In the village of Skara Brae where the game opens there’s a merchant who apparently sells soup. I say apparently because I’ve never seen this soup. The man selling it claims I’m not worthy to taste his legendary broth, and even the loading screen gently informs me that I’ll never be worthy, that I should accept it and just move on. But I couldn’t. Over the coming hours I defeated evil sorcerers, saved the world, solved a bunch of puzzles and even herded some fairies around the place. I never forgot about the soup, though. Maybe one day I will be worthy. One day.
In the opening minutes of Marvel’s Spider-Man developer Insomniac nails the titular Webslinger perfectly twice; the first is when Peter Parker has to choose between trying to pay his rent or face eviction or to be Spider-Man and help fight an active crime. It’s the quintessential Peter Parker moment, the kind that has defined the character over the years. Peter Parker might be a genius and a superhero, but he’s always struggled to pay his rent and keep his lifted sorted. The second moment is when he goes diving out of his window in the classic costume and you get to experience the superb sensation of swinging around a beautiful virtual rendition of New York for the first time.
After 20-years in a garage under a dusty tarp a developer has finally decided to wheel V-Rally out, give it a new paint job and see if the old girl can still run. It’s a sequel I never expected and a difficult one to review because even V-Rally 3 was 16-years ago and my memory of it is fuzzy to say the least. So this is going to be less of a review focusing on whether it’s a good sequel that carries on the series legacy and more of a review talking about whether it’s just a good racing game.
Having managed massive dinosaurs capable of slaughtering crowds of visitors and hospitals tasked with curing the sick, dealing with aquariums full of pretty fish feels like a relaxing visit to a spa. There’s no danger of one of my sharks breaking out and eating the guests or of people dying in the corridors because they didn’t get treated quickly enough. In Megaquarium the biggest threat is one fish eating another fish. Cheeky sods.
If the phrase, “Patients are reminded not to die in the corridors” sets off your nostalgia senses then congratulations because Two Point Hospital is for, and it’s for me. It’s basically a sequel to the 1998 Theme Hospital in all but name, often feeling so similar that you could swear you were playing a remaster but also putting a few fresh things into the mix to turn this game into one of the most fun and satisfying management sims in recent memory.
Another year, another F1 game from Codemasters. With such limited development time between each new release hamstringing what Codemasters can do with the franchise what we’ve seen over the years is a steady iteration, each new release tweaking the formula in various little ways with maybe one or two larger changes or features getting shoved in as well. F1 2018 doesn’t break this tradition, offering up just a few changes here and there and a coupe of new features.
Dead Cells is a rogue-like or rogue-lite or rogue-something depending on the exact definition that you opt to go by, meaning that whenever you die you’ll just respawn at the very start but having hopefully managed to make some progress along the way by grabbing lots of Cells from dead enemies, shiny new blueprints and maybe even a Rune or two. In other words this genre is a bit like banging your head off of a brick wall with the goal being to break through. Keep doing it long enough and you might just manage to break the wall. But at what cost? Concussion, I would imagine, at the very least.