Games roundup: Screamride is a thrillseeker's dream
This week, Screamride delivers a thrillseeker's dream on Xbox One, Motorcycle Club revs up on PS4 and Cooking Mama says Bon Appetit! on Nintendo 3DS. Elsewhere, Earn To Die 2 and Heads Up! deliver an aggressive racer and family party puzzler on smartphone and tablet
Platform: Xbox One
Genre: Arcade / Platform
Make all your screams come true
Screamride is a fantastic physics-based coaster game where creativity and destruction are equally welcomed. Rollercoaster Tycoon fans will flip out at the freedom afforded here, where flinging your coaster off the track to dismantle the environment around it is actively encouraged (in some game modes).
The career mode provides a trio of challenges to tackle, which fall into three categories - building, riding, and destruction.
The first is where you must carefully construct a coaster that meets the top speed targets and other objectives set out for you, while the riding (or screamrider) career path puts you in control of the coaster and sets before you progressively more difficult tracks that you must navigate with your accelerate, brake and turbo controls.
The demolition path embraces the carnage that unfolds when you fly off-track in an Angry Birds-style format, where the more buildings you collapse brings with it greater rewards. Successful completion of career objectives will unlock a host of content in the sandbox mode to enjoy at your leisure.
It's brilliantly conceived and expertly presented, in a manner that just begs you to have fun. Limited only by your imagination in construction, and the daredevil streak in you everywhere else, Screamride is sure to be a real hit for Xbox One fans this spring. 85%
Burning rubber causes too many flat tyres
From the outset, Motorcycle Club presents an interesting addition to the racing genre with the ability to switch between different bike classes (superbike, roadster and custom) mid-race to aid progress in different track sections.
Sounds cool, until you realise that the game's AI and bike performance almost entirely negates the need to do so. So, with one of the key selling points consigned to the scrapyard, Motorcycle Club struggles to inject a much-needed boost to proceedings through a series of pretty average race challenges which fail to be augmented by the underdeveloped club and customisation options.
Yes, it looks good with some lovely graphical touches and a smooth experience at top speed, aided by around a dozen officially licensed vehicles. But, at it's core, this game suffers from some seriously grating sound effects and a similarly frustrating playing experience. Arcade racers are all about high-octane action and the adrenalin-rush of serious speed. Sadly, Motorcycle Club seldom hits those high notes, and will leave two-wheeled petrol-heads stalling in the pits. 50%
Cooking Mama: Bon Appetit!
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Mama still makes the mouth water
If Jamie Oliver and the other band of merry celebrity chefs represent the halcyon days of on-screen cuisine, Cooking Mama has something of a monopoly on food creation when it comes to Nintendo. And nothing, apparently, tastes like Mama's home cooking. Here, the original kitchen diva that created the cooking genre is set to school you with 60 brand new mouth-watering recipes and more than 30 household mini-games, as you cook your way through classic fare, exotic cultural dishes and sweet treats to delight the palate.
Your stylus will take a smashing through the ingredient-based activities that you must complete around the house to prove to Mama that you've got the culinary chops to play in her kitchen. And, while a few may be a little mundane, the host of mini-games and weird and wonderful ingredient mixes ensure that levels of fun and entertainment are more akin to fine dining than your cut-price drive thru. So what are you waiting for? It's time to hit the hob! 78%
Earn To Die 2
Death by lack of diesel
Being faced with the prospect of driving to a point of safety in a knackered old vehicle with a swathe of zombies standing between you and your next comforting pause for breath is awful enough.
Having to do it within the confines of a pretty tedious side-scrolling 2D environment is another thing altogether. Earn to Die 2 does little to ameliorate the zombie zeitgeist, giving gamers more cause for concern over the fuel in their tank than the undead atrocities outside your vehicle. Earn enough dollars to buy enough juice (and repeat) until you complete a level, and you're rewarded with what feels like a return to square one as you must slide into a new basic vehicle bereft of all the previous upgrades.
It's pretty soul-destroying, as your progress to get to that point is less than enthralling, even if you save up for the kind of on-car weaponry that you think would up the excitement ante somewhat. Yes, there'll be the odd enemy squash-fest that raises a smile, but overall it's sadly one app best confined to the mobile morgue. 55%
If you have ever popped a post-it on your head and tried to guess who you're supposed to be, Heads Up should be an instant download to your smartphone or tablet. It may only be a technological trade-up from the paper equivalent, but the content available offers near endless group interaction at your fingertips.
Whether you're guessing celebrities, movies, accents or animals, the game's in-built timer keeps order amongst the handful or houseful of players around you and creates a commendable technological way of getting groups together to interact without the on-screen display dominating. Additional Charades and Charades Kids downloads ensure that anyone can join in the fun, and if you're looking to keep the kids in the back quiet (relatively) during long trips, this parlour-game-turned-app is right on the money. 80%
WHAT'S HOT AND WHAT'S NOT?
The band of canny gamers who've held off entering to the next-generation of consoles until the best deals materialise may finally have just cause to put their hands into their pockets, after a number of "while stocks last" deals for Microsoft's Xbox One have arrived on the market.
A 500GB white Xbox One bundle including action-fest Sunset Overdrive has been spotted at a bargain £279.99, saving £50 on the standard RRP, while the same hardware can be bagged for the same price with Assassin's Creed at Argos. GAME, is also chucking in a copy of Forza 5 with Sunset Overdrive for the same £280, so now's clearly the time to hunt down a bargain and seriously boost your gaming credentials.
Meanwhile, in the charts this week, Dying Light shone bright at the top of the tree in its first week of release, while Dragon Ball Xenoverse debuted well at three. Call of Duty: Advance Warfare held firm at two, which meant last week's number one, The Order: 1886, tumbled three places from one to four.
GAME CHART ALL FORMATS FULL PRICE
1. Dying Light
2. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
3. Dragon Ball Xenoverse
4. The Order: 1886
5. Grand Theft Auto V
6. FIFA 15
7. Far Cry 4
9. Minecraft: Xbox Edition
10. Minecraft: PlayStation Edition
Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (c) 2015 UKIE Ltd
Belfast Telegraph Digital