Friday, 29 May 2015

Shovel Knight (Xbox One) - Review

Shovel Knight is out now on the Xbox One and is priced at £11.99.

I initially wanted to get this review out on the day of release. But I couldn't because I couldn't get far enough in the game. I am now better at it, though not near finishing it, so I decided I could finally give you my thoughts.

Shovel Knight is great fun. The graphic style is a great nostalgia hit, and the accompanying music is PERFECT. I have recently got my Mega Drive back from my parents house and set it up to play with my son and when we loaded this up he asked me whether it was a Mega Drive game. Props to Yacht Club Games.

So as I mentioned at the beginning of this review, I found this game hard to master (which I haven't actually done). By master I mean, actually get good enough to get past the first level without dying so many times my son turned away bored. I am better now, marginally so, but even so this game is so fun that I didn't mind dying. Normally, my OCD would kick in with games like this, and I'd be thinking about everything I've lost and getting myself all cross, but in Shovel Knight you drop your little bags of loot upon death, leaving them there for you to collect. YAY! This, inevitably, leads to little bags of gold floating over areas of certain doom but it didn't stop me trying, and subsequently dying and losing more loot. :(

Shovel Knight is a game where you play as a Knight (duh!) wielding - you guessed it - a shovel. The shovel it turns out is a great weapon. You can slay enemies with it, and also use it to bounce off enemies, a la Mario. You can also use it to bounce off bubbles, enabling you to get higher. You go around killing everything and digging all the mounds of dirt and hidden walls to collect loot and extra gubbins such as a fishing rod that allows you to fish in the ditches for more loot.

It sounds simple, and it is. But simple games done well are rare and Shovel Knight is done VERY well. It is a perfect game for some pick-up-and-play action, but three hours later you will find yourself still sat there playing. It is great fun and an amazing nostalgia hit to anyone lucky enough to have played old 16-bit games. The price I feel is more than fair for the quality of game you get, but by all means wait for a sale to pick this gem up. Do yourself a favour though, and definitely do it, you won't regret it!
9/10 BUY IT!
A ode was provided for the purpose of this review. 

Game of Thrones Ep. 4 (Xbox One) - Review

Wow! This was an explosive episode of my favourite Telltale episodic game yet. Yes the Game of Thrones game has managed to kick The Wolf Among Us off the top spot for me. That's a big achievement.

So. You pick up where you left off, obviously, which for me meant feeling shitty that I hadn't stopped Beskha from being hurt by the dragon seeing as she has stuck with me for a long time (or so it seems). This was just one of many regrets I have in this game. I can't wait until they are all out so I can play it over and over again, correcting all the things I have done wrong. Hindsight is a great gift in a Telltale game. But for now I am sticking with the decisions I make in the extremely small amount of time that they give you. And it sucks. Big time.

In the fourth instalment of the Game of Thrones game we get to spend quite a bit of time near/in Mereen with Asher, Beskha and Malcolm(?) Asher's Uncle. At the end of the last episode they had come face to face with Deaenerys. She isn't happy with me, but gives me a job to do - help her to take control of Mereen. I have to admit I absolutely love the nods to the show and how it is all interconnected. Anyway, things do get hairy for a bit, and she gives you the choice of approaching her dragon Viserion. I declined. I'm not absolutely mental.

Gared's story, as I thought, did play a great part in this Episode. I won't ruin it, as you know I am spoiler-free, generally. But suffice it to say that this part of the story is picking up quite a bit. Up to now, I've kinda hated playing as Gared. I hate his whiny voice, and that is mostly my beef with him, because actually his story hasn't been too dull. I just preferred everybody else's before and couldn't wait to get back to them. This is the first episode that I have not wanted Gared's segments to end. A great achievement.

In the previous episodes I guess I kinda forgot that it is clearly running alongside the show, seeing as it shows snippets of both the Red and Purple Weddings. I pitched myself to Tyrion when playing as Myra, forgetting the absolute mess he spent much of last series in. Oops. For now, at least, it seems no one is too mad at me for this. Maergery Tyrell is being a bit funny, but by this point it could be for a number of reasons. I have decided to play Mira as a pretty selfish girl, except for when it comes to her family. So there aren't many people in King's Landing that haven't been thrown under the metaphorical bus for her to get what she wants. And in this episode I was faced with protecting Sera's secret so that she could marry a Lord, or ruining this happy ending by telling him that she is a bastard. Guess which I chose? King's Landing has done horrible, horrible things to me. I am dreading what Sera will say to me when she inevitably finds out, but I figured better to not piss off a Lord. I hope I'm right, but I guess we will have to wait and see.

House Forrester, as always, is a hub of much discontent. They don't seem to have many friends, do they? In this part I will have to say SPOILER ALERT, as I'm not sure how my decisions in the previous episodes have changed what happens here. I managed to save my relationship with Elaena Glenmore, and convince her to marry me in one of the previous Episodes. She turns up with her brother Arthur in this episode, and 20 of their father's best men. YES! Her father has decided that she should marry Gryff Whitehill instead and she has come to see whether I can help her. I am concerned however, as I told her that I would kill Gryff. But I didn't. I didn't mean to save him really, but I accidentally said that I'd trade him for Ryon. I'm hoping I'll be able to double cross him when the trade comes in the next episode. The moment I got to confront Gryff Whitehill was THE BEST. It was perfect. I used the move that Ser Royland had taught me before to bring him to the floor and then banged my cane to bring the Glenmore soldiers in. It was spectacular.

So again, there have been many twists and turns in the fates of the Forresters. And, again, I am eagerly anticipating the next episode. A month is far too long to wait for a game this good. If you haven't already bought it, wait it out and save yourself the pain of having to wait after you've played the newest episode through on release day. The pain is just too much to bear.

10/10 BUY IT! (Eventually)
A code was provided for the purpose of this review. 

Friday, 15 May 2015

Goat Simulator (Xbox One) - Review

Goat Simulator is available now on the Xbox One priced at £7.99.

I remember when I first heard about Goat Simulator when it came out on PC. I honestly thought the person who told me was taking the piss, until I saw it on the shelves at my local Tesco. I know simulation games offer a LOT of variation, but GOATS? Really?!
Then for months it seemed, we heard about how hilarious it was. It was a game that didn't take itself too seriously and actually embraced the fact that it was completely mental. In the game you control a goat, obviously. This goat has a huge tongue that is permanently sticking out of the goats mouth. Licking things can cause them to explode, or at the very least allow you to hurl them across the map, which is filled with things for you to have plenty of goaty fun with. So yeah, this game REALLY doesn't take itself too seriously.

It has now made the seemingly inevitable jump to consoles. This has seen developers Coffee Stain Studios embrace the mentality of the game even more, with them admitting to it being glitchy as all hell. They wanted it to be that way, after hearing about some of the hilarious glitches in the game they set out to NOT repair them for the console release. Indeed, when you load the game you are told that the goat may sometimes glitch (or words to that affect) so they have put a respawn function in the menu.

Now to my actual review. Graphically, it isn't going to win any awards, but it'll do nicely. The soundbites are actually pretty scary sometimes, a random person shouting something about goats when you're playing using a headset at night is less than ideal. There isn't much to do in the game, but I think that's kinda the point. There are some objectives which I mostly cannot do if I am honest. But I think the point of this game was just to provide a big playground for you to fulfil all your goat fantasies out in. And if that's the case, it does it tremendously.

I am not a fan of the game if I am honest, it's just a little too silly for my liking. Luckily I have a very silly six year old son, so I handed the controller to him for a few hours and watched him howl with laughter to complete my review. If you have a daft sense of humour, or kids, then you should definitely pick up this game. I cannot honestly remember the last game that made my son laugh so much. And I bought that horrendous Rabbid game...

6/10 TRY IT!
A code was provided for the purpose of this review. 

Friday, 8 May 2015

Slice Zombies for Kinect (Xbox One) - Review

Slice Zombies for Kinect is out now on Xbox One and is priced at £7.99 (there is a 20% discount available for Gold members at the minute though).

My son and I have been playing this game since last night. And unfortunately I have found it to be plagued with a problem that makes it impossible to play at the minute. Literally, as 3/5 times of booting up the game it refuses to pick either of us up. We took turns standing in front of it waving like maniacs to get the little hand to appear so that we could actually press the play button to no avail.  Each time this happened we had to quit out of the game and reboot, and on average it took about three reboots each time before it saw us. When we do get it to see us initially though it picks both my son and I up exceptionally well, unlike some Kinect games my son has played which struggle to pick up the movements he's making with his spindly six year olds arms. With Slice Zombies for Kinect he has been able to play without getting frustrated, which is great.

Slice Zombies for Kinect is very obviously based upon Fruit Ninja. Except now you're slicing zombies. Obviously. The gameplay is much the same as the Classic mode in Fruit Ninja, with you having to slice zombies and coins and avoid slicing the bombs to complete the level. You initially have three lives, but once you have swiped enough coins you can buy an extra one in the store.

The zombies are very cartoon-y, clearly based upon Plants vs Zombies, which makes it a great one for kids to play. When I initially told my son about this game he told me he was a bit scared of  zombies, but once I'd shown them to him he loved them, they are completely unthreatening. Little hands crawl across the screen too, which had my son howling with laughter as he chopped them up.

Slice Zombies for Kinect does only have this one game mode, which gets progressively harder as you level up. It is a shame, I would have liked to see a few more modes - a co-op one especially - but maybe these could be added in future updates (hint hint, Made!). It is a fun game though, and at it's current price of 20% off it's a steal for anyone who still actually wishes to use their Kinect. Families with children especially would benefit from buying this game, all kids like Fruit Ninja and Slice Zombies for Kinect offers kids the chance to whoop some zombie ass. The difficulty progresses well but as I mentioned earlier a few more modes definitely would help to propel this game to greatness.

7/10 TRY IT!
I have been in touch with the game dev today, and they explained that to work the menus you have to salute, which solved many of the problems present in the game. They have also confirmed that they did have plans for many more modes, but unfortunately being a new dev they ran out of money. Please buy this game and support these devs so that they can continue doing what they love, and hopefully bring more to the game via updates. 

A code was provided for the purpose of this review.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Game of Thrones Ep. 3 (Xbox One) - Review

You all know I have been absolutely loving my foray into the Telltale depiction of Westeros so far, so has it continued to keep me gripped into Episode 3?

Well the answer to that is yes. That's it. Review done. If you even remotely like Game of Thrones and do not own this game yet then you are mental. What? You expect more of a review than that? Oh go on then!

This episode sees you pick up where you left off (obviously!) and it is this episode in particular which really shows you how your choices have affected the fates of the Forrester family. This episode, more than either of the previous ones really drills home the sense of desperation the Forrester family must be feeling.

In this episode the cast of main characters is pretty well known, leaving more room for the plot to continue. The Whitehill occupation of Ironrath is still causing tension, forcing the limping Lord Rodrik into some kind of action, as always with a Telltale game, the nature of that action is yours to decide. Mira is clinging on in King's Landing, and in my story at least is now in a very precarious position, following the death of King Joffrey at The Purple Wedding. Gared's story at the Wall is also coming along nicely, and looks sure to be a brilliant part in the next episode. Asher makes his way to Mereen, and we meet the next big character from the show... Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, Mother of Dragons, etc. etc. Seriously how does she even recite all her titles anymore?

This episode, more than either of its predecessors had me hooked from start to finish. My heart was beating so fast in certain parts and I have questioned most of the decisions I have made almost constantly, to the point where I am now pissing off my other half with my constant ramblings about the state of House Forrester ('How will they cope if another one dies?' etc.). If you want a Game of Thrones gaming experience that feels true to the franchise then the Telltale game is the only way to go. They've hit the nail on the head with this one, and I cannot wait for the next three instalments.

10/10 BUY IT!
A code was provided for the purpose of this review.