Author Archives: kayjoon

About kayjoon

Thirty-something geek on the south coast of England. Think I'm sort of smart, but I might just be fooling myself. Player of games, reader, feminist, humanist. One of two podcast hosts called Chris Smith at maximumpowerup.com

April Games

April Games

A whole lot of GamePass this month, buckle up.

Games completed this month

Guardians of the Galaxy - March Games

Guardians of the Galaxy – Xbox Series X

First completion this month was another from the 2022 playlist. I think Guardians of the Galaxy was a bit overlooked when it first came out, probably because of how badly received the Avengers game was. However, I really enjoyed this one. The writing captures the characters well, and it is one of few games where the chatter between the characters doesn’t get annoying. Very much worth playing, and great to see it on GamePass.

Easiest way to play on Xbox, Game Pass* but if you fancy it on another format or generally prefer a physical edition, they’re here on Amazon*


Life is Strange True Colors - April Games

Life is Strange – True Colors – Xbox Series X

Another game I wanted to try, as I really liked the first Life is Strange and the prequel Before the Storm. However, after not getting into Life is Strange 2, I was a bit reluctant to buy this new one. Was great to see it turn up on GamePass so I could try it, and I’m glad I did. True Colors is much more of a return to the form of the first couple of games and I pretty much played this entire thing over 2 days.


Boyfriend Dungeon - April Games

Boyfriend Dungeon – Xbox Series X

Started this out of curiosity as the premise sounded ridiculous but I’d heard good things on a podcast. It’s part simple dungeon-crawler action rpg, and part dating sim. The people you date also turn into the weapons you use in combat. It’s odd, but surprisingly engaging. I played the whole thing anyway and 100% completed it so…


Games played during April

Blacksad - March Games

Blacksad: Under the Skin – PS4 / PS5

I gave this a go, and will hopefully come back to it. The aesthetic is great but it is a bit clunky to play and the load times are criminal. I’ve moved it onto the faster SSD of the PS5 now but it hasn’t made too much difference really.

Available here* for PS4, Switch and Xbox


Puzzle Quest 3 - April Games

Puzzle Quest 3 – Mobile

I have been spending a bit of time with Puzzle Quest 3, but not sure how long I’ll stick with it. I do enjoy playing bejewelled as combat, and have liked a few of the previous puzzle quest games. My main issue with it is just that I don’t really like playing games on my phone.


Battletoads – Xbox Series X

Another game I tried on GamePass, and demonstrating the other benefit of the service. This is terrible. Move along.


What’s been on the arcade?

Arcade Speakers

I played a fair bit of Solar Fox for the ten pence arcade podcast this month, but never really improved at it. Definitely need a solution for 4-way joysticks that doesn’t involve unscrewing my control panel. The new podcast games are a couple of awful submarine based Scramble clones (and I haven’t enjoyed Scramble since I was 5) so I think I’ll give this coming month a swerve. Did play some Bubbles and Robotron 2084 though, still favourites to play on my machine.


April Pick-ups

Vampire Survivors - April Games

Vampire Survivors – PC

Raved about on a number of podcasts, this is an absolute steal at around £2 on Steam. It’s relatively simple to get into, there are a selection of characters and weapons that are pretty much lifted from the Castlevania series, and then you are just in control of moving the character while the weapons attach automatically on a timer. Very addictive and a lot of fun so far.


Zombie Rollerz - Pinball Heroes

Zombie Rollerz – PC

I noticed this was on sale, and as a big fan of Video Pinball games (talked about extensively on the video pinball episode of Maximum Power Up) I picked it up. Short-lived however, as the actual pinball physics felt ‘off’ and the art style and overall presentation really grated with me. This is now the second game I’ve ever refunded from Steam.


Ni No Kuni - April Games

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – Nintendo Switch

After I finished Tales of Arise, I’ve been waiting for my little JRPG group to pick the next game. We settled on this, helped along by it going on sale for £8 on the Nintendo eShop. Not far in yet but it seems promising. This is a remastered version of the PlayStation 3 game, which I was intrigued by at the time thanks to it’s Studio Ghibli art, but back then I wasn’t playing JRPGs.

At present it might still be on sale on the eshop, but if it’s back to full price or you’d rather have a physical copy, it’s available here from Amazon*.


*As usual, these links are affiliate ones, which may earn me a small commission if you buy something.

March Games 2022

March Games

Ticked off the first game from the 2022 playlist this month, and made substantial progress into a second. Also Game Pass continues to prove the best deal in videogaming.

Games completed this month

Tales of Arise - PS5

Tales of Arise – PS5

Fully completed this now, both with the main story “credits roll” at around 58 hours, and then with the optional extra stuff at about 90. Had a great time, but not sure it’ll break into the Top 5. I did even manage to pick up the Platinum Trophy, which is rare for me too. Think I have 8 so far spread across PS3, Vita, PS4 and PS5…

Thanks to my bout of Covid-related isolation in February I ended up finishing this ages in front of my friends (they’re still going now) and I want them to hurry up so we can find the next one to play.

I played on PS5, my friends are on PS4 and Xbox though and it seems like it’s great on them all. All formats are on this link*.


FAR: Changing Tides - March Games

FAR: Changing Tides – Xbox Series X

This was a nice surprise coming straight to Game Pass. I played the original FAR: Lone Sails on the PC back in July 2020. I really enjoyed that one but found it difficult to recommend at full price given the relatively short experience. As with Unpacking and Gorogoa recently though, Game Pass is perfect for this new one. The game is about 4 hours long, and is very much more of the same but with new systems to drive the vehicle along. Definitely worth a try if you have Game Pass.


Games played during March

Forza Horizon 5 - February Games

Forza Horizon 5 – Xbox Series X

Haven’t got as heavily back into this as I expected but I am still playing on and off. I imagine it’ll be when the first expansion pack arrives that I really get back on it.

Easiest way to play, Game Pass*


Destiny 2 Witch Queen - Xbox Series X

Destiny 2 Witch Queen – Xbox Series X

I finished the content up to where I needed to pay for the expansion and stopped. It was fun and I think I would like to carry on but couldn’t justify spending the money when I have so much else to play. I might come back to it later.


Animal Crossing - April Games

Animal Crossing New Horizons – Nintendo Switch

I took part in a book launch event that took the form of a treasure hunt on an Animal Crossing island. Was a pretty original idea and really good fun. The book itself is in the Young Adult genre, and if you’re interested it’s here from Waterstones – The Girl With No Soul.


It Takes Two - March Games

It Takes Two – Xbox Series X

After playing through A Way Out back in 2020 with my friend Phil, I had been intrigued to hear It Takes Two had a similar approach to co-op gaming. Once again the game showed up on Game Pass so we gave it a try. I think we’re only a couple of hours in but it is great fun so far, hoping to get back on it next month.

Easiest way to play, Game Pass*


Guardians of the Galaxy - March Games

Guardians of the Galaxy – Xbox Series X

Another game from my 2022 plan, although I originally intended to pick this up for the PlayStation 5. It came to Game Pass though, so a no-brainer to play on Xbox instead. I’m about 2/3 of the way through now so hopefully I’ll be including it in my completions next month. It’s an excellent game, really captures the characters well and manages to separate them from their MCU counterparts nicely. Kind of feels like a middle ground between the movies and the comics.

Easiest way to play on Xbox, Game Pass* but if you fancy it on another format or generally prefer a physical edition, they’re here on Amazon*


Mario Kart 8 Booster

Mario Kart 8 – Nintendo Switch

After my preorder last month, the first 8 of the new tracks came out in March. I haven’t spent a lot of time with them, but I played through the 2 new cups. I am most happy to have Coconut Mall from the Wii version back in there.

This is still a bargain from ShopTo, currently less than £17.


What’s been on the arcade?

Arcade Speakers

Not played much on the cabinet this month, mostly down to being heavily into Tales of Arise, and because In the Hunt turned out to be stupidly difficult. Jury is still out on the new Ten Pence Arcade game Solar Fox too.


March Pick-ups

Blacksad - March Games

Blacksad: Under the Skin – PS4 / PS5

I didn’t know this was a thing until I spotted the Xbox version on the shelf in Game. I really like the Blacksad comics so was intrigued about the game. A bit of a google has it being something of a 6 or 7 out of 10, but the gameplay elements sounded like a mix of the Sherlock Holmes games with the control system from Grim Fandango. That is my cup of tea, and it was on sale for around £6 on the PlayStation Store, worth a punt at least.

Available here* for PS4, Switch and Xbox


Tempest 4000 - March Games

Tempest 4000 – PS4 / PS5

Although I bought this when it first came out on PC in 2018, I hadn’t spent so much time on it, preferring to stick to TxK on my PlayStation Vita (the greatest game of all time). Tempest 4000 is essentially the re-released version of TxK but with approval from Atari. There are some gameplay changes but it’s fundamentally very close. Anyway, fast-forward to 2022 and I was scrolling the ‘coming soon’ section on the Nintendo Switch store, where I spotted Tempest 4000 was being brought over. The Switch is definitely a good place for it if unlike me you actually play it handheld, and I bet it looks amazing on the new OLED screen version.

However. Much more exciting to me was then remembering that the game came out on both Xbox One and PS4, and playing that on the newer consoles would mean Tempest upscaled to 4K with auto HDR. A quick online search later, and I found the PS4 edition for £9.99 so I went with that. I think I’d have preferred the Xbox one, but for some reason that is still quite expensive. It’s a real treat playing this on the PS5, and I’m looking forward to spending more time with it.

This is the one* I picked up, still on sale for a tenner at time of writing. Easy recommend.


*As usual, these links are affiliate ones, which may earn me a small commission if you buy something.

February Games

February Games

Poor impulse control strikes again in the pick ups, but still plenty of games played so I’ll count it as a win anyway.

Games completed this month

Blood & Truth PSVR - February Games

Blood & Truth – PSVR

Finally connected the PSVR up to the PlayStation 5, and went back and finished the Blood & Truth campaign. Still one of the best action games in VR, and looks even better driven by the PS5 rather than my old stock PS4. Using the PSVR with the PS5 is annoying though, I am definitely considering the PSVR 2 and its single cable connection.

I bought it digitally, but available from Amazon*


Dagon - PC VR

Dagon – PC VR

While I was in a VR mood I remembered hearing about this free VR game / experience on Steam. It’s only half an hour or so long, and is a mildly interactive retelling of the H.P. Lovecraft short story, Dagon. It was fun and nice to use the headset I have for my PC too. You can play it without VR as well, so worth a look for free if you’re interested.


Games played during February

Tales of Arise - PS5

Tales of Arise – PS5

Fully caught up in this now. Approaching 60 hours in and maybe nearing the endgame, although it’s a JRPG and it looks like I’ll still have a few things to do after. I appear to have gotten quite ahead of the JRPG support group though, and I could do with them catching up so was looking to play other things for a bit. Is the excuse I tell myself for spending a lot this month.

I’m playing on PS5, my friends are on PS4 and Xbox though and it seems like it’s great on them all. All formats are on this link*.


Tetris Effect Connected - February Games

Tetris Effect Connected – PSVR

Seemed rude not to play a bunch of this while I had the headset hooked up to the PS5. I still haven’t tried the new multiplayer modes though. I’ve heard good things about the Switch version of Tetris Effect, but I can’t imagine playing it not in VR.

I have this edition* although it is still on GamePass and playing on PC supports VR there too.


Rocket League - PS5

Rocket League – PS5

This has joined Worms W.M.D. as a regular multiplayer session, and while we continue to be dreadful, we still have a lot of fun. We tend to stick to casual matches though, those people on ranked are taking things too seriously…


SEGA Picross - February Games

SEGA Picross – Switch

Had a long weekend away in February and took along the Switch. Got back into this a bit but the puzzles are getting a bit trickier now. I think I’ll still drop into it from time to time, but gone are the early times of smashing through 10 puzzles in half an hour.


Sine Mora EX - Switch

Sine Mora EX – Switch

The other game I played while traveling, it was quite nice to get back to Sine Mora. I last played this when it first came out on Xbox Live Arcade for the 360. It’s an interesting shooter, although in handheld mode some of the enemy bullets feel almost invisible. Not sure I’ll play much of it now I’m back, but I might return to it for future holidays.

I’ve got this physical version*, but it goes on sale digitally for less than a couple of quid.


Forza Horizon 5 - February Games

Forza Horizon 5 – Xbox Series X

Bit of a spoiler for my pick up this month, but now I have the Series X I was keen to get back to Forza Horizon 5 and enjoy it in 4k at 60fps. Still my favourite racing game and now looking even better.


Destiny 2 Witch Queen - Xbox Series X

Destiny 2 Witch Queen – Xbox Series X

I haven’t bought the expansion yet, but did feel like checking it out on the new Xbox. So far I’ve just been enjoying the new story quests they’ve added to Free to Play but I may grab the DLC.


What’s been on the arcade?

Arcade Speakers

The Ten Pence Arcade podcast extended the previous month’s game into February. I’d gone off “Up N Down” though so I had been playing a bit of 1942 on the cab. The new podcast game was announced towards the end of the month as “In the Hunt” though, so I’ve had a few credits on that too. It’s just as brutal as I remember it being on the Saturn. Maybe I’ll improve enough to make the leaderboards.


February Pick-ups

Xbox Series X

Xbox Series X

Here we are, the latest impulse purchase. Had got so used to them being impossible to find at RRP that when I spotted Currys had stock I just jumped straight in. I mostly went for the upgrade from my Series S because I haven’t been gaming much on the PC. The PlayStation 5 has become my platform of choice but I think that’s because everything just looked better than on the Series S. Decided to get the X to put them more on a level pegging. Pretty pleased with it so far and a friend bought the Series S from me which offset the cost a bit.


Pre-orders

Mario Kart 8 Booster

Mario Kart Booster Pass

I couldn’t resist the prospect of more tracks for Mario Kart, and ShopTo have a good discount on the pre-order. Although this content is included in the Nintendo Online Expansion Pass, none of the other content appeals to me so for now this seemed the better option.


*As usual, these links are affiliate ones, which may earn me a small commission if you buy something.

Tales of Arise - Cover Image

January Games

First of these for the New Year, and we’re off to a pretty good start. I completed some stuff. Granted, not as many as I did in December but still good going by my standards.

Games completed this month

Gorogoa - GamePass

Gorogoa – PC

Heard about this on a podcast a while back, I was interested in the idea of “solving puzzles by sliding pictures over each other”. Didn’t really visualise how it would work in practice though, and I forgot about it. Once again though, GamePass* to the rescue, the artwork is gorgeous and the puzzles very well designed. I think it might be best to play on a mobile device or a Switch with the touch screen, but I found it worked well enough on PC with a mouse. The whole game is only around 2 – 3 hours long which makes it a perfect fit for GamePass.


Unforeseen Incidents - Nintendo Switch Title

Unforeseen Incidents – Nintendo Switch

As evidenced by my Unforeseen Incidents review, I also completed this last month.


Games played during January

Final Fantasy VII Remake - PS5

Final Fantasy VII Remake – PS5

Until I got distracted by the next game on this list, I was making decent progress on Final Fantasy VII Remake. I don’t have too much nostalgia for the original Final Fantasy VII, since back in the day my memory card corrupted not long after I made it onto the world map. However the characters and story are familiar, and it looks great. I’m probably only around 10 hours in, but I do want to come back and finish the game as it is on the list for 2022.

Available on Amazon*


Tales of Arise - PS5

Tales of Arise – PS5

It seems my 2022 blog did the job and my ex-wife picked this up in January as planned. I immediately dropped Final Fantasy as this is the game I wanted to be playing. Another of our friends is now playing as well so we have a JRPG support group. Enjoying it so far although the characters are a bit grumpy. Lots of owls though.

I’m playing on PS5, my friends are on PS4 and Xbox though and it seems like it’s great on them all. All formats are on this link*.


Animal Crossing - July Games

Animal Crossing New Horizons – Switch

Played on and off during January, still failed to catch a lobster and I think they’ve gone now till April. Oh well.

Traditional Amazon link*.


Aliens: Fireteam Elite - PC

Aliens Fireteam Elite – PC

Prime GamePass fodder. Difficult to call this a great game, particularly on PC where it feels like a clunky console port. However, playing online with a couple of friends was good fun. We’ll probably play a couple more times before we move on to something else.


What’s been on the arcade?

Arcade Speakers

In January my arcade play was mostly on SEGA’s Up N Down, the Ten Pence Arcade podcast monthly game. As much as I sort of enjoyed this, I really couldn’t get to grips with it and never really progressed beyond the second level. Next!

At the start of the year though I did pick up a proper amp and speakers* for the cab and fitted those. I got them from Arcade World* who supplied most of the components when I built the machine. The sound is much better now, although it does have a slight hum that I need to eradicate. Plenty of people seemed to have a similar problem with the Pi, so confident I can deal with it next time I have the cabinet open.


January Pick-ups

MYST and More Bundle

MYST & More Bundle – PC

Couldn’t resist grabbing this bundle of MYST goodness. Yes I did own all the games already, but my Steam library was missing MYST 3, 4 and Obduction, so at least I have them all in one place now…


Snowball! - PC

Snowball!

My one purchase from the latest Steam sale, saw someone mention this little indie pinball game, would have been rude not to for 49p. It’s not on sale any more, but even full price it’s only £1.99. Worth a look if you dig Video Pinball like me.


SCUMMVM - RetroPie

ScummVM & RetroPie – RaspberryPi 3b+

Okay so this isn’t really a pick up as I owned it already, but I wasn’t sure where else to put it. As I mentioned in my Unforeseen Incidents review, I had intended to play the classic Point and Click game Discworld this year. As an alternative to using the Saturn version (which I found out doesn’t support the mouse) I decided to use one of the RaspberryPi 3b+ models I had spare so I could still play on my TV using a mouse.

I’ve basically just installed the usual RetroPie and setup ScummVM to play Discworld and a selection of other games supported by the engine. As a bonus I’ve also started configuring DosBox to run a some other games of a similar era, mostly other Point and Click games not otherwise supported by ScummVM. And Jazz Jackrabbit, because why not.


*As usual, these links are affiliate ones, which may earn me a small commission if you buy something.

Unforeseen Incidents - Nintendo Switch Title

Unforeseen Incidents – Nintendo Switch Review

The fine folks at Application Systems Heidelberg once again gave me a preview code, and it proved to be very timely. At the start of the year I prepared the list of games I intended to play over the next 12 months and shared it via my 2022 in Games post. I included the Saturn version of the classic “point & click” game, Discworld, intending to play it with the mouse. I sat down to play it soon after, and immediately discovered that only the Japanese version of the game supports the mouse. Disappointed, I parked that idea for the time being (I’ve since come up with a solution, but more on that story later).

Enter Application Systems, pretty much the following day I received the invite to try Unforeseen Incidents. A striking looking modern Point & Click for the Nintendo Switch, that I thought might be a worthy alternative to Discworld. Being on Switch meant it passed the first test of being playable on my television, and I hoped being a recent game would be more playable with a controller than those 90s games were, they are not fun without a mouse.

Overview

The story in Unforeseen Incidents centres around a mysterious virus outbreak in a small town. As words like quarantine get thrown around, it does feel a bit on the nose in 2022. However, the game has been out on PC for a while, releasing back in May 2018, when the current pandemic was also ‘unforeseen’. This is a pretty good review of the pc version of Unforeseen Incidents. It was probably sensible to not have the Switch version appear at the height of the pandemic, but to be honest after the opening act the story moves on enough that the parallels disappear anyway.

In-keeping with the genre conventions of point & click adventure games, the gameplay is solving a series of puzzles by finding objects and interacting with them and the environment to progress the story. It’s these interactions that can cause problems, where previous games in the genre have occasionally got a bit esoteric (or simply ridiculous) in their puzzles. Fortunately there is very little of that here, there were only a couple of occasions where I looked up solutions and one of those I was just missing a step in what I was already trying to do.

Trailer

Controls

Very pleased to report that the control system for Unforeseen Incidents on Switch is excellent. I still think the best way to play these is with a mouse, but it is handled very well. I played most of the game with the Switch in the dock, using the Official Pro Controller*. The controls are intuitive, with left stick moving the player, and the right stick moving the cursor. However you can also play entirely using the right stick and then clicking to move the player, which will be more familiar to those used to playing with a mouse.

When navigating menus and choosing items, you can either point on them with the cursor, or cycle through with the d-pad. A simple button press brings up all the “hot spots” on screen, so you don’t miss anything you might be able to interact with. Also double pressing on one of the exits from an area will immediately take you to the next screen, so you don’t have to wait for the player to walk the whole way. All very comfortable.

I did the final chapter in handheld mode, I told myself that was so I could see how well it played that way, rather than simply being because it was late but I wanted to carry on playing so I took the Switch to bed with me. Pleased to report that the touchscreen is supported and worked well, although I still mostly used the same method I had with the Pro Controller.

Graphics

I love the art for the scenery in this game. To be honest it played a big part in me wanting to give it a try, and I played the vast majority of it on my television and it still looked great. I’m not a fan of how the main character is drawn but I think that is just personal taste, everything else is great.

The animations are nice and sharp, though the people walking can be a bit surreal at times. I decided I liked it, it definitely grew on me after a while.

Screenshots

Music and Sound

The music is unobtrusive and really compliments the art in world building. The voice acting was also a pleasant surprise and I enjoyed the dialogue exchanges. We’re a long way from the origins of the genre, where voice acting was a luxury reserved for the CD ‘talkie’ version of a game.

Thoughts

If the point & click genre appeals to you, then this is a fine example and a really enjoyable story. That’s also assuming you can handle a story about a pandemic in 2022. It took me around 7 hours to complete, but if you’re less familiar with this style of game I can see it taking longer. This style of game is a nice fit for the Switch hardware, and although I mostly use mine docked I’d still recommend it even if you mostly play in handheld mode.

Interested?

If you want to check it out for yourself, it’s on the Nintendo eShop and if you’d rather play on PC, you can get it from Good Old Games, or the Steam page is here.

*As ever, these are affiliate links and I’ll get a small commission if you click through and buy something.

2022 in Games

2022 in Games

Later than planned with this, mostly because I was having trouble finding 10 games I wanted to play this year. The struggle is real.

From the 2021 plan I only managed to complete 3 of the games. I did at least play Shadow of the Tomb Raider, but it was terrible so I gave that one up. For the 2022 list I’m going to keep Myst III Exile and The Last Express on there for another year, but I’m parking the others.

Super Metroid and Call of Cthulhu can just return to the backlog. Hollow Knight: Silksong seems to be never coming out, but if it does I’ll want to play it immediately anyway. Finally, I did almost get to StarCraft: Legacy of the Void, then the ongoing and awful revelations about Blizzard Activision as a company left me feeling unable to buy or play their games.

Before we get to the new playlist for 2022 though, time for a quick look back at the highlights from 2021.


Top 5 played in 2021

Forza Horizon 5 - December Games

1. Forza Horizon 5 – Xbox Series S / PC

No surprises here, could have almost called this a year in advance. The series just keeps getting better in my opinion. At some point I need to update my All-Time Top 5 Racing Games list, although I’d probably just lump all the Forza Horizon games together at the top.

Best way to get this is still to buy GamePass*


Bravely Default 2 - Switch

2. Bravely Default 2 – Switch

Forza Horizon may have been a given, but I did not see this one coming (or its friend lower down). I think it turned up at the right time, and playing alongside my ex-wife to compare progress with no doubt helped, but I had a great time with this.

At time of writing you can still get it with the stickers and things* from Amazon like I did too.


Spider-Man: Miles Morales - PS5

3. Marvel’s Miles Morales – PS5

I think I enjoyed this more than the main Spider-Man game. Granted it is much shorter, but also had a lot less of the open-world ‘busy work’ that I find tedious. Also helped that it’s all set in a snowy December. Probably the first time I’ve really been impressed by ray-tracing, the night levels look great.

This* is the edition I picked up, it’s a bit more expensive than I found it for on eBay though.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

4. Ori and the Will of the Wisps – Xbox Series S

As disappointed as I was that the Hollow Knight sequel, Silksong, didn’t come out in 2021 for me to play, this was a worthy alternative. The original Ori didn’t quite make my Top 5 Metroidvania games, but it was a near miss. I think the Will of the Wisps is a better game than the original, I’d still suggest playing them both in order though. Excellent and I was delighted / surprised that my Xbox Series S was able to play it in 4K at 60fps. Lovely.

As I played on the Series S, there is no point linking a physical copy to buy. Think I played on GamePass anyway. You can pick it up here* on Switch though, and Metroidvanias are always a good fit for that.


Octopath Traveler - Switch

5. Octopath Traveller – Switch

The second JRPG I completed last year, and caused me to update my All-Time Top 5 JRPG list too. I don’t think it’s as good a game as Bravely Default 2, but the art style is fun and there are a lot of good gameplay mechanics to it.

Realising two of the best games I played in 2021 were JRPGs, I’ve put another two on my list for 2022. Whether I play them both partly depends on convincing my ex-wife to join in too.

Sometimes difficult to find in stock this one, if Amazon have it, it’ll be here*. I ended up buying it digitally anyway when I couldn’t get a physical edition.


Also ran:

Control Ultimate Edition - PS5

Control: Ultimate Edition – PS5

I almost let this pass me by but I’m glad I gave it a go. Sort of X-Files the action videogame, I enjoyed Control quite a bit. Very much liked the various nods towards Alan Wake too.

This* is the edition I played. I had it free with PS Plus though, so check you don’t already own it before you buy.


10 games for 2022

The Last Express - PC

1. The Last Express – PC

Last time I’m allowing myself to keep this on the list. If I don’t get round to it this year it goes “back on the shelf”.


Myst 3 Exile - 2020 in games

2. Myst III: Exile – PC

The other game I’m taking forward, I do still intend to progress my way through all these. However long it takes. I did dabble a bit last year with the MYST remake on PC and Xbox but it had a few stability issues that I hope will be fixed with updates.


Final Fantasy VII Remake - PS5

3. Final Fantasy VII Remake – PS5

I did suggest I’d consider this one when I updated the All-Time Top 5 JRPG list. Sony gave the PS4 edition away free with PS Plus a while back, but it was exempt from a free upgrade to PS5. However, over Christmas they relaxed that and I was then able to upgrade for free, so I thought I’d give it a go.

The PS5 edition is available here on Amazon*, if you missed it on PS Plus.


Castlevania Advance - Switch

4. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon – Switch

In the continued absence of Silksong, I wanted a Metroidvania for the list. Since I’ve banished Super Metroid back to the backlog, I thought I’d try to make an effort to play the Gameboy Advance games I never finished. I’ll play them on the recent compilation for the Switch, starting with Circle of the Moon and see how I get on.


Guardians of the Galaxy - PS5

5. Guardians of the Galaxy – PS5

Haven’t bought this yet but I intend to pick it up early 2022. I’ve heard lots of good things and I am a fan of the characters.

Available here* but at time of writing it’s back at full price. Has been discounted a few times already so I expect to pay no more than £35.


Tales of Arise - PS5

6. Tales of Arise – PS5

Another I haven’t bought yet but I do want to play. I think my successfully playing this may be dependent on convincing my ex-wife to play too, so fingers crossed.

Available here*


Discworld - SEGA Saturn

7. Discworld – Sega Saturn

Haven’t played anything through fully on my Saturn for a while, and I had been thinking of replaying this game too. I’ll pop it on this list, it’ll be a good excuse to get the Saturn Mouse out.


C&C Remastered - PC

8. Command & Conquer Remastered – PC

I did get part way through the GDI campaign on this and get stuck. However I’d like to go back and finish that as well as play through the NOD one. Seems I should have an RTS on this list and since I’ve abandoned StarCraft now is the time.


Doom Eternal - 2022

9. Doom Eternal – PC

Almost forgot this existed, still haven’t got round to playing. I think I will play this year but I’m not completely set on what platform. Too much choice. I’ve set it for PC for now, but may change it up during the year.


Uncharted 4 - PS4

10. Uncharted 4 – PS4

Another one I forgot I never played… Happy to put this on the list as I think it should be nice on the PS5.


2022 releases I’m looking forward too


God of War: Ragnarok - PS5

God of War: Ragnarok – PS5

Can see this getting delayed again, but I’m keen to play it if it does come out. The first game was great.


Oxenfree II: Lost Signals

Oxenfree 2: Lost Signals

Again, loved the first game so was pleased to hear we were getting another. Not sure what platform I’ll play it on yet. Think the first one was on GamePass.


*these are affiliate links, I’ll get a small commission if you buy something.


December Games Header

December Games

Rounding out the year by finishing 4 (well more like 3) games. Finished with a more respectable total.

Games completed this month

Spider-Man: Miles Morales - PS5

Spider-Man: Miles Morales – PS5

Think I enjoyed this more than the main Spider-Man game. Granted it is much shorter, but also had a lot less of the open-world ‘busy work’ that I find tedious. Also helped that it’s all set in a snowy December, probably the first time I’ve really been impressed by ray-tracing, the night levels look great.

This* is the edition I picked up, it’s a bit more expensive than I found it for on eBay though.


Forza Horizon 5 - November Games

Forza Horizon 5 – Xbox Series S & PC

I think I ‘finished’ this in November, but forgot I’d achieved the Hall of Fame space that marked the end of the story. Wanted to include it so it didn’t get missed altogether, but I will be spending more time with the game anyway.

Best way to get this is still to buy GamePass*


Unpacking - PC

Unpacking – PC

A pretty short game, took around two hours to play through in one sitting. It’s a very satisfying “putting things away” sim, but with a lot of heart. Very much enjoyed my time with it, and it is definitely worth a look. Specially if you have GamePass.

Again, buy GamePass*


Cthulhu Saves Christmas - Switch

Cthulhu Saves Christmas – Switch

After finishing Miles Morales I was ready for another Christmas themed game and this was on sale on the Switch eShop for less than a fiver. Another short one at only 4 or so hours, but it was a lot of fun.

Games played during December

Animal Crossing - July Games

Animal Crossing New Horizons – Switch

Played quite a lot throughout December, enjoying the snow and festive activity. After only managing one perfect snowman out of 5 attempts though I gave up on that part.

Traditional Amazon link*.


Duke Nukem 3D - Vita

Duke Nukem 3D: World Tour – PS Vita

Had a bit of an itch to play the Christmas expansion pack for Duke, Nuclear Winter. I’d forgotten that it’s missing from the “Megaton” edition that came out a few years after this World Tour – 20th Anniversary one. So after firing up my Switch and discovering the version I have on there doesn’t have Nuclear Winter, I dug out my PS Vita and played a bit on there instead.


Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - December Games

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Switch

Of course it wouldn’t be Christmas without some local multiplayer and a few rounds of Mario Kart. Essential.

You don’t have this* already? For shame.


What’s been on the arcade?

March Games 2021

With all the Christmas going on, I haven’t been on the cabinet as much. I did play a fair bit of Super Pang for the Ten Pence Arcade game of the month, which is excellent. However I didn’t play enough to really improve my score so I’m going to be disappointed by the leaderboard I think.


December Pick-ups

Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection Vol 1 - Switch

Neo Geo Pocket Color Selection Vol 1 – Switch

A Christmas gift from my sister, I’ve had my eye on this for a while. I loved my Neo Geo Pocket Color, receiving it for Christmas the year it launched in the UK. This compilation plays perfectly with 10 of the games that are not available to play anywhere else. The fighting games and Metal Slug ports are worth it, but had been available separately from the Switch store. The real star here for me is Neo Turf Masters, one of my favourite ever golf games.

Amazon link* if you were interested in this one, it’s a solid collection but it’ll help if you have some familiarity with the system already.


*As usual, these links are affiliate ones, which may earn me a small commission if you buy something.

November Games

November Games

Well look at that, I finished something, and also unsurprisingly played an awful lot of Forza Horizon 5.

Games completed this month

Control Ultimate Edition - PS5

Control: Ultimate Edition – PS5

Pleased to say I managed to push on and finish this. There were only a couple of times I got stuck on a fight and they didn’t last for too long. There is still plenty to do if I want to go back, but for now I’m happy to have finished the main story. I do at least want to play through the Alan Wake content in the DLC, but that will be for the New Year.

The physical edition of the version I’m playing is available here from Amazon*, although I have it digitally. I think the Xbox and PC editions are solid too, although I heard the older consoles struggled a bit with the framerate.

Games played during November

Animal Crossing - July Games

Animal Crossing New Horizons – Switch

Played a bit with the new content to open my coffee shop but not the hours I was expecting. Bring on snow.


Back 4 Blood - November Games

Back 4 Blood – Xbox Series S – GamePass

This was oddly disappointing. While it is no doubt a good game, and a worthy spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead, it’s so close to Left 4 Dead, that I felt like I’d seen it all before. Glad I didn’t need to buy it, in no rush to play any more of it.

Here* for all the main platforms if you want to buy it. I wouldn’t though.


Quake 2021 - November Games

Quake – Xbox Series S – GamePass

This has been great fun. Playing through the expansion packs in online co-op with a mate. Still remains one of the best games of all-time.


Forza Horizon 5 - November Games

Forza Horizon 5 – Xbox Series S & PC

This turned out to be almost everything I hoped for, and once again replaces the previous entry as my favourite yet. I’ve put quite a lot of time in already, my only disappointment (and I think many are sharing this) is that the multiplayer is still broken. It never really worked that well in Horizon 4, I hope it gets a robust update to repair that. I should push on and do the last couple of big races though to ‘complete’ the story.

Best way to get this is still to buy GamePass*

What’s been on the arcade?

November Games - Arcade

A fantastic month on the arcade. The game of the month from Ten Pence Arcade was Lode Runner, which turned out to be great so I played that a lot. Also my buddy Ross managed to visit for a few hours, and along with taking it in turns for Lode Runner credits, we also played a few other games including Robotron 2084 and some two player Raiden II.


November Pick-ups

Spider-Man: Miles Morales - PS5

Miles Morales – PS5

Found a bargain copy of this on eBay, so I could play it once I finished Control. Looking forward to getting onto it next.

This* is the edition I picked up, it’s a bit more expensive than I found it for on eBay though.


*As usual, these links are affiliate ones, which may earn me a small commission if you buy something.

Black Friday 2021

Black Friday 2021 Deals page

Yes you can spend your money more ethically than with Amazon, but for as long as they continue to be the cheapest option and frequently the most convenient, it is hard to ignore. I’m posting a day early as most of these offers are live already anyway, but I’ll do a check around on Friday if there is anything worth adding or updating.

As usual, this is going to be a bit of a round up of Amazon’s stuff, but will include anything else good I spot. Also a couple of links to things not currently discounted for Black Friday, but may be a better option than things that are on sale. If you are looking to buy books and would rather support independent local bookstores, then it may be worth looking into Bookshop.org instead.

The Amazon links here, like elsewhere on my blog, are affiliate links where I get a small payment if you use them and buy something. Thanks. The rest of them are just ordinary links though so feel free to hit those without worrying about me benefiting…

Amazon hardware

Amazon’s own range of devices are frequently a solid choice for personal electronics. I use a few myself that are easy recommends.

Kindle Fires

Although these can be a bit annoying if you want to use apps that are not available in the Amazon app store, it is relatively straight forward to install the normal Google Play store onto the devices. These days you can basically convert them to just run as standard Android tablets. That said, they are excellent value for money specially if you wait for them to be on sale. As usual they are reduced for Black Friday, but always reliable for a good deal on “Amazon Prime Days” too.

I have used a couple of these, and one is still in use as my main tablet now. I don’t do any 3D gaming on it, but use it for watching all the main streaming services, reading comics & PDFs and for playing card and board games.

My preferred choices:

Fire HD 10 Plus

After last year adding the Plus model of the HD 8, this upgrade to the base HD 10 adds similar performance increases. At present I still use the older Fire HD 10 for reading digital comics, the 10″ screen means the whole page fits comfortably on screen and is as close as you can get to the experience of reading a physical comic. It’s also reliably in use every Sunday as I stream Red Zone on it while watching the Dallas Cowboys game on the big screen.

Oh and if you go for the one with Special Offers / Ads to save a few quid, you can always pay the extra later to have them removed.

Fire HD 8 Plus

Although reading comics is much more comfortable on the HD 10, if you’re going to carry the tablet around a lot the HD 8 is probably the sweet spot for display size vs portability. Again the Plus model is likely the way to go. The extra ram will keep it “zippy” for longer.

Fire Kids

There are a number of tablets aimed at young children that are also included in the sales. Have less first hand experience of these, but they are also included in the sale for a solid choice of inexpensive child’s tablet.

Firestick 4K Ultra HD

Increasingly redundant as more people move to Smart TV’s or connect other set top boxes with media apps like Blu-ray Players & game consoles, the firestick is still one of the better options for accessing apps on your TV. I’ve gone for the 4k model here, as even if you don’t have a 4k display, that bit of extra performance in the device should make it a bit snappier to use. If you do have a 4K display you may want to consider the newly released more premium Fire TV Stick 4K Max. It’s that bit more powerful, and will probably last you longer.

If you’re a bit of a techie there are plenty of modding options for Firesticks too, but personally I just have one set up for the apps my bedroom TV doesn’t have access too. Mainly Disney+ and NFL GamePass.

Kindle E-Readers

Kindle

The original Amazon device. Earlier models of these didn’t have any kind of light, with the “e-ink” displays doing their best to replicate paper. Still a solid choice for getting started with ebooks if like me you don’t enjoy reading on your phone.

Kindle Paperwhite

This is the kindle I use myself, and they have included it in the discounts this year for Black Friday. It is the e-reader I’d recommend, though I have seen the price drop below the current £105 in previous sales. The kindle oasis is nice but I’m not convinced it’s worth the significant additional cost, even with the current offer. Unless of course you are prone to dropping your devices in the bath / pool / sea. In which case the waterproof feature may appeal to you.

Alexa and Friends

I have changed my tune a bit on the Alexa front this year, after I purchased an Echo Show to replace my old radio alarm clock. Granted I do only use it to stream Radio 1Xtra and occasionally ask it about the weather, but I am happy with the device. If you are in the market for one of these, Black Friday is a good time to get a bargain.

A decent starting point if you mostly just want it for streaming music and playing things from your phone is likely the Echo Dot.

The Echo Show 5 is what I have, it’s decent as an alarm replacement although I personally keep the camera covered as I’ve only just come to terms with it listening to me, I’m not ready for it to be watching me too.

Otherwise, there are plenty of discounts across the whole range of Alexa enabled devices here.

Not on Amazon, but if Google is more your thing, they’re currently doing their Nest Hub for £59.99.

Amazon subscription offers

Kindle Unlimited

Kindle Unlimited is a pretty good value proposition if you read a lot (and are not concerned about having books to keep on the shelf). Some of the included digital magazines are pretty nice too for reading on a tablet. New subscribers can currently get Three months for £7.99 the usual price of one month.

Amazon Music Unlimited

I still struggle a bit with the way the music streaming industry treats artists, although I’m not sure Kindle Unlimited is much better for authors… However, they are a good way to discover new music, and listening to other people’s playlists is fun. Just remember if you want to support the bands you love, go see them live and buy their merch from them direct.

Black Friday has a free three months trial (instead of the usual 30 days) for new subscribers.

Audible via Amazon

The subscription model for audible is very odd. Rather than it giving you access to a library of books to just listen to (as you might expect) it is pretty much a subscription to get an audiobook a month to keep. If you are into audiobooks it’s certainly worth taking a trial and using it to claim the free books before cancelling. Given the high prices of audiobooks in general, the subscription is pretty good value anyway. The current offer is three months for 99p, which translates to at least 3 free audiobooks during that period.

Prime Video Channels

Currently the various add-on Prime Channels for Prime Video can be had for 99p a month for 3 months. The two I like are Shudder and Starzplay, Shudder is a dedicated horror movie and TV show channel. Starzplay (not to be confused with the content from Starz that got added to Disney+) has a lot of current tv and its own content. Currently the only place to see the excellent Power spin-offs, Ghost and Raising Kanan. BMF, all of Black Sails and the surprisingly good TV spin-off of the Step Up franchise, Step Up: Highwater.

Other Amazon links

Core Grafx Mini

Comfortably the best of the ‘mini’ consoles, I still love mine. Should you pick one up, I also recommend the 8bitdo additional controller rather than trying to get another wired official one. They look the part, are very comfortable to use, and best of all are wireless with no noticeable input delay (I use mine to play pinball and shmups without issue). There is a minor discount on the console, but they’re still great value so happy to keep harping on about it.

PC Engine CoreGrafx Mini

Smart Watches

I personally moved over to Samsung for my smart watch, when I got one free with my Galaxy S10. The Galaxy Watch Active2 seems to be a good price for Black Friday. There are also discounts across the fitbit range if that’s more your scene. Including the Fitbit Versa 2 that I’ve heard good things about.

Prime Day 2021

Amazon Warehouse

Amazon Warehouse is where they clear out items that have been returned, for whatever reason and usually for Black Friday there is an additional 30% off. This year is less generous at 20% but still worth a browse.

If you don’t mind things being “nearly new” it is certainly worth browsing. The goods are still guaranteed and the descriptions will tell you what condition to expect. I purchased my PSVR setup from the Amazon Warehouse Black Friday sale a few years ago, for about £100 less than RRP. The outer box was ripped but inside it was all mint, and the device still had all the plastic covers on.

Other sales to check out

Chaos Cards

A great resource for card and board games, and usually competitive prices anyway. Should be worth checking their Black Friday sale out, due to start at 10:00am on Friday.

Currys

Currys have come a long way in terms of competitive pricing and customer service in recent years. I’ve found myself using them quite a bit for games consoles, chromebooks and various general bits of tech. It’s still worth shopping around to compare prices, but I feel much more comfortable recommending them these days. Their Black Friday sale is worth a look.

Argos

As per previous years, Argos have a reasonable selection for Black Friday. Still best approaching for things you were going to buy anyway, but it’s Argos. You know what to expect.

GAME

Unsurprisingly, GAME have a tendency to have a more cynical approach to Black Friday, with items on sale being already available for the same price (or cheaper) elsewhere. Worth a look to compare prices if you’re after something specific, but definitely double check other places before buying there. I think this line up is even worse than last year.

October Games 2021

October Games

Another quiet month, although I did play quite a bit of a couple of games.

Games played during October

Animal Crossing - July Games

Animal Crossing New Horizons – Switch

Mostly just checked in with the Halloween event, expect to play a bit more in November with the new content. Looking forward to the coffee shop opening. Because Brewster.


Destiny 2 - October Games

Destiny 2 – Xbox Series S & PC

A friend brought me back to Destiny 2, and with all the expansions included on GamePass it was nice to have fresh content to play. Had a lot of fun for a couple of weeks getting through the new story parts while it feels like you’re making some progress. My appetite for the MMO grind appears to have left me behind though. Can’t bring myself to invest the hours.


Control Ultimate Edition - PS5

Control: Ultimate Edition – PS5

Only just started this as something else to play on my PS5. Seems really good so far, but there have been a couple of frustrating fights. Very much enjoying the world and all the X-Files style story elements though. Hopefully I’ll stick with it but concerned I’ll get pulled away by other games soon.


What’s been on the arcade?

MAME Cabinet - Finished

Another shocker from Ten Pence Arcade, the game was Frenzy and it was dreadful. I therefore just played some more Joust. Started planning a bit of an upgrade for the system. Mostly want to sort out the power solution, but also going to have another look at the sound system, maybe get a proper amp and speakers rather than the PC Speaker setup it has currently. Ideally I’d like to mount an external volume control too. Likely to be a January project I think.


October Pick-ups

Destiny 2 - October Games

Destiny 2 Season Pass

Mostly bought this as an incentive to keep playing. It worked for a bit but then I started playing Control, and Forza Horizon arrives 5th November. We’ll see how that goes.


Llamasoft

Llamasoft: Everything, Everything Bundle – PC

Find myself less excited by Steam sales these days, but this was a nice drop. I already had 3 of the 5 games in the bundle, so it meant I could grab the two games I was missing, Moose Life and Minotaur Arcade, for £2. Bargain, and some more VR content for my PC.

Retired during October

Metro Exodus - October Games

Metro Exodus – PS5

Well I tried, again and again. I did get much further than on any previous attempts but the open world just kills it for me. Found I didn’t want to play it, and was actively avoiding my PS5 as this was the game I had in progress. Oh well, hopefully I’ll stick with Control.


*As usual, these links are affiliate ones, which may earn me a small commission if you buy something.