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23 May 2022

REVIEW: Kao the Kangaroo on Nintendo Switch

Review by Jon Donnis
I have been playing and enjoying Kao the Kangaroo on my Nintendo Switch Lite now for a few days, what a great little game here. What I didn't know was that Kao is part of a long running series of games going back over 20 years. Kao the Kangaroo (2000) - Dreamcast, Kao the Kangaroo: Round 2 (2003) - PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, Kao Challengers (2005) PSP and Kao the Kangaroo: Mystery of the Volcano (2005) - PC. So, there is a rich history right there across multiple consoles. But with any cute platform game, I think it is fair to say the Switch is the perfect home.

The story goes as follows, Kao's sister has gone missing, and it is up to Kao to not only find her, but also solve the mystery of what happened to his lone gone father. Kao needs to travel the world and confront various famous fighters who are influenced by the mysterious dark power.


Kao has his own Master in Walt who will help guide our hero. And along the way Kao will make new friends and strengthen old friendships.

Ultimately Kao needs to confront the Eternal Warrior and beat him to save the world! Classic platform story right there.

The game itself is easy to pick up, and has a great learning curve to introduce you into the mechanics. Everything looks great, and control of Kao is precise and easy to get used to. Fighting mainly involves punching your enemies with your fathers old magical boxing gloves, or throwing stones. You will collect coins and other secrets as you play, which will all help you in your quest.


Although the general gameplay is rather easy, the boss fights do throw up a challenge, and as you charge up your attack gauge, you can throw a finishing punch to destroy your enemies. You can also store elemental charges in your gloves, which will help you clear obstacles, as well as use a cool dodge roll attack.

All in all, this is a fun little 3D platformer, with enough content to please an experienced gamer as well as the younger gamer, of which this game is directed at.


The Good
Bright, colourful graphics, easy to pick up gameplay, fun story and characters.

The Bad
Perhaps a little too easy at times.

Overall
A really fun little game here, that is perfect for the younger gamer.

I score Kao the Kangaroo a solid 9/10

Out Now on Nintendo Switch - https://amzn.to/3sULk9F

22 May 2022

REVIEW: Golfie on PC (Steam)

Review by Jon Donnis
Another day, and another golf game. People really do like golf at the moment!

The latest Golf based game trying to get your cash is Golfie. Golfie is a mixture of mini golf, deck building and roguelike (procedurally generated levels).

This game releases into Early Access on PC via Steam on 26th May, so please keep that in mind when reading this review, Early Access means the game will have bugs and issues and the developers are still ironing out problems.


Since the levels are procedurally generated, no two are alike, you have to play through 18 holes, but as you will quickly find, your ball won't do much when you hit it at first, you see you will get effect cards to choose from, these cards are randomly drawn from a pack, and include things like "shot power", "curve ball", lob" etc. You can choose which cards you think will help you proceed best, and stack them up, stack up 2 shot power cards and you get extra power on your shot, stack up a shot power card, a lob card and a curve shot card, and well I am sure you can figure out how that might help you.


Throw in unique cards too, like magnetism, where you can select an area that will attract your ball, and that might help you sink that shot in a hard to land place. Also worth a mention are the jetpack, parachute, glider and so on.

You have a certain amount of energy too, if you fall into a trap, or finish a course over par, that will drain your energy, and when that runs out, your run is over, and you have to start from scratch.


Throw in daily challenges and leader boards and the game has a lot more potential for added reasons to play as well as future releases of new cards to enhance the game.

Collect coins, buy upgrades, new cards to unlock, and buy cosmetic changes for your ball.

The Good
As I have mentioned in reviews for other games, outside of a Simulation or basic mini golf, you need a gimmick, and the gimmick for Golfie is an interesting one, and one that in theory has nearly unlimited potential with regards to the cards.

The Bad
Once again, a golf game stuttering due to camera issues. There are two camera modes, fixed or controlled by the mouse, neither are particularly good, and made even worse when you play a course that is inside a building, as the camera can get messed up, and you can't see where you are supposed to go.

I really hope the developers fix the camera issues and really try to learn from what is the biggest mistake in the game.

Overall
Far from perfect, but with a lot of potential.
A long way to go to the finished game, so I won't give a score for now. Also, if that price remains, it will put off a lot of people. Charge no more than £5.


Golfie is available on 26th May via Steam priced at £14.99 / €17.99 / $17.99, with a 20 per cent launch discount. 
It has been developed by Triheart Studio and will be published by Yogscast Games.

21 May 2022

REVIEW: Golf Gang on PC (Steam)


Review by Jon Donnis
I seem to be playing a lot of Golf based games recently, and the latest game to come across my desk is Golf Gang from Lazy Monday Games and published by the great people at Curve Games.

As I am sure you will all know, any game based on Golf that is not either a direct simulation or basic crazy golf, needs to have a gimmick, and with Golf Gang the gimmick is that it is more of a racing game, a game to be played with friends and all at the same time. Up to 8 players at once!


Since this is a racing game, speed is more important than accuracy, which means you can hit the ball while it is moving, and even while it is in the air. Hit a balloon and it gives you an extra boost, and once the time allows you, you can hit it again, allowing for some very nice long range shots.

There are lots of different courses, in different genres, grass, desert, snow etc.


There are in game "mods" that you can purchase with the in game currency, which allows you to get very creative, some of the mods include low gravity, explosions, slowing down time, and so on.

There are a few different modes, and it can be played in single player as well. There are time trials, basic golf, where you are not racing against time, and hybrid modes.

Throw in lots of things you can buy to customise the look of your "ball", purchase new courses, skins, accessories and so on.

There is even a creator mode where the community can create and share their own courses. Although I did not try any of that, so can't speak on it.


The Good
A very colourful game with a simple graphic style, everything moves fast, and in a race, it can get very exciting, and competitive.

The Bad
I hate the controls. You control the camera, the ball, everything with just the mouse, so in a frantic situation it makes it much harder to get your shot right, because you are trying to do three things with just one control method. The same with the gamepad, which you would think would be easier, but no, it is the same system but all mapped onto the right stick. There is a way around things however, you can press the F key on the keyboard and that shoots the ball at maximum speed, which allows you to use the mouse mainly for directional purposes, but obviously when you need a more finesse shot, you have no choice but to use the mouse. I have brought this up with the developers, and hopefully they will add extra methods for controlling your shots.

Overall
This is a fun game, bogged down slightly with a poor control system, don't get me wrong, you will get used to it, but you will throw skill out of the window pretty quick, and just hammer that F button. This is not about wanting to be great at a game from the start, it is about a new player feeling like the controls are intuitive, which they are not. Fix this control system and the game becomes infinitely more enjoyable.

I score Golf Gang in its current state a fair 7/10

Out Now on Steam

20 May 2022

REVIEW: Fire and Steel on PC (Steam)

Review by Jon Donnis
Set in World War 2, Fire and Steel is a proper old school arcade shooter, but instead of flying a plane, you control a young Dragon called Aiden, no idea who gave him that name, but it is not very Dragon like is it. A bit like calling a Doberman by the name Keith.

Anyway, Aiden has been asleep for a thousand years, he wakes up to find the world at war, not choosing sides between the Axis and Allied forces, Aiden decides instead to just breathe fire and kill anyone who gets in his way.


What results is a pretty cool game whereby you will find yourself breathing fire or shooting fire balls at everything, from people stood firing guns at you, to attack planes and helicopters, battleships, tanks, heavy artillery and everything else humanity has in a desperate attempt to stop you. Whether it is the Luftwaffe, RAF or the U.S Air Force, everything is open season for Aiden.

The game itself plays in missions or levels, complete a level to progress to the next one. Aiden has the ability to detect the enemy using an Assassins Creed like extra vision, easily activated by holding down a button on the gamepad. This shows the enemy in red. And when Aiden gets hurt, and his health is going down, he can easily replenish it by swooping down and eating anything living, that might be humans, sheep, sharks or even birds in the sky. They appear green in Aidens extra vision mode.


But always watch out for your health, and if you collide with a plane, that's it, game over.

Between levels, you get some cool cinematic cut scenes, as well as TV broadcasts from the 1940s. All very cool and a really nice addition to the game.

The game really is a lot of fun; however you need to get past a bit of clunky-ness at the start. For example, in the tutorial mode, the game never tells you that to finish you need to kill all of the humans, so after killing as much as I could see, while flying through a cave, I decided to head through what I believed was an exit in the roof, I found myself bouncing around and not progressing as my health went down. Eventually I figured out there was a few more humans to kill, I did so, and the level ended.

The controls at first do feel a bit clunky, but you quickly get used to them, and outside of a few graphical glitches here and there, once you get past that initial feeling when you start playing, you quickly realise how addictive and good this game is.

It really is a fun arcade game. Complete a level and move on, or replay the level to finish it quicker, get a higher score and so on. The levels are good enough that you will want to replay them.


The Good
Really surprised at how much I like this game, so much fun, the graphics are decent, sound effects are good, and the general presentation of the game is of a high quality.

The Bad
Control is a bit clunky at first, and there are a few graphical glitches here and there, but neither of these things are enough to detract from what is a great game.

Overall
Absolutely love it, all I can ask for is for the developers to fix a couple of the bugs I mentioned and release more levels.

I score Fire and Steel on PC (Steam) a solid 9/10
Brilliant.

Out Now on Steam

16 May 2022

REVIEW: The Centennial Case : A Shijima Story - PS5

Review by GamingCouchPotato.co.uk Staff
The Centennial Case : A Shijima Story is a FMV (full motion video) visual novel type of a game.

"The Shijima family have suffered a chain of inexplicable deaths over the past century.
When Haruka Kagami, a mystery novelist, visits the Shiijmas, she finds herself taking on four different murder cases - occurring at different points in time.

The red camellia and the Fruit of Youth, which invite only death.
And the truth behind it all, waiting to be uncovered..."

More like a TV show or Movie, where you will make certain decisions within the game, and that will then take you on a different path.


As you play you will gather clues to the mystery you are trying to solve. You have to use your powers of deduction to solve the mystery and uncover the truth.

You will enter a "cognitive space" of sorts, which allows you to put together your threads of logic, which depending which way you go will give a different hypothesis as the outcome. You make these decisions moving hexagonal pieces on a board.


Playing any interactive movie, I cant really give much away as it would spoil the story, but it is worth noting that the acting is all very good, the story is well written, and although the subtitles might put some people off, any FMV game does need you to pay attention, to make the best informed decisions so the subtitles aren't that much of an issue.


The Good
High quality acting, and nice sets create a visually interesting game.

The Bad
The controls are a bit clunky, these kinds of games never seem to work that well on console. More of a PC game.

Overall
If you like Japanese Visual Novels, then this is the game for you.

If you are a fan of just you usual FMV visual novels, then give this game a look.

I score The Centennial Case : A Shijima Story a fair 7/10 for its genre.

Out now on PS5