This week, The Last Guardian strides onto PS4, Dead Rising 4’s undead carnage is unleashed on Xbox One and Super Mario Maker bounces onto Nintendo 3DS.
Elsewhere, Hop Swap and Amateur Surgeon 4 provide comical, colourful capers on smartphone and tablet
GAME OF THE WEEK:
Title: The Last Guardian
A long-awaited and ultimately awesome adventure
We’ve waited long enough for The Last Guardian - seven long years since its ill-fated reveal at E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo). Thank goodness it doesn’t disappoint. So, what’s it all about? It’s an action adventure story about a young boy who has been kidnapped or captured under strange circumstances and the bond that he forms with Trico, a mysterious beast he encounters amidst ancient ruins. The journey and the associated hope they have in escaping their mysterious predicament is developed with little to no narrative, dialogue or direction as to what to do or where to go - yet that’s what gives the game such unique charm. There are no upgrades, levelling systems or multi-modes crammed into proceedings here. And it’s pure adventuring perfection, testing your puzzling skills to the extreme in an unbelievably beautiful environment that befits the staggering scale of the furry beast you befriend. If you’re looking for a classy slice of gaming to go with your Christmas cake this year, look no further.
Title: Dead Rising 4
Platform: Xbox One
A festive zombie action jamboree
It’s the holiday season in Willamette, Colorado. How lovely. Errrr, not really. A mysterious outbreak has overrun the Willamette Memorial Megaplex Mall and surrounding town with dangerous and deadly predators. So it’s up to you, as Frank West, to throw yourself into the vast, open-world sandbox filled with dangerous new zombies and myriad ways to kill them as you seek to uncover the truth behind the outbreak - or die trying. Learning from many of the hits - and misses - of the games that have gone before, Dead Rising 4 favours a frantic series of gruesome thrills and spills over and above the element of survival that featured so heavily in the earlier titles. The weaponry madness will fill you with glee from the outset, as will the smart graphics and obvious game engine power that allows so many zombies to feature on screen at once. Switching between weapons is a doddle, dealing you a strong hand when it comes to making it through each of the “cases” the game is divided into. Incredible firepower, insane amounts of enemies and a multiplayer mode that’s bound to raise a chuckle amongst pals, Dead Rising 4 definitely brings its own brand of Christmas cheer to the console world.
Title: Super Mario Maker
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Mario’s console creativity leaps onto the small dual-screen
Get ready to play a near-infinite number of side-scrolling 2D Mario courses anytime, anywhere. Here, you get the chance to earn in-game medals in 100 built-in courses, as well as access recommended courses from the same game on the Wii U console. Of course, the killer feature is that you can design your own courses, too, and share them with other players via StreetPass and local wireless. Want your cannons to shoot coins? Go for it. In this game, you call the shots, and simple touch-screen controls and interactive tutorials make designing courses a piece of cake. Collaborating has never been easier either, now that you can share incomplete courses with other players, earning a special icon that commemorates the collaboration if you complete the course together. It’s just one of many reasons that makes this a must-play title for your portable gaming portfolio, combining individual creativity with everything we’ve come to expect and love from the world of Mario.
Title: Hop Swap
Price: Free (with in-app purchases)
Run, rabbit, run!
The team at Nitrome have built a strong indie reputation when it comes to engaging mobile platformer apps, and Hop Swap ticks pretty much all the boxes once again. As a rabbit running from one connected level to the next, you’ll find yourself immediately wrapped up in a world of gem collecting, obstacle overcoming and enemy elimination, through a series of carefully timed taps, swipes and flips. It’s the flipping of the environment that adds a neat new dimension to the play style, allowing you to run on the underside of the platform you’re standing on, which can be crucial in completing certain stages. The puzzles within each level are well-planned, with nothing to tear your hair out, but plenty to keep the adrenalin pumping, pulling at you to have just one more go. It’s crisp and colourful in look and feel, but this genre is all about the in-game action and Hop Swap is one bouncing bunny bonanza you should snap up now.
Title: Amateur Surgeon 4
Price: Free (with in-app purchases)
Christmas carving of a different kind!
Christmas will always feature families popping two AA batteries into the back of the Operation board game to provide brilliant buzzing fun, long after the last bit of turkey has been swallowed. But Amateur Surgeon 4 takes the surgical nonsense to a stratospheric new digital level by offering you the chance to perform surgery on more than 100 patients with a selection of household tools. Not for the faint-hearted, although everything is displayed in a suitably over-the-top cartoon context, your carefully planned taps and swipes now represent the difference between life and death for those on your hospital table. With lighters, staplers and the obligatory pizza cutter in your hand, it’s amazing what fun you can have with this improvised medical madness, and it’s all delivered with a healthy helping of outlandish humour to ensure no-one dives for the sick bag. The simulated controls are smooth, too, meaning you’ll only have yourself to blame for a slip of the fingers and the oh-so wrong result that follows!
WHAT’S HOT AND WHAT’S NOT?
The recent PlayStation Experience 2016 event threw in some mouth-watering curveballs, as a host of new titles were revealed to varying degrees. Top of the list included The Last Of Us Part II and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy - two franchises we feared we’d seen the end of. The former included the tease of Ellie now as a playable character, while Uncharted’s new offering will switch Nathan Drake out as the lead protagonist for Chloe Frazer, taking place after the events of Uncharted 4’s main story. Other highlights included Knack 2, Dreadnought and Crash Bandicoot’s N.Sane Trilogy.
Meanwhile, in the charts this week, FIFA 17 remained in title-winning position as we move towards the Christmas break, with Final Fantasy XV debuting strongly at two. Battlefield 1 climbed one place from five to four, while the Pokemon pairing of Sun and Moon dropped from their lofty positions of three and four to nine and eight respectively.
GAME CHART ALL FORMATS FULL PRICE
1. FIFA 17
2. Final Fantasy XV
3. Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare
4. Battlefield 1
5. Forza Horizon 3
6. Watch Dogs 2
7. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
8. Pokemon Moon
9. Pokemon Sun
10. Minecraft: Xbox Edition
Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (c) 2016 UKIE Ltd