ARMS (Switch) review

Nintendo
Switch

When I first played Arms at the Nintendo Switch reveal event back in January, I left with a few concerns.

“Before I fork over my cash for it,” I wrote in my hands-on preview, “I’m going to want to see a lot more characters, plenty more stages (each with a unique gimmick, preferably) and a solid single-player mode that goes beyond arcade-style ‘beat this fighter, then this one, and so on’ stuff.

“I like what I’ve seen so far, but I remain unconvinced at this point. It’s going to take a little more than this to disarm me. You’d think I’d be sorry for that joke. You’d be wrong.”

I’ve now spent the last week playing the game at home, and I’m happy that most of those concerns have been put to rest. I’ve even come to terms with calling it ARMS instead of Arms.

And I’m still not sorry for that joke. Continue reading “ARMS (Switch) review”

Ultra Street Fighter II (Switch) review

Nintendo / Capcom
Switch

Street Fighter is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. While its popularity may have started in the arcades, gamers of a certain age (i.e. old pricks like me) will always associate it with Nintendo too.

The Super Famicom version of Street Fighter II was the game that got countless western SNES gamers curious about importing, with magazines like Super Play guiding us through the process.

I distinctly remember convertor cartridges being sold out of independent game shops all over Glasgow as I (well, my dad) and many others happily dropped upwards of £100 on the Japanese version of the game so we didn’t have to wait six months for the European release.

For the longest time the SNES version of Street Fighter II and its ‘sequel’ Street Fighter II Turbo were the big winning blow in the 16-bit console wars, the game Mega Drive owners were jealous they didn’t have. Until they got it a year later, mind.

My (needlessly long) point is that when I think back to the early days of Street Fighter II, my mind goes back to the early ‘90s as I played it for hours every night on the SNES, wearing out my L and R shoulder buttons with endless Dragon Punches, Spinning Bird Kicks and Hundred-Hand Slaps.

It’s fitting, then, that Capcom should celebrate Street Fighter’s 30th anniversary with a return to Nintendo and what it hopes is the definitive version of the game that kicked it all off in the first place. And for the most part, it’s succeeded. Continue reading “Ultra Street Fighter II (Switch) review”

Review round-up #2: NBA Playgrounds, OK Golf, Puyo Puyo Tetris, Kitty Powers, Ruin Of The Reckless

It’s time for my second review round-up, covering the games I’ve been playing over the past week or two. This time around:

• Is NBA Playgrounds more Space Jam or Shaq Fu?
• Is OK Golf more Tiger Woods ten years ago or Tiger Woods today?
• Is Puyo Puyo Tetris more Bloc Party or New Kids On The Block?
• Is Kitty Powers’ Matchmaker more drag queen or Drag Me To Hell?
• Is Ruin Of The Reckless more procedural perfection or by-the-numbers baws?

Read on to find out, innit. Continue reading “Review round-up #2: NBA Playgrounds, OK Golf, Puyo Puyo Tetris, Kitty Powers, Ruin Of The Reckless”

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch) review

Nintendo / Nintendo EAD
Switch

For most games, selling 8 million copies would be considered a huge success. Much whooping and hollering would take place, and both publisher and developer would metaphorically and physically kiss each other on the lips at a job well done.

Mario Kart isn’t most games though. For it, 8 million is quite an underachievement. Considering the DS, Wii and 3DS entries sold 23, 36 and 14 million copies respectively, a ‘mere’ 8 million has to go down, bizarrely, as a disappointment.

This was the fate that befell the appropriately named Mario Kart 8, which failed to hit octuple figures through no fault of its own. Indeed, most people who played it considered it the greatest Mario Kart game ever made.

The reason for its relative sales funk, of course, was that it was released on the Wii U, a console that – as genuinely great as it was – ended up being about as popular as an Al Jolson cosplayer at the MOBO awards.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, then, finds itself in an interesting position. It’s essentially an enhanced version of a game that, despite already selling 8 million copies, is set to be experienced by a whole host of new players for the first time. Continue reading “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch) review”

Voodoo Vince Remastered (Xbox One) review

Microsoft / Beep Games
Xbox One, PC (Xbox One version reviewed)

A fortnight ago I posted a review of Yooka-Laylee, saying that long-time gamers who fondly remembered Rare’s glory days would enjoy it.

If you fall under that category and you’re looking for more old-school runny-jumpy goodness, Voodoo Vince Remastered is another recent release that should appeal to fans of turn-of-the-millennium platformers.

Mainly because it literally is one. Continue reading “Voodoo Vince Remastered (Xbox One) review”

Kamiko (Switch) review

Skipmore / Flyhigh Works
Switch

Well, here’s a nice wee surprise. After last night’s Nintendo Direct ended I decided to check out the Japanese eShop out of curiosity, and there I found Kamiko.

It’s a little Japanese indie game made by a chap called ‘Y. Kimura’, but who prefers to go by Skipmore. He enjoyed a bit of cult success with the Fairune RPGs on the 3DS eShop, and now he’s back on the Switch.

Whereas Fairune was a fairly slow-paced take on the original Legend Of Zelda though, Kamiko is… um, a fairly fast-paced take on it. Continue reading “Kamiko (Switch) review”

Aaero (Xbox One) review

Mad Fellows / Reverb Triple XP
Xbox One, PS4, Steam (Xbox One version reviewed)

FreeStyleGames was always a bit of an underrated studio in my eyes.  Specialising in rhythm action games, this British outfit was responsible for both fantastic DJ Hero titles, as well as the brilliant Guitar Hero Live.

Unfortunately, DJ Hero and DJ Hero 2 were released at a time when the plastic instrument craze was beginning to die, and Guitar Hero Live – an attempt to resurrect it – didn’t quite manage this.

It’s a real shame, because all three games are among my favourites in the rhythm action genre. I doff my cap to you, FreeStyleGames, you fallen geniuses (Activision made 50 staff redundant in 2016 and the studio was eventually bought by Ubisoft and renamed Ubisoft Leamington).

“The point, Chris,” you rasp in an impatient sputter. “Get to the bastard point.”

The point is that Aaero is the work of Paul Norris and Dan Horbury, who were the Music Team Lead and Senior Engine Programmers respectively at FreeStyleGames. And that’s why you should be paying attention to it. Continue reading “Aaero (Xbox One) review”