Thomas Whitehead


97 games reviewed
77.6 average score
80 median score
61.9% of games recommended
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6 / 10 - Watch Dogs
Nov 27, 2014

Watch Dogs is a bold, ambitious game that delivers well in some areas, though nevertheless feels like an iteration away from reaching its potential; the inevitable Watch Dogs 2 could be one to keep an eye on. It's a sizeable, enjoyable game, but one that is let down on the Wii U by poor optimisation and disappointing performance; the frame-rate is inconsistent but tolerable while on foot, but often struggles badly when driving. It's possible to play Watch Dogs and work through these bottlenecks, but that shouldn't be expected of the gamer in a big-budget, pricey retail experience.

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Nov 30, 2014

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a rare case of a game that feels truly designed — from the ground up — with the Wii U in mind. The GamePad is utilised just enough to be worthwhile without being a nuisance, and the only mis-step is that the difficulty later in the game can't be eased by assistance from a friend, parent or game-savvy son or daughter. That aside, it's relentlessly charming and joyous, and is another example of Nintendo's developers flexing their creative muscles along with game-making skill. There's nothing else like this on Wii U, and it's a welcome addition to the system's growing library.

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Jan 29, 2015

Gunman Clive 2 successfully avoids the pitfalls that can befall sequels; it offers fresh ideas along with familiar excellence, and provides a notable improvement over its predecessor. Its stylish action platforming - along with dabbles in other approaches - combines with distinguished audio-visual presentation to deliver another gem for the 3DS eShop. We recommend it as a must buy for fans of action platformers, especially those that enjoy retro nods and winks with their modern day experiences - this one's a straight shooter.

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Feb 10, 2015

If you're a Monster Hunter fan the answer is simple, buy this game - it's a significant undertaking but utterly enthralling once you're drawn in. There's a greater sense of story to make the single-player exploits a little more interesting than is typical, and online is slick and performs well; lack of voice chat is a blow, nevertheless. New weapons, locations and monsters make this a treat for fans, if still intimidating to those considering a first dip; yet if you're up for the investment in time, this is another special experience from Capcom. A true portable blockbuster.

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Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy+ is a minor and slightly cheeky update - despite Nintendo planes and amiibo support it's certainly not worth a double dip for those with the original. It does serve as a handy reminder to those that ignored it first-time around, however, and it's an entertaining arcade experience that does its job as throwaway action fun. It's the sort of title that one can revisit every once in a while, just to fly through the skies and pretend it's the '80s and that Top Gun is cool. Often silly but always enjoyable, it's certainly worth some air miles for new recruits.

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Mar 25, 2015

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is a high-quality port of one of the Wii's most demanding yet brilliant experiences. A sizeable and stunningly diverse world, full of wildlife and fantastical cultures, is admirably recreated for the small screens of the New Nintendo 3DS. Its natural home may be on the TV, but this release gives more gamers an opportunity to set off on a lengthy and dramatic adventure. A brilliant portable version of a true classic, fans of RPGs willing to commit themselves to the task of saving Bionis shouldn't hesitate to pick this up - it is, quite simply, the biggest world we've experienced on such small screens.

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Apr 5, 2015

Affordable Space Adventures is a unique game that can only conceivably work this well on the Wii U, though the 3DS could be a decent alternative in future. It not only utilises the GamePad, but makes it integral to the experience, while tackling it solo or with others is equally rewarding. There's evident devotion to small details and quality from the developers, and though it's over relatively soon we wouldn't have missed this adventure for the world. There's nothing else quite like this out there, and it's certainly a trip worth taking.

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May 21, 2015

Swords & Soldiers II is the sequel that the WiiWare classic truly deserves, and it represents a new-gen upgrade that shines as an example of genuine quality on the eShop. Its blend of 2D strategy remains fun and frantic, with just occasional moments where the pieces don't add up perfectly, while the whole title is polished and constructed with detail and care. With a hefty range of units and the freedom to tackle an entertaining campaign or create custom battles, it also offers plenty of premium value.

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Jun 21, 2015

Yoshi's Woolly World has been a long time coming, but it's been absolutely worth the wait. It's accomplished platforming within Yoshi's quirky and unique template, and has enough soft cuteness to charm young gamers and melt the hearts of the most jaded of veteran gamers.

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5 / 10 - Devil's Third
Aug 26, 2015

Devil's Third is tricky to recommend, ultimately. There's undoubted fun to be had online, but at the same time this is an action game that sells Wii U gamers short. It's packed with good intentions and ambition, but Valhalla Game Studios was unable to execute its vision well enough. The devil is in the detail, and that's the problem.

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Sep 2, 2015

Whether creating, exploring or just playing, Super Mario Maker provides an exceptional experience. If you've ever enjoyed a 2D Mario game and have a creative, playful spirit, then you should have already decided to buy this. It has plenty of tough competition, but this is the definitive Wii U game.

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7 / 10 - The Swindle
Sep 10, 2015

It's hugely clever, chaotic and funny, though there are downsides in the implementation of randomly generated stages and in some technical glitches and flaws. Despite some issues the premise, presentation, music and gameplay all work well together, making this a steal on the Wii U - just not the great heist it could have been.

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Oct 14, 2015

LEGO Dimensions is well worth consideration for those happy to invest in a new toys-to-life platform. The core content of the Starter Pack gives you plenty to do, though tolerance is required for occasionally overbearing in-game promotion of expensive add-ons. There are moments of brilliance, a few modest levels and some disappointing sections where design is questionable and performance struggles. The positives do outweigh the negatives, though, and in addition to some high points this also sets a new standard in how toys-to-life can bring NFC portals and a video game together in new ways. These toys actually come to life, which promises much for the future.

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The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes is a mixed bag, though still exudes the charm of the franchise while throwing in some delightful features all of its own. Outfits are a high point, as are the presentation and soundtrack, and there are moments of wonder when level design and teamwork come together in harmony. There are weak points, however, with uneven stage design, poor communication options in multiplayer and a single player experience that's a mere afterthought. Tri Force Heroes isn't a bad game, but it's not on the same level as its illustrious predecessors.

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Nov 22, 2015

Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash is an odd game to score or recommend. The basic gameplay is strong, has slick performance and handsome if basic visuals; as a multiplayer game it can be enormously enjoyable, too. With options to ignore newfound gimmicks in simple matches included, fans of the franchise that want a HD / 60fps entry to play with friends - or some random opponents online - can find entertainment. Those are positives, but we cannot emphasize enough how phoned-in and thin the content offering is, nor how throwaway Mega Battle is as a tentpole feature. Frankly this shouldn't be a retail game at $49.99 and regional equivalents, as it is at launch; it should be a budget retail game at best.

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Nov 30, 2015

Xenoblade Chronicles X is as sprawling, diverse, complex and entrancing as we hoped. It utilises the Wii U's capabilities not only to produce a beautiful world, but shows how something as simple as a map on the GamePad screen can be invaluable. What's most impressive is the dynamism and impression of freedom in play - level caps and grinding are naturally part of the equation, yet they're managed within a structure where even small missions or Affinity quests greatly enhance the narrative and sense of place. To truly experience the story of this human colony and the vast planet Mira requires exploration and patience, and Monolith Soft has found an impressive balance in bringing its vast range of gameplay systems and mechanics together.Occasional bottlenecks are infrequent and easily overcome in the broader experience, and overall Xenoblade Chronicles X delivers a hugely impressive RPG adventure. It's an enormous accomplishment for Monolith Soft and an irresistible part of the Wii U library.

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Dec 9, 2015

SteamWorld Heist is an entirely different proposition to its predecessor, and that's no bad thing. Its quirky blend of a 2D perspective, allied with turn-based strategy and skill-based attacks, is a surprisingly addictive combination. There's impressive depth to the overall mechanics, and it's all topped off with a level of presentation that's both charming and accomplished. Whether seeking challenging strategy or an entertaining story, this title delivers both in its own unique way and has certainly stolen plenty of our time; we haven't even got all the hats yet.

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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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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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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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