I’m on a spaceship with a talking tree, a creature that most definitely isn’t a raccoon and a space Llama. In any other game this could be considered weird, but in Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s just a Monday. Assuming they have Mondays in space. It was never brought up. The point is, the Guardians of the Galaxy are one of the strangest groups in comic books, and until Marvel turned them into a household name in 2014 they were a relatively unknown bunch of misfits that dealt in some of the weirdest aspects of the Marvel universe. So a videogame based on their antics sounds like a perfect fit. We deal in weird shit all the time. How does their first foray into games hold up?
German developer Monokel are the new kids on the block, entering the fray with their first project, White Shadows. These are probably the game’s I hate reviewing the most because criticising any new developer trying to enter the scene with something cool and different feels like running up to a child and punching them in the kidney. But as I always I write reviews with the player in mind, not the developer. White Shadows is certainly unique and a hell of a debut for a new company in many regards. It shows incredible artistic strength. The gameplay just isn’t up to par, however. So let’s jump into this.
The Avengers heading to Xbox Game Pass was probably, to steal a phrase from Thanos, inevitable. It sold okay but struggled to make its development budget back, and its reception was rather lukewarm. Hell, my own review was hardly a glowing recommendation. But now that it’s on Game Pass? Well, Marvel’s The Avengers becomes a more enticing prospect. It may have found its true home. Time to suit up.
As someone who was raised by a biker and who religiously watches MotoGP, SBK and WSBK, the influx of two-wheeled racing games has been fantastic. This time its developer Raceward Studio rolling onto the grid and looking to pick up a win with the poorly named RiMS Racing, which sounds awfully close to some unspeakable act. With its stated goal of being, “The first motorcycling simulation that combines a realistic riding challenge with engineering and mechanics” how does RiMS Racing fare on the track and in the garage?
Videogame development is a complex and challenging task that takes years of experience and learning to master. The very best in the industry have spent thousands of hours honing their craft. They’ve burned away countless hours coming up with ideas and concepts for new games or how to take an existing franchise and spin it off into a different genre. But not The Coalition. Nah, they just took Gears of War and, in their own words, “we actually just took existing Gears and just moved the camera up.” Bloody geniuses.
These days it’s like you can’t walk down the street without tripping over a bunch of cyberpunk games, from the high-profile cock-ups to a host of indie games that range in quality and scope. Foreclosed is the latest cyberpunk game stepping up, hoping that it’s mix of third-person shooting and stealth, along with a striking art style, will be enough to grab your attention. It’s certainly releasing at the right time – we’re in a bit of a drought when it comes to big, shiny new games, giving the small stuff a chance to shine. But I’m saddened to report that Foreclosed suffers from good ideas but crappy execution.
I do love a quirky concept. I’m a sucker for the kind of premise that someone dreams up after downing 9-pints and then finding a pen and a napkin. In the case of Trigger Witch, these witches have ditched fireballs and pulling cute rabbits out of hats for something far better: AK-47s. Nothing can make a problem vanish quicker than a hail of bullets, and so now witches accept firearms from the strange Ordinance Rift and become members of The Clip. Their old traditions and their magic fading into the past, they now worship at the alter of gunpowder.
We all have regrets in life and one of mine is that I was far too harsh on Maneater when it came out last year, scoring it just two out of five while trying to explain that despite its various shortcomings it was also bloody good fun at times. Perhaps I was trying too hard to be a critic, a connoisseur of video games instead of someone just looking for a good time. So let’s set the record straight: Maneater isn’t an amazing game, especially when you look at it more critically, but it also a game about getting to play as a giant shark that munches humans, destroys boats and developers incredible mutations. If you know what you’re getting into, Maneater is a damn good time, and it’s the perfect fodder for Game Pass.
Rogue-likes might be incredibly popular among a certain group of players who love to torture themselves as they crawl and scrape for every piece of progress, but they’ve rarely made the jump to triple-A, typically being the domain of smaller developers. Housemarque has changed that with Returnal, a game that combines their experience in bullet-hell arcade games with the classic rogue-like experience of dying again and again and again. Throw in gorgeous graphics, a whole bunch of systems and a story that could make a Christopher Nolan movie seem straightforward, and you have the ingredients for a rather interesting Playstation 5 exclusive. But is it worth spending £70 on?
There are games with amazing controls. There are games with stunning graphics. There are games with complex tales that ensnare, bewilder and enchant. And then there’s Human: Fall Flat, which is like a cross between a drunk simulator and what it’s like to be a toddler trying to reach the cookie jar. You’re basically a boneless blob of rubber that flops around the place, bounces off the walls, falls over and stumbles up steps.