The Console: Scribblenauts Unlimited is an ambitious creation – but it needs a bit of help to become a true classic
Michael Plant is chief editor and writer of gaming ezine and blog GamesCatalyst.com, as well as editor of 'The Independent'’s games review printed in the Saturday supplement 'Information'. Established in February 2011, Games Catalyst endeavours to bring its unique brand of fact and satire to the videogaming community and, in tandem with 'The Independent', hopefully turn a few non-believers on to gaming while we’re at it.
Friday 01 February 2013
Scribblenauts Unlimited, £39.99 Wii U, 3DS, PC Nintendo
In Scribblenauts Unlimited you once again assume control of Maxwell, here looking to atone for his bad behaviour (not to mention counteracting a curse upon his sister) by acts of kindness. Scribblenauts' premise has always been deceptively simple: create objects out of thin air by simply typing in said object's name, before using it to help out and gain the much coveted “Starites”. Propping up this chief gameplay mechanic is a behemoth of a database, one capable of visually representing anything you'd care to type into it (within reason). The clever thing is that the many people in need all have multiple solutions to their woes: a cat stuck in a tree might be saved by a ladder, but it might also be saved by a flying carpet, say. Alas, the flexibility of using adjectives and nouns means that few puzzles will cause any real degree of head-scratching. You can, of course, make the game more difficult by opting for radical solutions, but that exposes a few logic gaps in the system; so that your alternative solution to that cat in a tree falls flat. Ambitious, yes, but not without its flaws.
Corpse Party: Book of Shadows £11.99 PS Vita, PSP (Xseed Games)
Think of Book of Shadows as a companion to the original Corpse Party. Here you'll find yourself transported back to the same time and place as before, but with a chance of witnessing events from different points of view, or from a "what if?" perspective – an intriguing approach to the game's design. Of course, those who haven't played the first title will be left a little nonplussed, as will those who squirm at the Saw series of movies and their ilk (so grisly is the game's contents). But for horror and Japanese visual novel buffs alike, Book of Shadows is something of a must-buy.
Strike Suit Zero £14.99 PC (Born Ready Games)
Back in the 90s, LucasArts were churning out one amazing Star Wars space-based combat sim after another – the likes of X-Wing and TIE Fighter going down as legends. Seemingly overnight however, tastes changed, making good space-combat titles a rarity. The Kickstarter-funded Strike Suit Zero is Born Ready's attempt to redress that; a space sim where Earth battles with a distant human colony over alien technology. Fans will lap up the intense dogfighting, but the limits of the genre are there to see, with escort missions proving particularly galling and giant difficulty spikes leading to frustration.
Temple Run 2 £Free iOS, Android (Imangi Studios)
The original Temple Run, with its fun power-ups and pursuing monkeys, was an example of the endless runner genre that certainly provided a huge amount of fun in short bursts. This sequel delivers more, adding in a new environment, runaway mine-cart sections and an upping of the pace. It's just as manic, too, with your device's gyroscope and accelerometer each being used to the full as you frantically prod at your touchscreen to leap and dodge obstacles. The endless runner is a game type that sometimes fails to fulfil – it being without end and all – but Temple Run 2 provides enough thrills to make it well worth a download.
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