June was a relatively quiet month for game progress, but have managed to find a reasonable amount of time to play. Even wrapped one game up.
Games completed this month
Nefarious – Switch
Well I cleared it. Nothing mind blowing but the boss fights were really fun even if the rest was filler.
Games played during June
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Xbox One
Still playing this, mostly enjoying it but the crafting, alchemy etc are all tedious, and I’m already bored of Gwent. The story is great though so I’m hoping to stick with it.
House of the Dead: Overkill – PS3
Dusted off the PS3 Gun Grips for the Move Controllers and played a few rounds of this with my partner. Still one of the best lightgun shooters ever.
Typing of the Dead: Overkill – PC
Partly inspired by playing House of the Dead again, but also as it was something a bit different to what others were playing, I played a bit of this while setting up my PC to do some Twitch streaming. Not sure if I’ll ever stream much, but it was fun to dabble.
Timespinner – Switch
Only picked this up this month, but have already put a bit of time into it. It’s a very straight forward Castlevania: Symphony of the Night clone, with the graphic style of a Super Nintendo Japanese RPG. I have been enjoying it but the art style isn’t really my kind of thing and it feels very limited after Hollow Knight.
Forza Horizon 4: Lego Speed Champions – Xbox One / PC
Easily the best news out of E3 for me, this expansion for Forza Horizon 4 is a worthy successor to the Hot Wheels expansion for Horzion 3. I have been having a great time with it, but I’m mildly concerned I’m going to have to spend more time doing the boring stuff like drift challenges in order to complete the main single player content.
Dauntless – PC
Spent a couple of hours on this with 2 friends. We had a good time, and I think it’ll replace Apex Legends as our backup game for when we don’t have enough for Vermintide 2. We do tend to prefer co-operative experiences for these sessions.
Gears of War 4 – Xbox One / PC
Managed again to get a bit more online time on this with my buddy. We’re finally getting there, and may even see the credits roll before Gears 5 comes out in September.
Dead Space Extraction – PS3
Another one that made my Top Lightgun game list, put a bit of time into this on the PS3 in preparation for an upcoming podcast episode. Still great fun, and having spent more time with the Dead Space series since I wrote that list, I can now say it’s my favourite Dead Space game…
Epic Pinball Complete – PC
Definitely one of those impulse purchases I’ll probably never play, but couldn’t resist this collection when it went on sale for a couple of quid on Good Old Games. Basically just another bunch of DOS based pinball tables I used to play on my old PC back in the 90s.
Xbox Live Ultimate
Bit of a ridiculous bargain this. Microsoft promotion meant that taking a £1 trial of Game Pass Ultimate (which includes Xbox Live Gold, Xbox Game Pass and Game Pass for PC) also converted whatever remaining subscription you had to any of those services, to be Ultimate. I had just upgraded my Xbox Live Gold for another year, so I got 13 months of Game Pass Ultimate for £1. Already a few games on there I’m looking to play, including Metro Exodus and the most recent Tomb Raider.
I’ve been meaning to do this for handheld game consoles since I posted my Top 5 Consoles in 2016. Admittedly that list kind of spoils the winner for this one, but I’m happy with my selections. I’m making no effort to be objective, because where’s the fun in that.
5) Neo Geo Pocket Color
The only one on this list I don’t currently own, mostly because the games are now super expensive and like the Game Boy Color and original GBA the screen is awful without a light mod. I loved it at the time though, getting one for Christmas 1999. I convinced my Mum to get it for me on the UK launch in October that year, and then had to wait till Christmas to play it.
The library for the NGPC is pretty small, but it did have some great games. The main reason this made it onto the list over other contenders, is how good the little thumb stick controller is. To this day it’s the only handheld game console that I’ve really enjoyed playing fighting games on, even more so than on the consoles higher up in this list.
Capcom vs SNK: Match of the Millennium
Neo Turf Masters
Samurai Showdown! 2
King of Fighters R-2
Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure
Metal Slug 1st & 2nd Mission
4) Nintendo Game Boy
This is largely earning it’s place among my favourite handheld game consoles based on nostalgia, but also because of how cool my custom modded one is. I picked it up at the NERG retro gaming event in Newcastle last year, where it already had the lovely orange shell and green buttons. I subsequently sent it of to Joe Bleeps who kindly fitted a backlight, bi-vert mod and replaced the two grey select & start buttons with green ones in-keeping with the theme.
While I’d still love a proper Game Boy Color with backlight mod, those remain very pricey. At least until I acquire one of those, my custom Original Game Boy will be my preferred way to play these games.
Super Mario Land 1 & 2 (the only Mario games I really like)
3) Sony PSPgo
Part of the reason this list took me so long to finalise, the PSPgo’s place on it is dependent on custom firmware. Along with housing a digital library of some great PSP and PS1 games, some excellent emulators means I’ve also used it extensively for Mega Drive and PC Engine games (amongst others) on the go.
Of all the systems on the list, this machine (just marginally beating the DS Lite) is the most conveniently portable, actually fitting comfortably in a jeans pocket.
Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles
Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast
Wipeout Pure & Pulse
Numerous Retro Compilations
2) Nintendo DS Lite
This is where I cheat again, as for this system I’m including the Game Boy Advance library. A GBA EZ Flash IV Cart and DS R4 make this a monster of a portable machine for the library of games I can take on the go. My system currently has every GBA game and about 40 DS games on, without needing to carry any extra cartridges.
As with the PSPgo, the DS Lite is the most portable design for me, it’s size remains a worthy advantage over its XL versions. (I did have an original ‘phat’ DS, which served me well at the time but I have no business playing on one of those in 2019. For more on my favourite games in both the GBA & DS libraries, see the Video Pinball episode of the Maximum Power Up Podcast.
Metroid Prime Pinball
Elite Beat Agents
42 All Time Classics
Mario Kart DS
Game Boy Advance
Pinball of the Dead
Sonic Advance 1-3
1) PlayStation Vita
No surprise this is number 1 given its position on the All-Time Games Consoles list. I still love my Vita and my sizable backlog means I’m in no danger of running out of things to play on there anytime soon.
I wrote more about it on that other post, but I can’t see anything taking the Vita’s place anytime soon.
A whole bunch of “best on Vita” indies. Velocity 2X, Axiom Verge, Limbo, Stardew Valley etc.
Honourable Mentions and notable absences
To be fair to the Switch, in many ways it would deserve to be on this list, particularly as it has taken over from my Vita as my format of choice for 2D indie games. However, playing the Switch in handheld mode feels like a compromise to me, and I’m doing it for a convenience at home. I much prefer playing it docked when possible, and I find it too big to use for train journeys etc.
Nintendo Game Boy Advance
As mentioned, I’m including the GBA’s great library with the DS Lite on my list above. However the handheld itself doesn’t make it because I don’t really find any of the models, original GBA, GBA SP or the Micro to be comfortable. They all give me bad ‘claw hand’ pretty quickly. The original GBA is the best of a bad bunch, but also needs a good light mod to be playable.
Animal Crossing aside, I didn’t find too much in the 3DS library I wanted to play. Although the backwards compatibility means you also have access to the original DS library, I still think a DS Lite with access to the GBA library is the better option. As with the DS, I also found the XL model too big, and the 2DS too hideous.
Good productive month all-round. Well, where gaming is concerned anyway. I procrastinated the hell out of everything else I was supposed to be doing.
Games completed this month
Hollow Knight – Switch
Hurrah! So far I’ve only got the ‘basic’ ending, but that’s enough to count. Up to this point Hollow Knight is up there as one of the greatest games I’ve ever played. I have some gripes with it after this though, now that I’ve been playing for the “true ending”. To get the true ending you have to clear a platforming challenge that feels massively out of place compared to the rest of the game. I have done that now at least, but then found the final, final boss infuriating. I intend to go back to it after I take a break. For now though, I had an ending and the credits roll, so we’re done.
RIVEN – SEGA Saturn
Really enjoyed my return to the MYST universe, definitely want to get to MYST III – Exile now. Also incredible fun playing with the Saturn mouse. Might have a look at some of the other adventure games that support it too.
Games played during May
Tetris 99 – Switch
I fire this up now and then anyway, but this month had a limited time event where you could unlock a classic Game Boy Tetris theme for the game, complete with music and sound effects. I had to get in on that. Managed to secure the required points, so now my Tetris battle royale losses are much more nostalgic.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Xbox One
After putting Hollow Knight to rest, it is time to tackle one of the bigger games on the list for the year. I’ve been reading the books again to get into the mood and at four books in, I am ready. Played a few hours so far and am very much enjoying myself.
Nefarious – Switch
A bit of light relief after Hollow Knight. Difficult game to recommend, as the actual platform levels are pretty much just “filler”. The boss fights are amusing though, taking the role of villain and seeing the other side of classic fights from Sonic, Mega Man, SNES style RPGs and even a bit of Mario.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Switch
Thanks to one of my other pick ups below, I’ve been back on my Mario Karting. I’m aiming to 3 star all the cups up to Mirror Mode (200cc can bite me, I might try to do those with 1 star…) Maybe I’ll also get to playing online a bit now.
SEGA Rally – PS3
Picked this up cheap with the PS2 games below. I’ve been wanting to check it out for a while, since it mostly passed me by when it first came out. I played it for half an hour or so. It is fun but I’m not sure it’ll hold my attention now.
Super Bust-a-Move 1 & 2 – PS2
As per my top arcade puzzle games post, I’m a big fan of the bust-a-move / puzzle bobble games, and couldn’t resist grabbing them for my PS2 when I saw them cheap.
Robot Wars – PS2
Mostly picked this up for my partner, as she is a big fan of the TV show. The game seems fun, and I like how the controls are mapped for the robots. It seems like you need to put a bit of effort into gaining funds to build a robot though. To be honest we’d have enjoyed it more if we could just pick from a selection of existing robots from the show and smash them into each other.
As we were in Brighton shopping, I popped into Ninja Games Den again, and grabbed a few more loose Game Boy games. Mostly worth it for Dr. Mario, the others were just a bonus.
Pocket Rumble – Switch
Picked this up almost entirely because of how much I miss the Neo Geo Pocket Color. I have looked at buying it on Steam before, but the Switch version feels a bitter fit to closer replicate the old hand held feeling of a decent portable fighting game. If only I could get a Switch Joycon with one of those Neo Geo thumbsticks on.
Castlevania Anniversary Collection – Switch
I played all but one of these games for the Castlevania episode of the Maximum Power-Up Podcast. However that was mostly just dabbling with emulation and various EverDrive devices. I liked them well enough that I fancied this collection on the Switch, so I could give them a bit more time. Particularly Super Castlevania IV and Bloodlines.
Sundered: Eldritch Edition – Switch
This game caught my eye back when we were researching for the podcast’s H.P. Lovecraft episode. I didn’t get to it at the time, but kept it on my radar. It popped up in the same Switch sale as Pocket Rumble above. It’s a metroidvania with some heavy Lovecraftian influences, so I’m looking forward to getting into it eventually.
Pro Controller – Switch
As hinted at above, this is why I’m back on Mario Kart 8. A birthday gift from my partner, I do now see what all the fuss is about. This is an excellent controller, the lack of analogue triggers keep it from joining or surpassing the PS4 and Xbox One pads as my current joint favourites, but it is very good.
Obduction – PC
Free this month on Humble Bundle, I’ve wanted this for a while. I was going to pick it up on PS4 when the promised VR support was added, but reports of that suggest it doesn’t run well on the PSVR hardware. PC version it is then!
Toki Retrollector Edition – Switch
Another birthday gift, this time from one of my friends. Didn’t know much about the game going in, but this collection made a great gift. All the parts are high quality, and the wooden arcade cabinet style stand for the Switch is awesome. I can see me using the stand with other games when not playing on the TV. I’ve played a bit of the game as well now, and it’s good fun. Looks great and is a straight up remaster of the old arcade game. I do have vague memories of playing it first time round (probably the Mega Drive port).
Nintendo are currently (in Europe at least) running an extensive digital sale on Switch and 3DS games on the European eShop, until 23rd May 2019. While scrolling through the list of 130+ discounted titles, I noticed the majority of the best offers were on games I already played through on other systems.
In this post I’m going to point out the games I think are worth picking up for Switch, but will include which format I originally played the game on for context / disclaimer in case the Switch port turns out to be terrible.
These are games I’ve already played elsewhere but heartily recommend on Switch if they have previously passed you by.
An underwater adventure, something like a cross between Ecco the Dolphin and Journey. It’s beautiful, atmospheric and a delight to experience.
I’ve lumped these two together as I did when I included them in my top 5 horror games, despite them being separate purchases on the store. They’re puzzle/platformer games, where you’re uncovering a story that is pretty open to interpretation, while trying to avoid traps. If you’re only going to get one of them, I’d suggest picking up Limbo first.
Version played: Vita (Limbo) & PS4 (Inside)
I almost missed this one myself. The title really doesn’t give anything away does it? Oxenfree is an excellent adventure game. It has a bit of a Science Fiction theme, and in parts is genuinely creepy. The writing is pretty good, and I found the dialogue system to be really engaging. Particularly worth a look if you like classic adventure games like Monkey Island and Broken Sword.
My only complaint for Tesla vs Lovecraft, is that it isn’t Nex Machina, Housemarque’s masterpiece in the same genre. However, TvL is still a really competent Twin-Stick Shmup, in the style of Robotron 2084 and Smash TV. I was tempted to pick this up and play it again on Switch, but then remembered I still have a couple of difficulty settings to beat on PS4, so I should go back to that instead.
If the idea of fighting off a variety of Lovecraftian horrors using a selection of “Tesla-esque” electric weaponry appeals to you at all, then this is an easy recommend.
Futurlab’s Velocity series started out as a Playstation Mini for the PSP and Vita. The first of those games I was really interested in. It was then followed up with a full release in Velocity Ultra for the Vita and PS3, and later we received this sequel, Velocity 2X. I played all 3 of these games on my Vita, and they are amongst the best games on the system.
On the surface, the Velocity games look like typical 2D Space Shooters, however with the teleportation mechanic and focus on speed running, there are also significant puzzle elements to the game play. Velocity 2X added platforming sections to the game, but these still play very similar to the ship sections, thanks to maintaining the teleportation element.
The music in the Velocity games is also incredible, one of very few I’ve ever bought the sound track for.
Version played: Vita
Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap
This remake of the incredible Wonder Boy 3: The Dragon’s Trap from the SEGA Master System, was also my top game of 2017. An absolute masterclass in how to do a remake/remaster.
Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap is one of my favourite games of all time, expect it to feature prominently when I get round to listing my All-Time Metroidvania games. While I played this on PS4, the Switch seems like a good home for it, as I probably did 40% of the game using my Vita to remote play from my garden.
The Worms series placed highly when I looked at my favourite local multiplayer games, and if anything I’m more certain that Worms W.M.D. is the best iteration of the game. It’s at least as good as Worms Armageddon, my previous favourite. Given the Switch trying to position itself as the local multiplayer system of choice, Worms is a perfect fit here.
Version played: PS4
Okay I haven’t actually finished this, but I have played it quite a bit. Wulverblade is a brawler in the style of Golden Axe, although it goes more in favour of “brutal historic combat” rather than the fantasy magic & dragons of Golden Axe. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I am friends with the developer so may be carrying some bias, however I still very much recommend Wulverblade, and other people I’ve introduced it to have also enjoyed it.
A few other titles I’ve played elsewhere that are worth looking at if they appeal to you, but are perhaps not going to be for everyone. “Your mileage may vary” as they say.
I find it quite hard to recommend Another World in 2019. This remaster was very polished when I played it on the Vita, but I feel like 90% of my enjoyment was based on my fond memory of playing it on the Mega Drive back in the day. If you have nostalgia for that, this is a worthy purchase. The game play hasn’t aged well though in my opinion.
Version played: Vita
The second “Lovecraftian” game on this list, Darkest Dungeon is another game that is hard to recommend. I did discuss my thoughts about this game on the Lovecraft episode of the Maximum Power Up podcast, but basically, it’s just brutally difficult. It’s important to appreciate before you start that the game isn’t really about completing dungeons and gathering loot.
It’s much more about the physical and psychological toll on those adventures going into the dungeons and facing eldritch horrors. You’ll die. A lot.
It’s 10/10 for capturing the essence of despair and futility of H.P. Lovecraft’s works, but I’m still not sure if it is fun.
Version played: Vita
An enjoyable shmup with a unique element in that you’re playing in two play-fields at once. The only reason I’m not straight up recommending this in the list above, is that I simply haven’t spent enough time with it. I have very much enjoyed what I’ve played so far.
Version played: PC
For both this, and Dimension Drive above, I won codes for these games on Twitter. I’ve played a bit of GRIP on PS4 now, and while in some ways it does capture the fun of Rollcage from the original PlayStation, it hasn’t completely nailed it. Even in this sale it remains a more expensive ask than other, better, games on the list. Hmm.
Version played: PS4
I loved Pang (also known as Pomping World or Buster Bros depending which version you played) back on the Amiga and PlayStation. This modern release captures the classic game play, and if you’re a fan, it’s easy to recommend this. Doesn’t really do anything new, but it’s pretty cheap. Does tend to feel a bit “mobile game” though, which I found quite jarring playing on the Xbox One, but may be less of an issue on the Switch.
Version played: Xbox One
I was quite enjoying this on my PS4, but when it first came out some issues with the camera meant it kept making me nauseous, and I couldn’t play for more than half an hour or so at the time. I understand this was fixed in a later patch, and shouldn’t be present in the Switch version. Unfortunately I never went back to it to find out though, so for now it’s gone back into the PS4 backlog.
Version played: PS4
Lastly, these are the ones I’m thinking of picking up myself, haven’t played them yet so can’t vouch for quality, but this is why I’m interested.
Horizon Chase Turbo
I’m on the fence about this, heard lots of positive comments but not entirely sure it’s for me.
I have now bought this, although still not played it as my Switch is still a dedicated Hollow Knight device. I really like what they’re trying to do in channeling the aesthetic of the fighting games on the Neo Geo Pocket Color. I loved those games, and miss having them around. While I still don’t really consider the Switch a handheld system, I’m hoping that in portable mode it’ll give me some nostalgia of that glorious console.
Sundered: Eldritch Edition
Only reason I haven’t bought this already is that I’m 40 hours into a different Metroidvania in Hollow Knight, so it’s likely to be a while before I want to jump into a new one. It is Lovecraftian again though so I might crack before the sale ends.
April has been a bit quieter games wise. after completing six games during March, I managed to not finish any this month. I didn’t give up on anything either, so there is that.
Games played during April
Hollow Knight – Switch
Yes I mentioned this last month, but this is also why I haven’t finished anything else. Hollow Knight has consumed almost all of my gaming time for the last 4 weeks. I think I’m perhaps as much as 60% of the way through now, so hopefully I’ll finish it during May. Some of these boss fights get quite tough though, so we’ll see.
Apex Legends – PC
Not often one for the Battle Royale style games, but I do enjoy a good multiplayer online FPS. My current online gaming group have picked this as our back up for three of us to play if someone can’t make our regular Vermintide 2 session. I’ve been really enjoying it so far. I do prefer a more frenetic game like Quake Champions, but this is a much better social experience for an evening hanging out online with friends.
RIVEN – SEGA Saturn
Finally got around to making a start on this after picking up a mouse for my SEGA Saturn last June. I’ve played the first couple of hours and really enjoying it so far. I have taken some advice from Lewis Clark over at SEGA Driven, and am using a walkthrough for any puzzles I find myself spending more than 10 minutes on. The puzzles are particularly obtuse, even by MYST standards.
Misc Games Played at EGX Rezzed
As per my EGX Rezzed blog post, I also played a bunch of games at this event, and wrote that round up of some of my favourites.
A Way Out – PS4
Picked this up to hopefully play through with Phil from the Maximum Power Up podcast, we’ve played a few other games in co-op, and I’ve heard great things about this.
Slain – PC
I had my eye on this for my Switch. When Slain first came out it received a bit of a bashing from critics, and I gave it a pretty wide berth. However, the Back from Hell edition apparently addresses some of the issues so I thought I’d give it a look. While I was on the fence about picking the Switch version up for around £6, it popped up on PC for 75p. That’ll do.
Sunless Skies – PC
After talking about how much I had enjoyed it in my Rezzed round up, it turns out I won a copy of Sunless Skies from a twitter competition I entered at the event. Bonus. Looking forward to spending more time with this one.
Textorcist: The Story of Ray Bibbia – PC
I played the demo of this when it first appeared on Steam, and really enjoyed it. Not sure where I originally heard about it, but I’m always a sucker for a good typing game. It got a bit of a discount during April so I picked it up. I had a quick go, and was very pleased to see my progress carried on from where I’d got to in the demo, which was a nice touch. I can see it getting pretty difficult, but I love the mash up of typing game meets “bullet hell” style shmup.
Originally held in Brighton in 2012, EGX Rezzed was launched as a spin-off event (then simply called Rezzed) of the much bigger Eurogamer Expo held in London. Although it doesn’t have so many of the big “AAA” titles, there are still plenty of new and pre-release games to play, particularly those from indie games studios. The event also includes the opportunity to play and buy various tabletop games, a variety of games industry talks and presentations, and a selection of merchandise traders. Oh and a bar, because of course.
Rezzed has been a feature in my calendar since that first one in 2012, and although Brighton was much easier for me to get to, its current home at the Tobacco Docks in London is an interesting and unique venue that really suits the atmosphere for the event.
This was my first year attending as press though, with the aim of writing this post, and identifying games to cover in further detail both on here and on future episodes of the Maximum Power Up podcast.
There were over 200 playable games this year, and while I certainly didn’t manage to play them all, I did get hands-on with quite a few, and thought I’d cover those that I’m most looking forward to or that otherwise stood out to me.
The surprise “game of the show” for me, this is an ocean exploration game similar in style to the Endless Ocean (Forever Blue in Japan) games on the Nintendo Wii.
Beyond Blue is inspired by the Blue Planet II TV show, and the publishers, E-Line Media are working in partnership with the BBC Studios to produce the game. E-Line Media previously produced the well received Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) in partnership with Upper One Games.
I really enjoyed the relaxing deep sea exploration of the Endless Ocean games, and have long hoped they’d get picked up for a new version on modern hardware. The story already feels familiar, and a play through of the demo at Rezzed confirmed it is just as enjoyable to play. Thankfully the creature identifying mechanic is more ‘scanning’ and less ‘rub them with the Wii pointer’. Beyond Blue already looks and sounds incredible, and first impressions suggest it is going to be essential for anyone fascinated by sea life.
One of the games I was most excited to try at Rezzed this year. I was a huge fan of their previous game “Epistory: The Typing Chronicles“, which I played back in April 2017, and was very pleased to hear that it was receiving a spiritual sequel. Like Epistory, Nanotale is a really pretty and absorbing isometric RPG, with exploration and combat controlled by typing. Along with Beyond Blue, this is probably my most anticipated title at the moment.
Sunless Skies is firmly in the realm of those games that can be said to be “Lovecraftian” and if you’ve heard me on the Lovecraft episode of the Maximum Power Up podcast, you’ll know I’m very much a fan of these games. This follow up to Sunless Seas will be instantly familiar to players of that game.
When I first heard about this follow up, I was originally turned off by the idea of flying trains. However, when I tried this at the event, those concerns were instantly forgotten the moment I left port. In retrospect, I’m pretty glad it wasn’t just zeppelins.
With just a demo to play, and the map still procedurally generated, I set off out into the murky distance to see how far I could go before something terrible happened or my crew ate each other. Fittingly I stumbled into an area called something along the lines of “Grey Wilderness” (this is definitely wrong, but I can’t remember what it was actually called) and lost a fight with a train that had tentacles coming out of the front. A chat with one of the writers afterwards revealed some interesting ideas for the future of these enemies in further content.
Like Sunless Seas, I love the idea of these games. The atmosphere and story is very much my kind of thing. Unfortunately I have limited patience for the roguelike genre of games so I might not make much progress with it, but I am looking forward giving Sunless Skies a proper go all the same.
I’m really glad I got to play this at EGX Rezzed, as although I’ve been looking forward to this and included it in my 2019 in Games post, recent trailers have had me slightly concerned. The demo however has mostly put those concerns to rest. I still don’t really like the graphics, while everything about the game screams the best of the metroidvania style Castlevania games, I do wish it was closer to Symphony of the Night in graphical style. As it stands, Ritual of the Night is a 2.5D game, and the graphics are reminiscent of the Dracula X Chronicles game on the PSP, albeit it much more polished.
The gameplay feels perfect for the genre though, and they have nailed everything else about it. Happily back to just looking forward to this now, and think it’ll be a perfect fit for the Switch.
As I was passing the Application Systems Heidelberg booth, I was captured by the 19th century Victorian aesthetic of Lamplight City, and I do enjoy a good point & click adventure. The nature of the EGX Rezzed event means I only got to enjoy the first few screens and puzzles, but I’m now very much intending to play the rest of the game later.
This was another pleasant surprise on the day. I had heard murmorings of Dicey Dungeons over the last month or two, but didn’t know much about it. I sat down to the demo because one of my friends was interested in seeing it. I didn’t immediately take to the art style, but the mechanics were quite addictive. It felt a bit similar to playing Slay the Spire, with deck-building supplemented with added dice rolling.
Startlingly simlar to 2015’s Duck Game, the premise to both games is still great fun. A single screen arena for four players to shoot each other. On my second day at Rezzed I was joined by three friends, and we had a blast with this.
Super Arcade Racing
Another game that the four of us enjoyed playing together, and I still enjoy the novelty of 4 player split screen racing. The world needs more top down racing games. Haven’t been able to find much more about the game since the event though, but I would like to pick it up.
A pretty shameless Diablo clone in the Warhammer universe. Did have fun with the demo, but I found it lacks the charm and polish of Blizzard’s game. So far as the demo went, it didn’t really do anything new for me, but would certainly fill a gap if you’ve exhausted Diablo 3 and don’t want to go down the Path of Exile rabbit hole. Games Workshop fans can expect to get a lot more out of it too.
Warhammer: Vermintide 2: Wings of Magic
Was a bit disappointed by the demo of this. Vermintide 2 is the current game of choice for the four of us who attended Rezzed together. I had hoped we could try this expansion together, but they only had two PCs linked so we gave it a miss.
Dirt Rally 2.0
Was nice to get hands on with this demo. Like the original Dirt Rally, it is really impressive. Looks fantastic, the cars feel great and it oozes polish. Difficulty from the first game remains though, and thus it is still impossible for humans. (Well, for me anyway.)
The best events are always those where you can spend a good amount of time playing new games, but also take in the atmosphere, meet new people and spend quality time with friends. Rezzed has always ticks these boxes, and 2019 was no exception, an excellent event. Personally I think this year was the best EGX Rezzed yet.
March was a pretty solid month for gaming, mostly because I had a week off work to use up before the end of March, so I stayed home and played games.
Games completed this month
God of War (2018) – PS4
Really enjoyed this, although it has probably ruined all the earlier God of War games for me. Taking the best elements of various action/adventure games, I think this is my favourite 3rd Person Action game of all time.
Yoku’s Island Express – 100% – Xbox One
So I originally cleared the story for this back in December, but unusually for me I felt the urge to go back and complete all the optional stuff. 100% completion, what a really great game!
Batman Arkham VR – PSVR
This is a pretty short game, probably only 40 minutes to complete, but it is an amazing VR experience, and essential for a Batman fan.
Armored Warriors (Capcom Beat ’em up Bundle) – PS4
Might take me a while to get round to clearing all 7 games on this compilation, but I did enjoy Armored Warriors.
Tetris Effect – PSVR
Okay so I’ve only cleared the Journey mode on this, and still plenty to do. Beating that last stage was a challenge though, and worth logging the achievement just for that. I did play a little bit of it outside the VR and it is still great, but it really shines as a VR title.
Golf Story – Switch
A substantial reason behind why I bought the Switch last month, and it didn’t let me down at all. I really hope we get a sequel to Golf Story. The golfing gameplay reminds me a lot of Game Boy Golf, and it has an amusing story to follow as you play a selection of increasingly ridiculous, but fun, courses.
Games played during March
Modern Warfare Remastered – PS4
This was free on PS Plus, and while I’m still toying with the idea of replaying the campaign (not on Veteran again though, that was madness) I found time this month to jump online with my mate. While we struggled to make an impact initially, the old muscle memory started to come back and we were winning more. Enjoyed it for a couple of afternoons, even if I don’t end up going back again.
Vermintide 2 – PC
In PC land I’ve been playing this one with three friends as our new “we’re definitely going to regularly play this game together” game. Unlike all the other ones that died off after one or two sessions, we’ve already had three goes on Vermintide 2. I’m optimistic we’ll play it for a bit longer. It’s as well designed for 4 players as left 4 dead was, and I find it much more enjoyable for not involving zombies.
Hollow Knight – Switch
Partly playing this for an upcoming podcast episode, but also because one of my friends keeps raving about it and I was ready for something else to play on the Switch after clearing Golf Story. Really enjoying it so far, although it’s tougher than I usually like my metroidvania games to be.
Hidden Agenda – PS4
Picked this up preowned for like £3 or so. It’s a “PlayLink” title, a multiplayer game when each player uses their phone as a controller. I was curious about this as a narrative based game as an alternative to the various quiz style party games that this format usually takes. Four of us did a full competitive playthrough, and it was fairly well received.
Grip – PS4
I’d been following the development of this game for a while. It’s pretty much a tribute to Rollcage (from some of the same people) which I enjoyed back on the original PlayStation. However, when it was released the reviews were a bit average, and I was concerned about paying full price for it. I managed to win a copy of it on Twitter in March though, so I’m now happily dabbling with it for free.
Nefarious – Switch
Another game I’d had my eye on for a while, Nefarious is in the vein of 90s platform games, but with you playing as the villain. I heard about this on a podcast back in 2017. I’ve had it on my Steam wishlist since then, but hadn’t got around to picking it up because I know I don’t really play platform games on PC. The Switch is an ideal format for it though, and it popped up in sale for half the price it is on Steam. Result. Time will tell if I actually get round to playing it though.
Alex Kidd in Miracle World – Switch
Narrowly missing out on my top 5, but scoring an honourable mention in my All-Time Top 5 Videogames, Alex Kidd in Miracle World is one of my favourite games. This was a no-brainer to pick up the day of release on Switch. Maybe I’ll finally complete it now.
Games retired in March
Quantum Break – Xbox One
Had to give up on this, as ultimately I just wasn’t enjoying myself. I put a few hours in, and was about 40% through the game. I really liked the format of having a TV episode to watch after each act, and the story was interesting enough. Unfortunately it was the gameplay segments that felt like a let down.
Well it was hinted as a possibility for this year, I’ve cracked and bought a Nintendo Switch. I didn’t even wait for Animal Crossing. More thoughts on that in the Pick-ups section below. No games completed, but hey, at least there are more games in the backlog now…
Games played during February
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Switch
It’s Mario Kart, I’ve been playing quite a bit, but haven’t taken it online yet. Was trying to at least 1 star all the cups first, but 200cc races are madness. I may need to rethink that.
Tetris 99 – Switch
This was a surprise announcement / release from Nintendo. A free (providing you pay for the online service) Tetris game where you play a “battle royale” style competitive game. You versus 98 other people. Last one standing wins. It did what it was supposed to, and made me pay for the online service.
As headlined at the start of the post, I caved and picked up a Nintendo Switch. I had been toying with the idea on and off, particularly now there is an Animal Crossing announced. The main thing that sold it to me though was just the urge to get properly into a Mario Kart game again. There still aren’t many games I want for it, but I expect that to change in the future. I anticipate the Switch becoming my preferred platform for those indie games that previously I would have got for my PlayStation Vita.
Hyper Sentinel – Switch
My second Switch game. A fun little C64 style shooter, I originally played this at a retro event last year. It was £1.49 in the Nintendo eShop, where almost everything else is comically overpriced.
Starlink: Battle for Atlas – Switch
I’d heard good stuff about the core game of Starlink, but I think the expensive toy mechanic meant that the game pretty much tanked, and is now available very cheaply. Nintendo’s version of the game also includes Star Fox as a playable character. This month they announced the Switch version would be getting some free DLC to add the rest of the Star Fox crew to the game, so I figured I’d pick the starter pack.
Tetris Effect – PSVR / PS4
I had been waiting for a price drop on this since trying the demo last year. Found a bargain online and can’t wait to get my face on it. The demo was incredible. Pretty much the trippiest way to play Tetris.
Puyo Puyo Tetris (yes again) – Switch
The Switch is the perfect home for this as a great multiplayer puzzle game. This does however mark the fourth time I’ve bought Puyo Puyo Tetris, and the third Tetris game I’ve picked up this month! What year is it again? Fortunately I managed to sell my Japanese copy of Puyo Puyo Tetris on the PS4, recouping 70% of the cost.
SEGA Ages Thunder Force IV – Switch
The Switch has a whole bunch of shmups old and new, but annoyingly they tend to be much more expensive than on any other platform. I expect I’ll pick up more when they go on sale, but Thunder Force IV was the most tempting of the SEGA Ages range of games to start me off.
Golf Story – Switch
The only Nintendo exclusive I’ve really wanted to play on Switch so far outside of Mario Kart and the as yet unreleased Animal Crossing. Looking forward to giving this a proper play, definitely up for Golf the RPG.
Games retired in February
SEGA Heroes – Mobile
I haven’t been properly into a mobile game for years, unless you count Ticket to Ride & Hearthstone, which I don’t. This game is a standard “puzzle quest” style match 3 bejeweled clone. It is from SEGA though, and I was highly entertained by the fan service in the game. However, they launched a recent event to obtain “Tails” that was ridiculously cynical even by mobile game standards. It was looking at a purchase of upwards of £49 just to take part in, so I’m out.
I appreciate there is money to be made chasing “whales” in the mobile or free to play market. However, a company like SEGA should probably be more protective of its IP. Or we might be looking at the demise of the SEGA boy…
Off to a reasonable start for the year. Even sort of managed a completion. Albeit one where I imposed my own definition of “complete”.
Completed this month
Forza Horizon 4
Finally calling this ‘finished’, although I’ll no doubt be playing it for considerable time to come. I have wrapped up the story, finished all the exploration (map & bonus boards), hit max level, ‘prestiged’ and bought all the in game houses. I’m never going to even attempt 100% completion on these games as long as there is a requirement to complete ‘drift’ events.
Also played this month
Worms W.M.D. – PS4
Managed to get quite a bit of this on in multiplayer recently, remains excellent and I think has become my favourite in the series. Finally toppled Armageddon & Worms World Party.
God of War – PS4
Managed to make a bit more progress with this, still loving it but could do with a day or two to just sit down and play.
Pinball FX2 – PSVR
You’ll spot a bit of a pinball trend this month, it’s been ongoing since last October or so as we’ve been preparing for a Pinball Episode over at Maximum Power Up. Look out for that soon. Playing Pinball in VR is a revelation, although I’m currently trailing in my leaderboard battles and need to get back on that.
Demon’s Tilt – PC
Played quite a bit of Demon’s Tilt in January, pinball everywhere. Read my full Demon’s Tilt Preview. It’s now available to buy, and pretty much essential if you like video pinball.
Pick-ups during Janaury
Wi-fi and Bluetooth Card
When adding my new microphone (link) to my computer last month, I discovered I was somehow using all the rear USB ports. Rather than just add more ports, I picked up this card. I was previously using a USB Wi-Fi adapter so it freed up that port, but also a wired Xbox 360 Controller. I’ve now switched to a Bluetooth Xbox One pad, so I’ve reclaimed two ports. My local Wi-Fi is now 2.5 times faster than it was before too, and is much more reliable for my SteamLink and streaming my PS4 and Xbox One to the PC.
Gears of War 4 – Xbox One & PC
Already had this as a physical copy for the Xbox One, but it cropped up in a sale for £3 digitally, so I re-bought it so I could also play it on my PC. Looks and plays better on there and still worked perfectly to play online co-op with my mate. Managed to trade my physical copy in at CeX for the two games below as well. Result.
Flipnic & Taito Legends – PS2
Essentially free thanks to trading in Gears of War 4, I was very pleased with these pick ups. Flipnic is an interesting curiosity, although not really any good. Was good to get hold of it for the upcoming podcast episode though. The Taito collection is excellent, and a nice addition to my recent PS2 acquisition.
Rollers of the Realm – PS4 / Vita
A game I completed on PC back in November, I couldn’t resist buying it again when it popped up in a PlayStation sale for less than £2. It’s crossbuy so you get both the PS4 and Vita versions, and it’s absolutely perfect for the Vita. A rare game I’m happy to replay.
Game Boy Games
In January we visited a retro games shop in Brighton, Ninja Games Den. I was pleasantly surprised by the prices and it was fun to choose a handful of Game Boy games. The only one of these I’d played before was Wave Race so it was a bit of a gamble but I’ve had a little go on each and I’m happy with the selection.
Kirby Pinball – GB
One more Game Boy title to round out the January games pick-ups, although I took to eBay for this. Continuing my recent pinball game kick, this is great, and one I missed out on previously.
This is a game I’ve been following in development for some time. As mentioned in my December round up, we have been in the planning stages of a pinball episode of the Maximum Power Up podcast since October. The fine folks at WizNWar & FLARB were kind enough to provide me with a beta code back in November, so I’ve now spent a fair bit of time trying the game out.
Although the pinball episode should be out soon, [edit: pinball episode is out now] Demon’s Tilt goes into Early Access on Steam next week, on 22nd January 2019. I wanted to share some of my thoughts in time for that, and hopefully contribute a bit to the conversation around the Early Access launch.
Demon’s Tilt is a 2D Pinball game, very much in the style of the 90s Crush Pinball games series from developers Compile and Tengen. From the screenshots it’s easy to see these influences, not least by the presence of a large head in the middle of the playfield. The game utilises pixel art and mega drive style music to present an experience reminiscent of the era, but with modern HD displays in mind.
Demon’s Tilt also takes some influence from ‘bullet hell’ shmups, with the various bosses in the game more than happy to fill the screen with projectiles. While this can look a little confusing in screenshots, it soon makes sense when you are playing. This is pinball, so pretty much every element is there for the same thing, to give you more opportunities to increase your score.
Like Devil’s Crush, Demon’s Tilt takes a heavy occult influence for it’s aesthetic. This is focused on the creepy nun in the middle level of the table. Given the success of the Conjuring series of films and its descriptively named spin off “The Nun”, it would appear creepy nuns are very much ‘in’.
The lowest level of the table is where the various mini-boss enemies appear as the game progresses. This starts with the Hermit, the gatekeeper for the Cathedral. He gives way to increasingly disturbing horrors, my personal favourite being the mass of tentacles that is Shub Calamari.
Once you’re at the top of the table, you’re met by the overlord of Demon’s Tilt, the dreaded Manticore. Part lion, serpent and scorpion, the Manticore looks great, and is a deserving headline for the game.
A recent update has added TATE mode (support for a monitor rotated 90 degrees, to have a ‘portrait’ display). Short of playing in full VR, TATE mode is my preferred way to play Pinball games. It is much more satisfying to have a whole pinball table on the screen, rather than the screen to scroll with the ball. Demon’s Tilt is still great in the standard view mode, with the screen scrolling with the action, and making some impressive use of zoom.
Composer Charlie Heinrich has created a soundtrack to the game that is pure Mega Drive. To get the authentic sound, he emulates the sound chip from the Mega Drive itself. The image above is a soundcloud link to the tracks so you can check it out. The music really suits the occult aesthetic of Demon’s Tilt’s and evokes those classic games. Especially when the bell tolls for MULTIBALL!
Thoughts & issues
There have been continued updates since I was first given access to the game. While there were initially several bugs that you can expect in beta software, those I experienced have almost all been eradicated. The main one I suffered was that I had to exit the program after each go in order to start a new game. As it happens, that was almost a useful feature. Demon’s Tilt nails the “one more go” element of the best pinball games. When your last ball slips down the gutter, it’s impossible not to think that you’ll do better next time. At least having to close the game and restart it helped me pull myself away after just one or two goes. Rather than the five or six credits I now play.
The only issue I have now is that the frame rate can drop some when things get particularly frantic (and they can get frantic). It has been improving with each update though, and doesn’t put me off wanting to play.
If you enjoy pinball at all this is easily worth a look. If you’ve got any love for the Alien Crush and Devil’s Crush/Dragon’s Fury, then Demon’s Tilt is pretty much essential.
I can’t wait for the final release of Demon’s Tilt. I’m even looking forward to the game entering Steam Early Access and for more people to get their hands on it. Even if it does mean I get pushed down the leaderboard.
If you want to check it out for yourself, the Steam page is here. You can also follow developments via the game’s official Twitter and Facebook.