Shovel Knight Treasure Trove (Switch) review

The first part of this review is aimed at those who have never played the original standalone version of Shovel Knight before. For those who have and just want to know what’s new in the Switch version, scroll down to the ‘Treasure Trove features’ section further down the article.

Yacht Club Games
Switch, Wii U, 3DS, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Vita, Steam (Switch version reviewed)

Fake 8-bit graphics are this generation’s cel-shading.

Much like the early 2000s were flooded with games with flat textures and people going “ooooh, it looks just like a cartoon (except not quite)”, today we’re flooded with games with basic sprite-based graphics and people going “ooooh, it looks just like an NES game (except not quite)”.

Most of these are all retro style and no substance, the product of an indie developer whose lack of creativity when choosing an art style is inevitably accompanied by a lack of creativity in terms of gameplay mechanics.

Every now and then, though, you’ll get a game which does actually offer more than a brief “come see how old I look, ha ha!” message.

Games like Super Meat Boy, Retro City Rampage and VVVVVV combine retro visuals with genuinely compelling gameplay to earn their price tag and appeal to gamers of all vintages. You can most definitely add Shovel Knight to this list. Continue reading “Shovel Knight Treasure Trove (Switch) review”

New Frontier Days: Founding Pioneers (Switch) review

Arc System Works
Switch

I played New Frontier Days: Founding Pioneers for 10 minutes on the Switch’s launch day, and decided that I would probably hate it.

As is often the case with resource management games like this, the tutorial is just a deluge of information, throwing loads of features at you under the false impression that if it walks you through performing each task once you’ll remember all the steps in the future.

I turned it off, angry, and put it aside to focus on reviewing the other Switch launch games first.

As far as first impressions go, “I’m so annoyed with you I want to play everything else first” probably isn’t the best. Continue reading “New Frontier Days: Founding Pioneers (Switch) review”

Blaster Master Zero (Switch) review

Inti Creates
Switch, 3DS (Switch version reviewed)

I owned the original Blaster Master back when it was released on the NES.

It launched in the US in late 1988, but the UK didn’t get it until April 1991, by which point I was already fully aware how amazing it was thanks to import reviews in various British games magazines.

Those reviews didn’t lie. Blaster Master was such a revolutionary game for its time that even if you were to play it now it would fit right in with the slew of 8-bit style indie offerings you see these days.

Of course, now you don’t need to play the original, because Blaster Master Zero is here courtesy of Inti Creates, the brilliant 2D-focused studio responsible for the likes of the Mega Man Zero series on GBA, Mega Man 9 & 10 and the Azure Striker Gunvolt games. Continue reading “Blaster Master Zero (Switch) review”

Women in gaming

This article was originally published on International Women’s Day 2017.

Although great progress has been made over the years in making women’s voices louder in the games industry, it’s clear that in other ways things are worse than ever.

Hashtag-citing hate groups and angry young men – terrified that their narrow-minded definition of gaming is being challenged – are ensuring that being a woman in the games industry is tough, frustrating and sometimes downright scary.

Obviously, these people are idiots. Ovaries can do a lot of things, but preventing insecure men from playing their precious video games isn’t one of them.

Anyone with a shred of sense in their brain will know that women are just as crucial to the games industry as men are. By trying to drive them out or reducing them to eye candy, you’re quite literally cutting the industry’s potential in half.

That shit doesn’t fly on Tired Old Hack, which is why I’ve put this page together. Continue reading “Women in gaming”

Vroom In The Night Sky (Switch) review

Poisoft
Switch

There’s been concern among some gamers that Nintendo is perhaps a little too controlling when it comes to deciding which indie games are suitable for inclusion on the eShop.

The fear is that Nintendo is so keen to ensure the Switch is a success, it may focus heavily on established, critically acclaimed indie developers to the detriment of other less established ones.

Vroom In The Night Sky is here to put those fears to rest, because it’s a barrel of old arse. Continue reading “Vroom In The Night Sky (Switch) review”

FAST RMX (Switch) review

SHIN’EN MULTIMEDIA
SWITCH

If you want a masterclass in how to push game hardware to its limits, look no further than German developer Shin’en Multimedia.

Since the turn of the millennium Shin’en has been pumping out games that look much better than they should, given the restrictions of the formats they’re on.

Nanostray and its sequel offered visually impressive shoot ’em up action on DS, turning Nintendo’s humble handheld into a powerhouse.

Even more impressive, downloadable WiiWare titles Jett Rocket and FAST Racing League were two of the best-looking games on the Wii, a fact made even more extraordinary by the miniscule 40MB size limit Nintendo reportedly put on WiiWare submissions.

FAST was the most popular of the two, encouraging Shin’en to make a Wii U sequel, FAST Racing Neo. And now here we have the third game in the series, FAST RMX on Switch. Continue reading “FAST RMX (Switch) review”

Super Bomberman R (Switch) review

HEXADRIVE / KONAMI
SWITCH

91-hgxwegrl-_sl1500_In case you couldn’t already tell, I’m a big fan of Bomberman.

I’ve loved the series from the moment I first played the NES original back in 1991, and ever since Super Bomberman 2 launched on the SNES in the mid ‘90s I’ve been anxiously waiting for a new sequel that would better it.

Super Bomberman R isn’t that game.

It’s fine though, because that doesn’t mean it’s a bad one. Although it isn’t quite a return to form as yet, as far as modern Bomberman efforts go it’s a good sign that Konami is at least getting back on the right track. Continue reading “Super Bomberman R (Switch) review”