Back during the days of the Playstation 2, the cheerful, charming mascot platformer was all the rage, from Spyro the Dragon to Crash Bandicoot, both of which have gotten remastered or remade. These days the cutesy platformer isn’t as popular as it once was, but every now and then a new one turns up and tickles the ol’ nostalgia balls. This time it’s Pumpkin Jack, a game that feels so much like a classic PS2 platformer that you could tell me it was actually just a remaster and I’d believe you. In fact, it’s so enamoured with evoking the spirit of those old platformers that it even has iffy combat and a naff story, just like them. So, let’s review Pumpkin Jack, the bastard offspring of MediEvil and A Nightmare Before Christmas.
With Cyberpunk 2077 having been delayed for the *checks the calendar* 124th time, there’s a bit of a gap in the market for some grungy sci-fi. Enter Ghostrunner, a first-person game that describes itself as a “hardcore FPP slasher.” I’d describe it as the bastard baby of Mirror’s Edge and Dishonored. It’s fast, frenetic, and frequently exhilarating. It’s the kind of game that can make you clutch your mouse like it owes you money.
Hades spent two years in Early Access before it finally launched proper around a month back. Those two years stand as an example of how Early Access should be done. Developer Supergiant used that time to to create a culmination of all their previous work on Bastion, Pyre and Transistor. They took their excellent combat design, unique visual style and their storytelling chops and decided to try a rogue-like, and the results are spectacular. During those two years, Supergiant constantly updated the game and talked to their players. As a result, Hades is absolutely outstanding. It’s one of the best games of the year. So grab a beer, maybe a snack and park your butt on the chair, because I’m going to tell you why Hades is awesome.
Massive tyres, 1,6000HP engines, insane jumps and incredible drivers who are willing to crash, bash and trash their vehicles in the name of competition and entertainment. Yup, monster trucks are all sorts of awesome, and playing Monster Truck Championship has made me add a new item to my wishlist: drive a monster truck. But for now Monster Truck Championship will have to do, so let’s see if this newest attempt at capturing the size and power of these awesome machines stacks up, shall?
The Star Wars license is not what it once was thanks to the new, divisive trilogy and the inconsistency of EA’s games. But Star Wars still has the power to tap into our collective nostalgia, and we’ve all just been waiting for EA to get their act together and start using the Star Wars license properly. Star Wars: Fallen Order was a pretty good step forward, and Star Wars: Battlefront 2 has grown into something far stronger than it began life as. But now Motive Studios and EA have come out with Star Wars; Squadrons, a space combat game where you pilot X-wings and TIE fighters, and live out all those childhood fantasies. Or at least, the childhood fantasies second to having an actual working lightsaber.
Just like the Hulk himself, Marvel’s Avengers is two very different personalities in the same body. The first is a single player game with a reasonable story and a handful of decent missions. It wouldn’t rival the likes of Marvel’s Spider-Man or the Batman: Arkham series, but it’s mindless fun. The second personality is a live-service game for groups of up to four players in the vein of Destiny with heavy monetization that intends on adding new characters and content over the coming years. Like the Hulk and Bruce Banner, these two personalities are almost always at odds, struggling to co-exist. But unlike the Hulk, Marvel’s Avengers isn’t big, green and awesome.
Take a lovely art style that wouldn’t look out of place in a book of children’s fairy-tales, combine with point and click adventuring, toss in some like turn-based combat and the result is The Girl of Glass: A Summer Bird’s Tale. On paper, those elements sounds like a fantastic mix. In reality, The Girl of Glass doesn’t manage to combine its ideas as well as they needed to be for it all to work smoothly.
Let me start this review by saying that I absolutely no idea what problem developer Funselektor has with the use of capital letters in the art of rally. And yes, the name of the game is art of rally, with no capitals. Nor, in fact, are capital letters […]
Bullets Per Minute is what happens when somebody plays too much Guitar Hero and Beat Saber, and then decides to play DOOM at 3 am. It’s a first-person-shooter mixed with a rogue-like structure. Then, imagine the Doom: Eternal soundtrack but on a tighter budget. That solid thumping beat and tasty guitar riffs that make the foot tap and the head nod. It’s perfect music for a fast-paced FPS. But that killer soundtrack isn’t just pleasing to the ears, it’s the core of the entire damn game. Shooting, jumping, using abilities and reloading all have to be done in time with the beat. Pull the trigger out of rhythm and all you’ll get is a sad click. Time it right and the bang of the gun will become a part of the music. Once you get good at it, it’s really satisfying to hear everything you do mix into the music. Yup, Bullets Per Minute is an awesome concept.
THE year was 2012 and the world had not yet burst into flames. It was a simpler time. It was also the year one of my favourite RPGs came out, amidst a bunch of drama surrounding its development owing to the fact that Rhode Island had helped fund the game’s creation. 38 Studios was founded by former Baseball pitcher Curt Schilling with the aim of turning his gaming hobby into something more, and to create awesome new RPGs with the help of Todd McFarlane and R.A. Salvatore. He succeeded: Amalur is excellent, and in some alternate reality its sequels would have kicked ass. But despite solid sales of 1.2-million copies, too much money had been spent on development. Payments weren’t made on time, 38 Studios began to collapse. It would take near four years for the court case between Rhode Island, 38 Studios and Curt Schilling to be settled. So it’s something of a miracle that eight years later we have Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-reckoning, a remaster of the original game and a spark of hope that we might still yet get a sequel.