Sonic Mania (Switch) review

Sega / Christian Whitehead
Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC (Switch version reviewed)

I fucking hated the Chemical Plant Zone.

If all the zones in Sonic The Hedgehog 2 were like family members, the Chemical Plant Zone was my racist uncle: it was part of a larger group I loved, but any time I encountered it I had a lengthy, uncomfortable time interacting with it.

Even as a young 9-year-old sprog who was obsessed with Sonic and excitedly got his copy of the sequel on what was officially known as Sonic Twosday – Tuesday, 21 November 1992 – the Chemical Plant Zone rubbed me up the wrong way.

Yes, friends, I hated it. But the key word is ‘hated’, in the past tense. Amazingly, nearly 25 years later, I’ve come to peace with it: and it’s thanks to Sonic Mania. Continue reading “Sonic Mania (Switch) review”

Hey! Pikmin review

Nintendo / Arzest
Nintendo 3DS

Hey! Pikmin is not the sequel fans of the main series have been waiting for.

It’s not the new Pikmin game that Shigeru Miyamoto said just last month was still in development.

This is not Pikmin 4. But I’m completely fine with that. Because I really like what it actually is.

Its plot is familiar, at least. Captain Olimar, returning home for some much-needed time off work, crashes his new ship the S.S. Dolphin 2 and once again finds himself on a planet inhabited by Pikmin.

The ship’s fuel supply, powered by Sparklium, is completely empty, so it’s up to Olimar to explore the planet, aided by the Pikmin, to find seeds and items that can be harvested for Sparklium. Continue reading “Hey! Pikmin review”

Splatoon 2: single-player review

Nintendo EPD / Nintendo

Splatoon 2 is out this Friday and yer man Scullion’s been playing it for the past week. Well, sort of.

You see, I received my review code the day I headed out to Canada to visit my father-in-law, and it turns out my Switch can’t detect his router (it’s fixable but I don’t want to mess about with his stuff).

As such, my online multiplayer experience with the game has been limited to about seven or eight matches that I’ve had while sitting in Ontario malls, connected to the mall Wi-Fi as I’ve waited for Louise to finish shopping.

That certainly isn’t enough to justify a review of the game’s multiplayer aspect, so here’s the deal: having an offline Switch still hasn’t prevented me from rinsing the utter piss out of Splatoon’s single-player Hero mode instead.

Here, then, is my review: not of Splatoon 2 as a whole, but of what you have available to you any time you’re playing without an internet connection (on certain public transport, for example). Continue reading “Splatoon 2: single-player review”

FIFA 18 Switch hands-on preview

Note: Because of restrictions placed by EA, I wasn’t allowed to capture any gameplay footage or screenshots of FIFA 18 on Switch while I was playing it.

I also wasn’t provided with any screenshots, and I don’t agree with showing Xbox One and PS4 screens in their place, because they aren’t an accurate representation of how the Switch version looks.

To make up for this, instead of screenshots of FIFA 18 on Switch, I’ve included my favourite Celtic goals against Rangers.

Quick disclaimer: I’m an enormous FIFA fan. I saved my pocket money for months to buy the first FIFA International Soccer on the Mega Drive on the day it launched in December 1993, and although PES took over my attention in the early 2000s (because of course it did) it still didn’t stop me buying every FIFA game over the years.

I’m not ashamed then to say that, after Super Mario Odyssey, FIFA 18 is the game I was most looking forward to try out when I visited Nintendo’s UK HQ earlier this week.

EA is infamous for fucking over Nintendo fans in recent times when it’s come to its sports games. FIFA 13 on Wii U was just an enhanced FIFA 12 with all the good modes taken out: this led to understandably poor sales which EA then pointed to as a reason never to make another Wii U FIFA.

As such, FIFA 18 marks the first time in FIVE YEARS that Nintendo fans will be able to play FIFA on a home console, and the first time they’ll be able to play ‘proper’ FIFA on a handheld (because, let’s face it, the 3DS versions couldn’t quite handle it even though they did their best).

I held my breath as I selected the FIFA 18 icon on the Switch I was using. “Please don’t bottle this one,” I thought. After just a minute into my first match, I exhaled. It’s legit. Continue reading “FIFA 18 Switch hands-on preview”

Fire Emblem Warriors hands-on preview

Earlier this week I was lucky enough to be invited to Nintendo’s UK headquarters,where I was sat in front of a Switch for three hours and given free reign to play through its E3 demos without any annoying queues.

Over the next couple of weeks, expect a bunch of hands-on preview articles in which I give my views on these demos: starting with this one.

I have a strange relationship with the Warriors games.

Over the years I’ve played loads of Koei Tecmo’s Musou titles (as they’re known in Japan). Whether it’s the main Dynasty Warriors series, the spin-off Samurai Warriors and Warriors Orochi games, or one of the licensed tie-ins based on the likes of Gundam, One Piece and Fist Of The North Star, the process has always been the same for me.

I almost always start by running aimlessly around, because in the space of time since I last played a game in the series I’ve forgotten how I’m expected to make progress. Continue reading “Fire Emblem Warriors hands-on preview”

Nintendo Classic Mini SNES – all 21 games explained

Earlier this week Nintendo answered our prayers and announced a successor to the NES Mini, this time dedicated to SNES games.

The Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System (or Super NES Classic Edition as it’ll be known in the US) will come with 21 classic SNES games installed.

Well, 20 games and one previously unreleased title: the mythical Star Fox 2.

Since all of these games are more than two decades old, there’s a chance younger readers may not be familiar with some of them, or have heard of them but never played or seen them in action.

My dear friend, I give to you my latest video epic, in the hope that it shall solve this very dilemma. Continue reading “Nintendo Classic Mini SNES – all 21 games explained”