April 20, 2024

Greg Hicks’ Choices

Where to begin with this one? I haven’t been keeping up with my kart racers in a while, nor do I collect Hot Wheels outside of the few cars I had as a kid. So why do I love it? Well, because Milestone have taken their expertise in making realistic racers and made… a realistic toy racer. The car models are incredible, as are the tracks. It invokes that childish glee of racing a car shaped like a velociraptor through loop the loops around the dining room table.

Yet it’s not just the visual appeal that makes Hot Wheels Unleashed great. The actual racing itself is a blast. No weapons, just boosting and drifting like the old days. It does have a bitch of a curve at times, where some races will catch you off guard. There is a fair bit of rubber banding though, which can really put a pisser on a race when you think you’re miles ahead.

Small niggles aside, this is what you want from a racer. It does suck that it’s succumbed to the whole season pass/buy more cars thing, but the main game itself is more than enough to gorge into.

Short and sweet recommendation here: it’s basically Snake, from the old Nokia phones, with cars. At least, that’s how it begins. But then you throw in challenges, like spelling out CARAVAN with letters around corners, finding hidden items and the like. All the while trying to big the biggest chain of trailers/trolleys/farming equipment each time.

Coupled with bright, funky visuals and a cheerful little soundtrack, PAKO Caravan is a proper pick-me-up game that compliments the Switch perfectly.

Whilst I’m not a massive connoisseur of horror games, per se, I would consider myself a classic survival horror veteran. The earliest Resident Evil’s and Silent Hill’s got plenty of playtime from me, which drew me to Song of Horror. Tank controls and fixed camera angles are my jam, and Song has them.

Featuring a multiple choice playthrough system, complete with permadeath, Song of Horror really puts players through their paces trying to juggle the fates of a handful of characters. It has a few unnecessarily hard puzzles for “the sake of it”, but that aside, it’s a great experience. The visuals are top notch, contrasted with the corny voice acting reminiscent of the olden days. If you like your classic horrors, this is the one.

I have to admit, a lot of the so-called “hard as nails” platformers passed me by as a kid. The Turtles game, Ninja Gaiden, Mega Man et all, I never experienced it. But now we’re on this revival trip, I’m all for it. First, it was The Messenger, now Cyber Shadow.

I’ve got a soft spot for retro, 16bit-inspired games too, and this is pure nostalgia for me. It’s not an easy game, but that’s what makes it great. It took me back to those childhood days of the platformers I did play, reminding us all of the tough-but-fair attitudes we used to have to deal with.

Cyber Shadow is hard, but not impossible. It’s a challenge, but it’s the good kind of fun akin to The Messenger (which you should also play). Viva la retro revival.

This one for me was really a bit of a no brainer. I’m a big fan of Arkane Studios’ games, and I love a good time travel/loop story. Deathloop is the perfect amalgamation of those two: cause and effect, consequence and reaction, all around a well-crafted shooter.

It’s also got some of the wittiest writing going for it, combined with that chunky Arkane/Dishonored look. But this time, the atmosphere is of an alternate 50’s/swinging 60’s vibe, much like We Happy Few. It took me a while to realise you didn’t have to sneak through everything, and when you start mixing up the guns and powers, you’ll be in for an absolute blast.

Next Page: Kat’s Choices.

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