Steamworld Heist: Ultimate Edition Review

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The Steamworld series has already made a splash of the Nintendo Switch with Steamworld Dig 2, so surely it makes sense for the original Steamworld Dig to be released right? Well, Image and Form Games had a different idea, and that was to release the turn based RPG Steamworld heist instead! Hanging up the Pickaxes and strapping on a Gun Holster for a war in space, rather than a fight in underground Earth. Steamworld Heist Ultimate Edition is Packed with content, including all the DLC that would have to be purchased on the regular edition of the games, plus a few extra bits thrown in, including some optimisations for the Nintendo Switch

Set Centuries after the Events of the Steamworld Dig games, the Earth is destroyed and the steam bots have taken to space travel! You take control of a band of space pirates who are running into some tough times, "The scrappers" are threatening your group, and the people you've been pirating from, this can only mean one thing! Time to Scrap the Scrappers! 
Being a Turn based game, Steamworld Heist shakes things up a little, by making you manually aim your guns. You can move each character into position on your turn and then fire when ready, with a push of the R button, your aimer activates, letting you line up your shot before you pull the trigger. One of the great things about aiming is that you can actually bounce bullets around, so if you cant line up the head shot you want, then aim for the wall behind, and watch the bullet bounce right back at the bad guy! 
Where totally different in game play to the Dig games, there are some similarity's, mainly in the characters personalities and humour. So for anyone who's totally unfamiliar with the Steamworld  games, firstly, you don't need to know anything about the previous games. Steam powered Robots require water to run, this becomes their currency, even selling gold bars for water! Each Level is Procedurally generated meaning that, even if you play the same level again, and board the same ship, it'll be different. Normally this kind of random level maker runs into problems, leaving game play down to luck, this isn't the case here however, leaving the success of the level down to your own skills; Speaking of skills, each character that you obtain throughout your quest gains experience, levelling up and in turn, unlocking new skills. Paired with the skills that your character learns, you can also equip guns and other items before each heist, making your character play the way you want. Going in guns blazing might not necessarily be the best strategy, Letting the enemy fire upon you first may be the best thing you can do, as long as you have the right skills, biding your time to throw an attack back with more power. 

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Choosing your next heist is done on the over-world map, giving you a full view of whats about, with the picture of a devastated earth in the background. Each mission  gives you a star rating once you've completed it, this is your"reputation" which unlocks new areas, and new equipment. In amongst the levels are a few other ships, some are bars where you can recruit new members, and others are gun shops. There are also challenge levels scattered within these too, and some can be really tough! Pick your fights carefully, because taking on more than you can chew will cost you valuable H2O!

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The stylising on Streamworld Heist is spot on from start to end, from the war time inspired opening video, to the designing of the different 'bots, there's a fantastic look that carries throughout. Talking to the different characters is always a treat too, as they all have there own unique voices, made up with the buzzing and clattering of metal, paired with  great dialogue that can be incredibly humours at times. Never give up on the opportunity to speak to a character, they give you background stories of not only their character, but the situation the solar system is in. It can be easily skipped as it's optional, but I really believe that it shouldn't be missed. The soundtrack is filled with some toe tapping catchy beats, drawing influence from country music, and a more industrial feel for the bad guys music. The real treat of the soundtrack is heading to a bar and standing in front of the bands, there's some amazing music here, if you take the time to stop and listen.

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There's plenty of content here, including multiple difficulties, a ranking system for each level and a new game plus. This really is the biggest version of Steamworld Heist. Featuring touch screen controls; I was hesitant to try them at first, passing them off as a thrown in feature, I'd like to admit that I was really wrong, and that it really helps, especially for fine aiming from a distance. The great thing about the touch screen feature, is that you can use it to play the game from start to end,  that way, it's totally down to you how you want to play.


Steamwold Heist should be on your radar, bringing a fresh and unique take on the turn based RPG genre,  that makes it gripping from start to end. Packed with customisation's from your guns and equipment, straight down to the cosmetic collectable hats, there's plenty of bang for your buck. I honestly cannot fault Steamwold Heist, from its writing to game play; art style to music, there really isn't anything out of place, and that's why it's already become one of my favourite titles on the Switch!

Floor Kids Review

Floor kids review

By Jonny Casino

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During my high school years, there were many fads.  You had those that would master the yo-yo, and others that would pend their time trying not to let the hacky sack hit the ground.  These fads interested me some, but the fad that really made be jealous was break dancing.  Kids would gather in a hallway during their lunch and have a dance off, seeing who could spin on their head or bounce on one arm.  I never had the chance to really get into break dancing, but, with the Help of Floor Kids, now I can.

 Floor Kids is a break dancing rhythm game, and I know how crazy that sounds.  In 2017, who even thinks about break dancing?  The answer is, “Anyone who sees it for even a second.”  That’s the thing about break dancing, everyone who has ever seen it has some small desire to be able to do it.  Floor Kids bring this to you with beautiful hand drawn style art and fun music.

As the game starts, you chose a starting character and hit the streets.  Each location has a “story”, that is shown in a comic book fashion, and the locations are unlocked by earning specific number of stars.  Inside the location, you will find three songs that allow you to earn up to five stars each.  This sounds very generic for many games, especially rhythm games, that are on the market today, the game has an unique appeal.

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As the music starts, you must make your character dance (of course).  This accomplished by using a combination of the A, B, X, and Y buttons (for basic moves), the up, down, L and R buttons (for variations) and rotating the analog stick for power moves.  As you change these moves, you guessed it, your character dances, and its so much fun to watch.  Your little guy or girl goes back and forth, up and down, does flips, and spins on their back and head.  You choose what moves the character does when, but it always feels like the moves fit the music. 

You receive basic points by hitting the buttons in time with the beat.  You can receive more points by changing up your moves, and making sure you perform each of the sixteen possible moves.  Throughout the songs, your crowd will request different move types, and meeting their demands bring along even more points.  You only have a certain amount of time to make the move happen, which is faster and faster as you move on to harder levels.

The final way to gain extra points can easily be the difference between you receiving three, four, or five stars.  Twice during each song, you must tap a button in time with the notes to make the song.  This is denoted by an x’s placed a long a line.  After each of these sets, the game displays the percent you hit and how many misses you had.  The difference in score can be as much as 6500.  See how this could knock you down a star or two.

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You earn stars for two reasons.  As previously stated, they are needed to unlock future locations.  Beyond that, earning three or more stars during a song gives you a character card for the character in the crowd.  When you get four cards for one character, that character is unlocked.  Each character has their own moves, which are fun to watch, but they also have their own strengths and weaknesses.  On top of that, you are required to unlock all characters before playing the final location.

As with many games that have you earning stars, Floor Kids is easy to play but hard to master.  During the early levels, I was easily able to hit four stars every time, and even received five stars on one level.  Around the middle of the game, the difficulty started to catch up with me and even receiving three stars was getting difficult.  By the time I played the final song, the music and crowd requests were moving so fast that I was surprised to receive two stars.

The question you always need to ask yourself is “are you having fun while playing this?”  To that I must say “Yes.”  I had plenty to play while doing this review, but kept coming back Floor Kids.  Watching the characters dance and knowing it was me making it happen brought me close as I will ever get to actual break dancing.  Mix that with the great music (and I’m far from a hip hop fan) and really cool art style, I would say this is a win.  

Dimension Drive - Review

Dimension Drive Review 

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By Gary Gray 

A multi dimensional alien race known as the Ashajuls are attacking our universe, and its up to Jackelyne Tywood, Pilot of the Dimension Jumping Manticore to save the day.

Set over a comic book style universe, the story and feel of dimension drive is actually quite in depth, Panning out the Top down, Space shooting Game play with some jaw dropping comic book styled art and some quality voice acting setting the scene and story perfectly.

 

Game Play 

Starting out there's something that's immediately different about dimension drive, something that all the other top down shooters that have flooded the switches eshop over the past few months don't have. Split screen one player..... now, this might sound crazy, but whats actually happening is that have to split your attention, Between two sides of the screen as they are two different dimensions running parallel. With a click of the B button you jump from each side of the screen, this is where the main focus of Dimension Drives Game Play lies! Indicated by a pinkish glow on the opposite screen, that's where you will warp to if you choose, and this is done for a variety of reasons from dodging enemy attacks or the terrain trying to block your way, it's an asset that I praise highly as it's possibly one of the freshest ideas to come from a space shooter. As you progress though the levels, you'll have to blast your way through tons of bad guys using your up-gradable guns, there's also different variety of weapons to unlock by collecting data cubes scattered throughout the levels.

Speaking of unlockables, there's also more abilities to unlock for the Manticore to. The first that you unlock is the ability to slow the level down, which also turns your craft 180 degrees, a choice that has been cleverly thought through as you can't shoot forward, so you won't over use, or spam the ability.

Make sure you don't hit the walls, as this results in an instant death. Luckily though there are checkpoints dotted around the levels, so if you lose one of your three lives you be starting back from the beginning. Where everything is solidly built, you're shunted into some crazily hard sections to grind the fun to a halt, whether it's a section where there's too much on screen, or sections with big gaps between check points, I got stuck for well over an hour in one section on the second world. One false warp and your ship disintegrates.

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Visuals and Sound

 

From its comic book story stills to the dark and dreary backdrops of space, dimension drive hits all the notes high! There's plenty of attention to detail, from your ship casting its glowing lights against the hurling rocks of space, to the warm light of threatening lasers, it's a real treat if you can take a second to look. Adding to the adrenaline of the fast paced action, is a pumping Electro soundtrack, that fits the bill perfectly. |Where you may not be humming the soundtrack afterwards, it really does tie everything together well.

 

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Modes

 

Along side the single player there is also a cooperative mode, where you will be sharing the chaos with a friend. If your looking for replay-ability there's actually a whole bunch In Dimension Drive, From Four different difficulty settings, that range from Normal, Hard, Extreme to insane. On top of that there is a high score leader board, and grading systems, so there's plenty of reasons to go back and outdo yourself.

 

 


Verdict

Dimension Drive is easily one of the most creative space shooters. Dimension jumping is a mechanic that really shines above its competition, which makes it so unique. With a gripping story, Which puts the cherry on top of a solid built shoot 'um up, you're surely in for a treat. Packed full of content, there's always more to go back to, if you can get past the ridiculous curves in difficulty that is.

 

 

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Teslagrad Review

Teslagrad Review
by Antonio Guillen @Blublud02

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BIRTH OF A NATION

How Teslagrad was brought to life is an interesting tale. A small Norwegian development team needed a setting for their first game.

Impressively, they envisioned an entire world comprised of four nations. Each nation featured elements of European countries at different times in their history.

Rain Game’s first planned project, titled ‘Minute Mayhem’, never released, but as the team focused on examining the past of the nation of Elecktropia, they built a new game, their debut title, a platformer set in the city of Teslagrad.

ONWARD AND UPWARD

The game opens on a solemn note, placing you in the role of a nameless orphan attempting to escape certain death at the hands of ruthless guards. Your only hope is to withdraw into a forgotten ruin- and so the challenge to traverse the dark tower and unlock its mysteries begins.

A variety of electric based puzzles are found down every tunnel and corridor. With no dialogue, direction, or traditional tutorial, the game trusts you to figure things out via trial and error.
Along the adventure you’ll find tools that grant you powers of manipulation. Each relic partners with the next set of trials, adding some nice variety and keeping things fresh.

DEATH AND TAXES  

Hazards are plentiful and lethal, so a keen eye and thinking outside the box are critical. Precision is key as the margin for error in the platforming bits are razor thin.

Thankfully the sting of being killed by one hit or misstep is tapered by instant respawns and a forgiving checkpoint system. After enough experimentation no challenge seems insurmountable.

As you can imagine, navigating environments via magnetism and momentum can be challenging as is, but I also questioned if I was battling imprecise controls. At times I felt as if I wasn’t being granted the same actions for the same input. Even after hours of play I can’t tell if certain elements were floaty by design.

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IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK

As they say, difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations. After overcoming a few puzzle heavy and comparatively bland environments, you’re occasionally rewarded with some stunning vitas and rare boss encounters.

Various theatre rooms featuring elaborate stage-plays help shed light on the origin of the tower and a timeworn conflict adding weight to your actions and discoveries to come.

Stumbling unexpectedly into an amazing library, combat segment, or puppet show are great rewards.

GOTTA CATCH ‘EM ALL

As you traverse the tower you’ll come across scrolls in secret areas or placed just out of reach. You might expect they’re a reward for hard core challenge seekers and completionists.

Unfortunately, late in the game, you’ll discover these seemingly insignificant collectables are actually mandatory.

If you’ve made the mistake of not pushing yourself during your first trek you’ll be forced to endure significant backtracking to find enough items to unlock the final act.

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CONCLUSION

Teslagrad is a beautiful and difficult 2-D puzzle-platformer. Perfect for challenge seekers who balk at the idea of having their hand held. A unique aesthetic and a perfect price point should help it stand out in a sea of titles flooding the eShop this holiday. If puzzle platformers that demand pinpoint precision are your thing, it's time to visit Teslagrad.

 

Crimsonland Review

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Crimsonland review
by Gary Gray.

 


Crimsonland is a the Newest Twin Stick, top down survival game to hit the switch.Lets start off with the obvious, Crimsonland is Furiously Gory, And it lets you know straight away! Fighting in arena style levels crimsonland has you pitched up against a spectrum of creatures that try to flood you with sheer numbers, from aliens, zombies and straight through to spiders you’ll have to learn each different quirk and movement pattern they have in order to survive.

On each level there’s a set number of creatures you have to kill to be the last man standing in order to move on. As you're fighting the sheer numbers every so often power ups and weapon changes appear and this is where crimsonland becomes it own. There are tons of Guns and unlock-able power-ups at play, each feeling different from the last, from the amount of ammo they hold before a reload (which ammo is infinite by the way), to the rate and power of fire, Almost every type of gun is here, from automatics to shotguns, pistols to rocket launchers giving you strategy on what you should pick up when they appear. There's also a power-up bar that fills up with each kill and blood that you spill, giving you a perk of your choice, these are great as they’re more RPG than a shooters normal power ups, Giving you all kinds of power-ups form increased speed, wider viewing angle and through to more blood appearing per kill or more frequent weapon drops.

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Crimsonland is chaotic at times when the swarms are charging right at you, on your small arena map you have to make the most of all the space, it’s a little disappointing that there’s no real variety in the maps other than a visual one, so the playing field is pretty much away the same. In the graphics department crimsonland may not knock you off your feet but you won't have much time for looking at it anyway, when the action gets going there's tons going on all at once with zero frame drops which is really impressive, the smoothness never skips or judders as you getting enclosed by numbers way bigger than i though would appear from the small areas.

All in all there's a really cool top down survival game here, and with the constant unlock-able and guns being added it never really gets dull, the variety in pickups and guns is nothing but impressive and mixed in with the smooth game play and the light touch of RPG elements, this may scratch that old arcade itch with a bit of modern flare. More variety in stages would’ve been nice, but I still had a blast taking down the massive enemy hordes.

Crimsonland is out now on the nintendo Eshop.

 

 

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Green Game Timeswapper Review

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Green Game Timeswapper Review
By Paul Lloyd


Green Game follows the journey of a mechanical bird, evolving through each of the games (look to our Red Game review). Once again, you are looking at a silhouetted steampunk world, although this time everything has a green background. It really does look better than it sounds, the green hue gives the world a feeling of evil. This is exactly what the game is too, pure evil.

 


If you are a completionist, if you cant move on to the next level until you have collected everything then you will hate this. But in a good way!!! Each level has 3 collectables, which must be collected in a single run. You cant collect 2 of them, finish the level and then retry for the 3rd. It will drive you crazy!!! The game is an on rails puzzle game, where you have no control of the main character what so ever. You swipe left and right to activate and disable blowers, pushing the bird in the direction that you choose to avoid all sorts of traps. The first handful of levels are really easy, just to teach you the mechanics, and you can progress through the game without too much difficulty if you complete the level BUT you need all 3 collectables for bragging rights..! Right..! Right?!?!?

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This is an obvious, and some what lazy port of a mobile game, locking out the function of docked mode, you must play this in hand held. There is no joy-con integration what so ever, no button controls, no tilt controls. It is touch screen ONLY. It seems that they have decided against these features to make sure that they get the game out as quickly as possible. With that said, for the price point, I think that it is excellent. You are going to get 1-2 hours of enjoyment out of this if you play through casually, but if you want to beat it 100%, I can guarantee you will pull your hair out and rage quit several times.
My advice would be that if you were planning on buying a coffee for your commute to work in the morning, skip it and buy this instead

Red Game Without a Great Name Review

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Red Game Without a Great Name Review
By Gary Gray

 

So it’s not very often that a game comes along that you can only play in handheld, yet here's the latest to hit the nintendo eshop. Delivering letters as a mechanical bird in a silhouetted steampunk world might be a little bit crazy in itself but when you add the power to teleport in, then you know it's going to be cranked up another notch!

An auto scrolling screen, a constantly flying bird, and deadly obstacles are the basis for the gameplay throughout and it's your job to make sure that the letters get delivered safe. Controls are fairly simple, you drag the bird to where you want it to go and it will teleport to that exact spot once you life you finger off the touch screen. Hazards are everywhere! From going out of the screen, hitting barbed wire and getting crushed to death, you’ve got to navigate the constantly pushing levels in order to get to the cage at the end while optionally picking up some collectables in the form of Cogs. Other mechanics get introduced to keep you on your toes, so look out for those speed boosts and wall breakers! The beginning is incredibly easy but that doesn’t last long, and soon Red game really lets you know who's boss, forcing you to make uncomfortable moves and fast decisions that really hooks you into that “One more try” trap of addiction.

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Dusk red backgrounds that gradient into an almost dawn like look are draped into the background of a jet black silhouette foreground, and it’s an absolute charm. Turning components, cage like traps and spiky pillars all make up the features of the foreground, and even though it's all black, it never once made me feel like i didn't know what anything was. Where its minimalist for sure, it’s a look that suits Red game, not only in name, but in mechanics too, claiming a clean and crisp look that shines on the switches tiny screen.

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Red Game Without a Great Name is one of the lowest priced games in the eshop, and for what it boasts for its small price point is actually a fantastic touch screen puzzler, that ramps up in difficulty giving you a major sense of accomplishment whenever you finish a stage. So if you're into touch screen puzzle games this might be right up your street.

Red Game Without a Great Name is out now on the Nintendo Switch eshop.

Lastly Thank you to Ifun4all for Supplying us with a copy of the game.

Xenoraid Review

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XenoraidReview
By Gary Gray


Shoot ‘um ups are not in short demand at the minute on the Nintendo eshop.
But Xenoraid is a little different thanks to some clever mechanics.


Xenoraid is a classic style top down space shooter with some very modern twists. At first glance it may not look like anything new, but when you dive in, things are immediately different.

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"the complexity and depth are a sure surprise."

One of the last things that might not run through your mind when you hear the words “space shooter” is management, but that's the real beauty of Xenoraid! Not only are you given four different spacecrafts that you can switch between on the fly during combat, but you have to keep an eye on not only the health, but also the ammo and overheating weaponry.
So say you lose one of your ships during a level, it's no big deal, it’ll be back on the next stage right? WRONG!  Unless you buy another ship your left without, and don't forget to repair the other ship otherwise they’ll suffer the same fate. This is an ongoing theme for each section of the campaign, money you earn from each mission carries over to the next level, so be careful what you spend your money on! Unlike most economy based games there’s more to buy than you'll have money for, from upgrade that affect all ships, to individual weapons upgrades, shield upgrades and even the ability to buy and sell ships.

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Playing each level will be different every time, as the enemy placement randomises, so gone are the familiar “learn the pattens” strategy that you can normally rely on when you fail a mission. The only familiarity is the mission's objectives, they’re pretty much exterminate the enemy every time, you actually see what is heading your way too, as the enemies ships are scanned and indicated by a counter on screen. Some of the bigger threats take some time to kill, and you have to plan out your attacks as the enemy don't just disappear when they go offscreen, they come back around until they’re totally wiped out so you don’t have to make any rash decisions.

Where the Visuals are clean and crisp, it makes it easy to keep track of everything that’s going on, it's the backgrounds that are a little lack luster. As a criticism, this is the only part of Xenoraid that is a little underwhelming. Almost static backgrounds can give you a nice feeling of being a million miles away from planet life stuck in space, but they also don’t ever make you feel like you're seeing anything new or going anywhere fast. Audio on the other hand is a highlight, Hearing the firing of the automatic weapons really gave me a feeling of power! Hearing the thumping gunshots and twagging Lasers were perfectly balanced with the electro background music, and even when gameplay gets chaotic it's never too overwhelming.

 

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Trying it out for the first time I actually played Co-op with my little brother. The four ships that you choose from are actually shared. This made some screaming and shouting that every great multiplayer game has, as you have to know who's got what ship at all times and decide together where the money at the end of each missions going to go.

Xenoraid is a must own for anyone looking after a classic style space shooter with a modern edge. Micro managing and money management give Xenoraid a fresh edge that cuts through the traditions that other top down shooters have had before it, and the complexity and depth are a sure surprise.

Xenoraid is out now on the Nintendo Eshop for £8.99

Thank you to 10Tons for Supply us with a Review copy.

Get In Contact With Us!

Hello!
Its Gary here,
We would love to hear from you, whether your a listener wanting to write in, a developer looking for exposure or just want to say hello, please don't hesitate to get in contact with us! 

You can get direct with the Blog/Show here!
Mail: TopicNintendo@Gmail.com
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Twitter: @Garythekoopa  

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Yono and the Celestial Elephants Review

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Yono and the Celestial Elephants Review
By Gary Gray


Straight away Yono is a full bag of charm, from the cute main character to the sheer beauty of its graphical style, something about Yono can just pull you in straight in.

Set in a world filled with a diverse species from human and robots to the undead, Yono gets sent from the heavens like other celestial elephants before him, to basically save the different species and sort out their problems. Yono is pretty clueless on what he has to do, but gets reminded about that the great elephants before him have done. An interesting twist on a story, a story that’s actually skimming on adult themes and slightly political (within its own worlds and characters of course).

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Yono might be fairly simple in terms of controls, whatever you learn at the start of the game is what you will have at the end, there’s no upgrades and no inventory, something that I actually enjoyed as many games can rely too heavily on trying to find collectibles rather than concentrating on the puzzles.

The majority of the game play in Yono is built around puzzles, some are quite simple push block puzzles, but later the evolve to be a bit more challenging creating times where you’ll have to step back and really think about what the next step is. As I explained earlier there's no skill upgrades so puzzles literally just rely on pure thought.

Combat is also present in Yono although in a simple form, as a brave little elephant you have the ability to use your trunk to blow enemy’s back and the ability to charge. A target selector is also present however doesn’t really lock on as well as I feel it should, and charging at the enemy can be disastrous if you haven’t given yourself room for a run up, leaving the enemy with perfect opportunities to hit you. Combat is the main part of Yono that could do with a little bit of a spruce up, however combat doesn’t crop up very often so it won’t leave you frustrated.

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Yono is best digested when you can relax and stroll through casually and smell the flowers, with its tiny details such as wildlife, and dialogue that is both charming and diverse you’ll never feel the pressure and frustrations of being pushed forwards before you're ready.

One thing I Really love about Yono is the ability to buy new skins for your elephant, some of which are nods to other franchises you may recognise! You can also upgrade your health by collecting rare items and then taking them to a shop that will convert them into an extra life slot, so you're rewarded for going out of your way to collect everything.

All in all Yono is a fantastic game that really shouldn’t be missed if you’re a fan of Zelda like puzzles. With its beautiful graphics, simple mechanics and all out charm, yono can be played by any member of the family. Because of this I give Yono and the celestial Elephants a silver award! I’m hoping we'll be seeing more of the little elephant in the future.
 

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Quest of Dungeons Review

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Quest of Dungeons Review
By Gary Gray

At first glance quest of dungeons seems like just another dungeon crawler with retro style graphics……. so is it?


I do as little research on a game going in, as not to be swayed by other people's opinions and game play impressions, so loading it up i expected another Link to the past style action adventure game. Straight away i knew i was deeply wrong, as the characters move a square at a time on a grid based system, and my first encounter with the enemy made me realise that this was more RPG than an action adventure.

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In an interesting twist the Game play is half turn based battle, half real time battle set up in a rogue-like twist. As you move along a square at a time, the enemies move every time you do, so sometimes your best to asses the surroundings and enemy placement before running in.
Choosing a hero before you start each play through makes the game dramatically different, from a Warrior who uses close combat, Assassin who uses ranged weapons, Wizard who summons magic or a Shaman who uses skills as well as close combat. Personally I liked the longer ranged classes more, taking down enemies from a longer range but them suffering the sheer panic of when they get too close.

Treasures, pickups and shops mean you can tweak your character with different abilities, armour and weaponry. Although this doesn't make any cosmetic changes to your character, you can boost the power of your weaponry to take down the harder bosses.

Missions are present, you obtain them from a certain stone that appears in some of the rooms. Missions vary from collecting certain items, to taking down harder baddies. Although missions and bosses exist you can avoid them entirely, I did this on some of my first play troughs, This was a mistake as the rewards and gems help you in your mission to the bottom of the dungeon!

Each play through will be different to the last as all rooms and enemies are in different places, creating a sense of unknown every time you play. this makes replaying the game time and time again a lot more fun! There’s also a downside to the randomly built levels, as every once in awhile the harder bosses will be just around the corner giving you an almost doomed run.

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As an RPG fan who doesn't have the time to sink a tonne a hours into games, Quest of Dungeons was an extremely refreshing take on the genre as its shorter quicker and full of action from the get go, while at the same time not bombarding you with a million pickups and customisation's.

So all in all I loved my time with Quest Of Dungeons. Anyone itching for a fast paced roguelike RPG that doesn't require all of your time then this is the perfect pickup for you. The battle and movement systems could be a little confusing at first but after that very short duration of learning is over, you’ll find yourself loading Quest of dungeons up again and again. with multiple characters over multiple levels that are procedurally generated along with multiple difficulties and unlockables, there's plenty to keep you returning for more!

I give Quest of dungeons a Value award! for its small price tag there's plenty here to keep you coming back for more.

Quest of Dungeons is available right now on Nintendo Switch and 3DS systems at a value  £7.99/$8.99/€8.99

 

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Robonauts Review

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Robonauts Review
By Gary Gray


Robonauts is an arcade style shooter set in the depths of space with its own unique spin. Clusters of tiny planets scattered across the levels are home to dangerous foes as you shoot, jump and gravitate to other planets. That small yet unique game play quirk of being able to jump to any adjacent planets is a  nice little feature that defines the Robonauts game play.

From the offset you treated to a nice introductory video about a janitor robot who takes control of a mech suit and crash lands in on a planet, a small yet nice piece of video, however doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the game due to its radically different style. While there is a simple story throughout the game, it lends itself to being more of a mission briefing as its story can leave you scratching your head with its confusing narrative.

 

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Does Robonauts need a story? No. Game play is at the forefront of what Robonauts is about. While Super simple to pick up and play, Challenge is only a step away, even on the easiest mode. Power Ups and diverse enemy attacks can cause the easily accessible game play to become a little more in depth that you’d think. Saving your new power ups ammo for the harder bad guys can really sway the way your match is going, so it's always worth running and gunning for the more difficult foes when the power ups show. Aiming your guns is automatic, and that's great to keep the simple inputs, however it becomes a burden when there’s multiple baddies and it aims at the wrong one, sometimes even firing the opposite way to where you're looking.

Missions are spread out over 12 levels that have a different aim. From wiping out all foes, protecting a valuable resource or activating laser style drills, there’s always a new element to keep each mission feeling fresh.

The constant beat of the music is a personal highlight of mine with its totally pumping soundtrack to enhance the action game play. Visuals on the other hand are hit and miss, where they do the job, there's not much that stands out, other than a change of colour, not much is different from each planet or level.

 

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Where Robonauts really shines is its co-op and versus modes! Grab a joycon each and you’ll soon be screaming at each other as you play through the levels is split screen, This is it! The stride I was after playing the game, and what makes buying Robonauts all the worthwhile!

So if you're into arcade style shooters with the full intent of playing co-op then Robonauts could well be a game that you're looking for! For all its small misses it makes up for with small hits. The main campaign might not be the most fleshed out game on the market, but does offer challenge and replay-ability. Over all taking this game out and about in tabletop mode with single joycon co-op, has this being a great party piece and another hit on quick fire multiplayer game list.

Robonauts is Out now on Nintendo Switch eshop and Sony PS4.

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36 Fragments Of Midnight Review

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36 Fragments Of Midnight Review
By Phil Myth

36 Fragments of Midnight has a fairly simple premise. You play as Midnight, a little white block with a couple of eyes and a penchant for double jumping, who has to scour around a 2D, procedurally generated world to find 36 star fragments that his rather menacing looking friends have misplaced. 

The level of course changes each time you play, but you'll always have to avoid buzzsaws, lasers and spikes in order to round up the missing fragments. Visually the game is rather gorgeous, opting for a simple silhouette approach, with moonlight lighting your way. 

The subtle changes in lighting as you climb higher or lower throughout the level help you keep track of which areas you've already explored and where you started from. This turns out to be rather handy as you'll have to bring the fragments back to your friends at the start once you've found them all.

Midnight controls perfectly, gliding along and spinning rather adorably if you catch him on a ledge you're attempting to jump over. Jumping is satisfying too, and you'll need to time those double jumps perfectly if you want to have a successful run. 

For example, there could be a fragment hovering over a row of spikes that will require one jump into the pit to grab it, and another one in mid-air to get back out, lest Midnight perishes. I failed on plenty of runs, but it was always due to a mistimed jump or my own impatience. There's no cheap deaths to be had, and the game is all the more addictive for it.

There isn't really much in the way of puzzles, just runs that need to be timed and executed perfectly to rack up the best time. It is actually possible to cheat a little and throw yourself at a saw or laser to register your time once you've collected all 36 fragments, rather than trek back to the start. This will give you a better personal best, but it's worth trekking back at least once for the amusing reward dialogue. 

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It looks just as great in portable mode as it does in docked, and the sound of the wind blowing through adds to the ethereal atmosphere created by the visuals. The addition of a simple piano motif in the background would have set it off nicely, but that's a minor gripe.

36 Fragments of Midnight is the perfect game for a quick run through if you've got five minutes to kill. It's beautiful to look at, incredibly addictive, and at a mere $2.99/£2.99 on the eShop, is an absolute bargain.

For the amount of fun to be had at such a low price, I give it a gold award.
 

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Chicken Wiggle Review

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Chicken Wiggle Review
By Phil Myth

Chicken Wiggle is a 2D platformer who's real charm lies not in it's own levels, but in those created by the players themselves. Developed by Atooi – spin off of Mutant Mudds developer Renegade Kid – it sees players take control of the eponymous Chicken the chicken and Wiggle the worm. The buddy duo traverse their way across 48 levels in an attempt to free their bird friends (who presumably forgo eating Wiggle as a reward for his part in their emancipation) after they are captured by a nefarious witch.

They do this by jumping, naturally, pecking at enemies, and using Wiggle as a sort of hookshot to pull Chicken across chasms and up towers. Wiggle can also be used to stun enemies, giving his parter enough time to peck them out of the way. He may get second billing, but Wiggle is the real hero here for my money.

The levels themselves are fairly straightforward, but never get boring. The sheer variety in mechanics, power ups, and puzzles to be solved mean that I was encountering new things right up until the final level. Those power-ups range from giving Chicken the power of flight, to a ghostly ability allowing him to walk through spikes. There's even one that allows him to peck through almost any surface, giving those levels a Steamworld Dig quality to them. All of this meant that whilst the difficulty never really ramped up to be truly challenging, I was never bored because there was always a new idea to be introduced.

If the main game introduces you to the tools available, then the level editor let's you go wild. Unlike Mario Maker, everything is available from the get go, and there's even some items like warp squares that don't even show up in the main campaign. The level size is fixed, and there's no way to zoom out to view the level as a whole, which can make it a little cumbersome to really plan out what it is you want to create. Similarly, there's no real explanation of what each of the tiles does. But once you've experimented a bit and got your head around things, your imagination can run free. 

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You can set different criteria for completion too. The caged birds make a return from the main campaign, but you can also set it so that victory is achieved by defeating every enemy, tracking down all the collectibles, or by escorting a little skeleton dude back to his grave. This alone adds a tonne of extra variety to that seen in the main game.

Once you've concocted your level, you can of course upload it for everyone else to try too. Much like Mario Maker, you'll have to beat your level first before you can upload it, but unlike Mario Maker, finding other levels of interest is a doddle. You can search by popularity, name, or creator. You can list levels by the newest to be added or browse those created by Atooi themselves. Once you've beaten them, you can even add a list of favourites. It's a brilliantly robust level editor and means that the game has as long a lifespan as it's fan base wants to give it. 

Presentation wise Chicken Wiggle is incredibly bright and colourful. The levels aren't particularly packed with detail, but there's an impressive depth to their appearance, especially with the 3D slider up. The music is pleasant if not particularly memorable, and the protagonists are incredibly adorable and rather cool. By contrast the enemy design is a little generic, and coupled with the three letters that spell out FUN to be found in each level, gave me some minor flashbacks of those plug-and-play Mario Bros clones your nan used to buy you. But the actual gameplay mechanics are so tight and polished that you can kinda forgive it.

Chicken Wiggle then performs best when taken as a level creator, with a 48 stage tutorial to introduce you to your tool set. The eponymous duo are a truly cool couple of characters, and the sheer variety of platforms, power-ups, spikes, and switches available to you, should keep you playing long after you finish the main game. 

We've given Chicken Wiggle a Silver Award!
 

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Forma.8 Review

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Forma.8 Review
By Gary Gray

Froma.8 is an early 2017 game that is available on all major platforms, but the Nintendo Switch is surely the best home for it! Gameplay lends itself perfectly to the handheld features of Switch, as Forma.8 is best played in short bursts of immersion.

As soon as you start Forma.8 you're greeted with a beautiful cut scene that sets the tone and story perfectly. As a spaceship approaches a planet, the on board computer boots up small sphere shaped droids that get fired towards the planet's surface, upon approach, your character droid crash lands which in effect sets up the start of the game.

Surrounded by the darkness, isolation and earines of planet you’re set to explore, the first room builds the ambient feeling of barren lands that forma.8 has running throughout.


Forma.8 is mainly an exploration based game that has you shifting back and forth between different sections of a beautiful world. Physics are what builds the majority of the controls as your floating probe takes time to accelerate and decelerate, making you think ahead in situations of conflict and confrontation. Further progression through the game sees you upgrading and building an arsenal of new abilities and attacks, from a small quick burst of energy to take out surrounding threats, to a timed bomb that can be propelled away from you.
Everything complies together perfectly for the feeling of emptiness yet sheer beauty that Forma.8 holds, and the controls only add to that feeling. Every small winding cave will have you bumping and scraping walls, where the jaw dropping open Vistas make it well know that you’re a small entity in this huge planet.    

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Combat and Puzzles require thought as opposed to just charging in. Approaching a situation carefully will be the result in a greater chance of success, and sometimes you have to make a decision to just run for the sake of survival. Main bosses are incredibly thought out, with clever ways of defeating them, whether it be something to do with the environmental surroundings or assessing their attacks to take advantage of their move set.
Sometimes however the puzzles and bosses difficulty can be a little over cooked, offering a little too much challenge at the tail end of an easier empty section.

Dialogue is none existent, instead dropping you with no instructions on what you’re doing or which direction to head, leaving the visual and audio clues to be the guide you. There's a small minimalist map that lets you know where you’ve been in each area and the exits that you can take without letting you know how to get to them, adding to the exploration.

The stunning graphical style is equally complimented by the atmospheric ambient soundtrack, which really drives home a feeling of loneliness. The music is overlain by the sounds of the wildlife, hazards and other enemies that are scattered throughout the world. While fully emerged in the feeling of emptiness, the HD rumble of the Switch can sometimes break that feeling with its loud Spring like noises breaking the quieter parts of the game, as can the juddery frame rates when entering a new area.


Forma.8 is a fantastic game if you're into the “metroidvania” style games, with its fantastic art style, perfectly fitting soundtrack and a feeling that most exploration games struggle to communicate with the player. Developer Mixed Bag have pulled off a masterpiece of artistic brilliance in a brave venture for its exploration based gameplay that builds strengths from its ambiance and beauty.

League of Evil (Switch Review)

League of Evil - Switch Review

By Gary Gray

Premise

League of evil is a port of a 2011 IOS and android game that's a skill based puzzle plat former in which you take control of a bad-ass cyborg agent, who takes orders from a man with a rocking moustache, to try and stop a group of scientists ”the league of evil ” from developing weapons of mass destruction.

But, how do you stop scientists when your a cyborg?
Punch them so hard, it knocks their heads clean off!

Again,
And Again,
And Again!
Take that Evil scientists!

 

Game play

Each Level is a short, fast burst of platforming madness, where the goal is to get to the scientist and show him what for! But along the way you might want to pick up the optional briefcase if you want to 100% the game. The controls are twitchy, simple, and extremely responsive, a jump button, which you can tap twice for a double jump, and an attack button that gives you a mid-air kick if airborne. Jump up against a wall and you’ll grab it and slowly slide down which you can use to your advantage by catapulting yourself off to do wall jumps to reach higher places.

Grunts, Spikes, sensory guns, and other hazards litter the environment. But with each death comes an instant re-spawn and an extra mark on your death counter…... and a few curse words at your switch as the difficulty ramps up.

Incredibly well-designed levels with “out of the way” pickups are a highlight of the overall design; however, everything is made of the same set of components so levels feel like they’re along the same lines and could possibly get stale on long playthroughs.  

If you're the completionist type then there's something for you here, there's a three-star system that rewards you for speed running through the levels, the faster you run, the more stars you’ll get.


Visuals and Audio

Block based simple graphics are easily overlooked, but help you to keep focused on the pure level design without cluttering it up with other distractions, it works in motion, with simple animation to suit the simple look, where it's not going to blow you away, it gets the job done with ease.

The Soundtrack is retro in its glorious form, blending into the game gracefully without stopping for death screens or loading between levels. All the sound effects in game are simple 8-bit sounds, but luckily are quite low in the mix, a mistake averted that most retro inspired games make. The only downside to the soundtrack is that it can get repetitive if you're stuck on a level for too long, as the levels music loops fast.

 

Modes

From the main menu, you are greeted with four options.

Start: where you find the main set of World and Levels, and trust me, there’s tonnes of Levels.

Level Editor: That’s right! A Level Editor! Where you can create missions using the Switches touchscreen or controllers, download missions from the internet by using certain filters, download packs of levels containing 30 missions, or search missions using a unique ID.

Where the Level Editor is a fantastic inclusion, it does come with one or two drawbacks. The first is there no option to name levels or filter searches by creators or tags, instead you limited to filters such as “top levels.” After downloading a mission, you may find it hard to find at first, that’s because rather than being in the options on the level creator, they’re placed in download mission’s folder at the end of the world options in the “start” menu, it’s not a big problem, but one that’s confusing the first time you try to look for those downloaded levels.

Achievements: Self-explanatory, but there’s also the nice addition of user stats in there too!

Options: Does all the usual things such as; sound and music volumes, language, some control configurations, and the option to turn gore and auto replay on and off.

 

Verdict

If you're after that quick pick up and play experience with short snappy levels, that ramp up in difficulty, then this may just be for you! Find a good community, and sharing your levels could keep this game being constantly played on your switch for months on end.

With its simple charm and straightforward game play, League of evil could well be the creator's game that Mario maker fans have been missing so far on the switch.


 

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