In a rending of limbs and severing of heads, Visceral’s gruesome survival horror makes its return.
Back too is Isaac Clarke, lead of the original, who this time sports a much more developed personality thanks to some sharp dialogue and a far more involved plot.
Once more he finds himself fighting for his life against the hideously mutated necromorphs who have this time infested the Sprawl space colony.
Why they’re there is but one of the puzzles he must fathom, across an immensely atmospheric and often sickeningly violent sequel, which gazumps its predecessor at every turn thanks to some brilliantly scripted set pieces.
Format: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Mario Sports Mix
You can see what Nintendo had in mind with Mario Sports Mix: to dilute popular sports — volleyball, basketball, dodgeball and ice hockey — into bite-size simulations, then cater for the whole family by introducing a myriad of multiplayer options. Sadly, each game has been over-simplified a little too much, the resulting simulation more of a hush of the sport it depicts rather than comparable to the real thing. Most sports require just the minimum of dexterity, with actions — shoot, volley, throw, etc — mapped to an arbitrary flip of the wiimote. This being Mario World there are of course the classic characters to choose from, and themed arenas on which to compete, but there really is little here to recommend and better family games available elsewhere.
After being deposited on a planet by a refuse ship, two robots are adopted by a crippled AI and set upon a mission to restore said AI to its former glory, upgrading themselves in the process. Spare Parts is reminiscent of Lego Star Wars in the way its protagonists interact with their environment and dying — something you’ll do regularly — has little cost attributed to it. The gameplay on show here however sadly lacks the humourous qualities of the Lego franchise, while sluggish controls and deceptive camera angles act to further frustrate. Even the two-player mode feels tacked on, offering few opportunities for players to truly work in coordinated tandem. A good idea let down by poor execution, even at the cheaper online-only price.
Price: £7.99 via PSN & XBLA (approx.)
Format: PS3, Xbox 360
Mario vs. Donkey Kong Mini-Land Mayhem!
Donkey Kong meets Lemmings in a puzzle game in which numerous miniature clockwork Marios must be directed through multi-layered stages in order to reach the exit. Of course, nothing is ever so straightforward, and standing in the way are both chasms and enemies which must be overcome, usually by use of bridges and walls drawn into levels by the player. Kong makes an appearance every few stages, too — throwing barrels in retro style — in this fresh spin on an all-time classic.