Games for when you want to relax

Sometimes all you want to do is relax. Kick back, put your feet up and forget about your troubles. And you know what that’s fine. We all have day’s like that.

It’s just that when I have a day like that I still want to play video games and these are my favourites

Flow. Originally released as a free flash game in 2006 by Jenova Chen to accompany his masters degree . Flow was then reworked and given a full release in 2007 by his development company; thatgamecompany. Flow is a simple game about the Flow of life about starting out as almost nothing. A tiny entity that can be eaten by almost any of the other, slightly bigger entities that inhabit the same space as you, Not enemies but simple beings that happen to live in the same space as you. As you play through the game taking other beings into you as you go through the game you grow ever so larger you become more able to defend yourself, more likely to stay alive. Less likely to be attacked or need to attack and as this happens the game changes, evolves with it and becomes less about survival and moves into a more relaxing experience, a more tranquil experience. The games ”final form” sees it slowly morphing into a meditative experience full of wonderful colours and an incredibly ambient music. It hits a switch somewhere in my brain and I just sink into the flow experience an experience that stays with you long after the game has been completed. link here Welcome to Flow in Games (jenovachen.com)

Seyonara Wild Hearts Now for a game with a little bit more action Seyonara Wild Hearts is a game that will have you running, flying, dancing and even skating through psychedelic pop worlds filled with colours. Bright, neon colours all bursting at the seems to pop out of their world and into yours. Yes Seyonara is a bit similar to an endless runner but, you will forgive it as an intriguing story that is coupled with a fantastic soundtrack that makes you want to see what’s around the next corner making the end of the game come a lot sooner than you expect. Your time will be short, the games only as long as the average music album but it will leave a bubble gum flavour on your tongue that will have you humming the soundtrack long after the credits have rolled.

Available on PS4 and Nintendo Switch

We Love Katamari is probably the most bonkers game on this list. It’s probably the most bonkers game on any list- It’s nuts. Originally released on the PS2 a long time ago. In an era when Vib-Ribbon was king and games like PaRappa the Rapper weren’t seen as strange relics from another time but games people were exited to play. We Love Katamari was something of an oddity even then, for it’s a game all about collecting things and I mean ALL of the things. It was all the fault of a God – isn’t it always! they had accidentally( after a drinking binge) destroyed the universe or something like that. And you playing as his son has to put it all back together – Actually I don’t really think the story counts. Just know that’s it’s as bonkers as the rest of the game and go with it. Soon you will be given your ball. A magic ball to help you on your quest. Your quest to pick up everything. Everything and anything. For example a level could have you starting out with your ball looking quite small, small enough to only pick up the tiniest of objects but as you pick up these objects they won’t be swallowed by the ball but become stuck to it making the ball bigger and as the ball grows larger in size you can pick up bigger things. A levels that starts with you collecting flowers will end with you collecting people, cows and even houses and as you go you can see all of the these different items pocking out of your ball in some sort of random order. If you fancy playing this little game of chaos a remake is out now on the Switch and PS4

Proteus A surrealist exploration game is something you don’t come across everyday but, today is that day and Proteus is that game. There are no goals in this game. The game’s only purpose is for you to wonder. Wonder around this magical island, watching the islands flora and fauna coming to life emitting dynamic shifts in audio as they go all based entirely on where you are, what your surroundings are and what season the game is currently in. it’s a lovely little experience, completion coming in about an hour. Currently available on most platforms

Journey I tried to not make this a thatgamecompany love in. But they make games that are so good, so relaxing and such fun to play I couldn’t leave this one out. Journey is game about discovery, about finding yourself and maybe even saving yourself and a game that I must admit I completely bounced of the first time I played it. I just didn’t get it. It wasn’t until maybe a year later when, on a whim I decided to reinstall it. to see if I could say what all the fuss was about, and I was so glad I did. For this time the game just clicked, it became more than a sand simulator. I suddenly didn’t want to rush to the end. Now I wanted to explore the land to see what was hidden just beneath the surface and there looking around me I stumbled across another play doing the same as me – just stumbling along enjoying their walk across the sand. Soon we walked to one another are separate walks became one, we fell into step. We couldn’t talk to each other. Journey doesn’t allow in-game communication. Until you complete the game you can’t even see the other players name, all it allows is for the player to make a small ”cheep” to get the other players attention but in that cheep we both found a way of connecting of somehow gathering together our shared experience of the game. The end goal became something for a later time what mattered to us was the Journey.

I still don’t know who the other player was and in some strange way I hope I never do. We have had all the time we needed to spend together.

Anything I have missed? I am sure there are loads 🙂

Can’t get a PS5?

Can’t get a PS5? Me neither.

Don’t worry your not the only one. I have spent much more time than I would like to admit trawling websites, hoping to spot one out in the wild or stalking the PS5UK Twitter streams in the hope that I may be one of the very, very few that actually manages to grab one of these new shiny console’s before they are either all snapped up by bots or by those lucky few that just happen be on the website at the right time.

I don’t even know why I want one, I really don’t. Just caught up in the hype. It’s not like I will suddenly overcome my aversion to Dark Souls. I don’t have the capacity to die over and over again, just to learn and be a tiny bit better next time. Plus and this is probably what’s really stopping me is with everything else seemingly released on the PS4 I know I should just wait until the consoles are readily available and there is something I want to play.

So as I given into the fact that I will playing on the PS4 for some time yet, I decided to do an inventory of all the PS4 games that I have played over the last six years and make a note of what I should play and in doing that I had a little run down memory lane. As I looked across old saved files and trophies half forgotten I remembered all the good times I had with the PS4 and remembered some of the more obscure games that had been forgotten, not just by me but maybe the gaming community as well. So I thought as I had the time and a need to do something with my laptop that wasn’t refresh Twitter every few seconds I decided to create a list. A list of five PS4 games that you probably have in your backlog but, for reasons now lost to time, forgotten to play

Some maybe obvious some may make you shake your head but, at least I am not on Twitter 🙂

Mad Max.

You forgot it even released on the PS4 didn’t you? It’s okay, until about six months ago I had forgotten it existed as well – I guess that’s what happens when you release your game on the same day as Metal Gear Solid V: The Forgotten Pain. It is however a solid RPG with decent fight mechanics, excellent driving and an open world that feels somehow alive despite being very, very desolate and you have a pretty decent game. With the added Cherry on the top of this once being a ”free” PS Plus game you to may have this one gathering dust in your digital library

Mad Max the forgotten king of the wasteland

Concrete Genie

Okay, I will forgive you for forgetting about Mad MAX an obscure title from a few years ago. The next title on my list; the wonderful Concrete Genie should not be such a blast from the past as it is currently one of the ”free” titles available this month with PS Plus subscription and a good game it is. It has been in my ”about to buy” list more times than I care to remember and yet despite numerous good reviews, I just didn’t get round to picking it up. Yet I am more than happy to be playing it now. Its a wonderful contrast to the grey, overcast days we are currently experiencing here in the UK, a colourful bolt of light in our grey days. It’s a game where all you do is create, to bring back to life an old derelict shipping village with the help of genies you create using the PS4 as a magical paint brush. It’s a lovely tonic for the soul, With no death, no fighting and nothing in the way of stress.

Firewall Zero Hour

Can you sense a pattern emerging with my picks? Yes you guessed it this is another game that was once, back in years past available through PS Plus. Don’t worry though as Firewall Zero Hour is completely different from the other two. This is a PSVR game. Don’t groan. It’s really good. I promise. If your into team communication and like shouting out strange army words like ”spector inbound” and are not surprised when random strangers shout out ”’GO, GO, GO ”for the 27th time in row then this is a game for you. The only caveats to enjoying it are A; having a PSVR headset and B; Having the Aim controller. This game was made for the Aim controller in mind and it really shows, the level of immersion is simply stunning it will have you thinking your in the military in a matter of minutes.

Abzu

The next game up on our list isn’t a shooter, doesn’t have you driving through a wasteland fighting to survive or even have you trying to reconnect with your community. It also has not been ( as far as I know) ever appeared on PS Plus but it is a completely delightful and utterly beautiful experience. Abzu is a game created by one of the creators behind the excellent Journey and if you have played that then you will know what kind of game this game is . For this is a game about starting again. About tranquillity, about peace. Maybe even the meaning of existence. Well at least that’s my take on it, on what I make of the story. The game world has been overpopulated to the point of extinction and that is exactly what has happened. Most things on what I think is Earth have vanished. You are a part of the last few reaming people left on Earth and your task is to see, what’s in the sea. A Sea that as first, is quiet, with only a few shoal’s of fish swimming here and there but as you progress through the game you are able to unlock various different species of fish (and some mammals) and as these new species are added to the game they add an extra array of colour and variety to the levels that truly has to be seen to be believed. A bit of sunshine on a grey day

The Order 1886

The most controversial game on this list by a long way. I don’t blame you for not playing it. It is a wildly indifferent thing, a deeply conflicted thing. The negatives are many it has; dodgy AI, indifferent character controls, a beautiful look but don’t touch world, sluggish pacing and too many other negatives to name, but it has some positives as well; it is utterly gorgeous to look at, a story that’s good when it get’s going, characters that are for the most part well rounded and cut scenes that are a thing to behold, they really are a thing of beauty. Yes the gun-play maybe be dodgy and the game may finish just as you start to get invested in it but, I left wanting more. I wanted the story to continue and that is why it’s in this list, plus it’s got werewolves, who doesn’t love a werewolf story?

Any on this list take your fancy? Any recomendations you can give to me?

Let me know in the comments below

P.S I am not actually allowed to play Firewall anymore. I live in a flat and apparently my neighbours don’t like it when a grown man screams out” Alpha, Tango, Charlie. GO. GO GO” at four in the morning

P.P.S Haven’t actually completed Concrete Genie yet, so if the cute little Genie creatures turn out to be a murderous horde conjured up from another dimension – you have been warned 🙂

Free PS4 game now available

Dear reader, yes, you read that correctly. No need to do a double-take.

the developers of We Where Here, Total Mayhem Games have just popped up on the PlayStation blog to say that the first chapter of their release is ready now and its free to download.

It looks the first chapter has been released today, for free with the next two chapters releasing on the 23rd of February ( which I don’t think are free)

It’s free but will you want to play it?

It seems to be a cooperative first-puzzle adventure where your goal is to escape and all you and you cooperative partner have to aid you is a pair of walkie-talkies and you and your partner will be challenged to work on the same wavelength to escape

from what I have read about the game, it sounds really interesting and as it’s free I am sure I will give it ago. The only problem I can see is that it is only playable online with a co-op partner. That sucks but, I am sure I can find someone to help me out.

A Goldeneye remake?

Maybe. Just maybe. If we all close eyes and think really nice thoughts. We may, if we are really lucky. Get A remake of the N64 classic Goldeneye

I know it’s fanciful

I know it’s probably not going to happen. I’m trying to not get my hopes up. I know that even though Rare made the game, Nintendo own the rights to Goldeneye and they don’t seem very interested in a remake. Which is a shame.

And yet somehow. Somewhere deep in my very being I think that it might, could be possible. I don’y know why. I have no proof , it’s coming. Nothing confirmed or even rummoured.

It’s just that after seeing the footage of the now abandoned remake, I can’t stop thinking how good a remake would look on current-gen consoles. The machine guns sparking to life as bullets spill from their guns. The remake of all the faces, removing all the late 90’s facial animations and replacing them with current-gen tech. Just imagine the smile on the face of Jaws as his teeth glitter in the sunlight, It makes me smile just to think of it.

Plus. Just imagine the Multiplayer? One of the multiplayer games of it’s or any other generation. A true spectacle. A four player multi-player game that was perfect in it’s inception (no odd job)a true game of cat and mouse like cunning. With modes that could last hours of minutes a true test of skill (and luck). Just imagine it with todays technology. New game modes added regularly could make this a game we never stop playing. One that could go on for years, creating new stories, new memories for years to come.

GoldenEye 007 XBLA (2007) – Longplay – YouTube

Please see the video of the cancelled version above

Spider-Man: Miles Morales

Dear Reader,

Spider-Man: Miles Morales, is a game about becoming a hero, not being a hero, working your way up to it. Learning as you swing, it’s about finding your feet, finding your self but also loosing people along the way, It’s a game about finding trust in yourself along with trusting other people.

So with that little lot out of the way let me try and explain why I think Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Is a great Spider-Man game, Beware spoilers ahead.

Story:

The story is a very, very obvious too anyone with even a passing interest in previous Spider-Man stories. Its a corny tale, of friendship and family mixed in with a high-stakes game of city wide destruction. A perfect Saturday morning Spidey cartoon, given enough life to make you care about the main players in the campaign without ever really feeling ”padded out” or stretched. Plus you can even dip straight into this, if you haven’t had a chance to play the original game as there is a handy story re-cap available from the start screen

Gameplay:

I can’t really credit Spider-Man any higher than say the game is a joy to play. Of course your playing Miles Morales in this game not the Peter Parker of the original game and it shows in everything from Miles does from swinging around the city, much less confidently than the older Spider- Man to the way Miles fights through out the game. His moves just don’t feel as fluid as the original’s and is a little disconcerting , when you first get to control Miles through the city, his jerking awkward style is just so different from the original Spider-Man game and took me a few minutes to really get the hang off. I was expecting him to control as well as my Peter Parker had done at the end of his game, but once I remembered that Peter had, had to learn all the techniques had during his adventure and it was unfair of me to expect a new character and one literally learning on the job to be as good as someone who had spent literal years practising their art I relaxed and started to enjoy this new style, it looks and feels dangerous at first. I was really worried for the safety of the both of us a I careered into building after building. Luckily neither of us were in any real danger. Soon I was diving from the highest of highest, tricking my way down again. A big smile on my face .It’s safe to say that he fights much better than he at first swings. He’s confident when he goes into a battle, initially with fists, feet and web but, soon his arsenal grows into powers that include (spoilers) Mile’s very own Spider power the power to not only use Venom a sort of Electric force power that charges through his body giving you the power to smash players up into the air or just crash into a powerful or group of enemies at once, dealing a large portion of damage to the group. These powers are supplemented with the ability to absorb the power of generators leading to some spectacular shots of Miles releasing this energy as it charges through him. This is all sublimated by another power, which I used through most of my time playing this game. As Miles discovers this power during a pivotal moment in the story. I won’t spoil it here. It is safe to say that it got me through many tuff spots. With all this power it is safe to say that by the time the credit’s roll your Spider-Man will be a Spider-Ninja a one man army ready to tackle what ever threatens him.

Open World:

It is safe to say that the open world aspect of this game is most people’s major criticism of the game. It is also safe to say that it is not one of mine. Yes, you could complete the main game in a few hours, but that isn’t what this game is all about. Sure the main story is fun but, where the main action is, is the side-quests. These side quests really help flesh out the game. The bring life to characters that would otherwise be quite one-dimensional and that is before the side missions on the Spider-Man app are put into the picture. These missions add another layer of complexity to the title as you swing from one criminal outbreak to the next, these small, but varied little quests really help bring life to the city itself and as the missions can be re-played again and again with added incentives such as knocking a few enemies off a roof or completing a combo with a certain number of hits, you will come back to them again and again trying out new strategies or practicing new skills learnt through completing the various training missions dotted about the city scape and if you couple all of that with the added mission you get only after the main story has been completed, you find a game that’s bigger than the sum of it’s parts. Yes the main story is small and fairly quick to finish but, by doing just that you miss out on what really brings the city and it’s people to life. To really feel like the new hero on the block finish as many missions as you can. It easily add’s another five or six hours to the game.

Graphics

A game’s graphics are the last part of any game to talk about. Who cares if the game is nothing but a shiny picture. Stunning too look at but, not devoid of any game play. I am happy to say that Spider-Man: Miles Morales, is a very pretty picture to look at a stunning series of set-pieces await your eyes even if, like me you are playing the game on a PS4. Yes the game may have been created for the PS5 but, it still looks absolutely stunning on the PS4. from sunsets across Manhattan, with the sun setting just out to see or the incredible light show whenever you get to unleash a venom power, the game is stunning a technical marvel. One that had me stopping and staring in wonder more than once.

If you play it. Watch out for the extra credit seen once the credits roll. There is more to come.

The gaming juggle. Can you juggle your backlog?

Friends you find me in a difficult spot.

Actually that’s not quite true, it’s more like of a bit of a pickle. Yes that’s it, I am in a bit of a pickle and one entirely of my own making.

Let me tell you how it started. It was a cold day in December and, as usual during this time of the year, with the nights drawing in and days getting colder. I was sitting at home perusing various video game websites and seeing which games the various sites had listed as their personal games of the year. This is something I do every year because, A I like to read good things about games the games I bought during the year and B I like to see if there is anything good that I may have missed

Usually I haven’t missed that many games for the various consoles I am lucky to own and can normally scroll down the list, with a growing sense of accomplishment as I realise that I have played many of the games that had interested me during the year but, for some reason, I seemed to have missed out on a whole load of games this year.

Personally I blame The Last of Us 2. It’s a game I absolutely love but something I found incredibly hard to move on from. So from June until a few weeks ago, when I finally got over my funk and got back into my games I have already got a bit of a chunky backlog. You see I may not have been playing anything apart from a few things I had bounced off but I had still been buying games and coupled with a Christmas where I was lucky enough to get the new Spider-Man, Assassin’s Creed and Star Wars VR games I suddenly had a bit of a backlog of things I wanted to play and now you fund me trying to juggle all the new games I am lucky enough to have.

So that’s where you find me today wallowing in a problem that isn’t a problem at all. wondering just how to find time to play all the games that need to be played. I feel like a kid trying to give juggle his play time with his favourite toys and give equal play time too each.

It’s a nice problem to have.

How do you deal with your backlog?

Star Wars: Squadrons. Please be good. Please

Star Wars: Squadrons the imminent release by EA Motive is carrying a lot of pressure on it’s shoulders, If ever there was a game that needed to go right out of the gate. It’s this one. After a few failed attempts with the Star Wars licence and a couple of successes EA really needs this game to work and really needs it to be a hit with fans alike.

You could even argue that EA would prefer a critical hit to a commercial successes. Of course the publisher will want both but, if push came to shove I think EA would take the critical acclaim first and foremost and this is because the game is carrying the hopes and dreams of so many different people. The bases it touches are all different and unique and a hit with any of the many different demographics could prove crucial to not only EA’s long term success but also how Disney view the licencing agreement of one of the most lucrative licensing deals in the world. The licence to make future Star Wars games.

I mean just look at the groups this game will be most heavily marketed too

1 Gamers. Probably the group EA is targeting the most. After all this is a game! There also the group that EA will have to handle with kid gloves as EA does not have the best reputation in the game industry. With the vocal minority in the gaming community constantly berating EA as a terrible place to work that wants profit over innovation and is happy to re-skin a sports title each year and just reap in the rewards. This is EA’s big shot. Plus the fact the the game is developed by EA Motive and not the main arm of EA could help swing some of the less critical parts of the internet in their favour

2 VR Okay bear with me. I know I just listed gamers as my number 1 pick but, I am going to cheat a little and add a section in for VR gamers. After all Star Wars: Squadrons is seen as something of a holy grail amongst VR gamers and VR enthusiast alike. I mean doesn’t want to fly a space ship through space dodging giant space boulders and laser fire left and right. It’s everyone’s space fantasy come true to life and could be utterly breath taking in VR. There is a chance the immersion could be truly incredible and could be the game that does for VR what Sonic and Mario did for home consoles all those years ago. Be a game that defies the term ”it’s only a game” and lives outside of that shell a game description. It could ne something that everybody wants to play and with it looking incredible outside of VR we won’t have to repeat the old line ” you have to see it in VR” People will want to pick it up for themselves

3 The Children. Think of the children EA. The Star Wars franchise must be one of the easiest thing to sell. Stick a S tar Wars logo on anything from a chocolate bar to a stuffed toy and it’s bound to sell more units. We all know that Star Wars: Squadron is game that will sell well with children from kids badgering their parents to Grand Parents picking it up at Christmas just because it has a recognizable logo on the box – basically it’s going to sell. The problem here is that if it’s bad and I mean really, really bad this could hurt EA going into the future. After all who wants to buy anything from a company that made a bad game about flying a space ship in the Star Wars universe? I mean how can you get that wrong. Its just sheer wish fulfilment

So there you have it. There you have my three ( very long winded) reasons why I hope Star Wars: Squadrons won’t suck.

I am now going to sit here. Fingers crossed until the first reviews are out

Street’s of Rage 4

The 90’s are back baby!

sorry what I meant to say is.

It’s the return of Street’s of Rage the fourth in the long running series of side-scrolling beat em up brawlers and it is wonderful. A real passion project from developers DOTEMU and Sega is a real labour of love. A masterpiece of the highest order a real bone-crunching, table smashing, world saving tour de force with a soundtrack to match

Its safe to say that I love the game and let me try and break down some of the reasons why:

  1. The first and probably most important thing for me is that it takes me way back to 1992 yes, all the way back then. A time when you sat huddled around your CRT television and you pickled your side and stuck with it. You were team Sega or team Nintendo and that was it. A time when I was nothing but a mere slip of a gamer. A gamer that wanted nothing more than to beat up a few goons, save the world and ”accidently” hit whomever was playing as the second character a few too many times with a poorly aimed punch or special move. I had a great time doing it and I’m still not sorry.
  2. It’s great to play. There have been many games that I have tried to pull of the way it felt to play a Streets of Rage game and many have failed. Streets of Rage 4 succeeds and then some. The fighting feels right. With a weight and a force behind the attacks that feels instant and gratifying. You can have fun just button-mashing your way through levels or take your time and really get to know the combo’s. For fans of the series and genre. It hit’s every nail on the head
  3. It’s very, very pretty. Very pretty. Everything in the game is hand drawn and it looks it. Rage 4 is simply one of the best looking brawlers on any system. The character models look great standing still but in motion is where they really shine. Be it Axel doing his signature ”Grand Upper” move the devastating upper cut of destruction or new character Floyd and his robotic arms of Chaos, each character models sings. It’s a game so beautiful to look at the game play could be taken right of the pages of a comic book or be turned into a cartoon. It’s a pleasing delight. A feast for the eyeballs.
  4. It sticks to what it does best. Fans of Streets of Rage have come back to the series for one reason and one reason only. To fight BAD GUYS. This is what made the Streets of Rage series so fun to start with and it’s good to see the series has not strayed from that path. There is absolutely no fluff in the game. No way to make your character incrementally stronger, no character buffs, no changes of clothes and absolutely no micro transactions. It’s a game that sticks to what it does best and is all the better for it.
  5. The Soundtrack. Just as in the original trilogy I found myself bopping away to the sounds of this game. I am even listening to the soundtrack as I type this page out! It’s great. I don’t think there is anything on there to quite beat Yuzo Koshiro’s legendary ( in my opinion) Go Straight but it’s very good. It had my head bopping and feet tapping.
  6. Its got multiplayer. Yes 4 player co-op is here. Yes more than one player in a Rage game is hectic. It’s chaotic as each player battles over dropped items, players rushing forward to pick up health items. Who knew food left outside was good for you! Of course you don’t want to be the player that’s always rushing forward trying to engage the next wave of enemies before your team mates have finished of the current lot but, believe me when I say that there is always some who seeks the madness of chaos the never ending charge into battle. The joyful smile on their mad face as their team mates shout at them again to stop it.
  7. Of course if your multiplayer mates our a bunch of sadistic crazy people we know have a one on one brawler Street Fighter style for you to settle your differences. Its new to me I don’t remember it being in the original games but, here it is. Ready for you to fight with your friends
  8. The secrets. Secret’s always give a game a bit more replay ability and Streets of Rage is no different in wanting it’s players to return for another run to save the city, so there are secrets dotted through out the game. Most of these secrets tend to be in the form of retro 16 BIT Levels! That really take you back to the era and they even come with a 16 bit CRT level filter. Great fun to play and great fun to find.

There we have it 8 reasons why I think, if you are a fan of the genre and Streets of Rage in particular Streets of Rage 4 is an absolute must-play a masterpiece of a title. I am not sure if it dethrones my personal king of the genre, the near perfect Streets of Rage 2 but that could, just be the rose-coloured spectacles talking.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did

The Last of Us Part II

I have a question for you, how can something so cruel, unforgiving heartbreakingly bleak and downright disturbing, be so utterly brilliant?

I don’t know how Naughty Dog have done it

Yet somehow they have. The Last of Us was my favourite game from the PlayStation 3 era and The Last of Us Part 2 is my game of the PlayStation 4 era . It is an utter masterpiece filled with three dimensional characters you can really find yourself caring for. The level are based on the semi-open world formula and I think this really helps the game as I don’t think the game could exist as well if it were open world . The Last of Us 2’s story needs to be constantly moving to keep the player involved in the story, constant side quests, probably involving too many fetch quests would have slowed the game down to a crawl, loosing its much needed momentum and affecting the real impact of the story. The semi open world levels are just big enough to give the player a choice of options in how to deal with any given situation, yes many of those situations involve fights with hostile enemies and options are open to the player in how they want to deal with these situations. but I think the best moments in the levels are when the player’s left alone in the world to pick over the bones of a city that has fallen apart, rotten and is in the midst of being forgotten. This is a world filled with the remanence of an old world, a world that is slowly being grown over and reclaimed by nature and I think whilst taking your time to go through each level slowly you can really feel the impact this has on the characters as they try to forget their past and the lives they once lived and try to carve out a new life for themselves in this world knowing that death could only be minutes away.

Does it help that its beautiful ?

It has to be in my opinion the best looking game on the console a technical achievement of the highest order. A masterpiece that game companies will be trying to get close too late into the next console’s life span. It is simply stunning to look at. If your a fan of the photo mode be prepared to spend hours working on your perfect shot as everything in the game looks beautiful. The rain makes you feel cold, the sun makes you reach out and grab that screen and the shots of the moon will have you worrying that you have some how stumbled into ancient Transylvania, with Dracula lurking around the next corner. Its a beauty to be hold. Once as I controlled Ellie as she walked through a corn field, I found myself wondering how the corn felt as her hands brushed across it – something I have never even considered before in a video game. Naughty Dog have made everything in the game look alive or in some cases very, very dead. Everything feels vital to the world and begs for you to interact with to see what the next corner has to offer.

It is because it’s filled with surprises? (spoilers)

In a world where anything could happen from a firefight with an troupe of cultists, to an unscheduled fight with a group of the infected as you were just looking for supplies. Things happen that you don’t expect and that happens quite a lot. Its a game that keeps you on your toes and it’s all the better for it.

It’s very Bleak

This isn’t so much a positive as just something the game does so well. The games world is dark and desolate place. A world that has been overrun with decay and hasn’t yet decided how to fight back. Sure there are moments of joy and happiness but these rare moments of joy have to be earned and enjoyed in the small window of time they exist in. The world of the Last of Us is ever changing and it is rarely changing for the better

The characters?

You would expect everybody you meet in the game to be full of dread, overcome with fears of death and what will become of them after that – they really don’t want to be bitten. But the characters seem to, for the most part be able to move on, push past the trauma and lead somewhat normal lives in this chaotic jungle. They may not be around for ever but they, for the most part seem to want to make the most of life while they can still cling to it.

This all seems to to add up to one of the complete gaming packages I have ever had the pleasure to play. Yes it may be bleak and left me feeling pretty crappy for a few hours after I finished but, I still cherish the time I spent with it. It’s almost the complete game and one I think most people will love.

How did you find it?

Donut County

The gaming backlog. Sometimes it, can be a beast a cruel mistress, as you plunge deep into its darkest corners you will come across a game that you should never have bought in the first place, a game so different to your usual tastes the fact is you can’t even remember why you did buy it in the first place. No, no sale price is ever lower enough for some of the games that litter the bottom of my pile of shame.

However, sometimes you, the trepid explorer are rewarded, the mistress of the backlog looks kindly upon you, digging as you are among the debris and detritus of your passed gaming fascinations and your enquiring hands are rewarded with a little nugget of gaming gold and that my friends is how I stumbled across the wonderfully strange Donut County

What brought this game to attention originally was it strange cartoonish art style and it’s even wackier soundtrack, coupled with the fact that it was on sale ( I am a sucker for a sale) and on the Nintendo Switch. A console I am almost always about to play before, something else invariably pops up. I bought the game with all of the best of intentions and yet it still sat on my Nintendo Switch un-played and unloved for the next six months. In fact I forgot I had it until my wife wanted to use the PlayStation to watch Netflix and kicked me unceremoniously out of the living room and with my house only containing the one TV and me still being in a gaming mood, I decided to give the Switch some much needed love and attention ( the battery on these things never seems to die) and so I turned on the console, flipped through the few games I have for it and decided on a quick game of:

Donut County

It’s a strange old beast this Donut County, it is, I guess a puzzle game, a puzzle game where you play as a hole, Yep a tiny little hole. A hole that get’s bigger as you manage to get ever larger items to fall into it. You start of maybe being able to get a cone to fall into your hole but, as you progress your hole with become ever larger with it being so big as to enable you to get entire houses to fall into you. Its an interesting mix of very tiny, puzzle scenarios. Puzzles that wouldn’t give a very young child too much of a headache but, with some added elements like being able to set your hole on fire or being able to hold water in the hole without it falling through and you will see that this is quite a clever little puzzle game, With no time limits and no death. Just remember that the hole must be fed, always think about how to get everything on screen into the hole and you will be fine

it has a story, one that I won’t go into much here as I think it would run into deep spoilers here. So let me just say that it works fine and keeps you involved in the game for the few hours of its run time

The soundtrack is brilliant. I really like it but, it won’t be for everyone. Donut County is a game full of charm and wants to make you smile. If that’s not the mood your in right now, that’s okay. Come back to it. I think the silliness of it’s ideas, the cartoonish presentation and very short run time. The hole game can be finished in a few hours are a bonus. It’s a great game and one I really enjoyed spending time with and I know my Switch loved the attention as well.

Thanks for reading