A snake isn’t the most obvious choice of useful characters for a new platformer, but I’m all for trying something new to the genre. Well, until realising this may have been a mistake as I slide off the last section of a lengthy climb yet again and land back at the start like a bundle of wet rope. Continue reading Snake Pass Review – Look ma, no hands (or feet)!
Category Archives: Platformer
Ratchet & Clank Review – Lombax to the future?
Another HD Remake? Well, no. Oh, a complete reboot for the series? Maybe, but again, no. Not really. No this PS4 release is more of a ‘reimagining’ of the original. Don’t worry though; Insomniac has done a much better job of reimagining the original than Tim Burton did when he ‘reimagined’ Planet of the Apes in 2001. Right, let’s stick the word ‘reimagined’ back in its box before my spellchecker dies of shame.
With Ratchet & Clank finally getting the animated movie treatment, Sony and Insomniac decided to hit the story reset button, which admittedly does make sense considering the family-friendly vibe of the game and the need to introduce the series to the younger generation. 3D platformers are a rarity in today’s climate which is a shame as Insomniac’s stellar record with the Ratchet series (yes, I’m ignoring Q-Force) must not have sold enough to make other studios want to bother. Could this be a test to gauge interest in both the series and maybe the genre itself? Continue reading Ratchet & Clank Review – Lombax to the future?
Lego Marvel’s Avengers Review – Smashing and hoarding
“Hasn’t this been released already?” You’d certainly be forgiven for thinking as much. Lego Marvel’s Avengers certainly shares some similarities with 2013’s Lego Marvel Super Heroes. There’s a near identical open world hub based in Manhattan and enough comic book characters to make Sheldon Cooper’s head spin. Continue reading Lego Marvel’s Avengers Review – Smashing and hoarding
Lego Dimensions Review – Brilliant but blocked
Gamers of all ages have been enjoying Traveller’s Tales’ Lego games for years now, but now they can finally play with real Lego bricks as a part of the game. With the runaway success of the toys-to-life trendsetter, Skylanders, it’s a mystery why it’s taken this long for the Lego games to jump into the genre.
Rather than focus on one IP, this new series is a mashup of multiple franchises and movie licenses. In the box, you’ll find dinky NFC-chipped Lego minifigs for Batman, Gandalf and WyldStyle. Together they must take on evil forces across dimensions to save the day by beating up goons, smashing up environments and holding the Circle button to rebuild odd yet useful tools. So far, so Lego, right? Continue reading Lego Dimensions Review – Brilliant but blocked
Tearaway Unfolded Review – Treat your DualShock 4
What a joy it is to see Tearaway land on the PS4, especially if you don’t own a PS Vita and always wanted to try Media Molecule’s much-loved title. Crucially, for fans of the original, there’s enough new material here to justify owning both versions.
The Vita’s plethora of control inputs were a perfect fit for Tearaway’s ambitious ideas. Thankfully, the DualShock 4 performs admirably too, with the trackpad bearing much of the workload, which I’ll tell you about soon enough. Continue reading Tearaway Unfolded Review – Treat your DualShock 4
Submerged Review – Floating through the final flood
You would think that after Journey’s success there would have been a wave of titles hoping to provide an experience away from the traditional game. But games with an emphasis on exploring over defeating enemies or high scores continue to be a rare occurrence on consoles. Enter Uppercut Games, who have crafted something they hope will stay in your thoughts long after those credits roll.
Submerged has two storylines for you to discover. The first one at the forefront of the game begins by showing a boat wash ‘ashore’ alongside a building in a flooded city that sees only the tallest buildings reach for a place above the water. A young girl carrying a smaller boy disembarks and makes her way towards a temple-like structure laying him down near a font that could be as much an alter as it could be a birdbath. There’s no talking, no explanation of why you’re there, or how long you’ve been at sea but as the game plays out, things become a little clearer as details are salvaged from the city whose sidewalks now pave the ocean floor. Much is left for the player to imagine, but Uppercut Games feed you just the right amount of information for you to come away with your own understanding of what has happened. Continue reading Submerged Review – Floating through the final flood
Tembo the Badass Elephant (Review)
Dumbo Meets Rambo
Game Freak (of Pokémon fame) have developed this stampeding platformer under Sega’s gaze, and it would seem they’ve opted for an unlikely platform hero in the shape of an elephant in order to bring the classic platformer back. Seeing as Sonic’s now the Reek to Mario’s Ramsay Snow, I was certainly willing to give Tembo a shot.
A new controller may well be on your shopping list soon if you’re planning on getting through Tembo the Badass Elephant though. This retro 2D platformer is one of those games I like to refer to as Bastard Hard. I’ve called it much worse over the last few days, but I’m probably not allowed to print such tirades. Continue reading Tembo the Badass Elephant (Review)
Lego Jurassic World (Review) – Closed for maintenance
Frankly, it’s a surprise it’s taken this long for the team at Traveller’s Tales to get their hands on the Jurassic Park license. But on the plus side, it’s meant they have managed to squeeze the brand new Jurassic World entry into the game alongside the original trilogy.
In fact, if you want to dive into the new movie straight away, you can after the prologue level. But if, like us, you love the original movies, you’ll want to play through from the very start. By now, TT are seasoned pros at reproducing iconic moments from films into family-friendly games. They’ve had their work cut out for them though as the original movie is surprisingly violent, so the game has been heavily reimagined or cut. So nobody really dies, goat spines don’t land on sunroofs and you certainly won’t be seeing Samuel L. Jackson’s severed arm flopping onto Laura Dern’s shoulder. Hell, even Dennis Nedry has even been slimmed down (because Lego doesn’t do fat). I’m surprised (disproportionately outraged) the electric fence scene has been completely cut though. Continue reading Lego Jurassic World (Review) – Closed for maintenance
Never Alone (Review)
Never Alone is an indie platformer about the adventures of a young Iñupiat girl and an arctic fox. The Iñupiat are a native Alaskan tribe, whose culture has inspired the setting and story of the title. This culture is no mere window dressing either, throughout the game you’ll unlock video interviews with Iñupiat folk who discuss various elements of their culture, usually neatly setting up the next part of the game.
Unlike most mini-documentary videos in games, these are incredibly interesting and perfectly woven into the experience. You don’t have to watch them in between levels, but I found the warm anecdotes allowed me to appreciate the new environments and characters much more than I would have done if I watched them after finishing the game.
Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (Review)
Playing Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham after Lego Marvel does little to hide the comparative paucity of star power in DC’s lineup. Beyond the Batman and Superman universes, you’re almost constantly left shrugging your shoulders at the characters on your screen.
This is notable from an early cutscene with a selection of naughty Lanterns messing about in space, which will have all but regular DC readers shrugging their shoulders with indifference until the Joker and Lex Luthor show up to add a bit of class to the villains stable. Continue reading Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (Review)
Murasaki Baby (Review)
The Colourful Heart of Darkness
Sony has repositioned the Vita as a champion of indie titles and Murasaki Baby has been on our radar for what seems like forever. The wait is over though and we finally get our hands on one of the most visually-striking games to land on the handheld in ages.
The aim of this 2D puzzle platformer is to help this incredibly creepy, yet somehow adorable, little girl find her ‘mummy’ as we guide her through the nightmare-like environments via a multitude of touchscreen and rear touchpad controls. Early Vita adopters may hear a few distant alarm bells ringing if they remember the infuriatingly clunky launch title Escape Plan. Thankfully, the controls in Murasaki Baby are much better. Mostly.
Velocity 2X (Review)
Futurlab may have just gone and made one of the best games of the year. And for anyone on PS+, you can download it for free now on PS4 and Vita.
The original Velocity title on the Vita was a cool retro shoot ‘em up that had you teleporting through barriers to reach other parts of a scrolling stage. We would have been happy enough with more of the same, but Futurlab really went the extra mile by adding in on-foot 2D platforming sections when you leave the ship. The game effortlessly shifts between the two modes with no loading screens to complete one of the slickest experiences we’ve seen on PS4.
The Last Tinker: City of Colors (Review)
It’s a little sad that I begin most of my platformer reviews by stating what a shame it is that the genre has all but disappeared from modern console line-ups, with only Ratchet & Clank doing their best to keep it alive. But with Insomniac aligning their studio closer to Xbox nowadays, it may be a while before the duo return. Let’s not talk about Knack either.
So, when browsing this week’s releases I was pleasantly surprised to see a new IP amongst the PSN releases and a quick trailer search later revealed it to be a new platformer. One download later and I’m in the world of The Last Tinker: City of Colors.
Oddworld: New ‘N’ Tasty (Review)
Abe’s Oddysee was a big hit for PS1 gamers back in the day with impressive pre-rendered backgrounds making the game one of the best looking 2D platformers ever made. It was also an absolute beast of a meanie to play. Nevertheless, when we heard Just Add Water were remaking the game with the Unity engine we couldn’t wait to see how well the game had aged. Not so sure about the name change though.
For the most part, the game is the same as the original. The action still takes place on a 2D plane and the level layouts haven’t been changed. However, some sensible changes have been implemented, and for the better too. Continue reading Oddworld: New ‘N’ Tasty (Review)
Lego The Hobbit (Review)
Traveller’s Treasure or Witless Worm?
Yes, this is a review, not an advanced preview for a game which (with any sense) wouldn’t see a release until December when the final Hobbit movie hits cinemas. Instead, this Lego title encompasses the first two films with the third to be added as DLC later this year.
It would take the most upbeat of optimists to suggest that WB will do the right thing and release the add-on (the rest of the game) for free, but my cynical nature tells me to expect something around £15.99 –an oddly specific guess I admit. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see this game re-released complete with the remaining content in December for the same price it is today. So, I guess the only real question left, is how many Lego games do you need in your life? With Lego Marvel and the Lego Movie tie-in released just five and two months ago respectively, you have to wonder why WB didn’t wait.
Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom (Review)
Sony’s Invizimals series has been through some changes since its inception on the PSP and has finally made its way to the PS3, ditching the augmented reality features to bring a traditional action platforming experience to the console.
As expected, it doesn’t threaten the genre dominance of the Ratchet & Clank games, but is worth a look for younger gamers. Parents, older siblings, or other family members of young children should take a look at this one instead of settling for the usual movie/TV licensed guff.
In Magenta Software’s game, you control Hiro, a teenage secret agent who has been sent to a distant world populated by the mystical Invizimal warriors to help them fight a robot army. It’s all very child-friendly and features enough bright colours and energetic characters to keep them entertained in short bursts. It’s is an easy game to play thanks to basic controls and a gentle difficulty curve. Some players may find it similar to the Skylanders games, but parents will be glad to hear that they won’t have to succumb to pester-power for new toys to play with in-game.
TowerFall Ascension (Review)
TowerFall Ascension is all about traditional local multiplayer. So much so, there’s no point even reading the rest of this review if you’re not likely to invite friends round to your house to play with you. Still here? Did I mention it would help if your friends were regular gamers with a fondness for pixelated sprite-art games that could have run on a Sega Master System without breaking a sweat? Try not to make too much noise on your way out. Ok you two, thanks for staying.
This multiplayer-focused game features screen-sized arenas to duke it out against each other in 2-4 player deathmatches / team deathmatches or you can play 1-2 player co-op against waves of monsters over multiple maps.
Fez (PS4 Review)
Despite critical acclaim two years ago when released on XBLA and PC, Fez has taken its time to come to the PlayStation Platforms. Rather than a discount for its tardiness, the asking price of £7.99 gets you a cross-buy copy of the game that you can download to your PS4, PS3 and PS Vita complete with cloud-based cross-save functionality.
For those of you new to the world of Fez, allow me to catch you up. This is a puzzle platformer that opts for an 8-bit retro style. What’s decidedly not retro though (unless you count Echochrome and Crush as retro) is the rotating mechanic adding depth to the 2D platforming. With a tap of a shoulder button, the whole game world rotates 90 degrees. This begins simply enough when you’re just navigating a singular structure, you could even be forgiven for thinking it’s just a gimmick as it’s essentially a traditional flat 2D stage that you push forward with these ‘rotations.’
Rayman Legends (PS4 Review)
After being utterly smitten with the next-gen re-release of Tomb Raider last month, I was keen to see how last year’s rather tasty Rayman Legends fared on the next-gen machines too. Well, there’s good news and bad news.
There’s a strong argument that that Rayman Legends looks exactly the same on the new consoles as it does on the older ones and there’s no truly relevant new material. But on the other hand, shop around and you can currently buy it for only £7 more than the last-gen version, meaning you don’t have to spend much to finally play a decent platformer on your PS4 or Xbox One.
Legend of Kay Review – This kitty has claws
Looking at gaming’s release schedule, you may notice one genre in particular doesn’t seem to have anything on the horizon – the action platformer. Has the flop of Knack on the PS4 put developers off making new ones? Until someone says otherwise, it would seem that the best way to get our fix is to look backwards.
Fortunately, I’ve been saved a visit to my local preowned store and plugging my PS2 into a modern TV (scart lead consoles on HD TV’s look horrendous) thanks to PS2 title, Legend of Kay being released in digital form on PS3. This isn’t an HD remake, but to be honest, time has been kind to the game and it still looks good today. Widescreen and 60Hz support helps too. Continue reading Legend of Kay Review – This kitty has claws