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Category Archives: Reviews

Bridge Constructor review

Bridge-Constructor

As the name suggests, Bridge Constructor is a game about building bridges, how hard can that be? Playing through the game gave me a new perspective on the structures and shapes of bridges – they aren’t just built to look nice – the metal girder structures and reinforced cables have been placed with physics and function in mind and not just to be aesthetically pleasing.

An earthquake has rocked the island nation of Camatuga, and with the kind of destruction an earthquake brings, all the bridges within and connecting the five small islands of Camatuga have been destroyed – your job is to rebuild them. With various materials at your disposal, you must build different sized bridges and keep within budget. Once complete, you must test each one to see if it can sustain the weight of cars, trucks, and once you’ve completed all the bridges, the tank truck.

Each level poses a different problem, funds and materials might be limited, the gap you need to span could be really wide, or there is a central platform that must be constructed in order to add vital support – there’s plenty to keep the puzzles challenging although after a while repetition does start to creep in.

Each puzzle has a grid overlaid to the area, which makes an ideal guide for those wanting to build a bridge of perfect symmetry. Each grid you span with wood, steel, concrete pillars or cable will cost you money, and you only have so much to spend – on top of this, some scenarios will only allow you to build in one or two materials.

As you build, the road is laid automatically as you span each horizontal grid, although you can create a steady incline or drop. Meanwhile, placing vertical anchors will create struts » Continue Reading.

Whispering Willows review

Whispering Willows Logo

Starting off as a Kickstarter back in 2013 and reaching its target pretty quickly, Whispering Willows has made its way on to the Xbox One. The game is quite different from any puzzle adventure I have played – I can’t recall many games featuring astral projection other than Prey on the Xbox 360, and Second Sight on the original Xbox – the game is about a young girl named Elena whose father has gone missing. She has a vision of things to come and her father’s whereabouts, so she grabs his coat, the family amulet and sets off on the adventure of her life.

The game begins with our heroine going to the mansion where her father works and quickly winds up in the catacombs after a seemingly unexpected encounter with a ghost. Elena quickly learns about her ancestors and the amulet’s shamanic powers that grants her the ability of astral projection.

When equipped, the amulet allows Elena to project her ghost and travel to places that her physical form cannot reach. Unfortunately you can’t travel through walls but you can squeeze through small openings and possess objects that can be manipulated so that you can progress through the story. When the amulet glows a bright green it means there is a nearby friendly ghost that will talk to Elena and help her. A bright red glow will warn of an enemy lurking around, which will sometimes be in a cage or a cave that you can only see in her ghost form or under a bright ceiling light. Elena has no means of attacking or defending herself against enemies, but she can pass safely past by studying their movements in her astral state and returning to her physical form when it is safe to pass.

Through astral projection you will come into contact with a variety of interesting spirits that will give you information or send you in the right direction with clues. Most spirits require » Continue Reading.

Goat Simulator Mmore Goatz Edition

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Goat Simulator Mmore Goatz Edition dropped this week on Xbox 360 and Xbox One and includes the updated MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) version of Goat Simulator and the Day Z zombie survival game inspired version Goatz. Living life as a goat in a sandbox environment sounds bizarre enough to me as it is, but given the original Goat Simulator’s past success I wondered if this would be more of the same glitchy hilarious craziness we saw in the first place.

Starting off in the world as a little goat you will be handed two game type options at the main menu, the MMO which is the original game but with lots more to do. There is a level cap of 101, new people to meet and more quests to help out the people of the community in weird and wonderful ways (one of them is dragging a man out of poop!). The quests are generally simple; ranging from killing a certain amount of enemies, destroying things or relocating people somewhere in the world. 

It is pretty much impossible to die in this game, instead you can get stuck in random places due to the glitches that are add to the comedic value but is easily fixed by the magic respawn button. You can explore the vast lands and find collectables, a lot of hilarious glitches, secret areas and defeat enemies with the glorious headbutt while levelling up your beloved goat. Being called the Mmore Goats Edition you can of course unlock a lot more goats each with special powers to use around the maps.

Implemented into the MMO side of the game is the inventory system where you can store pretty much anything you decide to lick, from which your goat gain XP for, licking items will store » Continue Reading.

Giana Sisters: Dream Runners review

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Earlier in the year we took a look at upcoming multiplayer speed running title Giana Sisters: Dream Runners, and found its offering of superbly designed, and strikingly detailed levels of thrilling acuity a splendid experience. Dream Runners has now hit digital shelves, but have the few glitches and oddities we found in its preview build been ironed out?

Marvellously it seems they have, and Dream Runners looks, feels and plays superbly. The simple focus of a four player race around a complex, looping level is full of exciting competition, as well as frequent and intense platforming risk/reward decision-making and combat, offering precisely the kind of experience titles of this ilk feed on. It’s a compelling mix that can take hook of a party of players for quite some time, complimented by excellent level design and variety to keep the experience fresh.

You and up to three additional players take to a level and race around it over endless laps, with racers who fall off the edge of the screen being eliminated and the surviving lone player scoring a point. First to three points wins. Power-ups are strewn across the levels, offering temporary boosts to your character or a weapon to launch against your opponents, meanwhile, a refillable sprint can be charged by passing through certain specific areas of a level, and an intractable fireball ability can boost you forwards and save you from elimination but is also at risk of causing you to bounce unfavourably and hurt your progress just as much; it’s a very clever addition.

Multiple paths subtlety branch within each level offering different obstacles and/or collectible power-ups for you and you foes to compete for, and choosing which path to take as you’re dashing through the level is a curtail aspect of the tactics and » Continue Reading.

Octodad Dadliest Catch Review

Octodad

I was warned beforehand, but I failed to grasp how viral it truly was. Day and night it now dances around my subconscious like Bez at a Happy Monday’s reunion party. Of course, I’m referring to the frustratingly catchy theme tune for Octodad : Dadliest Catch. (Damn you Ian McKinney)

Octodad: Dadliest Catch is the direct sequel to the 2010 game created by the team who would go on to form Young Horses. Reprising the role of Octodad, the titular cephalopod in a 3 piece suit, you must undertake your day-to-day parental and familial duties without arousing the suspicions of those around you. This is easier said than done given your appendages are distinctly lacking bones and moving on two “legs” requires significantly more logistical planning. You must navigate household chores, shopping trips and excursions with your family without alerting anyone to your anthropomorphic illusion, all the while avoiding the machinations of the returning antagonist Fujimoto, the sushi chef who can see through your disguise, and will stop at nothing to expose you to the world.

Controls are extremely simple. The left stick controls the horizontal movement of your “arm” tentacles, while the right stick controls the vertical. Holding down the Triggers transfers this movement to your “leg” tentacles, allowing you to move. Finally, the A button allows you to grab items when controlling your arms. Although straightforward in design, in use these controls are a different kettle of fish. (Nautical idiom intended).

Using these controls you must achieve relatively simple tasks, things like: putting on a coffee, mowing the lawn, hang a birdhouse, or collect the items on a shopping list.

These challenges are difficult, complicated and sometimes downright frustrating, but utterly achievable despite your pendulous movements, but balancing this with your detection meter is » Continue Reading.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons review

Brothers

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was a surprise hit when it released back in 2013, and now this indie darling has transitioned over to the current generation of consoles with very little enhancement. However, it’s still a captivating and beautiful experience, and what little additions have been included in this re-release certainly makes it the definitive version of this marvellous tale.

You take control of two brothers, each mapped to a different analogue stick and trigger button, and must lead them through perils, solving cooperative puzzles in order to find a cure for your gravely sick father. It’s a fairly traditional tale in line with the Heroes Journey, but one that quickly surprises and delights with its unique world, clever puzzles and exceptional storytelling.

Despite no text and only Simlish-esque ramblings to go by from the characters, still an uncompromised and delightful story is told. Through the unintelligible nattering and gestures you can clearly understand the gist of what the characters are communicating, and experience the tale as deeply and as emotionally connected as you would any other. It’s a remarkable achievement that speaks to the quality of the design. However, this does mean the story is succinct, leaving you with only 3-4 hours of content to enjoy, but this is certainly a question of quality over quantity.

A charming aesthetic, similar to painted miniatures, draws you into a world of giants and odd creatures as you venture into the wild woodland, caves, icy tundra, settlements and structures of this strange land, visiting a number of different locations in search of the miracle cure for your father. The focus is on simple, cooperative puzzle solving, figuring out how to use each brother’s strengths to overcome an obstacle. This takes the form of such tasks as the little » Continue Reading.

Mega Man Legacy Collection review

Mega Man Legacy

Capcom have a habit of pulling on your nostalgia heart strings, earlier in the year an HD re-release of Resident Evil took us back to Nintendo’s Gamecube days and now an enhanced collection of Mega Man games takes us back to Nintendo’s very first home console, the NES. However, does the Mega Man Legacy Collection trade on nostalgia alone or do these classics still hold up today?

Marvellously Mega Man can fairly comfortably sit amongst todays platforming elite. With the Mega Man series being such a huge influence over the genre, much of it’s legacy survives in modern titles anyway, allowing the Blue Bomber to feel right at home in a new era. Moreover, the recent explosion of indie developed, retro stylised titles also aid in the battle against incongruity.

However, the Mega Man titles deserve the lion’s share of the credit for holding up against contemporaries, these are platformers that have been expertly crafted with outstanding level design and enemy placement, built around challenging the player consistently and fairly throughout their adventures. There’s a reason these titles are considered timeless and beloved. For the uninitiated, the Mega Man formula follows the Blue Bomber on a side-scrolling platforming and combat adventure culminating in boss fights against fellow robots. Each stage can be attempted in any order, and once you defeat that stage’s particular robot master you gain their weapon.

The Mega Man Legacy Collection includes the first six Mega Man titles, all of which are greatly admired and remembered. Here they return in all their original glory, despite a subtle crispness added to the sprites these are precisely the same games that shipped all those years ago. This includes bugs, instances of slow-down, screen transitions and general oddities. The collection is running on a new engine that houses the » Continue Reading.

Toy Soldiers: War Chest Hall of Fame edition review

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Toy Soldiers: War Chest is the third Toy Soldiers game, after fighting in the Second World War and then the Cold War the third title allows you to fight as G.I. Joe and other toys from your War Chest.

If you haven’t played any of the Toy Soldiers game then let me explain it to you; the game is a blend of Tower Defence mixed with RTS gameplay and a bit of third person shooter action! You start with an empty battlefield with the ability to build your first two turrets before the first wave begins. When the first wave begins you’ll earn cash for each enemy you kill, from there you can build more turrets and upgrade them. Your objective is to stop the waves of enemies from entering your Toy Box and destroying it. At the end of the round you are awarded a score and given XP and tokens that can be used to purchase boxes of upgrades and equipment to use with your army.

There are different types of turrets available from anti-infantry to anti-aircraft, you can then upgrade them to use more powerful ammo, or better protection with sand bags and eventually stone walls. Every kill you get not only gives you cash but builds up an action meter in the bottom left corner, as you get higher combination kills, the quicker your bar goes up. There are three stages of super powers you can unleash, with the third being the most powerful. Taking control of your hero unit is really cool, as they enter the battlefield they fall from the sky in their packaging before ripping out and allowing you to lay waste to your enemies. The Hero unit is only available for a short amount of time but can be boosted by batteries that are » Continue Reading.

Gears of War Ultimate Edition review

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Gears and Halo have a lot in common, and I don’t mean in terms of gameplay. Both titles made huge waves on the Xbox, which defined the console as something for shooter fans; they both garnered a huge fan base and even grabbed the limelight in the eSports scene. Halo has had its turn to ‘shine’ on Xbox One with the Master Chief Collection – now it’s Gears’ turn.

With the Gears of War license firmly in Microsoft’s hands, Black Tusk Studios were given the series and consequently rebranded as The Coalition. Former Epic Games’ Rod Fergusson heads the studio and in his hands one would hope that the future of Gears is a bright one.

The Master Chief Collection was plagued with problems so it’s no wonder that the much-rumoured Marcus Fenix Collection hasn’t been released. Instead The Coalition has lovingly recreated the first title in the series, with the help of independent UK Studio Splash Damage. Rather than just remaster Gears of War with a spit of HD polish, the Ultimate Edition includes reworked cutscenes, the missing chapters that were cut from the Xbox 360 version, and refined gameplay mechanics.

Pick up the game between launch and December 31, and you will be able to download the full Gears of War back catalogue, via the Xbox One’s new backwards compatibility feature. You will also get early access to the Spring 2016 Gears of War 4 beta – surely this alone is enough to justify purchasing the Ultimate Edition, which can be bought digitally for £29.99/$39.99/€39.99.

Running at 60 fps and in 1080p, the Ultimate Edition looks absolutely stunning, you would be forgiven for thinking this was a brand new title for the Xbox One. However, I did suffer some minor texture pop that I caught » Continue Reading.

Tales from the Borderlands Episode 4 review

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Tales from the Borderlands has been an excellent addition to the Telltale series of games, and at the end of Episode 3 I was left excitedly wanting to get my hands on episode 4. We are nearly at the end of the Tales journey and I’d have to say it’s up there with the first season of the Walking Dead in terms of Telltale games.

The penultimate episode, titled Escape Plan Bravo sees Ryhs, Fiona and the rest of the gang attempting to infiltrate Hyperion’s headquarters in a good old fashion heist as they try to collect the parts necessary to complete the Gortys Project, getting the final pieces will allow them to gain access to the Vault of the Traveler and the treasures that it holds within, which will help everyone.

Unfortunately, apart from a couple of moments this was probably my least favourite episode of the series.

The story never really felt like it moved on at any point, with the decisions you had to make not really feeling like they had an bearing on the story. Episode 4 lasts around 90 minutes and left me asking more questions than getting answers. As I mentioned there are some brilliant moments, including one moment that will bring a tear to your eye and quite possibly change the Borderlands universe forever. The other is a brilliant exchange between Rhys and his former colleagues that really did have me laughing. It such a shame that there was more to keep me smiling.

There are some great characters in the series and the barely get a look in this episode which is a real shame as it could have given the episode a much needed boost. It’s been interesting watching the relationship between Rhys and Flynn, and how it’s changed from the » Continue Reading.