VOEZ (Switch) review

Rayark Games
Switch, iOS, Android (Switch version reviewed)

Most consoles have a hidden gem at launch, that one game that doesn’t get the attention it deserves because the main launch title is getting all the plaudits.

For many the Switch’s hidden gem is Snipperclips, but that’s not completely ‘hidden’ in the literal sense. Connect your Switch online and among the many news notifications you get from Nintendo are numerous reminders that Snipperclips exists.

For me, the Switch’s true hidden gem – in every sense of the word – is VOEZ. Continue reading “VOEZ (Switch) review”

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

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”

The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild (Switch) review

Nintendo / Nintendo
Switch / Wii U (Switch version reviewed)

This review comes with some disclaimers.

Usually when I review a game I insist on finishing it (or getting as close as possible if magazine deadline restrictions have prevented it) in order to make sure I give the most accurate verdict.

zeldabotwzeldaI’ve been playing Breath Of The Wild solid for about a week now and I’m still nowhere close to finishing it. It’s still going to take me a number of weeks. However, this game is unique in that after spending around 40-50 hours with it I’m 100% confident in my verdict, which I’ll get to at the end of the review. I hope you understand when you read it.

This review will also contain no plot spoilers. For the sake of illustrating points made in my review I have had to refer to gameplay scenarios I experienced, but these examples do not mention the plot or explain how these scenarios fit into the story.

The screenshots in this article were all taken using the Switch’s built-in screenshot feature early in the game,  in order to avoid major spoilers later. Since SDXC card support is not yet ready at the time of writing (it’s added in the online update tomorrow), I used my PC grabber to capture them from the Switch’s screenshot gallery. I’m happy with the results.

One or two of these screens show characters Link meets early in the game who you may not recognise. I felt the need to illustrate that the entire game is not an empty world with no NPCs. However, I’ve taken great pains to make sure the screens show no dialogue that explains who these characters are or how they fit into the plot.

Long story short, if you watched the Zelda trailer during the Switch presentation in January, that gave away a lot more than I will. That said, on with the review! Continue reading “The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild (Switch) review”

The complete history of Bomberman

bomberman-character-art-from-bomberman-online-on-sega-dreamcast-2001In just a few days, the Nintendo Switch will finally be released.

It’s an exciting time for many gamers, because the launch of new hardware is always a thrill.

But it’s also an exciting and nerve-wracking time for a group of gamers who have had a rough time of it in recent years: Bomberman fans.

On the same day the Switch launches, Super Bomberman R will be sitting on the shelves alongside it. It will be the first new physical, boxed Bomberman game to appear in stores in more than eight years.

For people my age (30 and up if you must know, you cheeky prick), Bomberman is one of the classic video games series.

These days when you think of big, popular multiplayer games you think of Call Of Duty, Destiny, Overwatch and FIFA.

In the early ‘90s, it was Bomberman.

Because it’s been nearly a decade since the last retail Bomberman release – and because even then it wasn’t really as popular as it had been – there’s a generation of gamers who aren’t too familiar with the series as a whole.

That’s where yer man Scullion comes in. Continue reading “The complete history of Bomberman”