Thomas Whitehead


97 games reviewed
77.6 average score
80 median score
61.9% of games recommended
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Jun 2, 2014

LEGO The Hobbit has some strengths, and it's perhaps tempting to look at the sheer size of the world and volume of content and give it a pass. However, we feel that the frequently poor design and shoddy gameplay experience represent a low in the franchise. We're often supportive and complimentary of the LEGO series for what it does achieve despite some flaws, but this is a sloppy effort from Warner Bros. and TT Games. A typically rushed movie tie-in, and an unfortunate blemish on an otherwise excellent franchise.

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Nov 8, 2017

Sometimes Nintendo puts out distinctly 'B-list' games, and Kirby Battle Royale falls into that category.

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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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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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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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Jul 31, 2014

Wooden Sen'SeY has all of the materials to be a winner — sharp visuals, clever touches and plenty of charm. The execution falls down, however, as the intention to offer 'old-school' difficulty isn't backed up by polished physics and impeccably structured level design. Those factors all need to come together for this approach to work, but what we have is an overly difficult, at times intensely irritating, platformer.

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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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6 / 10 - Soccer Story
Dec 2, 2022

Soccer Story delivers a colourful, charming take on the 'sports adventure', bursting at the seams with earnest effort and care from the development team. It's a fun experience, though it doesn't reach the heights of the genre's most famous release. Bugs and hitches pop up occasionally too, but if you're seeking some light entertainment and happen to love football, its cute visuals and charming world make it worth consideration.

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Apr 5, 2022

The ultimate question is whether you should play MLB The Show 22 on Switch. Well, it depends. If it's your main or only platform and you're happy playing CPU and offline games, then yes, it's not bad and holds things together just enough for gameplay to be enjoyable. If you want an 'on-the-go' version to accompany a more powerful home console version, perhaps on Game Pass, then it's another yes. If you want to mainly play online in Diamond Dynasty? No, this isn't the way to go. MLB The Show 22 is admirably packed with content and features, but it's not entirely comfortably packed into the diminutive Switch. It lacks the fluidity and crispness found elsewhere, which is perhaps expected but doesn't change the fact. If you're happy with the compromises, though, then step up to the plate.

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6 / 10 - Necrobarista
Sep 4, 2021

Despite those technical issues (and the disappointing lack of accessibility options) this is still a visual novel worth experiencing for fans of the genre, or those drawn in by its blend of coffee shop setting and paranormal quirkiness. This Switch port, however, doesn't necessarily show it in the best light.

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6 / 10 - Sine Mora EX
Sep 18, 2017

Sine Mora is an intriguing, stylish shooter that's well worth a punt at a budget price. Sine Mora EX, however, is a trickier sell; the underlying quality is still there and it can be a memorable experience, but the additions are sloppy and add little, making it tough to justify at its full price. On Switch it has portability going for it, with the game looking handsome on the handheld or TV - it's understandably sharper and easier to play than in the previous Vita version, for portable fans. It's a fascinating game, and may draw you back for plenty of repeat plays or even score-chasing runs to climb online leaderboards. Its flaws, however, mean it's not currently among the best of its genre.

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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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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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Apr 11, 2017

Overall, LEGO City: Undercover doesn't quite stand up as well in its 2017 form as it did when it originally came to Wii U; series improvements have come in the years since that leave this one looking slightly dusty in comparison. There are also some technical issues that hold it back, with odd graphical blemishes - a pity as the updated engine is generally an improvement - along with performance issues in co-op and handheld mode.That said, played as a console game in single player, like its original, this still offers an easy-going and slightly anarchic fun time. The same crazy storylines, set pieces and scenarios are still here, as are the cheesy jokes riffing on famous movies. LEGO City: Undercover's case isn't quite as convincing as it was in 2013, but it still has plenty to offer.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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