Weathering the storm
King of Seas might have an uncomfortably similar name to Microsoft's Sea of Thieves, but the two are very different takes on nautical adventuring. This is a top-down, sea-faring sandbox in which you play as the child of the titular monarch, framed for his murder and forced into a life of piracy. The story isn't going to blow you...
Narita Boy is a side-scrolling, 80s VCR-soaked pixel adventure. You play as the titular Narita Boy, a chosen hero of sorts who's tasked with saving a digital dimension from its all-powerful creator. There's a lot more story here than you might think — most of it told through lengthy dialogue boxes — but the gist of it is that...
This one's a Keeper
Here's the elevator pitch for Monster Sanctuary: It's like Pokémon, but it's structured like a Metroidvania. It boasts a reasonably large map of interconnected corridors and rooms, complete with some light puzzle and platforming elements. The world itself is a bit unremarkable, but it's the in-depth and addictive gameplay that...
A new species
The Worms franchise has more or less stayed the same across its 25-year history, so it was due a shake-up. Worms Rumble is an offshoot that ditches the strategic turn-based gameplay in favour of more immediate, real-time action. Fans may well wrinkle their noses at this, but honestly, it works better than you might think. Up to 32...
Fill your plates
Overcooked: All You Can Eat is like enjoying your favourite meal while wearing newly prescribed glasses. Sure, you've had this plenty of times before, but it tastes just as good, and it looks better than ever. This is a PlayStation 5 re-release that brings together all the content from the two games along with all the DLC. However,...
Many roguelikes and roguelites follow a similar template, and if you've played one, it can feel as though you've played them all. However, they're not all cut from the same cloth; yes, they share some common design and gameplay choices, but others are true outliers that do things differently with the formula. Going Under is one...
Gotta hatch'em all
Neon Abyss is a procedurally generated, rogue-like platformer that takes heavy inspiration from the likes of Enter the Gungeon and The Binding of Isaac. You play as part of the Hades formed ‘Grim Squad’ and are thrown into the Abyss, equipped with nothing more than a gun to blast through room after room of menacing foes in...
To me, to you
Moving Out successfully gamifies the otherwise highly stressful process of relocating. As employees of a somewhat questionable removal company, you and up to three other local players are tasked with shifting all the marked goods out of each building and into your truck as fast as possible. It's daft, easygoing fun. Levels start...
Yooka-Laylee was born out of a desire to return to the 3D mascot platformers of the mid-nineties. The initial game by Playtonic, a studio that has several ex-Rare staffers in its ranks, found a degree of success in this mission statement, but it didn't quite measure up to expectations. It's a cutesy, colourful collect-a-thon with nice...
King of the castle
Perhaps ‘Dark Souls-vania’ is a bit of an overstatement, but there’s no denying the plethora of influences, both modern and contemporary, in this gorgeously sacrilegious metroidvania. Blasphemous is dripping in grim atmosphere and stuffed full of macabre religious iconography, bloody combat, and enough lore to fill the Old...
Workshop till you drop
My Time At Portia is a charming life simulation game, revolving around your new life running a workshop in the post-apocalyptic town of Portia. Unlike most such settings, Portia is brimming with vibrant colours and cheerful residents. However, the town still bears the scars of the apocalyptic event which ravished the world...
Out of this world
We all know the difference between day and night on Earth, but do light and darkness cause similar transformations on alien worlds? This is the question driving Planet Alpha, a 2D platformer featuring an unnamed spaceman, stranded on a mysterious planet. To escape, our lost astronaut is going to have to delve deeper into an unknown...
New and improved recipe
With Overcooked, Ghost Town Games landed upon a delicious recipe for co-operative cooking chaos that dished up a perfect helping of frantic fun. Although fairly short and straightforward in structure, the fiendishly designed levels meant players really did have to communicate effectively to succeed, and it's this that makes...
Our time with Mugsters has been short, it has been simple, and it has been sweet. Mugsters is the newest game from the publisher behind Overcooked, The Escapists 2, Yooka-Laylee, and most recently Yoku’s Island Express. Knowing all that, Mugsters has some big shoes to fill. Can it keep up with the endless wonder of Yooka-Laylee? Can...
Because many video games lean on familiar gameplay loops, archetypal characters, and genre conventions, when you're reviewing them it can sometimes feel like you're saying exactly the same thing about a game that you already wrote about previously. But every now and again you'll have to write a sentence during a review that you know...
At war with itself
Republished on Wednesday 1st November 2017: We're bringing this review back from the archives following the announcement of November's PlayStation Plus lineup. The original text follows. Way back in the hazy days of 1995, we doubt that plucky British studio Team 17 imagined that it would be making Worms games a...
Aven Colony tells the story of the human colonisation of an alien world, and each mission of the fifteen hour campaign is a variation on that one, singular idea. Like Earth, the planet offers everything from frozen tundra to lush, fertile landscapes capable of supporting the growth of crops like corn and wheat. The aim of the game is to...
Explosions litter the battlefield, reducing soldiers to nothing more than corpses and gravestones. A poisonous gas sneaks around, grasping its enemies and withering them away to a point of no return. A hawk-eyed missile eerily seeks out its victim, locating and dispatching them with mechanical ease. War, you see, has changed. But all...
Crawl out through the fallout
Sheltered is a strategy game about ensuring that your family survives after a nuclear apocalypse. To be totally fair, it's about a lot more than that – resource management, adventuring, trading, etc – but you'll spend the majority of your time with this plucky indie not thinking about those things in the abstract,...
The Escapists: The Walking Dead is an aptly named amalgamation of the prison break indie game, The Escapists, coupled with the smash hit comic book and TV series, The Walking Dead. It takes all of the original game's mechanics and fits them into the world of Rick Grimes' undead uber-brand. As expected from a game set in that world,...
Overruled! is a frantic, diverse brawler in which yourself and three other players compete against each other in order to amass points, with the highest total winning the match. Your score is determined by your performance in a selection of objectives, as well through more conventional means, like attacking your opponents – but...
Video games are like empathy generators. More than any other medium they allow us to feel what it might be like to be another type of person. Beyond Eyes is great example of this – a game which attempts to simulate the experience of being blind. But while it plays host to some fiendishly clever design, its slow pace and slightly...
Dead and alive
Brandishing a rather fetching title, Schrödinger's Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark (Schrödinger's, henceforth) introduces itself as somewhat of a novel addition to the 2D platforming realm, boasting eccentric stylised graphics and an intriguingly educational premise. Once you dig deeper than these cosmetic oddities, however,...
Bored behind bars
Every great prison break in history has been executed by someone with the ability to make a fully functioning machine gun out of two plastic forks, a DVD of Adam Sandler's 1989 cinematic masterpiece Going Overboard, and three inches of wire. The Escapists teaches you everything that you need to know when you inevitably get locked...
Hotline Miami's not necessarily the kind of game that you'd expect to attract a string of copycats, but LA Cops follows developer Dennaton's brutal blueprint down to the most specific of details. You play as one of six clichéd LAPD law enforcers, with your objective to bring justice to some of America's most wanted. You'll do this by...