adds to the steadily growing variety of genres and themes on the store. It does a very nice job of delivering over-the-top, entertaining minigolf, with plenty of official and user-created content to keep players busy. The downsides are slightly baffling systems and a crowded user interface, and the fact that some less experienced gamers may find the required precision for shots a little too demanding. Overall, however, this one is definitely under par - in a good way.

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6 / 10 - Hey! Pikmin
Jul 26, 2017

For fans of the series Hey! Pikmin will undoubtedly be tempting, and it also serves as a cute and accommodating introduction to the franchise for 3DS owners. Despite its strong points, though, it has that feel of a 'second-tier' Nintendo release, not helped by the limitations that 2D play places on the core concept. It's solid but a tad uninspiring, fun but unsurprising, accessible but lacking in witty design. The best Nintendo games achieve the high points with no sacrifices, but it's here that Hey! Pikmin falls slightly short.Ultimately it's a decent game, and younger gamers in particular - or those that want a gentle introduction to Pikmin - will likely get the most pleasure and mileage out of it. For everyone else it's worth going in with sensible expectations.

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Jul 9, 2017

Cars 3: Driven to Win falls for some of the pitfalls that are expected of a game released to coincide with a movie's arrival in theatres. Rather rushed, rough around the edges and with minor but persistent annoyances, older players will certainly recognise the symptoms.That said, it hits top gear in some respects. Its gameplay mechanics are rather fun once grasped, there are a variety of modes and tracks to master, and despite its sidenote of a narrative it goes big on the film series' charms. Young gamers and fans of the films will likely get beyond its flaws and rather enjoy what it does well, and it comes across as a game that was pushed out the door early but, nevertheless, was developed with some pride. It's a bit of a 'banger' in car terms, but it has a good lick of paint and a good engine - one to pick up on a whim or at a discount, perhaps.

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Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas is an ambitious title that does some things rather well, finding a way to endear itself to players. It has a few problems, some from design choices and others from its mobile legacy that should have been adjusted for console, but what it doesn't lack is heart. The desire of the developers to pay homage to classic adventure series, but in their own way, shines through. It's a flawed title, but if you're willing to overlook those issues you may find it to be an enjoyable experience on the Switch eShop.

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May 25, 2017

Disgaea 5 Complete is a tough game to judge. On the positive side it offers an extraordinary volume of content, its own quirky approach to storytelling and a complex set of systems that complement each other well. Unlike some other major strategy RPG IPs, however, it struggles to present its complexity in a cohesive way, with a user interface that groans under the weight of its goals. Fans of the game and series likely adore this hardcore approach, but some more familiar with strategy games that are more focused and precise in their execution may find it hard to fall in love with all of those layers of detail. There are so many terrific parts to the game, but they get somewhat jumbled together.For Disgaea fans this game is worth a purchase, especially as it includes all DLC from the original and plays beautifully on the go. For strategy RPG fans we still give it a hearty recommendation, but with the proviso that it's more demanding and tougher to master than many of its genre contemporaries. If you're up for the challenge and time investment, and can tolerate its zany characters and settings, then it's well worth adding to your Nintendo Switch collection.

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9 / 10 - Thumper
May 18, 2017

Thumper is a fantastic video game, an extravagant rhythm experience that's also a brutal assault on the senses. It's extremely difficult, painfully so at times, yet we feel the need to persevere, retrying tough stages over and over again. Even when that's done the drive for better ranks remains, simply because the game compels us to play on.The level of challenge, though, shouldn't be underestimated - even for strong players short sessions may become necessary in the latter third of the game, in particular. The only real flaw of Thumper, in actual fact, is that it offers so little respite and no 'easy' mode for players. Some may scoff at that, saying it's a game designed to be tough, but the downside is that without that optional concession the game will be inaccessible and impenetrable for some players.That's a pity, as for those up for the challenge it's a wonderful - albeit gruelling - gaming experience.

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