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Orbit review


Couch multiplayer has been making somewhat of a comeback in recent years, making it the done thing to have friends back to yours for some multiplayer video gaming. 4bit Games, a small independent team from Norway have launched themselves into this arena with their inaugural release, Orbit.

Orbit pitches up to four players into multiplayer space combat that is one part asteroids, one part lander and one part Sunburn. Players must balance their limited power which controls their thrusters, special power and weapons, all while negating the effects of the many stars, planets and comets that make up the arena.

Orbit comprises of three game types, Tournament, Mayhem and Foundry. The main mode available is Tournament, playable over one to four rounds, each of which is randomly selected from a list of game types and battled out on a randomly generated system of planets.  Mayhem is identical to Tournament, but contains mini games between each of the rounds, and Foundry allows you to select specific game modes for your tournaments.

For each of the game modes, players must first pick their special ability; Warp which transports you forward a short distance, Shield which protects you from enemy fire for a limited period and Ballista which fires a high power missile at your enemies.

Once in the arena, each “sun” at the centre of the circular map, and each satellite or planet in its orbit, have varying degrees of gravity that will affect you and your projectile’s firing arcs. Some gravitational forces will slow you and your missiles, some will speed them up, whereas some will deflect them entirely. Learning to utilise these different forces at play is key to winning each round.

Game modes include your standard deathmatch called Destroy, where you must be first to get to » Continue Reading.

Skylanders SuperChargers review


The Skylanders have returned with Vicarious Visions at the helm and they’ve brought supercharged land, sea and air vehicles with them. Kaos is back and determined to beat you and take control of Skylands. By locking down the portals and capturing your friends, there’s no way to enter Skylands and summon the Skylanders, but what Kaos hasn’t counted on is the new SuperCharger vehicles.

A rift engine powers each vehicle – the days of elemental portals are over – these new vehicles create their own portals to navigate around Skylands and summon new characters in to battle. Unlike previous Skylander games, you only need one of each vehicle type to be able to play through the entirety of each story level.

The Starter pack comes with two characters and a vehicle, Spitfire, Super Shot Stealth Elf, and the land vehicle Hot Streak. By combining Spitfire and Hot Streak the vehicle becomes supercharged and gains a new look – doing so also gives access to an exclusive mission. Other than that, any Skylander, including the full complement of figures you may have collected from previous games, can be used with the vehicles, although you must use a SuperCharger character to customise each one.

Hot Streak looks great, has moving wheels and is sturdy enough for my son to use with the rest of his toy cars. I also picked up Sky Slicer, an air vehicle, which lacks moving parts but is just as fun to play with – according to my son that is!

The game can be played on a variety of difficulty settings. Beginner is ideal for younger players like my son, and Nightmare is great for when he is in bed and I want more bite from the fight. Not only do all the Skylanders in your collection » Continue Reading.

Polychromatic review


Easy to play, hard to master and even harder to put down, Polychromatic is one addictive game – but don’t let its simplicity fool you – it may look simple with its vector enemies and cute dust explosions, but it will challenge even the most hardened Geometry Wars fan. Yes… it’s impossible not to draw similarities with the king of addictive arena based shooters.

Unlike Geometry Wars, Polychromatic takes place inside a circular arena, a Petri dish of spawning enemies, who get tougher as you progress through each wave. Racking up a quota of kills completes each one, and with each wave comes new enemy types to dispose of, each reacting to you in a different way – either idly passing you by or making a beeline for your position.

There’s three modes to choose from; Timed, One-life and Endless – all three are pretty self explanatory – each one starts you with three blasts, three dashes, and in Endless mode, three lives. Extra blasts and dashes can be earned after each wave you beat. Lives can be earned after certain waves in endless mode and in timed mode you can add extra time for each completed wave.

A cat of nine lives? More like a polygon of nine! Should you be skilled enough, you can increase your lives, bombs and dashes to nine, but that’s it, no more until you lose or use one!

Starting with two diagonal streams of gunfire, you’ll soon get more as you progress through the waves, which at times will crowd the screen turning the arena of Polychromatic into a bullet hell shooter. Blasts can be used to get you out of a jam and will mostly clear the area of enemies – you can also use the dash ability, making you » Continue Reading.

Plague Inc. Evolved review


Plague Inc Evolved has a simple yet sinister premiss – how quickly can you infect the world? With a main game, multiple scenarios and a competitive speed run to choose from, biological warfare has never been so safe to fiddle with.

The game itself can be played on a variety of difficulties, with casual difficulty aimed at those wanting a quick fix of causing death and misery in the world. The difficulty increases steadily over four difficulties, up to Mega Brutal where your disease will have a harder time spreading and doctors are more likely to research ways to destroy it.

To experiment with the ‘fun’ diseases you must first destroy the world by infecting it with simple bacteria. You can genetically modify your base germ, although to start with these will be locked, you need to prove yourself in biowarfare first. To spread, multiply and kill – writing that is so wrong – you have to evolve your disease by collecting DNA strands that periodically appear over the world. This is the game’s currency, and you can invest the points into various aspects of your disease, from transmission and symptoms to special abilities that it might posses.

Time can be paused or sped up, and as it passes you can see how your disease spreads and how successful it is at penetrating certain countries – you then need to decide how you evolve the disease so it can survive harsh climates or penetrate distant countries. It’s a game of strategy, although I never felt like I grasped the strategies or felt comfortable with the game.

I couldn’t help but shake the feeling that the game played haphazardly and if you made the wrong choice, and the random number generator went against you, you could end up with your » Continue Reading.

Guns, Gore and Cannoli review


You know, starting reviews, it’s the hardest bit. I’m sure I’ve suggested that before, the rest of it sort of flows along nicely once it’s started. There might be some editing along the way, and I’ll probably re-read it three or four times before it gets published, but starting them, that’s the hard bit. With Guns, Gore and Cannoli, starting is the easy bit. It’s the putting it down that’s the hard part.

Crazy Monkey Studios released Guns, Gore and Cannoli on PC back in April this year and the studio have thankfully brought the prohibition pain to the Xbox One. You’re a mob enforcer, tasked with bringing in a goodfella who has gone missing. The fictional craziness of Thugtown is the setting, but in the opening sequences, it’s clear that something is very wrong in the city.

The game starts by throwing you in at the deep end. This side-scrolling shooting platformer will have you wringing your controller out as you try to despatch the foes shambling, running and even crawling at you. The game seems simple enough. You control Vinnie, who’s armed initially with a simple 12 shot pistol with endless ammo. As you progress through the game, you can pick up much better weapons with which to kill off these annoying enemies. The enemies? Well, for the most part, these nemeses are zombies. Something awful has happened in Thugtown and the residents are revolting.

Despite this setback, Vinnie Cannoli is a man on a mission and he’s determined to finish it. The game has already started you on a destructive path to your quarry, you may as well finish it. It reflects the mindset of Vinnie perfectly and makes you feel pangs of guilt if you even think about giving it a rest. The enemies » Continue Reading.

Inside My Radio review

Inside My Radio

Born from an idea from TurboDindon, at the Ludum Dare #23 Game Jam, Inside My Radio is a rhythm-action platform adventure, where your every move much match the beat of the music.

Playing as three different LEDs, it is up to you to bring the music back to a worn out boombox, whilst having to face tricky platforming puzzles, and beat musically masterful bosses, using the power of dub, rock, reggae and more.

When I first booted up Inside My Radio, made my way through the tutorial, and set off on my musical adventure, I wasn’t too sure of what I had to do. The controls themselves are fairly straightforward, however the story really doesn’t stand out for me. I knew I had to make my way through these levels, and that I had to match my movements with the beat of the music, but I wasn’t entirely sure why.

Hoping this would become clearer the longer I played, I battled on in my bewildered state and eventually started to enjoy myself. Now, I’m not saying this isn’t enjoyable, however, it can be tricky to match your movements to the rhythm, especially after playing numerous platformers where fast reactions and maneuverability were key. Thankfully there is an option to activate a visual guide around the LED, to help match your movements with the beat, which helped somewhat in later levels.

Some would call me rhythmically challenged, however once you get the hang of working with the beat, it actually became less frustrating, and I found that later in the game I was actually enjoying it. I did find that at times Inside My Radio couldn’t decide on which mechanic it wanted to work with. For example, the first boss you encounter requires you to follow the music via a » Continue Reading.

The Escapists The Walking Dead review


The Escapists The Walking Dead is an extremely successful blend of the awesome 8-bit indie hit The Escapists and the comic book series of The Walking Dead. Playing as Rick Grimes, you must lead your group to safety though five areas.

At its undead heart lies all of The Escapists’ mechanics – leveling up through exercise and reading, simple item crafting and the way in which you must plot, prepare and execute your escape. Of course this time you aren’t escaping from the clutches of the prison guards, but avoiding the undead horde and solving the story based objectives that centre on key events in the comic series.

The game starts as you wake in Harrison Memorial Hospital – the whole level is one big tutorial, taking you by the hand and introducing you to the mechanics behind the game. Other levels have you leading your group through Greene Family Farm, Meriwether Correctional Facility, Woodbury and Alexandria.

Each day follows a similar pattern to the core game of The Escapists, but instead of annoying the guards if you misbehave, the zombie threat level increases with undead encounters more likely to happen within your safe area. Missing meal times, chores and head counts also has a negative effect on your group morale, and they will be less likely to follow you on scavenging missions – not a massive issue – but team mates will come in handy when you venture further afield in search of the more valuable loot.

New items appear in the various desks spread throughout each level every day, and it’s the collection and crafting of items that allows you to progress by making tools, or weapons to survive. This is where your time will vanish. In-between your daily chores, you are free to scavenge but venturing outside » Continue Reading.

Pumped BMX + review


We haven’t had a decent BMX game on the Xbox One, until now that is. Thanks to Curve Digital you can now get your hands on Pummped BMX +.

Originally built for mobile devices, the game has made it over to console and it’s a pretty successful port. The premise of the game is simple, to get your BMX across the different levels while performing tricks to fulfil different sets of challenges. The controls are pretty straightforward, holding down A will start you rider, timing the release of the button will give them a boost of air allowing you to pull off tricks using a combination of the bumpers and and right stick. Combining these tricks with grinds, manuals and wheelies will increase your multiplier. Timing is crucial, especially if you want to get anywhere in the game, lots of levels having higher areas reach in order to conplete the levels. Pressing A at the highest point of your jump will force the rider down giving you more momentum for the next jump.

What seems like a simple game had me hooked, a couple of hours had passed and I was playing away quite happily; it’s frustrating, but keeps making you come back much like trials did. With no multiplayer available, even local there will come a time when you won’t be as eager to go back to the game. Each level has a set of challenges across three difficulties and with 500 in total there is plenty to take on as a single player. Graphically the game has Rayman/Max: Curse of the brotherhood feel to it, it’s quite cartoony and brightly coloured, but most importantly it runs smoothly, you can also customise your riders outfits if you wish, although it has no affect on the game.. The music is pretty » Continue Reading.

Destiny: The Taken King review – part two


Welcome to part two of our review of the epic new expansion to Destiny, The Taken King. If you somehow stumbled upon this before reading part one, I highly recommend reading it here, before you continue.

All done? Great… In this segment of the review, I will be covering the new levelling system, how to get your light level up, and some additional tips and tricks to help you along the way.

Those of you who played the original Destiny, will know the struggle of levelling to 20 with XP, then waiting and praying that RNG (random number generator) would gift you something that would take you closer to that elusive level cap for each expansion. This changed slightly when the House of Wolves expansion released, where obtaining armour cores from the Prison of Elders would allow you to buy maximum light level armour. Many Guardians would find that they would be stuck in the situation of being “forever 29” (level cap was 30), regardless of how many times they would enter the Vault of Glass, high light level items would just not drop. This was also the same with The Dark Below expansion, and Crota’s End, resulting in many “forever 31” (level cap was 32) Guardians.

With The Taken King, things have changed in relation to actual level and light level, as these are now separate entities. Levels 1-40 are now built up via earning XP, much like a traditional RPG, and light level is based on the weapons and armour you equip. Light level is now taken as an average of the attack and defence levels of your items, for example I currently have a light level of 291, which is an average of my weapons with attack levels of 285, 298, and 284, and my armour » Continue Reading.

Fermi’s Path Review

fermis path main

Fermi’s Path is an action packed rhythm based game about a tiny particle travelling across a subatomic space to electro beats. You’re introduced to this spacious vibrant world travelling at a steady pace along a seemingly steady wire populated with collectables, objects and enemies. As Fermi your objective is quite simple, listen and enjoy the soundtrack and match your movements to the beat to create a seamless stream of music while navigating along the wire, collecting points, power ups and tokens to increase your score.

There are two different game modes to play through – Path mode is a basic form of the game where you navigate from start to finish collecting points and moving to the beat, once you have completed a level you unlock Infinite mode for that particular level, which will allow you to play along that single path to generate a high score, ending if you quit or lose all your energy.

There are a lot of collectables around the track to help you reach the end safely, it is up to you to insure you pick them up and use them to your advantage as they are not always in plain sight, and as levels progress, they get increasingly harder to obtain. New upgrades to your fire power are found along the wire that you can use to destroy enemies firing at you, however although Fermi does have the ability to shoot, not everything is destroyable in this world.

Fermi handles like a dream, the controls are responsive and it is very easy to navigate around the wire – your movement is on a single rail and your trajectory can be changed to any one of the four sides of the wire. A single tap left or right will take you to each side and a double tap will flip you to the bottom, » Continue Reading.

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