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29 Sept 2021

REVIEW: Struggling on XBOX One

Review by staff

Struggling is one of the more bizarre games I have ever played, instantly memories of the disgusting failed experiment in the original "The Fly" film comes to mind.

You play as "Troy" a deformed monster created from Hector and Achilles, two heroes who were horribly conjoined, so two separate arms connected to a head. That is your character. Each arm is controlled independently, and to move, you throw one arm out and grab on to a surface, and then drag yourself along. This game can be played as a two-player game, but I played it only in one player mode. And to say the controls take some getting used to is an understatement.

Luckily if one arm is torn off, you can grow it back. This is a physics-based platformer, and you really need to learn the method of movement to progress at all in this game, from within the first moments of play you will be screaming at the game, it is incredibly frustrating, it is a huge "Struggle" I guess.

As you progress through the game, you will go through weird levels, with other deformed creatures, and seemingly impossible obstacles to pass.

Luckily you will also unlock some upgrades to your character, these include slowing down time, which allows you avoid various traps or hazards. You can detach your arms and use them to crawl around, and even use your separated body parts to attach to various obstacles which you can then use to complete the level.

Now let me make one thing very clear, this game is tough, very, very tough, at no point do you ever feel totally comfortable with the control system, but I guess that is the point, it is called "Struggling" for a reason. The game will drive you made, but when you do eventually overcome that seemingly impossible chasm or obstacle, there is a strong feeling of accomplishment.

The graphics are all hand drawn and disgusting, the soundtrack is surprisingly good, clearly some time has been taken to really match the music to the gameplay.

The Good
If you enjoy really challenging physics-based puzzle games, then this is about as challenging as you can get. With the hand drawn graphics and great soundtrack, this is all very impressive, and you can tell a lot of work was put in.

The Bad
You will never get used to the controls, and you will be forever shouting at the screen. The fear is that people will just give up when they realise how hard it is.

As challenging, physics-based platformers go, this is one of the better ones in recent times. Frustratingly hard at times, but a good challenge should never be a bad thing.

I score the game a strong 7/10

Review by staff

Out now on Playstation and Xbox

22 Sept 2021

REVIEW: Golf Club: Wasteland on Xbox

Note: I updated "the bad" on my review, after playing the game some more, I realised I was a tad too harsh - 03/10/21

Review by Staff
We are in a post-apocalyptic world. The elites have run away to Mars, and only return to Earth to play a round of golf. And you are one of those people, so what do you get if you mix a 2D golf game with a narrative driven adventure game? Well, you get Golf Club Wasteland.

You play across 35 holes, each one has its own little story and puzzle to complete to make the perfect shot.

As you play you will see some familiar landmarks, and some not so familiar ones, all crumbling in this post-apocalyptic world. While playing if you see a pipe, send the ball down it for a nice shortcut.

Now I did mention that this is more than just a golf game, it is a narrative driven adventure, so each hole does tell a story, this is done not just through the visual aspect of the hole, but also through diary entries that you unlock, comics that you will read after finishing the hole, but also through the radio station that plays in the background. Everything is nicely connected to tell you the story of what is going on, and what has happened in the past. I am not gonna talk too much about the plot, the story, as a lot of the enjoyment of the game is unlocking it all, and opening your mind to everything that has happened.

There are plenty of pop culture moments that are instantly recognisable, and some adult humour thrown in too.

And if you decide to play over again to get achievements, there are some nice tricky shots you need to pull off to get them. Adding a nice extra challenge.

The soundtrack is really good, and after completing the story you can even download the songs through a helpfully provided QR code! A very nice touch.

There are 3 modes of golf that you can play, think of them as Easy, Medium and Hard. Easy mode is all about the story, and is not concerned with how many shots you take, Medium gives you a Par score to try to beat, and Hard or Iron Mode is simply put, no room for error.

You will probably start playing the story mode, and when you have completed the game, you will want to then try to play it again but by beating the Par score for each level. I've yet to complete the Iron Mode yet.

The game is incredibly easy to pick up and play and has a nice learning curve, but there are harder levels that are followed by easier ones and then back to harder, so you do have some nice variance on the difficulty, the way you play the golf shots is also very simple, aim and press power. It takes a bit of getting used to, but soon enough you will be playing the perfect shot to progress through each level.

The Good
The visuals and story are great, everything is very well put together.

The Bad
I decided I was too harsh on "the bad" when I first wrote this review, so after playing the game some more I wanted to come back with an update. I previously said that the golfing aspect let this game down, I think I was wrong, the golfing aspect is perfectly fine, and it does fit in well within the narrative of the game.

A fun game that I enjoyed. Plenty to see and enjoy. With a satisfying ending too, and lots of fun achievements to get, when you play through again.

I score Golf Club: Wasteland a strong 8/10

Review by Staff

17 Sept 2021

REVIEW: Arcade Action Wrestling on Xbox One

Review by Staff
Arcade Action Wrestling is an old fashioned, over the top (literally) arcade wrestling game. Think the old Wrestlefest game and you get the idea.

Originally known as Chikara Action Arcade Wrestling, but since Chikara closed down, it is no longer associated with the game.

AAW has all your classic moves, Clotheslines, Piledrivers, Body Slams, Shoot Lasers, Wield Lightsabers, yes, all those classic wrestling moves you are fond of.

The game does not take itself too seriously as you might have already guessed, and the controls are super simple, with just a couple of buttons needed to perform the moves. A nice touch is that you can't just repeatedly use the same move over and over, as your opponent will learn and start blocking the moves if you over use them.

There are 30+ wrestlers you can choose from, and you can also create your own wrestler, which we all know means you are either creating yourself, or your favourite current Superstar.

All the usual game modes are there including One vs. One, Tag Team, Three-way match, Four-way match, 4-10 Person Elimination matches, Tornado Tag, Battle Royal, Trios. No career mode at the moment, and no cage matches, which is a shame.

As you play, you will upgrade your character's level, you can perform "spots" in the match which gives you extra points and so on. And of course, all of your favourite "foreign objects" are there to, ready to be used, tables, chairs, bats and so on.

The Good
This is a fun, old school arcade wrestling game, and I absolutely loved it. I hope that the game makers will continue to support and update the game, as it could quickly reach cult status, especially as you can download other wrestlers created by others. Meaning an endless supply of wrestlers, and whether you are a WWE fan, an Impact Wrestling fan or an AEW fan, you will soon have all your favourite wrestlers in place.

The Bad
The various game modes are a bit too similar, and a career/campaign mode needs to be added. There are a few bugs here and there but nothing too bad.

If you like wrestling games, but want something a bit more fun, then this is the game for you.
I score Arcade Action Wrestling a solid 8/10

14 Sept 2021

PREVIEW: Fling to the Finish on PC (Steam)

Preview by Staff
As always let me start by stating this game is Early Access, so it is not finished, so my opinions are based on that, and not any finished article.

Fling to the Finish is a co-op game, whereby you and a friend race through obstacle courses, the gimmick here is that you are connected to each other via a stretchy rope. Use the rope to your advantage and you will zoom through courses, but whereas the rope can be your greatest advantage, it can also be your biggest hinderance. 

There are over a dozen characters to choose from that fit your mood, lots of levels to complete.

So, the question is, in its early state, is it any good? Well, the answer to that is yes. Ok there are problems, the graphics can be a bit glitchy at times, the online matchmaking isn't the best, and the single player mode can be tricky to get the hang of. But the general idea is a good one, and hopefully as the game makers further develop the game and fix the bugs, the game can only improve.

The game has a frantic feel, which is great, the ball shaped characters are fun, if a tad bland looking at the moment. The leader board is a nice touch, and there is a feeling that you can pass a level quicker, or beat other people's times, so the replay ability is also there.

The Good
I like the cartoonish graphics and soundtrack, the game just feels fun to play, although can be tricky at times.

The Bad
The game is early access, so there will always be bugs and things that can be approved, so keep that in mind if you decide to play it.

The game is fun, even at this early stage, and that can only be a good thing, the potential is there is the game makers listen to the opinions of those who have played it, and try to address issues and improve things.

Preview by Staff

10 Sept 2021

REVIEW: Orbibot on Xbox One

Review by Staff
Recently we seem to have been spoiled with the release of various ball-rolling physics puzzle type games.

The latest to make its way to the mainstream is Orbibot, you control a ball shaped robot, and you have to reach a certain point to complete a level.

Sounds simple right? Wrong! As you play you will have to hit buttons, switch on or off lazers, move barrels or metal balls and open doors to reach the end of the level, which is a teleportation device.

Reach the teleportation device, and you are unsurprisingly teleported to the next level.

So how does the game itself play, well here is the problem, for a physics-based ball rolling game, the physics seem a bit off at times, and the control system can be frustrating to say the least, when precision is needed, this is where the game can fall down. Now maybe this was built into the game on purpose, or maybe not. If the game worked as you would expect it to, then you would fly through the 15 or so levels pretty quickly, a few hours if that and you would be done. Instead, you will find yourself taking much longer to complete the game.

The Good
Everything looks really good. The game is very simple at the start, not a lot of direction needed, it is pretty clear what you need to do, and you just jump straight into it.

The Bad
The control of the ball, and the camera angle, sadly the two main parts of a game like this, and both just let the game down. A few tweaks to both of these would improve the game massively, but it would also perhaps make the game too easy. And 15 levels is not a lot.

A game full of potential, but just missed the mark on some of the most important aspects of what makes a good physics-based ball rolling game.

I score the game a fair 6/10

Review by Staff

Orbibot will be priced for 4.99 $ / € for all platforms, and it will launch on:
SONY America: August 20th
SONY Europe: August 20th
XBOX: August 20th
Nintendo Switch (NA & EU): August 26th
* PS4 and PS5 version will be cross-buy.
* Xbox One and Xbox Series X version will have Smart Delivery.

3 Sept 2021

REVIEW: Rolling Adventure on PC (Steam)

Review by Staff
Rolling Adventure is a game that has been out on Mobile for a while, although a more simplified version. Well now a full-fledged version of the game has been released on Steam. So, what is the game about, well you drive a monster truck, and you have to pass through tracks, sounds pretty simple, well here is the twist, the course is set on a procedurally generated conveyor belt. In other words, if you go to fast you will simply drive off the end and die, go to slow, and you will fall off the end and die.

You play on 30 levels, each level harder than the last. You must drive over obstacles, while collecting the all-important gold Stars, get 3 to "perfect" the level.

The part of the game that really grabs you, is the timing everything takes, you can't just floor it and hope your monster truck will clear everything, you need to time your movements, jumps and turbos, otherwise you might get stuck on an obstacle, which will then eventually leave you falling off the end of the conveyor belt.

As well as stars, you will collect "nuts" to help you unlock achievements.

Rolling Adventure although starting as a simple mobile game, on Steam it really is quite the challenging game. 

The Good
Graphically it is very sharp, the courses are well made, and there is a high level of re-playability, to get all the stars and nuts.

The Bad
Poorly optimized for older computers, which is just laziness, since the game is a small file size, and graphically not that much different to the mobile version. The controls are also not the best. And at roughly £10 it is way overpriced.

A fun idea for a game, it plays well and offers a challenge. There is a demo you can play first; I would advise checking that out first before purchasing. Also you can get the simpler mobile version for free, just search your app store.

I score Rolling Adventure a fair 6/10, Room for improvement.

Review by Staff