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Monkey Pirates review


Monkey Pirates, from Henchman Studio, is a naval combat multiplayer game for up to four players taking up the role of one of four unique simian captains, each with their own special abilities.

There are two game modes available, multiplayer and challenge, with the latter being the “single player” component, but seeing as this is primarily a local multiplayer game, the challenge mode could be classified more as an extended tutorial.  These challenges test your sailing skills, shooting accuracy and your ability to drift (dropping your anchor in order to quickly slow and change direction) and serve as a good way of improving your skill level in each area.

Sailing is a simple and familiar process. Each direction on the compass surrounding your ship has a different strength of wind which varies your speed greatly. Red brings you to a complete stop, green sets a normal speed, whereas yellow sets you to full speed. Changing tack to make use of the best wind to get you into a firing position.

The multiplayer on the other hand is quite extensive with nine completely different maps within which you can compete in three different multiplayer modes. Stand by the Board is a free for all battle where you have to utilise the multiple items, power ups and unique skills to defeat your friends. Jolly Roger mode has the first pirate to shoot down an opponent becomes the Jolly Roger, who then has to defend themselves against the others from that point onwards, but without the benefit of power ups which makes picking your fights a necessity in this mode. Finally, Banana Race is a score system where you need to collect as many banana barrels as possible. Each enemy killed drops their bananas, so it is essential once again that » Continue Reading.

Tour of the new Xbox One dashboard

New dashboard

Thanks to the Preview Programme we were able to take an early look at the new Xbox One dashboard, part of the New Xbox One Experience which will be rolling out very soon.

Cortana is currently missing, the fonts aren’t quite right, and functionality isn’t flawless but it’s certainly faster and more intuitive, and we’re sure the rest will come when it’s fully rolled out. Take a look at our video below to see it all in action.

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.

EGX 2015: Rise of the Tomb Raider impressions

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Microsoft had a decent showing in their booth, with Rise of the Tomb Raider the standout game for me. Lara’s latest adventures have been expanded somewhat from the trailer of a cold and unforgiving climb in her latest escapade and I can thankfully announce that along with a definite refinement of the control systems used on the reboot, we have actual Tomb’s to explore this time. Rather than the small-scale “shrine” style tombs of its precursor these ones feel particularly more in line with the tombs of the original series, with a sequence of puzzles and traps to navigate to succeed.

Combat and Stealth have also had a distinct overhaul although the trusty pick, bow and handgun all make a return for her adventures looking for the lost city of Kitezh.

With enhanced combat and stealth moves, as well as an improvement to what parts of the environment you can interact with, this looks to improve on the reboot on all counts.

Being built specifically for the current gen has allowed Crystal Dynamics to expand not only on the game mechanics themselves but also the look of the game as the visual effects and environments look a good deal cleaner and crisper than the previous incarnation.

Another one to watch closely.

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.

Party chat now allows 12 people


In the next few hours Microsoft is rolling out 12-person Party Chat on Xbox One and the Xbox App for Windows 10.

Rather cleverly there will be no system update as it all happens on Microsoft’s end.

New features are coming to the New Xbox One Experience Preview today, too. Here’s what’s you’ll be getting:

    Party text chat adds more communication options. In the New Xbox One Experience, text chat joins voice chat as a way to communicate with your friends. At the bottom of the ‘Your Party’ page, you will see a button to ‘Show text chat.’ This will let you participate in the conversation. Party text chat will also come to the Beta Xbox App for Windows 10. A streamlined Game DVR experience. We have combined the functionality of the Game DVR snap app and the former Upload app into one easy-to-use app called Game DVR. In full screen mode, you can use this app to view your game clips and screenshot captures. When snapped, you can use Game DVR to start or stop recordings. New animated avatars. They are back and better than ever. You showed us that you are passionate about Avatars with many requests on Xbox Feedback. The new avatars will be animated on your profile and will start showing up in other new places in the new experience. If you prefer a gamerpic, you can easily switch your image. Updated menu for quick access to common actions. The menu button on your controller lets you pin an app or game to Home, launch a recently played game, or quit an app or game with just the touch of a button. Access new settings in the Guide. Adding to settings already included in the guide, like adjusting the headset volume, you can now turn » Continue Reading.

ESO Imperial City Review


In the MMO arena, most gamers have to wait approximately a year to 18 months before any major expansion is released for their RPG of choice. Due to the unexpected delay of Elder Scrolls Online on consoles, this standard has been broken as the first in a series of DLC arranged for Elder Scrolls has been released merely six months since launch.

For those who have ventured into the shadow of the white gold tower, to represent your chosen alliance, will know that Bethesda has done something slightly different with their PVP zone. Most MMO’s place a distinct emphasis on separating player vs player and player vs environment encounters. This can make the PVP zones feel empty, even soulless. Bethesda does not subscribe to this method. Throughout Cyrodiil you will encounter npc’s as they go about their daily business, providing you with quests and chores to perform, and the environment is littered with the same caves, ruins and events that populate the rest of the world.  This conveys a sense of life on the game that no other MMO currently attempts (to my knowledge).

It is with this in mind that we delve into the dlc, and take our first tentative steps into the Imperial City. With the release of this content, entry ways to the imperial sewers have opened up, (similar to your escape point in Oblivion), allowing progression into the city proper. These access points are also directly linked to the ongoing war throughout Cyrodiil, so if you find the nearby fortification occupied by an opposing force, entry to the Imperial city is barred. Should your faction hold the ground you may enter the sewers and meet with the vanguard that are pushing forward in to the territory now overrun by Molag Bal’s daedric forces.

» Continue Reading.

Extreme Exorcism Review


Extreme Exorcism has a deceptively simple premise. Eliminate the phantasms appearing on the screen, within your 3 allocated lives, to reach a set score and unlock the next arena in which you must eliminate further phantasms: simple, concise, deceptive.

You see, Extreme Exorcism utilises a mechanic which, although similar to certain indie games, is utilised in a new and unique way.

Picking one of four individual pixel based protagonists, you are dropped into the first arena with a poltergeist infected chair. Dotted around the level are pick up zones, where randomly generated weaponry spawns, anything ranging from a sword or a baseball bat up to automatic machine guns, rocket launchers and a special Exorcism ability. From this plethora of destruction you can equip up to three of these items simultaneously.

Despatching the phantom furniture resets the level but now, instead of hunting an armchair apparition, you are instead hunting yourself. While you were battling the first spectre, the game tracked all of your movements and any attacks you conducted. So now you must eradicate with extreme prejudice your earlier embodiment while avoiding any attacks that you previously performed.

With each new ghostly version of yourself recounting each movement and attack that you have performed in your previous attempt, things get complicated as you manoeuvre around multiple incarnations of yourself to hunt down your very last spawn. This is made possible, as the phantasm of your last run is topped with a distinctive crown.

Furthermore, as you may imagine, once you get beyond 10 runs, your screen becomes overwhelmed with ghostly apparitions of your former selves, which is where the Exorcism ability comes into its own.

This unique and infrequent ability not only kills anything that comes within its large radius of attack, but also wipes them clean from » Continue Reading.

New Xbox Experience rolling out to select users


Did you opt-in to using the New Xbox Experience early? Well select users will getting the new experience right now!

The new experience will launch this November for all Xbox One owners, incorporating fan feedback and the integration of Windows 10. The new features include…

· A redesigned Home with vertical scrolling

· An updated and easily accessible guide with messages, notifications, settings and more

· Quick access to games and apps by using the triggers on your controller

· Easy and fast access to your favourite films, TV shows and streaming video apps in an updated OneGuide

· A new and improved Store with vertical gallery view

It’s not all plain sailing. There are still a fair few issues that need sorting out, an External hard drive is a must as there could be some factory resets of your console if things go wrong…

Fallout 4 S.P.E.C.I.A.L trailer


Anybody excited for Fallout 4? With only 2 months to go, and  details of additional special steelbook editions, accessory packs and Season Passes released in the last few weeks you would be surprised if anyone hasn’t yet got Fallout fever. (if you are that way inclined).

Bethesda though, dont think we are sufficiently hyped, so have released the first in a series of SPECIAL trailers to wet our whistles further.

The first trailer can be viewed below, with further trailers to come over the subsequent weeks.