Thomas Whitehead


97 games reviewed
77.6 average score
80 median score
61.9% of games recommended
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While Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS was below the standards of its original in our view (and scored as such), the same can't be said of Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World. It takes fantastic original material and carefully adapts it for the portable, with extras compensating for one lost feature. In the process it becomes an elite 3DS 2D platformer, joining its Wii U predecessor in that company.If you have the Wii U version it's a tough decision on whether to double dip; both versions deliver the same terrific core game. If you haven't played this on Wii U and like Yoshi, 2D platformers or charming games, though, then this is a must-have for the 3DS.

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5 / 10 - Soul Axiom
Dec 23, 2016

Soul Axiom has some strong points to make it potentially enticing for eShop enthusiasts; it works hard to deliver an interesting narrative, there are plenty of hours of play, and it's atmospheric and intriguing at times. There are downsides though, with performance and puzzle design often middling and sometimes poor, which both drag the experience back somewhat. Perhaps worth a punt - at a budget price - for fans of first-person puzzles, but Soul Axiom sadly doesn't deliver to its full potential.

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Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS doesn't match the Wii U original in terms of visual polish or amiibo support, nor does it have the vibrant online scene that defined that title. Despite this, there are smart design choices that compensate for these inevitable shortcomings, with additions that enable quicker and more educated level design, along with Super Mario Challenge, a large set of official levels that's more structured and enjoyable than equivalent modes in the HD iteration.For those without a Wii U, Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS is a no-brainer, as it's a lot of Mario on one cartridge and a terrific creative toolset. For those with a Wii U it's a tougher call, as the HD original offers smart online features and sharing, even though the portable iteration offers a strong offline and solo playing experience. On its own merits, however, avoiding those comparisons, this 3DS version of an elite Wii U title deserves plenty of credit - it's a big success for small screens.

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Nov 16, 2016

The cross-buy option makes Futuridium EP Deluxe an easy choice for Wii U and New 3DS owners. If you only have the portable, however, then it's well worth a purchase - it's one of only a small number of downloads on the updated hardware that truly shows what it can do in unison with Unity. It's fun, flashy and just occasionally frustrating, and also a welcome part of the New 3DS library.

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Oct 5, 2016

Mario Party: Star Rush achieves its goals. It's entertaining, charming and offers some easy-going minigame fun. The main modes have a nice variety and sense of purpose, and aside from two duds the overall offering includes a mix of longer-form and quickfire gameplay options. The free 'Guest' download is a brilliant touch for quick and easy local multiplayer with only one full copy on hand, and even though the minigame collection isn't Nintendo's finest we've enjoyed some light-hearted - and occasionally feisty - games with family and friends.Mario Party: Star Rush may not excel in many ways, but it addresses some complaints from past entries and delivers some harmless entertainment. We're not sure you should rush out to buy it, but it still shows that Mario and company can be stars of a party.

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Oct 3, 2016

SteamWorld Heist on Wii U is exactly what we expected - a high quality Wii U iteration of a game that was already fantastic on 3DS. The wider field of view and sharper graphics are certainly appealing, and this remains a game that can easily keep players engaged for hour after hour. Image & Form struck gold with its blend of turn-based strategy and skill-based combat, and it's stolen our affections all over again now that it's arrived on Nintendo's home console.

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Sep 27, 2016

Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice is - rather like its predecessor - a solid effort and worth consideration on 3DS. The core campaign blends a variety of styles, with the main stages employing an enjoyable mix of exploration and puzzle solving with moments of satisfying momentum and speed. There are some slightly disappointing downsides, and it's a game that occasionally feels constrained rather than supported by its source material. Overall, however, it deserves credit for what it does well, and should certainly be tempting to fans of the show and also broader Sonic enthusiasts willing to accept its limitations.

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LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is certainly worth strong consideration for Wii U gamers. It's the most fun we've had with a LEGO game in quite some time, as a matter of fact - smart design, some gameplay variety and a surprisingly impressive amount of content all weigh heavily in its favour. It strikes us as a game that had one of the more experienced and imaginative TT Games teams at the helm, and it charmed and entertained us over a number of hours.Though it's one of the most enjoyable LEGO games we've played recently, it loses a point or two from us simply due to performance issues on Wii U. It struggles to maintain a tolerable framerate in co-op, and even has some tough moments in single player. That's a pity, but we still recommend it overall. This one fails to fully complete its Jedi training on Wii U, ultimately, but it's still strong in the Force.

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Jul 21, 2016

Futuridium EP Deluxe provides a fresh experience on the eShop, with vibrant visuals, a pumping soundtrack and a neat twist on its genre. It's also reserved for skilful players, with demanding stage designs being at turns exciting and frustrating. For those that are up to the challenge, though, this is a stylish and enjoyable effort that's well worth a look on Wii U.

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Jul 12, 2016

Monster Hunter Generations is another must-have for fans of the franchise, blending the old with the new for an excellent overall package. Hunter Styles add a little extra intensity and tempo to combat while this game also tries to welcome newcomers with optional tutorials, with Prowler mode undoubtedly designed to be quirky and alluring to players of all kinds. It does some things better than its immediate predecessor - Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate - but also a couple of things a little less impressively. The nod to nostalgia brings a lot of locations and quests to keep players busy, but loses a little of the narrative edge and focus of its predecessor.Generations, overall, is the match of its predecessors that also boasts some innovations and improvements. This franchise is yet to reach near-perfection (total perfection is impossible, of course), but it's still one of the most enjoyable and immersive time-sinks to be found on Nintendo hardware. For any gamer ready for a long-term challenge, with tough battles and plenty of complexity to master, this is most certainly worth hunting down.

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May 25, 2016

Kirby: Planet Robobot takes a lot of the good work of Kirby: Triple Deluxe and adds a mechanised spark to proceedings. The addition of Kirby in a mech is good, silly fun, and there's pleasing variety to stage designs - HAL is on good form here, with puzzles and vehicular sections in particular that enhance the overall experience. The Story Mode itself is excellent, and the extra minigames then give players more to do, not to mention the task of finding and unlocking all of the items (and stickers) in the campaign to get that 100% completion statistic.There's a lot of Kirby for your money here, and the pink fluffball is at the top of his game.

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As a free app that provides an incentive to explore amiibo, Mini Mario & Friends: amiibo Challenge is a good effort. It offers a nice taster for those with non-Mario-themed toys, with 12 levels to tackle, and adds enjoyable twists and extra content for those with the correct figures. It's a fun if not premium experience, with some rather uninspired level designs mixed in with moments of greater quality - for amiibo fans it's well worth a look.

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May 18, 2016

On one level Tachyon Project is quite a cruel game, making old writers with slowing reflexes question their gaming abilities. More importantly, though, it's enjoyable and represents the work of a development team committed to producing a quality download title. From solid mechanics and smart gameplay to online leaderboards and neat touches like stat tracking, it immediately sets its stall as a game worth investing in.Though there are a few flaws and the difficulty level makes it a game for those with fast thumbs, Tachyon Project is well worth consideration on Wii U. For fast-paced twin-stick shooting action there aren't many better options on the eShop.

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May 5, 2016

Pocket Card Jockey is a relatively impressive effort from Game Freak, with terrific presentation, an abundance of charm and hugely addictive gameplay. For some players that's enough to make it a must-have, but there is a caveat - it's also poorly balanced, delivering a video game representation of the futility of compulsive betting. You can be the best player in the world and still lose, or have a mediocre round and win a minor race anyway. It inflates prices, sets ridiculous odds and makes you sweat for every reward, with your fates often in the hands of the pocket Gods. Yet it's addictive and fun, so you might not mind - for this writer, though, it left a tinge of regret at time wasted, where effort didn't seem to be rewarded.Pocket Card Jockey is absolutely worth consideration and will hook many gamers with its irreverent and addictive gameplay, but beneath its charming veneer is a cruel world of lost bets and unfair odds.

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Mar 31, 2016

Infinity Runner offers some slapdash, silly fun for those that like the idea of a first-person runner with some werewolf segments thrown in. Rather like a straight to TV movie, however, its entertainment-factor is betrayed by sloppy presentation and some technical shortcomings. It's worth a punt if the concept is appealing, but falls well short of its full potential.

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Mar 24, 2016

Even if the old movie jokes and spoof characters aren't to your taste, REPLAY: VHS is Not Dead nevertheless offers a clever, enjoyable puzzle experience. It can be a mind-bending challenge to set three characters on carefully timed movements to clear stages full of contraptions, and figuring out those machinations requires patience and practice. For those up to the challenge this offers great value and interesting playtime; this is one to enjoy rather than overwrite.

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The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD is an excellent addition to the Wii U library. We do acknowledge that it's a series entry that has its critics, with them often citing a lack of revolution from the Ocarina of Time template, in particular. Those that feel that way have little incentive to revisit it on Wii U, but this writer certainly feels that it stands on its own as an accomplished game - opinions, when it comes to a series as immersive and demanding as The Legend of Zelda, are everything.Beyond that, what we have here is an attractive remaster with some nice additions, encompassing improved controls, visuals and enjoyable extras for fans. It's a deep, involving 30+ hour adventure, which draws the player in with plenty of honesty and soul; we're certainly glad this one has come to light.

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Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty has had a protracted journey to the Wii U, and remnants of that legacy can be found here. Overall, however, we have an attractive, beautifully designed and clever platformer on the eShop, which is also fairly unique on the store. Sometimes a wait is worthwhile, and this one's odyssey to reach Nintendo hardware was worth the effort.

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Feb 16, 2016

LEGO Marvel's Avengers is a mixed experience on Wii U. In solo play there's plenty of content and typical LEGO-style fun to be had, with the extended Avengers cast well used for a variety of gameplay styles, combat moves and environmental puzzles. The Wii U version suffers from poor performance in co-op, however, with some dips and rough edges also to be found in solo play; these factors take some of the shine away. Fans of LEGO games and the Avengers movies will find plenty to like, but technical shortcomings mean it falls short of its full potential.

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Jan 28, 2016

Shadow Puppeteer is certainly a welcome addition to the Wii U eShop. The concept of the boy and his shadow is cleverly implemented, and there are some standout moments of level design combined with a strong sense of artistic style. There are some rough edges, however, in terms of some scratchy framerate and animation issues, a soundtrack that may be divisive at points and occasional slip-ups in design and implementation. The overall impression is a positive one, but occasionally the lights of this puppet show flicker, making the strings visible and taking away a little bit of the magic.

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