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Category Archives: Reviews

No Time to Explain review

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In 2011 one of the first majorly successful Kickstarter video game campaigns was released in two parts. 2 years on it was repackaged into a single game and released on STEAM. Unfortunately for tinyBuild GAMES it received a largely negative response due its poor handling, coding and Windows 8 based issue of handling Flash. It seemed like No Time to Explain might vanish without a trace… and with no time to explain, either. Four years since its release in 2011, tinyBuild GAMES has released a remastered version of No Time To Explain for Xbox One. The updated version retains the same zany and humorous premise of the original. A future-version of yourself is kidnapped by a giant crab, leaving behind a jetpack. It is up to you to save your future-self and defeat monsters across alternate timelines. In addition to the fast-paced jetpack platforming of the original, tinyBuild GAMES has worked on a number of new features for No Time to Explains console release. The game now has controller support, four-player local co-op and a new soundtrack.

No Time To Explain is a simplistic 2D platformer with a movement mechanic that changes every few levels. The most common method is a Jetpack left behind during the opening of the game. Fired in one direction, it pushes the character in another direction. Careful as you go, it will take a little while to master the mechanics. Other movement mechanics introduced as you progress through No Time To Explain include a shotgun blast, a swinging parabolic arc and sticky wall-climbing. Each stage of No Time to Explain has a number of levels which must be mastered using these mechanics before moving onto the end level boss. I’ve missed proper end level bosses.

The challenge to No Time To Explain comes with » Continue Reading.

Guncraft: Blocked and Loaded review

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So hands up who hasn’t played Minecraft, I’m guessing it’s not many and there is a good reason for that as the endless opportunities and variations that can be setup in the game really caters for anyone and everyone’s tastes. So with such a successful platform there is no wonder many have tried to adapt Mojang’s (developer of Minecraft) ideas and reap some of the rewards for themselves. Now I have to say, a lot have failed and haven’t brought anything new to the table, so when I was asked to review Guncraft: Blocked and Loaded by Exato Game Studios I was a little hesitant about what new angle they could bring that hasn’t been done before.

I could imagine Exato Studios sitting round in a room one day and talking about what they should play, the room is divided, some want Minecraft, others COD or Battlefield and then suddenly Guncraft: Blocked and Loaded was created. In very simple terms it’s Minecraft but with guns, but not only guns, tanks, helicopters you name it, it’s a full on customisable and destructive combat zone.

From the word go I was smiling, the game itself doesn’t take hours to download and you’re up and running very quickly and it’s got so many features you won’t know where to start. The menus are easy to understand, if the writing is a tad small, but then again I was using an old TV as my Xbox 360 has been relocated to my spare room to make way for my Xbox One, but you can still read it. So where to start, the Tutorial.

The Tutorial offers you a great and detailed introduction into the game, taking you though basic movement and shooting, to driving vehicles, building and the » Continue Reading.

Q.U.B.E. Director’s Cut review

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At first glance, it’s impossible not to judge Q.U.B.E. as a Portal clone, and while the game may have taken some inspiration from Valve’s puzzler, it doesn’t make it any less of a game.

Waking up with no memory as to who or where you are, a woman interrupts the silence with a radio transmission that paints a disturbing picture – you are alone, trapped onboard a spacecraft that is on a crash course with earth. After warning you of the maddening confines of deep space, the radio cuts out as the voice transmitting the signal goes out of orbit. Upon reflecting on this stark warning, and taking a fresh look at my confines, it’s evident that the sterile environment I was in looks like a padded cell – was I really on board an alien spacecraft?

Your sense of what is going on in Q.U.B.E. will be tested each time a new transmission is received, and to add to any confusion you might have, there is also a rival signal that paints a different picture – but which one will you follow? Is the new voice just a confused astronaut who has gone insane within his own padded cell? It’s a great concept and something I feel that should have been developed further during the short campaign, which climaxes in an ending that lets you decide an outcome depending on how you perceived the narrative.

Q.U.B.E.’s physics-based puzzles must be bested to prevent the alien ship from crashing into earth – let’s just backtrack a minute – to stop a ship from crashing you must complete a set of block puzzles? That is a weird scenario to comprehend and not something I fully accepted, but there are puzzles that need solving, which is the main reason that most people will download Q.U.B.E.

» Continue Reading.

Tembo the Badass Elephant review

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Tembo the Badass Elephant is a fun and vibrant 2D sidescroller with a much larger than usual protagonist. There are some noticeable influences and styles from some older platforming legends like Sonic the Hedgehog and Donkey Kong. The infamous Pokemon developer Game Freak has made a seven and a half ton bad ass commando elephant with the ability to destroy everything in his path while saving civilians and eating peanuts.

Story mode sets off with Shell City being invaded by an evil army known as Phantom, taking civilians as prisoners and over running the military until the unlikely hero gets a phone call to come and help wipe out the Phantom operatives. Your missions are to save civilians, eat peanuts and charge through the different areas to take Phantom down while finding and destroying the three huge vehicles that they have invaded Shell City with. This can prove to be an interesting challenge as you have a set amount of enemies to destroy and civilians to save in each level and as there are level locks in each dome, you will have a determined number of enemies to destroy before you can progress past these checkpoints later on so you may need to replay some of the levels to get to that magic number.

Tembo has a few tricks at his disposal, he can jump quite high as standard and also if you hold the jump button he can float a bit.. somehow. While in the air pressing down will give you access to a butt stomp, you will go straight down and destroy pretty much everything you land on bar train tracks and lava which will kill you instantly. He can do an uppercut to attack enemies from below or take them out of the sky » Continue Reading.

Rory McIlroy PGA Tour review

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After a short hiatus, EA Sport’s PGA Tour is back, with Rory McIlroy as its new face, but with an extra year to prepare for the series’ debut on the Xbox One, have the high expectation of fans been met?

Rory McIlroy PGA Tour is certainly a big release for golf enthusiasts, especially with so few golfing alternatives, and pleasingly this is another excellent facsimile of the sport. The option to use three control methods allows newcomers and veterans to jump in with ease, with the 3-click system harking back to days of yore, and the analogue swing system proving as reliably accurate and enjoyable to use as ever. Additionally you can customise the controls, taking away or adding modifiers that aid you on the course – from a trajectory arch that takes into account wind, to after-touch spin on the ball – it all comes together to help you create the ideal control system for your style of play.

The modes on offer appear thin on the ground, and are certainly missing some content, but successfully incorporate many of the features from previous iterations. Stroke play allows you to play any course as a one-off game, with local multiplayer for up to four players. Meanwhile, the single player specific options are Career or Night Club. The latter incorporates many of the mini-games from previous titles into a common theme of playing at night. The courses take on a very different look and feel in the floodlit, neon lights, and the comical golfers you can play as and unlock give a nice sense of casual fun and humour to the otherwise simulation golf. You’re tasked with completing objectives and trying to earn a three star rating, with objectives running the gamut from scoring points by making accurate shots down the fairway into different » Continue Reading.

Ant-Man Pinball review

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Another Marvel movie release of course means another pinball table to add to Zen Pinball on the Xbox platforms. This time it’s Ant-Man, and thanks to unique mechanics and a seldom seen layout, it’s another superb table to add to your collection.

The Ant-Man table focuses its feature in the top half, leaving the bottom peculiarly empty. It results in fast ball movement and the occasional unhittable drops between the flippers, but it does make it a simpler table to fathom, as well as helping you concentrate when multiple balls enter the field. It certainly feels a little odd at first, but it’s a design choice that’s clearly appropriate to the table, and once you’ve experienced more of what’s on offer, this becomes abundantly clear.

The Zen Pinball table standard of integrated mini-games built into the table reveal themselves as you complete objectives by hitting the ball towards the ramp-heavy top and the particle suspended in the upper right. And as expected they’re theme appropriate, fun and intense to play, whether it’s using bumpers to keep the ball active on the table, or shooting the animated, 3D Ant-Man as he shrinks and dashes around. They’re excellent rewards for your skill, dishing out copious amounts of points for you to tackle the leaderboard as well as achieving feats of pinball wizardry a real table never could – such as the empty bottom half peeling back to reveal a mini-game and separate field to play underneath.

The aforementioned particle grants points and shrinks each time you hit it, until it finally reaches ball size and comes loose, brilliantly acting as a second ball. A few well placed shots later and a third ball can enter the mix, ant sized and a nightmare to see, but a great way to rack » Continue Reading.

Spectra review

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Spectra from Gateway Interactive and Mastertronics could very well see you ripping out your hair in large clumps. This simplistic racer has you collecting score cubes as you travel along a track filled with obstructions, boost pads, multiple branching paths and sharp bends.

With no control over your propulsion, controls are simple. The left and right triggers activate your air brakes allowing you to slide back and forth across the course and the analog stick to steer left and right.

As you progress, each cube adds to your multiplier score, and once you are more familiar with the controls, getting air either from skipping corners and boost jumping or from skimming your ship along the side of the block obstructions on the track will add to your score, while direct collisions will cause your multiplier to be reset.

With 10 tracks, each procedurally generated from the Chipzel soundtrack and with greater difficulty to accompany the increasingly complex melodies, but only one game mode, there is still a lot of gameplay to be had across the Normal and Hardcore modes available. Each track is unlocked once you complete 20% of the previous course and Hardcore mode is activated once all ten available levels have been completed.

Unlocking the 20% mark to release subsequent tracks is relatively easy, but actually managing to finish the full 100% takes time, practice, concentration, or an extremely high level of twitch reactions.

Spectra also has cross-platform play with Windows mobile devices so you can continue to rack up your score on the go.

Sadly, though the game is highly enjoyable, it did feel like it was missing something. Controlling the ship is relatively straightforward, but with such a narrow track it is extremely easy for a single mistake to ruin what could have been a perfect run.

» Continue Reading.

The Fall review

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I’m sure many of you (or none at all, might just be me) have sat and wondered how Cortana felt, watching helplessly as Master Chief lost health during his battles with the Covenant… Or wondered just what was going through HAL’s head in 2001: A Space Odyssey… Is The Fall the game to help you understand from an AI’s point of view? I think so!

The Fall, developed by Over The Moon Games, and funded purely by a very successful Kickstarter campaign, puts you in the shoes of the enduring ARID, and artificial intelligence onboard a futuristic space suit.

As The Fall starts, you find yourself plummeting to the ground of an unknown planet, in an unknown sector of the galaxy… As you awake, ARID boots up and starts her scan. It is through this initial introduction that you are first exposed to the game’s excellent art style. Mixing dark and atmospheric backgrounds with a bright and intriguing character, the style is rather reminiscent of Limbo, and Flashback… Simple, yet beautiful. The menu system is styled much like an old mainframe computer. Chunky text, and minimal furniture. It is with this set of menus that you unlock abilities as you progress through the game, helping ARID with her primary objective.

It is through the inclusion of basic rules and protocols, based on Isaac Asimov’s Rules of Robotics,  that ARID must obey, which presents the biggest challenge to her. Does she disobey the rules to save her pilot, or does she abide by them, and risk him dying? Does she risk the life of the pilot she is sworn to protect to escape, or risk her own life for his?

After ARID’s initial scan, she realises that the pilot of her suit is not responding. Assured that he is still » Continue Reading.

LEGO Jurassic World Review

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Do you remember the first film you saw at the cinema? Mine was Jurassic Park, it was brilliant, my old man grabbed my leg during one of the ’scarier’ scenes and I also fainted with fear! 12 years later and LEGO Jurassic World gets its release to tie in with the latest blockbuster, Jurassic World. We all know the LEGO games are fun, but let’s face it, they are pretty repetitive. Would there be a way for this game to buck that trend? Ultimately no, but it still has some charming features that make it worthwhile playing through.

LEGO Jurassic World takes you through all of the franchises films, after a quick introductory level, you start at a helipad with a choice to turn left for Jurassic Park and right for Jurassic World, as you would expect, there is plenty to explore. There was something special about getting in the Jurassic Park Jeep for the first time and it’s not long before you encounter your first LEGO Puzzle, where you need to open the main gates, but a part is missing.

For those for you who haven’t played any LEGO games before, solving puzzles is fairly simple, after all these games are aimed at children. Most of the time you’ll need to smash your way around a level to look for something to build, or a certain character will need to complete a certain action. Throughout the LEGO series this has never changed, in LEGO JW, specific characters can dig for hidden objects whereas others can dive into dinosaur poo to retrieve objects as well (I can’t believe I’ve just written dinosaur poo in a review). There are plenty of QTE’s throughout the games and a lot of button mashing is required to fight of dinosaurs or unlock different » Continue Reading.

Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition review

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Last year Capcom brought 2014’s DmC to current consoles with a definitive edition. Now, 2008’s Devil May Cry 4 sees the same treatment, jumping over to the Xbox One with enhancements and new features. Loyalty is divided between the two versions of Devil May Cry, and now fans of either style can dive back in and slay demons to their heart’s content. However, with such a significant gap between Devil May Cry 4’s original releases, can this refreshed version still compete?

It turns out it certainly can, achieving a high level of visual clarity as well as a refreshingly bright colour palette sees it stand toe to toe with the majority of refined re-releases. It also enjoys some new features, but underneath it all are the same issues that plagued it back when it first released, making for a compellingly intense action experience but not the most coherent one.

Style over substance is clearly Devil May Cry 4’s philosophy, and its special brand of over the top action is an enjoyable spectacle. It all starts off with you jumping into the shoes of series new comer, Nero, and after a cut scene introduction you’re battling series favourite and previous protagonist, Dante, in a tutorial combat scenario. Your three weapons are broken in during this sequence, with swordplay, gunplay and demon hand-play, all introduced as you fight against a cocky Dante, who’s just blown the heads off seemingly innocent people. Wall running, bullet dodging and blocking, and insanely showy sword combat is unabashedly shown off before Dante scarpers and you take to the streets only to find demons invading. It’s now up to you to slaughter the demons and chase Dante down. However, things aren’t quite what they seem, and soon a convoluted plot unravels.

It’s a story that » Continue Reading.