A love letter to the noteworthy shooters of yesteryear, Gunscape combines old ideals and new ways to play, with mixed results. The level creator is extensive and brimming with potential, but the shooting itself feels detached, and the clunky presentation makes it harder to get into the creative side than it should be. However, once a community of players get to grips with the game's toolkit, there'll be plenty of maps to play, and there's still some fun to be had in multiplayer – if you can convince enough friends to buy it.
Do not underestimate Salt and Sanctuary: it'll chew you up and spit you back out, drawing from From Software's modern action RPG blueprints and translating the hard-as-nails gameplay to two dimensions. It demands your attention, never holds your hand, and rewards your patience and skill. Some players will find the lack of information too obtuse and difficulty too harsh, and a few cheap enemies and well-hidden traps will certainly frustrate. For those willing to go the distance, however, this is an intricate and fulfilling game just waiting to be conquered. As far as Souls wannabes go, this is one that's certainly worth its salt.
Catlateral Damage is a charming and unashamedly simple game, and it's clear that a lot of love has gone into every facet. It's not without its paws... Claws... Sorry, flaws – but if you can forgive some screen tearing, and are taken by the idea of playing as a destructive kitten, you'll find a lot to like here. The core gameplay of batting myriad items to their demise is surprisingly a-mew-sing, and may just help you to understand your real life pet that little bit more. For the cat lovers and the curious amongst you, Catlateral Damage is pretty much purr-fect, but anyone else may want to give it a hiss.
Fresh and frantic, Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure is a pleasant surprise, with moreish multiplayer and a beguiling, unique style that sets it apart in a crowded genre. Slight performance hiccups crop up when matches get too busy, but they're rare, and you'll be having too much fun to really notice. A couple of extra modes or online multiplayer would've made this easier to recommend, but it's fun, snappy, and full of character nonetheless, and if you're looking for a little light-heartedness in your multiplayer gaming sessions, don't dodge this.
Pang Adventures is a thoroughly retro arcade game that offers addictive bubble-bursting fun in a modestly sized package. The gameplay is compelling enough to keep you playing for a few hours, but whether its trio of modes provide much replay value is another matter. It's certainly worth a look if you have an old-school itch that needs scratching, and fans of the original game will be pleased with just how faithful Pastagames has been to that decades-old formula.
To describe Alienation as a spiritual successor to Dead Nation is a misnomer – this is a far bigger, deeper game, pulling in elements from RPGs and dungeon crawlers to great effect. The gorgeous visuals and addictive, tactile combat make this a feast for the eyes, with intense action never more than a few seconds away. Grabbing loot and fighting off aliens in co-op is stupendous fun, and the game opens up in meaningful ways the more that you play. If you're looking for some high-octane, arcadey action with a fiendishly gripping gameplay loop, then this comes highly recommended.
What we're trying to say is: stay away from Coffin Dodgers. It's a humorous concept, but clearly not one that supports a whole game. The awful racing and abysmal presentation are the biggest offenders here, but it's a game with problems weaving all the way through it.
With many nods to the original games and a compendium of retro unlockables, this re-imagining of Shadow of the Beast is a game not just concerned with moving forward, but with looking back in detail at its forebears. Stilted platforming and a short story don't prevent the deep, satisfying combat and multifaceted levels from being worth experiencing more than once. And when you're done, the very first game awaits in all its glory for you to discover – maybe for the first time.
It's a real shame that the performance here is subpar, because Dangerous Golf is fantastic fun, whether alone or with friends in the co-op and competitive modes. It has surprising depth and plenty of content; the solo and co-op tours combined provide a total of 197 levels to smash through. The satisfying gameplay is its greatest strength, however, with the short stages making it an ideal game to play when you've got a spare half-hour. Some may struggle with the controls, and its appeal may not last for too long – but it's definitely no bogey.
The simple presentation and controls allow anyone to pick up a controller and know what to do, while the addition of power-ups and objectives provide a little more depth for die-hard fans to explore. More creative use of upgrades would've been nice, and as with all endless runners, the appeal will wear off relatively quickly. However, this is a strong outing for Pac-Man that's perfect for short bursts, or, just as likely, one-more-go marathons.