Friday, 19 February 2016

Rocket League (Xbox One) - Review

Rocket League is available now on the Xbox One and is priced at £15.99.

The release of Rocket League on the Xbox One has been fairly divisive. When the game launched on PS4 last year, it launched as a free PS+ game, which lead many to believe that it was only fair for the same to happen when it came to Xbox One this week. The failure to launch it as a GwG saw many a gamer throwing their toys out of the pram and refuse to buy it (on my Twitter feed anyway). So is Rocket League worth the £15.99 price tag?

In short YES. My family and I have had a huge amount of fun with this game.

Now unless you've lived under a rock this past year, you'll at least have heard of Rocket League. It's football (or soccer) played with cars instead of people - which when I first heard of it made me think of the Top Gear episode where they had two teams of Volkswagen Fox's playing football. Rocket League is NOT that realistic - and it's all the better for it. Your cars can jump, boost an drive up the mesh walls in this absolutely batshit crazy game.

The mechanics behind this game are amazing. It is the epitome of the "easy to pick up but difficult to master" game. My son and I dived straight into a 1v1 against each other the minute the download was finished and we had great fun. He thought he was brilliant at it...then we ventured online. It was an education to say the least, and has since seen my son watching videos on YouTube so that he can get better "and beat everyone".

The single player mode is a little dull in comparison to the fast and frenetic online (or even couch co-op) mode. The AI doesn't really seem to increase in difficulty much as you work your way through Season mode, but its an ok way to while away sometime and get more accustomed to the controls, or try out any new techniques. But the best thing for me was that it has 4 player split-screen. We're a family that likes to game together, so any game that gives us the opportunity to all sit down together and play is golden with us.

Now obviously I'm not gonna recommend you buy this if you have it already on another platform (unless you're friends play on Xbox) but for anyone who hasn't had the pleasure of playing Rocket League yet, I definitely recommend you pick it up!

9/10 BUY IT!
A code was provided for the purpose of this review.

Human Resource Machine (Wii U) - Review

Human Resource Machine is available now on the Wii U.

I didn't expect this game to be as tough as it is. I think I jumped to this conclusion because it's on the Wii U and I primarily see that as a machine for kids (don't shoot me, I still love it). Oh how wrong I was. 

In Human Resource Machine you play as a cute little dude/dudette who goes to work for a big corporation. Your supervisor will set you tasks which you then must complete to finish the level. These tasks start off simple enough - you just move stuff from one side of the room to the other. But they soon become much more complex, with you needing to only take certain things to the other side and leaving the others behind. 

Now this sounds simple, doesn't it? What's so hard about just sorting through some mail or whatever? Well yeah, doing this manually would be much simpler, but in Human Resource Machine you don't sort things manually. Instead you basically write a line of code for your little employee to follow. Now, I'm not a coder nor have I ever dabbled in any form of coding, so I found this really quite difficult. I found it really hard to wrap my head around the code required to hit some of the goals for each level. I was fine when it was just move that from here to there, but the minute it started asking me to leave zeros behind I started getting lost pretty fast. 

And that's where Human Resource Machine really falls down. It's cutesy art-style leads you to believe that this is going to be a much simpler game than it is. I found myself getting incredibly frustrated with it, fairly early on which is incredibly disappointing. My partner however is an analyst and he whizzed through it with ease, laughing at how hard i made it look. I guess what I'm trying to say is that this game feels too tough for the casual puzzler it appears to be - it should have been more serious looking in my opinion. The graphics definitely attract a younger audience, but I fear my son would break the Wii U pad in frustration with this game. 

The touch screen works really well for this game (which is also available on Steam) so much so that I wonder whether it may be ported to iOS or Android. I think it'd be a good game to while away the commute with, but maybe not if you struggle as much as I did. I don't really know who to recommend this game for, definitely not kids or the more casual puzzle players. But at the same time saying people who code will love it seems silly too - if you code for your job do you really wanna come home and play a game that basically sees you writing code to complete menial tasks?!

5/10 TRY IT!
A code was provided for the purpose of this review.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Cosplay Maker (Steam) - Review

Cosplay Maker is available now on Steam and is priced at £10.99, though it currently has 25% off.

Cosplay Maker is basically a time management game that revolves around the cosplaying world. I haven't ever really cosplayed in my life - I mean, I've done fancy dress but I've never gotten involved in the cosplay scene past going to Comic Con with the family (although next year I TOTALLY want us to go as The Incredibles). I just think that cosplaying requires a lot of time, money and patience - none of which I possess much of.

So in Cosplay Maker you play as a newcomer to the scene. You must research outfits, make them and work to earn the money for them, all whilst navigating your way through the social circles (and even dating some of them). The art style is cute and the story is alright. But goddamn the music is annoying, I turned it off after half an hour as I couldn't face any more repetition. The game itself is repetitive enough to deal with...

I'm a big fan of management games and have been known to spend hours and hours on them. But Cosplay Maker bored me within the first fifteen minutes. Let me explain...All the gameplay basically takes place in a diary. You have a very basic diary screen that has three blanks to fill in; Mon-Fri (daytime), Mon-Fri (nights) and Weekends. You have a few different options you can place into these time slots, including the options to work on your outfit, work your job, relax, research, or socialise with friends. The problem is that you have to put these in for the whole slot, you can only do three of these things per week. So you could say work your job every day Monday to Friday, and work on your outfit every night but you're soon gonna get burnt out doing that and the next week you;d have to make up for it. It just seems like a really sloppy way to put a management mechanic into a game. In my opinion if you;re going to base an entire game around the idea of making cosplays then you should be able to manage your time in hourly slots, not entire weeks. It was also a problem if you finished your outfit in the middle of the week as you would "continue" to work on it until the end of the week.

I found myself setting a week going and then pottering off to do things around the house whilst the in game week passed - not really what I sit down to game for. Maybe I'm just not the target audience of this game, but I just don't see how this game could constitute anyones idea of fun.

2/10 SKIP IT!
A code was provided for the purpose of this review. 

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Level 22 (Xbox One) - Review

Level 22 is available now on Xbox One and is priced at £5.59.

Level 22 is a simple stealth game that sees you play as Gary, an office worker who has to sneak to his desk because if he's caught coming in late one more time he will be fired. And so you find yourself navigating the various floors of the office building to get Gary to his desk without being seen.

Now I'm a big fan of stealth games, I'm just not all that good at them. They often require a level of patience I simply do not possess. Saying that, I guess I'm talking about the more serious stealth games we've had recently, you know the type which see you spend half an hour navigating a level just to be caught at the last minute and have to start the whole thing again. Luckily Level 22 doesn't punish you too badly if you get caught, the checkpoints come thick and fast in this game. On the flip side of this though, it kinda takes away the stealth side of the game and makes it more about simple trial-and-error - because you never have to replay more than thirty seconds of the level, you'll take risks you wouldn't normally take when playing a stealth game. At times this game definitely feels like more of a simple puzzler than a stealth game.

That isn't to say it is bad though, not at all. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Level 22. The art style and writing is fun and the game can be quite challenging. There's just the right amount of collectables too, and there's even a reason for them!! Something quite rare in games these days, with some asking you to pick up 700 snotty tissues for nothing more than a 5G achievement. Level 22 instead asks you to collet your friends collectable figures for him, now that he is unable to enter the building.

Level 22 is a fun little game that certainly won't break the bank, in fact it is one of the cheapest offerings on the Xbox One Marketplace at the minute. It provides a lot more fun than a lot of the more expensive games out there too. If you're looking for a simplistic little game to kill some time with Level 22 is definitely worth picking up!

7/10 TRY IT!
A code was provided for the purpose of this review.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Factotum 90 (Xbox One) - Review

Factotum 90 is available now on the Xbox One and is priced at £4.79/$5.99. It currently has an additional 20% off its launch price for Gold Members (making it less that £4!).

Factotum 90 is the first Xbox One game to come from one-man development team TACS Games. Originally it was released on the Wii U as Factotum, but it has now made the jump to Xbox One, with higher res, more colours and some shiny new special effects.

Now don't get me wrong Factotum 90 isn't going to win any beauty awards anytime soon. It is quite simplistic graphically, with textures etc. leaving a lot to be desired. But we're all willing to overlook some slightly dodgy graphics for a good game, aren't we?

Well good, because that's what you get with Factotum 90. Yeah it's not as pretty as other puzzle game son the Xbox One, but it's a damn good puzzle game that is ridiculously cheap. The biggest praise I can give this game though, is that the levels progress really well. You know how in some puzzle games you suddenly peak at like the tenth level and it takes you forever to get past, because they're suddenly throwing everything ever at you? Factotum 90 doesn't do this, instead opting to slightly increase the difficulty, length and complexity of the puzzle just slightly in each level. I find that this is a hard balance to reach in puzzle games - some are far too easy all the way through, whilst some have an insanely steep learning curve - but Factotum 90 (for me at least) gets it just right...rare in a puzzle game these days.

You control two little robots that activate separately and each have their own portion of the screen. When they activate four little legs pop out from underneath and the boxy robots scutter about like spiders (which I have to admit, creeped me out a little). You use these robots to navigate your way around the ship, solving puzzles along the way. It's an interesting mechanic, and one that clearly shoes you which console this game was born on, with the duals screen capabilities of the Wii U pad lending itself so obviously to this type of gameplay. I was at first a little worried how this game would translate to the Xbox One but it does so very well, with the screen just cutting in half so you have a screen for each robot.

Controls are simple and effective too, the only thing that really got on my nerves was upon pausing the game. Actions still continue in the background, so if you;re on a moving floor it will continue to move whilst paused. And I seem to have gotten used to using B to back out of the pause menu, something which this game does;t allow for. But these are really just minor niggles.

£4 is nothing in terms of price for a game on the current gen and you could do much worse than picking up Factotum 90. I for one am interested to see what else this developer could do for Xbox One, so why not pick this up and support this one man team. I can guarantee you've all spent more on games that will have offered much less enjoyment.

7/10 TRY IT!
A code was provided for the purpose of this review. 

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Guns, Gore & Cannoli (Xbox One) - Review

Guns, Gore and Cannoli is available now on the Xbox One and is priced at £6.99.

Guns, Gore & Cannoli is a fun little game set in 1920's prohibition. You play as a mobster, or a group of mobsters if you have a few friends and spare controllers, that have to tackle a new threat...zombies.

Now I first booted this up all on my lonesome and let me tell you it was pretty damn tough. It started off alright, but I soon found myself completely overwhelmed and died a fair few times. And, unfortunately for me, I can't really put this down to anything other than my own lack of skill. This game plays perfectly, controls are slick, responsive and simple to understand. I am just shit.

Even with some couch co-op buddies this game is pretty challenging, more so towards the end, but it's a hell of a lot of fun. And you won't just be fighting zombies either, the devs clearly wanted to melt your eyeballs as there are literally tonnes of enemies thrown at you, including other mobsters, soldiers and zombie rats. You don't even have to keep playing nicely with your friends as after you;ve blitzed through the relatively short campaign you could resort to going all Super Smash Bros. on their arses in the multiplayer mode. Unfortunately though you won't be able to enjoy this game with anyone other than the people that visit you, as there is no online functionality, a massive oversight in my opinion.

Guns, Gore & Cannoli does provide a lot of fun for it's relatively small price. But the fun is short-lived, with a campaign that can be completed in an evening and a multiplayer mode, that whilst it's fun is limited to only local multiplayer. I still recommend picking it up though if you have £7 burning a whole in your digital pocket.

7/10 TRY IT!
A code was provided for the purpose of this review. 

Rock Zombie (Xbox One) - Review

Rock Zombie is available now on the Xbox One and is priced at £6.39.

Yeah, that's pretty cheap for an Xbox One game, isn't it? Yeah...there's a reason for that. This game is terrible and not in the 'so bad it's good sense' just in the 'shit why am I wasting my time' sense. Like Toro.

Straight away upon loading it up I didn't like it. After ten minutes I loathed it. The graphics are just awful (seriously the bright palate does not detract from how butt ugly the game is) and honestly look like they belong on the last gen, if not the PS2 era. Gameplay is repetitive and not fun at all, even when it does work how it should.

I guess it's supposed to be a modern take on Streets of Rage. It's a side scrolling beat 'em up yes, but that's where the similarities begin and end. Rock Zombie is lacklustre at best and just downright awful the majority of the time. The music makes you start grinding your teeth within ten seconds and the gameplay will have you grinding them to stumps in minutes. It's very simplistic, which I guess is what's to be expected from a side-scroller, but this takes simplicity to an all new level of dullness. Combat is repetitive and a bit hit and miss on whether you're actually aiming where you think you are (and where your character is pointing before the attack animation kicks in).

In case it wasn't clear guys, skip this one. Even if it's on the best damn sale you've ever seen. NOT WORTH IT.
1/10 SKIP IT!
A code was provided for the purpose of this review. 

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Clockwork Tales Of Glass and Ink (Xbox One) - Review

Clockwork Tales of Glass and Ink is available now on the Xbox One and is priced at £7.99.

Artifex Mundi have released another hidden object game onto home console following last years Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart. Clockwork Tales of Glass and Ink has been ported from mobile devices to Xbox One, so is it worth picking up for the big screen?

The good news is that Clockwork Tales of Glass and Ink is a lot better than Nightmares from the Deep, well in my opinion anyway. Graphics are hand-drawn and quite beautiful, but the voice acting is still amongst the cheesiest I've ever heard. 

The controls in Clockwork Tales of Glass and Ink work much better than they did in Nightmares from the Deep. Don't get me wrong, they're still not perfect and I still had a few moments where I was clearly clicking on what was needed but getting the big red circle. Even though this game does feature a lot of hidden object scenes, the story is not solely propelled by these scenes. The game is an albeit very simple point-and-click adventure with some light puzzle elements. Even going straight in on Expert difficulty it posed little in the way of challenge and was completed well within 5 hours. This is probably my biggest criticism of this game, it definitely errs on the side of too simple. 

The story is better too, marginally anyway. You must first save Dr Ink and then the world (obviously) from Gerhard Barber and his big machine. There are some collectable bugs along the way too, with achievements for collecting all of the bugs in each area. It's an easy game to max out the achievements on, although I haven't done this myself yet due to missing a couple of bugs :(

I still think the price is a little high, despite enjoying my time with the game. I think it'd have been better priced around the £5.59 mark we have seen other games release at. If you're dying for some point-and-click, hidden object adventures then pick it up by all means, but if you have a little patience wait for a sale.  

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