This week, Rugby Challenge 3 touches down between the Xbox One posts, Super Meat Boy sizzles on PS4 and Stranger Of Sword City slashes onto PS Vita.
Elsewhere, My Playhome Hospital and LOUD on Planet X provide doll’s house fun and musical frolics on smartphone and tablet
GAME OF THE WEEK:
Title: Rugby Challenge 3
Platform: Xbox One
Sporting sim is well worth a TRY
England has redeemed its shocking World Cup performance by winning the Six Nations recently, perhaps giving gamers a bit of impetus to pick up a virtual rugby challenge without suffering terrible flashbacks. It’s certainly worth your while, as the game packs in pretty much all the key rugby powerhouse teams such as the Wallabies, All Blacks, England, Springboks and more, all under official license. There’s no shortage of new features, too, with Rugby Sevens, a Be A Pro mode, plus the interactive Player Creator all added to this version to give it a close resemblance to some of it’s round-balled counterparts. The graphics are crisp and the commentary flows nicely, with Grant Nisbett and former All Black Justin Marshall calling the shots. And when you actually get to grips with these hulking sportsmen, you’ll find an intuitive control system - sometimes a bit too easy to win scrums and nail drop-kicks - but there’s plenty of replay across all the difficulty settings and game modes, plus online. All in all, it’s the best rugby game out there right now, bar none.
Title: Super Meat Boy
A quirky platformer that’s well worth a grilling
Super Meat Boy is a tough as nails platformer where you play as an animated cube of meat who is trying to save his girlfriend (who happens to be made of bandages) from an evil foetus in a jar wearing a tux. If you’ve stopped reading already, it’s not a game for you, but if you’re intrigued by the sheer randomness of the back story you should definitely give it a whirl. Run and jump is all you get to tackle the toughest of stages, where your exploration will eventually reward you with sight of Bandage Girl in the hardest of hard-to-reach spots. The infuriation you’ll feel at times is entirely intentional, but it’s one of those brilliant indie titles that doesn’t apologise for its difficulty, instead rewarding gamers up for the challenge with bundles of content across the standard stages and even trickier Dark World levels. It may be presented in 2D pixelated style, but don’t be fooled - it’s a mean machine of a game for 2016, and one you’ll still be trying to complete in 2017, such is the highly addictive level of difficulty.
Title: Stranger Of Sword City
Platform: PS Vita
Dive deep into a drop-dead gorgeous dungeon
Stranger Of Sword City is the next step in the evolution of the traditional dungeon RPG genre. Here you’ll find a heady combination of those three core elements of attraction for dungeon RPGs - character creation, conquering various dungeons, and dungeon crawling gameplay. You’ll switch between the beautiful and fantastical art style of Yoko Tsukamoto, or Oxijiyen, an artist renowned for their cute character graphics, for the non-playing characters illustrations in-game, as you forge your way through the environments. Newcomers, be warned though - the permadeath and save system will prove to be a challenging introduction to the genre for you, and it may be worth cutting your teeth on other titles before steaming into Sword City. Old hands will be straight into their groove, though, finding a fair bit to enjoy in this title, which looks absolutely stunning and implements some successful twists on the genre’s well-worn game mechanics.
Title: My Playhome Hospital
A virtual playspace for little ones to get creative
The My Playhome series has become the doll’s house for the iPad generation, providing an incredibly intricate virtual playspace for small children to role play in home, school and shopping scenarios. Now kids can add a hospital to this bundle, with another detailed bank of exploratory areas, from X-Ray rooms to baby delivery units, waiting rooms with coffee machines to balloon and soft toy stores. The great thing about how My Playhome works is that each additional app you buy bolts on to those you have already, so you can expand your game playing area, building bigger and better stories with the dozens of characters and objects you can move from one app to the next. Have a baby in hospital and bring the family back to the home in an ambulance - no problem. Break your arm in the playground at school and then head over to the doctor to put a plaster cast on - easily done. It’s a brilliant role playing game for your little ones, and hugely underrated for it’s technical execution, too.
Title: LOUD on Planet X
Turn it up to 11 and get tapping!
LOUD is a marvellous mash-up of a rhythm title, such as Rock Band, and tower defence offerings like Plants vs Zombies. As a musical group abducted from its concert onto an alien planet, you take control to carefully tap to the beat of their tunes across four lanes of onrushing alien traffic. Finding your groove quickly will keep the multi-eyed monsters at bay and when you’re fully in the zone you’ll find everything around you fading into the background as you become hypnotised by the musical challenge in front of you. It’s a good looking title, too, with a nice minimalistic style and an alternative music scene feel rather than mainstream pop. This is reflected in the track list as well, which may disappoint those looking for a set of more recognisable songs, but it should also be seen as an opportunity to seek out new bands to follow, as there are plenty of tunes you’ll want to listen to again when you’re not bound to bounce your finger up and down on a touchscreen as it plays out. All in all, a nice new take on the audio-driven app niche market.
WHAT’S HOT AND WHAT’S NOT?
The summer of sport doesn’t stop at France’s Euro 2016 and the Rio Olympics this year. A new eGames international tournament will take a bow in Rio too as some of the best gamers across the globe descend upon the Copa Cabana for two-days of competitive gaming. Britain, Canada, Brazil and the USA are confirmed participants, with more nations expected to follow suit, in pursuit of gold medals (and interestingly, no prize money)!
Meanwhile, in the charts this week, Ratchet & Clank took the top 10 by storm, landing straight in top spot in its first week of release. Another new entry, Star Fox Zero, also performed well by debuting at six, while Star Wars Battlefront surged back into contention, climbing nine places from 12 to three.
GAME CHART ALL FORMATS FULL PRICE
1. Ratchet & Clank
2. Dark Souls III
3. Star Wars Battlefront
4. Tom Clancy’s The Division
5. EA Sports UFC 2
6. Star Fox Zero
7. Call of Duty: Black Ops III
8. FIFA 16
9. Quantum Break
10. Dirt Rally
Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (c) 2016 UKIE Ltd