Platinum Games are best-in-business at crafting OTT brawlers and intense hack & slash action games, and Revengeance is yet more proof of their absolute mastery in the field. Despite feeling like a Metal Gear game, it's stuffed with outrageous combat, huge bosses, robot chainsaw wolves and more juicy cyborg ultraviolence than you can shake an HF Blade at. £9.99 is a steal. Thanks to jaystan @ HUKD!
Platforms: PC | PS4 | Wii U | Xbox 360 | Xbox One (reviewed, £11.99)
Developer: DrinkBox Studios
'MetroidVania' platformers may be as ancient as Mother Brain and wall chickens, but they still pull in the punters. From Shadow Complex to Dust: An Elysian Tail and Strider, there's nothing more satisfying than constantly earning new skills and abilities while exploring brilliantly-designed levels, then eventually backtracking to beat challenges and humiliate enemies that once lorded it over us. Guacamelee! proved to be a superb example of the genre back when it released as a PSN exclusive last year, offering all the bells and whistles we expect, only with a heaped serving of spicy Mexican flavour to punch things up.
Indeed, punching things up was the aim of the game, only our newfound identity as a superpowered Luchador also let us throw down on Day Of The Dead-themed skeletal hordes with wrestling moves, smash our way through Aztec temples and occasionally turn into a chicken for the sheer merry heck of it. Pollo power!
Fifteen months later and the Super Turbo Championship Edition has arrived on new-gen consoles, Wii U, PC and Xbox 360, boasting updated visuals, new content and all the previously-released DLC. You could say that it's the whole enchilada. Since it's currently free for Xbox One owners and available as a free upgrade for PS4 gamers who picked up the original, it's high time we gave this fierce fiesta our full attention.Click here to read more...
Platforms: 3DS | PS3 | PS Vita | Wii U (reviewed)
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Cards on the table: I love One Piece. Granted, there's a world of deeper, more exciting and incredibly tedious anime/manga franchises out there, but for me there's nothing quite like watching madcap super-powered pirates fighting each other, engaging in hilarious banter, learning intense lessons about comradeship and doing almost no actual piracy whatsoever.
It's the sweet spot of irrepressible humour, great characters, shapeshifting reindeer, stretchy protagonists, violin-playing skeleton musicians and swordsmen so badass they hold a third blade in their teeth. And, as such, perfect videogame material. Even the incredibly inconsistent Omega Force managed to make an excellent Dynasty Warriors spin-off in One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2, but Gabarion have gone one step further by basing their latest tie-in on something more profound.
Namely Monster Hunter. It's a concoction that shouldn't work, yet in practice makes for one of the best anime tie-ins ever developed: a gorgeous, enormous and surprisingly compelling game that lasts for hours on end.
Though, as I made sure to mention in the very first sentence of this review, I'm a fan myself. Bear that in mind, won't you?Click here to read more...
Publisher: Bandai Namco
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. That's fine. It's not supposed to, unless you happen to be a die-hard British fan of Hirohiko Araki's superb but cruelly under-localised manga.
Are you both sitting comfortably? Good, because this game is very much directed at you. CyberConnect2 are no stranger to decent-but-not-exactly-brilliant licensed games, and All Star Battle is one of their most ambitious yet: a playable journey through the entire canon with loads of playable characters, sweet visuals and unbridled personality.
For everyone else, All Star Battle is a slightly stiff fighting game in which you can defeat your enemy with a thousand baseballs and ride a horse around the arena. Or summon robotic bees and deadly bubbles mid-battle. Making sense is for chumps.Click here to read more...
The Wonderful 101 is one of the best games on Wii U, and one of the most supremely innovative brawlers you'll ever play. Platinum Games have done it again, creating a truly masterful beat'em up that lets you control a whole army of heroes in enormous rumbles, making the most of the GamePad as you do so. A lofty skill ceiling ensures that you'll be playing it for ages. If you're in the market, Argos are selling for £22.49 on their eBay outlet, which becomes £19.62 when you use voucher code CGAMES.
It's part of the Mario Kart 8 promotion, but frankly I'd buy The Wonderful 101 in a deal and save more money on a Nintendo first-party exclusive. Thanks to Jas10 @ HUKD!
If you're a fan of Naruto Shippuden and didn't buy Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, the Full Burst Edition will suit you down to the ground. It's just like the anime: amazing fight scenes sandwiched between ten billion hours of tedious angsty exposition delivered by uneven inconsistently-written characters. Which sounds terrible, yet somehow the series works and so does the game to some degree. £9.99 is a steal, so long as you're squarely in the target audience. Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII @ HUKD!
Developer: Souvenir Circ.
Publisher/Localisation: Nyu Media
Publishers can get away with shovelling all manner of atrocious crap onto Steam these days, but Nyu Media are made of sterner stuff. The localisation maestros could have easily pushed doujin brawler Croixleur straight onto the store following a successful Greenlight campaign, but decided to port over a brand new edition stuffed with big improvements, more features and extra content instead. They even pulled an all-nighter fixing an oversight I tweeted about, because they're lovely like that.
Which is a good thing too, because the original Croixleur was a load of old cobblers. Cheap and cheerful fun for a few minutes, but quickly becoming crushingly tedious thanks to a tiny variety of enemies, it never matched up to the likes of Fairy Bloom Freesia, Alltynex, Gigantic Army and all the rest of Nyu's localised lineup.
Everything is noticeably tweaked up and polished now, and there's more of it too, from a whole new character with a unique storyline to crunchy new music, challenges and more. Unfortunately Souvenir Circ wasn't able add more enemies, the biggest flaw that dragged down the original in the first place. So the million Yen question is whether Croixleur Sigma can distract us from its half-dozen palette-swapped foes with all the new bells and whistles.
Well... yes, it can. At least for long enough to earn its £5.99 if you're a fan of hacking, slashing and Japanese indie gaming.Click here to read more...
Publisher: Marvelous AQL Europe | Zen United
At face value, Senran Kagura Burst is essentially a 3D boob delivery system.
Legend has it that game director Kenichiro Takaki only needed thirty seconds to decide what gamers secretly wanted to see on the 3DS' stereoscopic top screen. Jiggling breasts. Thus Senran Kagura was born, a franchise designed to relay cleavage from the art designers' mucky minds to our eyeballs as efficiently as possible. The story revolves around a team of ninjas-in-training who conveniently also happen to be schoolgirls, sporting implausibly ample bosoms, with a penchant for flashing their underwear and eating enormous California Rolls in the most unnecessarily provocative ways possible. More cheeky, tame and cringeworthy than degrading, Takaki might as well have called it Carry On Shinobi. I genuinely expected Kenneth Williams to make a cameo ("ooh, Matron-san!").
As you'd expect, Senran Kagura Burst has attracted a fair amount of flack from pundits convinced that it actively harms the videogame industry, while import fans flock to the defence. It's easy to appreciate both sides of the debate, and I'll personally weigh in later on, but first we need to discuss something rather more important.
See, all the heaving lady lumps disguise a surprisingly capable handheld brawler built on a bouncy, outstanding combat system. Though perhaps I could have phrased that better.Click here to read more...
I've personally never had trouble with Play-Asia, but have heard a few horror stories. Note that you'll get a US import, which doesn't matter since the PS3 isn't region-locked. Thanks to dredg @ HUKD!
One for the anime fans, but an absolute blast nonetheless. Thanks to iamthebatman01 @ HUKD!
Devil May Cry IV | Green Man Gaming | £1.00 (save plenty)
Voucher Code: GMG20-IWGQX-41IS1
Deal lasts until 17:00 GMT. You'll get a Steam code. Thanks to ALW4RD1 @ HUKD!
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Developing a Dynasty Warriors anime tie-in is a little like baking using one of those ready made kits. The simple yet empowering Dynasty Warriors ingredients come pre-mixed, so all Omega Force needs to do is sprinkle on some flavour from a beloved cult anime franchise, pour into a colourful cel-shaded mold and throw into the oven. It's foolproof, meaning that the end result should be delicious every time. Unfortunately, as we've often discovered, it's just as likely to be downright inedible... if not execrable poison.
Fist Of The North Star: Ken's Rage 2 was so atrocious that I actively encouraged potential consumers to watch an imported box set while pounding their knuckles to rags with a ball-peen hammer instead. To use my earlier analogy, it resembled a half-baked Arctic roll stuffed with human sewage rather than vanilla ice cream. There was no excuse for such a shoddy waste of a classic license.
Luckily, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 finally washes that sour taste from our mouths. It's an enormous tasty gateaux, perhaps a little stodgy in parts, but covered with colourful icing and packed with varied chunky chips that makes each bite taste sweeter than the last. Before I get sidetracked and run down to my local bakery, let's make one thing clear: Omega Force have more than redeemed themselves with a tie-in that One Piece deserves.
Plus, you get to take the field as an afro-sporting skeleton rock star and kill legions of Marines with mid-air guitar solos. Which is nice.Click here to read more...
Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
Publisher: Deep Silver
Killer Is Dead hits our retinas like a neon Picasso wrapped around the business end of a sledgehammer. No-one can accuse Goichi "Suda51" Suda of being anything less than a recklessly imaginative artist, and here he's painted what is quite possibly the most gorgeous ultraviolent brawler on the market. Exquisite cel-shaded visuals gel perfectly with insane themes and bizarre distractions, not limited to chasing a tiger-riding crime boss on a motorcycle and seducing nubile débutantes in 'Gigolo Missions.' While jazz music plays in the background. On the moon.
Sometimes, however, mediocre games can sneak past undercooked mechanics and half-baked ideas behind sensational visuals. I could certainly name one or two. It's all too easy for games to trick us into believing that retinal stimulation is the same as genuine innovation, so we were delighted to discover that we were given nearly a whole month to see past the stunning good looks.
Killer Is Dead is not one of those games. Suda51's latest effort harks back to the likes of Killer7 and No More Heroes, delivering both sensational style and undeniable substance.
Click here to read more...
Platform: Wii U
Developer: Platinum Games
Platinum Games are adored for their uninhibited approach to videogame development, but The Wonderful 101 goes above and beyond anything we've yet seen from the veteran Japanese studio. This is Platinum at their most creative and downright reckless, a violently colourful jumble of unconstrained gameplay concepts and bizarre ideas crammed onto Nintendo's ailing console. It's a hectic brawler, but instead of a single character, you'll simultaneously control an army of heroes in an amorphous mass, often by doodling shapes on the GamePad screen with a fingertip. Regular attacks go hand-in-hand with ridiculous morphing insanity as your entire team becomes a fist, hang-glider or even delicious pudding to suit the situation. Hideki Kamiya's latest project takes inspiration from Viewtiful Joe, Pikmin, Okami, Bayonetta, Power Rangers and Cannon Fodder, yet feels absolutely nothing like any of them.
In fact, there's never been anything remotely like The Wonderful 101, and as with any mad experiment there are plenty of kinks in the formula. Platinum threw so many gameplay elements and concepts at the Wii U that not all of them could possibly stick, while there will never be a camera capable of keeping this lunacy in-shot. At its worst, The Wonderful 101 is nothing less than total chaos.
Once you're skilled and savvy enough to bring a little order to this chaos, however, you'll discover one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences of the year.
Click here to read more...
Killer Is Dead releases next Friday in Europe, so rather than vainly trying to describe it, I'll let these screenshots do the talking. Goichi Suda's latest brawler is sensationally stylish, and frankly makes most other games look like wallpaper paste.
We'll have an exhaustive review for you on Tuesday (the American release date), but before you start to worry, review copies were dispatched the best part of a month ago. Deep Silver have nothing to hide, rather they want to make sure that coverage doesn't get swallowed up by Gamescom 2013.Click here to read more...
Platform: Wii U (eShop, £13.49)
On paper, Pokemon Rumble U is not the smartest of bargains. Your paltry £13.49 unlocks what is perhaps the most simplistic brawler ever created: a selection of tiny arenas populated by tinker toy battlers with - at most - two usable abilities apiece. The Pokemon Rumble franchise has never been known for its depth or storytelling, but the Wii U's debut title is pared-back and flimsy even when compared to Pokemon Rumble Blast, removing the last vestiges of its adventure gameplay and exploration.
It's tempting to ignore Pokemon Rumble U out of hand, then, but I'm delighted to report that there are a couple of things going for it. First of all, it's the flagship title for the Wii U's NFC capabilities, allowing players to transport a range of toy tie-ins directly into the experience by simply placing them on the GamePad. Though Skylanders and Disney Infinity aren't exactly quaking in their boxes, there's clearly plenty of mileage in the Wii U's potential for supporting trans-media experiences without extra peripherals.
The second point, however, is much more important. When all's said and done, Pokemon Rumble U is... fun. Seriously, stupidly fun.Click here to read more...
Vanillaware-developed brawler Dragon's Crown is coming to Europe in two months' time, NIS America confirms today. The gorgeous PS3 and Vita exclusive met with massive critical success when it released earlier last month, despite obnoxious fans crushing the few critics who dared to speak out against its somewhat controversial art design and portrayal of female characters. Gameplay is utterly exquisite by all accounts.
Well, we'll find out on October 11th. An exclusive art book will serve as a pre-order bonus from participating retailers.
This week's XBLA Summer Of Arcade release is a far cry from the soulful heartfelt Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons, in that it's all about hard-hitting, hard-rocking, hard-fighting brawler action. Since Charlie Murder is the latest title from James Silva, who brought us the utterly superb Dishwasher series, it's going to be raw and raucous.Click here to read more...