Friday, 8 December 2017

Quest of Dungeons (Switch) - Review

Quest of Dungeons is available now on the Nintendo Switch and is priced at £7.99.

You may feel a little deja vu reading the title of this review. Yes I have reviewed this title before, way back in the September of 2015 when it was released on the Xbox One. I loved it and gave it a massive 9/10. So when I realised it was released on Switch I didn't hesitate to reach out to the lovely game developer David and ask if I could review it again on the Switch. I had a feeling Quest of Dungeons had found it's true home.

How right I was! Everything I loved about the game initially has been magnified tenfold by the fact I can now take it with me!!! It really does feel super special on the Switch, I've played it for hours on the TV and when my kids want to watch a film I get to carry on playing. I'm one of those annoying parents that turns up to pick the children up from school half an hour early (in my defense if you don't do that you don't get anywhere near the school) and having Quest of Dungeons on my Switch has been the perfect companion to those last few minutes of peace.

In fact I'd go so far as to say that the experience of playing Quest of Dungeons on the Nintendo Switch has made me reconsider how highly I rated it on the Xbox One. I'm not going to go back and change the score but if I was going to score this now, on the Switch, I'd give it 9/10. I can't give it a ten because there could be more of it - the option to reenter a dungeon you liked would be a sweet addition for starters - so it's not quite perfect. But it is definitely closer to perfection than it's Xbox One counterpart is. It feels like the definitive edition of the game.

That being said though it does feel like a little more could have been added for this re-release. There have been some tweaks and new additions - mainly in the form of a new achievement like system that keeps track of your feats and a new "mansion" level that has some new enemies. I might have liked an extra character or two but what I really, really wish we'd seen come to the Switch version of Quest of Dungeons would have been a little co-op mode. Ah that'd be truly glorious. A Joy-Con each as you try and make your way through the dungeons? It's be the perfect way for me to introduce my kids to this type of game. They're too young yet to appreciate the type of game where one mistake can mean you start again from the beginning, but if I were able to support them through it I'm sure we could have a lot of fun together. Hint, hint David!

Catching Up

In the lifetime of this blog I've had to write a fair few of these apology posts. But none were as hard as this one. Because even though I'm sorry to my followers and the developers I've let down by not being here and reviewing the games I said I would I can't say I'd have behaved any different. I couldn't.

As anyone who follows me on Twitter knows I lost my beloved Mum to cancer at the end of September. She was just 48. The last six weeks or so of her life were spent in the hospital. Actually she spent much of the last six months in and out of the place. But in the last six weeks it was clear there wasn't much time left. So I was there pretty much every day, spending all the time I could with her and attempting to support my dad through this horrific time.

In the now two and a half months that has followed - I can't actually believe it's been that long since I last saw her face - I have been trying to spend as much time as possible with my family. I'd like to say helping them, but sometimes I fear I've been more of a hindrance than a help. Also my Dad has surprised me with his strength and hasn't needed me as much as I've needed to feel like I could help. If that makes sense. I'm realising now, that as much as we may not want it too life has to carry on. We have to pick ourselves up and carry on through every day, knowing full well there will always be a huge black hole in our hearts that can never be full again. It isn't easy. It doesn't feel right, or fair. But this is the hand that life has dealt us so we adapt and keep going.

So I guess instead of apologising I guess I'm asking for understanding. I'm going to start catching up on the reviews I should have been doing these past couple of months, starting today. Because I have to carry on - even if I want to shy away from the world.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Agents of Mayhem (Xbox One) - Review

Agents of Mayhem is available now for the Xbox One and is priced at £49.99 on the Xbox Marketplace.

This review should have been up a while back. Yeah home life has been hectic, but actually the biggest problem I have had with this review has actually just been in the writing. I've had severe writing block where this game is concerned, because I'm still not sure where I stand with it. Helpful, right?!

Agents of Mayhem is an open world game by Volition, set after events in Saints Row 4: Gat out of Hell. On paper that game sounds amazing, an open world, with plenty of different heroes to play as in a battle against the guys who are trying to take over the world. But somehow, it falls flat.

I wanted to love it. I wanted to be dying to jump back in every time my playtime was rudely interrupted by yet another kid's party. But I just wasn't all that bothered about getting back to what basically ends up being a rather lifeless world. The open world of Seoul just doesn't seem very full, generally there are only a few NPC's, vehicles and just general signs of life. Don't worry though there are some collectibles dotted about to flesh out the world. Oh goody.

This is where my issue in writing this review started - who will believe that Volition have managed to make a world that's stale and boring after the first hour?! But everything about this game does feel stale - at least to me. The characters only ever managed to raise a slight smile, although mostly the attempts at humour made me cringe. Agents of Mayhem just doesn't hit the silly comical heights that the Saints Row games have managed to before.

There are a lot of characters to choose to play as in Agents of Mayhem, but again this just doesn't feel right. I wish they'd made a few less characters and put more effort into writing the ones that stayed. There are too many that just feel completely interchangeable. It's such a shame. Some of them are pretty interesting and have fairly decent backstories but these may only standout because of how dull the others are. You pick three of them to take with you to your missions, and can switch between them at will, utilising their different special abilities to wreak havoc on the baddies. Unfortunately there's no way to control the people you're not playing as, which feels like a big missed opportunity. If you'd had some squad control elements this game could have been a lot more interesting.

The gunplay is alright, it doesn't break any molds but it all works pretty much how you'd expect. I had some issues in some of the bigger battles with stuttering, but it wasn't too bad. The worst thing about the battles is how repetitive they feel, the same baddies will appear over and over and to top it off they feel a bit bullet-spongey.

The biggest problem with Agents of Mayhem is that it feels very much like a game that you'd stick on for half an hour or less to just do a couple of missions. Which would be fine if there weren't plenty of games like this already available that are better. I found myself playing this and dreaming of Overwatch and ultimately putting it on for a while afterwards to take the sour taste out of my mouth.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Ironcast (Switch) - Review

Ironcast has now been released on the Nintendo Switch and is priced at £11.99.

I have reviewed Ironcast before when it was first released on the Xbox One and despite being crap at it I kept going back for more. So when I saw that it had been released on Switch I was pretty excited. I had a feeling this game would work perfectly on the Switch - specifically it's handheld mode. Boy was I right!

Ironcast feels completely at home on the Switch and the fact that in all probability you won't complete the campaign on the first try works brilliantly here. I've found myself picking up my Switch to have a go on a couple of levels of Ironcast tonnes of times this last week or so - during ads on YouTube, waiting for the kettle to boil etc etc. I know for a fact I won't be going back to the Xbox One version anymore, even though that means missing out on those 'cheevs. I'd say, for me at least, that the Switch version of Ironcast is definitely the definitive version. Yeah it's a bit pricier - especially when you consider that Ironcast will likely have been on sale on the Xbox store a few times by now - but honestly it's worth it.

I was hoping to be able to play it with the D-Pad because I remember getting a bit annoyed at how inaccurate the analogue stick could be when making your matches - I ended up retracing my steps a fair few times when playing it on the Xbox. But you can match diagonally on this board so obviously a D-Pad wouldn't work well here, which is a shame none the less.

Another thing I'd like to add is that the menu hasn't gotten any better. Or moreso the navigation of the screen where you can fix your gear or craft new stuff. It's like a mouse cursor that you hover over where you want to go and then press 'B' to get into. Why can't this just be done by moving up or down? Or even better with a hotkey. In combat you press 'Y' to enter the repair mode and then each trigger is a different area you can repair - I feel like this could have worked in the main hub too.

Overall though I haven't got many negatives to tell you about this game. It's good fun, pretty damn challenging and perfect for on the go - it doesn't tax the Switch battery at all. If you're yet to buy it on any other console but have been interested in it previously I'd say pay the extra couple of quid for this version. Hell, I'd even recommend double dipping on this one if you enjoyed it on a home console before. It definitely feels better when you can take it anywhere too.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Oceanhorn: Monster of the Uncharted Seas (Switch) - Review

Oceanhorn: Monster of the Uncharted Seas is available now on the Nintendo Switch and is priced at £11.99.

You may be feeling a little deja vu reading the title for this review. Way back in September of last year I reviewed Oceanhorn when it was released on the Xbox One. I reviewed this before I stopped giving scores out of ten and I have to admit to being surprised now by how highly I scored it back then. I guess a few things have changed since then.

As I said in the last review Oceanhorn: Monster of the Uncharted Seas is pretty much a Zelda clone. And when I reviewed it last we were all very much in a Zelda drought, having to revisit old games to get our fix. Oceanhorn for Xbox One couldn't have been released at a better time really, it had been such a long time since a new Zelda game had been released that I (and I imagine a fair few others) was just excited to play a game that reminded me so much of one my favourite game series. But since then we have been given the gift of the Nintendo Switch and Breath of the Wild, a game that I am over 100 hours into and nowhere near finished or even slightly bored of it. I love it so much I'm even attempting to collect all 900 Korok seeds.

So coming down from this Zelda high to play Oceanhorn for review was quite a bump. Everything I liked about it in my previous review is still true; it still looks beautiful and the music is still a treat for your earholes. But playing it on a Nintendo console, home of the real Zelda just brings it home that this isn't Zelda.

Which should be a good thing, right? I wouldn't want to release a game for it only to ever live in the shadow of another series anyway. But unfortunately for Oceanhorn playing it on the Switch just made me even more aware of the games shortfalls. Again all of these shortfalls were mentioned in my last review; the sailing is automatic, the levelling up system is a bit crap and uninvolved and makes me wonder whether it would have been better to just not have it and there is still no quest log or world map, which just seems silly really.

I was more forgiving of these issues in my previous review, and I still stand by that decision. It's easier - for me anyhow - to be more lenient with the Xbox One version. I know that if I ever want to replay this game it will be on the Xbox. When I realised this I was really surprised. My Switch has taken over my gaming life - it has been weeks since I have played on my Xbox at all and I don't even have many games yet. But as a mum of two being able to play a game on the TV whilst the children aren't around and switching to handheld when they're home has been invaluable. I can't wait for the Switch game library to grow.

Even considering the limited number of games available on the Switch up to now I can't really recommend Oceanhorn. It's really unfortunate because I did genuinely love the game when I played it on the Xbox One, but turning from Breath of the Wild to this highlights how much of a Zelda-lite this game is. And that's not as much of a compliment as it was last year.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Table Top Racing: World Tour (Xbox One) - Review

Table Top Racing: World Tour is available now for the Xbox One and is priced at £11.99.

Let me get this out of the way straight away, as of yet this game has NO LOCAL MULTIPLAYER. There are mumblings online of it possibly being patched in, but as of yet it hasn't. In my opinion this is a massive oversight. This game would have been played regularly in our house if it had a split screen option and instead it is barely ever opened.

My children came in from school the day I got sent this to review excited to try it out together. Instead they had to take it i turns to go through the campaign races, which is fine I guess but it really does affect the longevity of a game. After the campaign is done what would make you come back?

For me the answer (with this particular game) is nothing. Yeah the game is fun enough, but I don't want to grind the same races over and over again. There is an Online Multiplayer option, but I don't tend to play online as such anymore and let's be honest an online community eventually dies off.

It's a shame because this game really could have been excellent for families and groups of friends, the Xbox's answer to Mario Kart. But I really can't look past the fact that there isn't an option to grab a couple of controllers and play it with my children. The cars can be upgraded and there are a number of stars to earn on each level which can drag the game out to be a bit longer. There are a limited number of tracks that you revisit for different events over and over. It just feels lacklustre.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Voodoo Vince Remastered (Xbox One) - Review

Voodoo Vince Remastered is available now on the Xbox One and is priced at £11.99.

Confession time, I had never even heard of Voodoo Vince before I received the email about the remastered version. I was a young teen when it first graced the Xbox back in 2003 and was at the mercy of my parents' choices where consoles were concerned. We were always a PlayStation household after my dad first got his hands on the original PlayStation after years of Sega consoles. Our Mega Drive is actually still alive and living next to my Xbox One, PS4 and Wii U quite harmoniously. It was actually the console we played on most over the long Easter weekend, with the whole family round.

Anyway, back to the point, eh? This review won't be commenting on what changes (if any) the remaster has given us because they wouldn't truly be my words, I'd have to read them elsewhere first. I mean, obviously, the graphics look better than I imagine it did on the original Xbox but I am coming to Voodoo Vince Remastered as someone who has never played it, or even seen it before.

So Voodoo Vince sees you take control of a cutesey little voodoo doll, Vince. He's brought to life to rescue Madam Charmaine and of course there are a number of items for Vince to collect on his journey. These can increase his life bar, give him an extra life for if you send him down one of the bottomless pits and they can give him new voodoo powers to use against the many enemies he will encounter on his travels through New Orleans. These powers are pretty cool, they all hurt poor old Vince, but luckily due to him being a voodoo doll his enemies get the same treatment a few seconds later. The first time I triggered a voodoo power I have to admit to being a little confused as I did what the game asked (pull RT + LT) and swiftly watched as poor Vince died in the middle of my screen. Luckily he came back and a second later the enemies that were circling me carked it too. Wahoo!

Voodoo Vince is a fairly standard platformer, gameplay wise. All the usual suspects are present and correct; double-jumps, spins, punches and plenty of gaps for you to fall down. I thought the tutorial was really well incorporated in this game though, there are too many games where the tutorial feels like a chore that can't be skipped and jars the experience. In Voodoo Vince you can just walk past the little pictures that appear in the environment to teach you how to suck eggs, I mean teach you how to jump, punch and spin your way around the world.

I had a lot of fun with Voodoo Vince and felt that the roughly 8 hour completion time suits me perfectly. I know that some people prefer more game for their money, but I feel that Voodoo Vince was just long enough to stop me getting bored or frustrated. I don't need - or want - to spend 20 hours on a platformer if I'm honest. Voodoo Vince is a solid little game that I think is perfectly priced for what you get. Very rare these days!

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Zombie Vikings (Xbox One) - Review

Zombie Vikings is available now on the Xbox One and is priced at £9.59.

If you've read anything I've written before, including my Twitter, you know that I have a ready made four player set up at home. My kids love to play games and "help" me with my reviews. So they were super excited when I said we'd sit down and play this together after school.

The art style is lovely and I loved all of the different playable characters' designs. The voice over work is pretty good too. Unfortunately that's about all I have to say about Zombie Vikings that is positive. Oh I like the fact that you can play four player couch co-op too. Or, I did, until I actually played it.

Zombie Vikings is a side-scrolling hack and slash with about 30 levels, which is at least ten too many. The easiest comparison to make would be Castle Crashers. You know, if Castle Crashers was crap. And riddles with bugs.

Where to start with where this game fall short? The story is lacklustre and the "funny" moments are just completely cringeworthy. Seriously, I don't remember the last time I cringed so much at an attempted joke. And I'm not quite sure who this "humour" is aimed at, at times it's too infantile for adults and other "jokes" are a little too offensive for young children's ears. And mine actually, they really were that bad.

 If you want to play a game with 3 friends or family members or whatever do yourself a favour and don't pick this one up. Replay Castle Crashers. Or watch paint dry. Your friends will thank you for it.

Chime Sharp (Xbox One) - Review

Chime Sharp is available now on the Xbox One and is priced at £7.99.

People have repeatedly compared this game to Tetris and I have to say I disagree. Yes they're both games about placing blocks and clearing the board, but Tetris is so much more intuitive and simplistic than Chime Sharp. You don't need a tutorial on Tetris to know what you need to do. Chime Sharp tried to reinvent the wheel a little and didn't tell us that that was what they were doing, resulting in me playing the game for about an hour wondering why I was only getting 40% progression, thus not unlocking any new tracks or modes.

The reason for this, once you know is fairly simple, but it shouldn't be something that isn't clear from the off in my opinion. In Tetris the aim is to clear lines, hopefully more than one at a time, yeah? Well in Chime Sharp you clear blocks using "Quads" or blocks of at least 3x3. Simple enough. But you also have to try and use every part of the game screen. This is what the progression percentage is linked to, not how many quads you get or whatever. You're supposed to try and utilise the whole screen with your quads and doing so unlocks more of the song that is playing. So put a quad in one corner and then you never have to use that corner again. It is a fairly interesting mechanic, but it's one I'm not so keen on in all honesty, especially considering that the game NEVER TELLS YOU that that's what you're supposed to be doing.

You have a point multiplier in play that seems to be lost randomly. I ended up asking someone because I couldn't really see why I was losing my multiplier. Turns out that the fragments you have on the board (the pieces that aren't part of a quadrant) drop after some time. When they drop your multiplier waves bye-bye too.

As I mentioned before when you hit a certain percentage completion on each song you unlock new modes and new songs. In these modes is Sharp mode which sees the timer disappear and be replaced with lives. Earn more lives by forming the perfect quadrant and lose them by letting the fragments drop. You also get Strike mode which gives you 90 seconds to get as high a score as you can and Challenge mode which is basically the same as the standard mode but you have a dodgier board and a smaller variety of pieces to play with. Oh and you can practice any of the songs endlessly too.

In all Chime Sharp offers a pretty good alternative to games like Tetris, but to compare them properly is unfair on both. I'm a huge Tetris fan so I thought I'd love Chime Sharp too. Don't get me wrong I did enjoy my time with Chime Sharp and it does have that addictive "one more go" quality. Unfortunately though I found the colours used in game to be too bright in Chime Sharp for an extended play and whilst the game is addictive enough I feel like it just throws a little too much at you if you want those high scores. They both have their own merits, exclusive of the other, so if you're not a Tetris fan don't be put off by the people that tell you that is basically what Chime Sharp is. It isn't. It's much more than that, I just don't know whether I was ready for more yet.

Kitty Powers' Matchmaker (Xbox One) - Review

Kitty Powers' Matchmaker is available now on the Xbox One and is priced at £12.39.

I had played Kitty Powers' Matchmaker before when it was released on Android. My Twitter was full of screenshots and praise for the game and thanks to the Android Rewards app I had a few quid going spare so I grabbed it. I had a lot of fun with it whilst I was waiting in the car for my kids' to get out of their clubs or whatever I'd turn it on and just do a date or two.

When I heard it was coming to consoles I was a little concerned. I did wonder how it would translate to the big screen and more importantly a traditional controller rather than a touch screen device. Luckily my concerns were unfounded, the game is mapped to a controller like it was always supposed to be there. They work wonderfully.

So Kitty Powers' Matchmaker is exactly what it says it is, you play as a matchmaker under the tutelage of Kitty Powers. She'll guide you through the process of setting up your matchmaking empire, explain all the mini games to you and talk you through the traits of every singleton that comes through your doors as well as advertising in new places to get different types of people as you level up. Ain't she good?!

So singleton's will come in and ask you to find their soulmate for them. Then you give them a little ear piece and follow them on their date. You'll feed answers into this ear piece so make sure you listen to what their date is saying. They'll all have certain things they're attracted too, hair and eye colour being the first thing that they notice about each other. As the date continues you'll choose their food based on what they say they fancy and pull the Love Handle to choose topics of conversation. Everyone has different interests, occupations, guilty pleasures and bad habits and you can either be truthful and hope that your date respects that or lie and take your chances with the roulette wheel over whether they believe you or not. It's a very simple premise that is incredibly addictive. I've played it for over ten hours now and still go for "just one more date" when I put the game on.

You earn money through fees and tips and this money can be spent on new pages for your little black book, a salon or a gift shop and some new restaurants for your daters to enjoy. These restaurants unlock new mini games too. These include a game that sees you trying to hold in a fart by playing a higher or lower card game, or deciding whether or not to splat a spider that invades your table. They can also test your memory by giving you a Generation Game style conveyor belt full of pudding options that your date won't remember the name of, just the order in which they were shown. What's wrong with a traditional menu?! Well, I guess it wouldn't be as challenging that way. You'll also have the chance to play pachinko to decide who pays the bill and exercise your maths brain to work out how much to tip the waiter.

The variety of mini games keeps the game interesting. No date is the same and failing some of the mini games results in some pretty funny moments. It's a really fun little game, but I do wonder why it has been priced so highly. In my opinion an £8 or lower price would have suited this casual game better. Don't get me wrong, that isn't to say this game isn't fun because it really is and I will continue playing it long after this review is written and not just for the achievements!

iO (Xbox One) - Review

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

After trying this game for a fair while, and rage quitting wayyyy more than I should have done in just the tutorial levels the temptation to just review this as 'too hard, avoid' is pretty strong. But I am not a quitter! So I carried on trying and trying and trying and trying and my god this game is ridiculous I'm still trying and trying and trying to get through the game. I still haven't completed it. Something with this just hasn't clicked with me. So I was gonna hold off my review until that magical moment in which it clicked and I could finish it and tell you about all of it, but I'm starting to fear that that moment will never come. And maybe it'll be good to read a review from someone who well and truly sucked at this game (who am I trying to kid?!).

So here I am and I wasn't lying when I said I rage quit in the tutorial. I really did. I guess that -especially right now - I feel so spoilt with good games that I really hate having to replay the same section over and over and over. I have much less patience for that kinda trial-and-error gameplay now than I used to. I have much less patience in general these days.

It can be difficult to review games like this. As much as I don't like to spoil stories for my readers I do like to play them out and let you know what I thought of the narrative in general. Games like this generally don't have much of a narrative, if any at all. These games have to be reviewed on different merits I guess; how intuitive the controls are, how responsive, the difficulty, the physics.

iO sees you control a disc that can shrink and grow. You use this ability to work your way through a myriad of levels which require you to grow to roll down a slope as fast as possible and then shrink quickly to fly the furthest. I guess my reactions aren't as fast as they used to be now, because it was always levels that did this that had me stuck for ages. I can't seem to get the damn thing to shrink fast enough to get it where I need it. Sometimes it did feel like the controls were working against me. The controls are intuitive, don't get me wrong, you use the left stick to move the disc side to side and the right stick to grow and shrink. But sometimes it felt like they (or possibly me) weren't fast enough for what was required. Let's be honest it's probably me.

iO looks incredibly barebones and it is a very simple game. It isn't for me, sadly, but that isn't to say that it isn't for everyone. I think the first two paragraphs of this review show quite well how I feel about platformers currently. Though with most platformers you do still get a moment to take a breath, stand still for a minute and assess what to do next. With iO you can't really do this, momentum plays a huge part in the solutions so pause for breath and face having to spend a fair while regaining the lost momentum. Some people will love this mechanics, but as I said I didn't get along with it.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Typoman: Revised (Xbox One) - Review

Typoman: Revised is available now on the Xbox One and is priced at £10.39.

A quick look at Typoman: Revised on the Xbox One store and I immediately knew that I had to play this game. It reminded me of 2010's Limbo, a game that I love and still go back to to this day, seven years after it's original release (how has it been that long?!).

You begin your journey as Typoman as a head made from the letter 'O'. You roll your way through the game's prologue, gathering more letters with which to construct your body. By the end of the prologue you have a body, legs and an arm made up from the letters 'H', 'E', 'R' and 'O'. D'awww. You're not the only thing in the world constructed by letters though, this continues throughout the game as the bleak world is populated with objects made up of the letters of their name. The bad guys are also made up of words like 'fear' and 'hate' which morph into awful creatures. It's wonderfully done. Some of my favourite parts are the bridges made up of the word 'ROBUST'. I'm not going to say more now, for those of you who are going to play it, but keep an eye out for them.

You'll use wordplay to navigate your way through the game as well. As we've already touched upon, enemies are made up of 'bad' or 'evil' words and you'll have to use 'good' words to get past them. Switches will need to be turned 'on' and platforms will need to go 'up'. Luckily making up the words required is easy as you can pick up or drag the individual letters or enter the Word Scrambler and simply spell it out. Don't have the letters you need to create the word you want? No problem, spell out 'Lie' and see what happens.

Typoman: Revised offers a good few hours of gameplay in a beautifully imagined world. Along your journey you will fill up a journal with quotations found in secret areas of the game, but if you have ever played a game like this before you know pretty much exactly where to look - the ladder just above the checkpoint, or the rope swing sending you in the wrong direction.

After completing the campaign you will unlock two new mini games to enjoy. Or, rather, put yourself through to get the achievements as the case may be. When I first started playing the 'Antonymizer' I delighted in seeing how spelling out the different words required altered the appearance of Typoman, with my favourite being the one that gave him a little Pac-Man head. But this game mode soon became very dull indeed, and I found myself checking the achievement tracker to see how fast I could turn this off. I gave up in the end, at 52 words out of 165. I'll go back to it eventually, but it was leaving a bad taste in my mouth, so I wanted to stop before it changed my views on the game.

The thing is Typoman: Revised starts off brilliantly and continues to be brilliant for quite some time. The last chapter though, I felt, lost it's way a little an played a lot more like a simple platformer. There weren't as many clever puzzles to make your way through, instead the level boiled down to a lot of timing-based jumping which, whilst it can be fun for a while, just isn't what I had come to expect from the rest of the game. The final boss battle left a lot to be desired as well, after chasing him down for the entire game it boiled down to a very simple fight consisting of three turns each, four if you wanted the achievement for using a 'bad' word in the final boss fight. It wasn't bad by any stretch, but it lacked the imagination and charm the rest of the game had in abundance.

Overall I enjoyed my time with Typoman: Revised, despite my niggles with the last hour or so and the dull mini games. It's a clever, beautiful game that I will probably go back to in the future. If you think you might like a game that's a little mash up of Limbo and Letter Quest then have at it.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Gimme Five (WP10) - Review

I'm baaaaaccccckkkkk. And I review games for Windows Phone's now too. Or I can anyway.

Gimme Five gets to be the first game I've ever reviewed for Windows Phone, so thank you to the dev - Shuboarder - for giving me a code when I've not only never reviewed a WP game before but have been on a bit of a break too. I was worried about how easy (or difficult) I would find it to get stuff to review. It means a lot :)

Anyway, Gimme Five is a simple quiz game in which you are given questions to which you have to give the five correct answers out of a board of nine possible answers. The range of questions is insane. I have played it for hours now and have encountered minimal repeats. Some are really simple - colours, fruits, animals etc. (though I did manage to enter "horse" as a colour last night. I was tired!) others are a bit more niche - Xbox 360 exclusive's, celebrities that didn't have children, things like that. There are geographical questions, historical questions and my personal nightmare Periodic Table questions. Argh.

Luckily there are three little "cheats" as my son likes to call them - power ups to you and me. You can skip the question, get the game to show you one answer at a time, or get it to remove all of the wrong answers off the board. This last one you can only use once, as far as I know, but that seems fair to me. You level up and accrue Kudos Points when you play which can be spent on continues after your three lives have been used or saved up to unlock new things on the Kudos Wall. There are loads of things to unlock and they include items that give you more time, more skips and more points per answer to name but a few. You can equip one of these at a time.

It's an incredibly simple game, one that probably has many of you thinking "Nah, not my thing" but honestly it is addictive. I have actually had the Xbox One to myself this week and have still sat and played this for an hour at a time. There's a leaderboard after you're done that shows your rank amongst everyone playing at that time, which is pretty neat and definitely brought out my competitive side. There are 1000g's up for grabs for those of you that hunt for them,and they seem pretty straightforward so far.

I do wish there was a vertical mode. I'm no developer and couldn't tell you the first thing about making a game, but I just feel that this game would have worked just as well vertically. As it stands you have to hold your phone horizontally as there are two screens, one of which show you the question and possible answers whilst the other one shows you your current score, your KP and your remaining power ups. I just think that it could maybe be possible to streamline this, but as I said I don't really know. I'd just be able to reach all the answers with one hand if I was able to hold it normally!

If the rumours of it's Xbox One release are true then I am very excited. It is a really fun game that I think will work well on the console and the possibility of maybe some versus modes or something is very exciting. It's definitely something I'd be interested in anyway.

I'd recommend Gimme Five to any of my readers who own a Windows Phone. It works well, I've encountered no crashes or anything and it is the perfect game to while away some time with. And the sounds you get when you get an answer right as just SO satisfying! It's a few quid guys, go get it!

Guess Who's Back?

First off I just want to thank anyone reading this for sticking with me through the blog's hiatus. It was a tough decision to take a step back - one I didn't take lightly - but, ultimately it is what I needed to do for my family. You don't just bounce back into this type of thing after you hear a terminal cancer diagnosis. Or I don't anyway. I needed to take a minute (or a couple of months) and just let it sink in, I guess. We're dealing with it and looking into other options. After the next scan I think we'll have to get a GoFundMe (or something of that ilk) page up so we can actually get her the treatment. One step at a time though, eh?

I think that's what these last few months have really taught me. I am an anxious person and waiting for news/treatment/whatever patiently just doesn't come naturally to me. When we first heard her diagnosis I was constantly sick because nobody was doing anything. It felt like wasted time. Now that treatment has started, I see that starting it earlier would have been horrendous. She was recovering from an infected surgical wound after her op last summer, a wound that actually still has a tiny bit of healing to do. Cancer treatment wipes you out. She is THE strongest person I know, but even she has found she has had to accept our help. Imagine doing that when you still have a gaping wound in your abdomen. It would have been incredibly dangerous. So I'm becoming more at peace with waiting. Sometimes doing nothing IS the best thing, a concept I had never really considered before.

Anyway, this wasn't meant to be a long maudlin story. I originally started typing my next review, but felt I couldn't go straight back into it without offering at least a little in the way of explanation. So I started to do that in the introduction and felt bad on the game. It didn't need to have this negativity forever stuck next to it, they both deserve a post of their own.

Anyway, I'm back - for now. Thanks for giving me the time I needed. And thanks for sticking with me.