Games roundup: Nail'd, Mario Sports, Dungeons, Chopper 2
Nail'd takes you on an insane racing ride on PS3, Mario gets fit in his Sports Mix on Wii and Dungeons gives RPG gamers the dark and dastardly game environment they revel in on PC. Ross Wilkinson reports
GAME OF THE WEEK: A TRUE SPEED DEMON
Adrenalin-pumping ATV action is now well-established as a sub-genre within the racing game world, and it seems to give developers license to take the high-speed pursuits to insane new heights. That's certainly the case with Nail'd which offers the kind of tracks that wouldn't be out of place in a theme park, such is the amazing design of twists, turns, altitude climbs, jumps and other japes. The tournament mode offers the closest experience to a traditional 'career' mode, as you hop from track to track geographically from Arizona to the Andes and everything in between. The amazing jumps present that most jaw-dropping in-race moments, but what really propels Nail'd to the top of the ATV racing tree is that sheer sense of speed. Many games have tried and failed when it comes to this core ingredient of a good racer, but Nail'd has it by the tankload.
SPORTING MADNESS WITH CONSOLE LEGENDS
Title: Mario Sports Mix
Basketball, dodgeball, volleyball and ice hockey get the Mario treatment this time out in Mario Sports Mix, as the most famous crew of console characters and all their familiar surroundings make a sporting transition with a heavy dose of Mario silliness too. Ice hockey and dodgeball are the weaker two lead games, but basketball and volleyball prove to be extremely enjoyable in their own right, and you'll have great fun playing through the career Mushroom, Flower and Star Cups in these arenas. Power-ups often present too big a competitive advantage in the early stages, which seriously staggers the difficulty curve, and ultimately Mario Sports Mix ends up in a spot of limbo between fun party mix and sports sim, so consider carefully what you're after from the plumbers this time around.
Genre: Action / RPG
Dim the lights and lock the door. You've reached the point of no return, as Dungeons throws you full-length into following the misadventures of the foremost of all Dungeon Lords, who spends his time luring heroes into his labyrinthine creations with the promise of treasure and a good fight - only for them to be trapped by his ingenious devices. Once in his grasp, the Dungeon Lord (that's you by the way) must look after and cherish your prisoners until they are more comfortable with their surroundings because come the "harvest", happy heroes have more precious soul energy for you to gleefully extract via foul prisons or twisted torture chambers! It's a macabre and ingenious game premise that presents interesting action and 'management' challenges. While suffering from a little quest repetition there's still plenty of fun to be had down in the doom and gloom of your dungeons, so this is well worth locking yourself in a room with for a while.
SPACE SCREAMS ON THE SMALL SCREEN
Title: Dead Space
The recent release of Dead Space 2 is likely to steal the headlines in the weeks to come, but this diddy little descendant on the iPhone will scare the socks off you if you're up for a spooky shooter on the small screen. Twelve levels of creepy action and exploration await, and from the very first moment the unbelievable production values will become apparent, and Dead Space easily stakes a claim for best-looking game on the iPhone. Ever. The control method, while carefully thought out in order to pack in some movement option, will take some getting used to, and you can expect the odd frustration in-game when furious finger and thumb flicks don't quite result in their intended action. However, don't for one minute let this dissuade you from getting stuck into what must be the most atmospheric and involving action title released on iPhone.
Title: Chopper 2
Side-scrolling shooters have never looked so good. Chopper 2 puts you in control of a military helicopter and sets you out to complete 12 missions across Desert, Forest, Snow and City environments, which could involve anything from rescuing hostages to escorting other military tanks and trucks through enemy territory. Aside from tilting left and right for directions and up and down for altitude, machine guns, missiles and bombs can all be employed to dispose of enemy targets. It's a tough yet intuitive task that will require some serious time to tackle and complete. Graphically, Chopper 2 is a wonderful achievement from a one-man-band developer and, coupled with the underlying level of difficulty, it's great little game to add to your collection.
WHAT'S HOT AND WHAT'S NOT
A price war is hotting up among retailers, online and on the high street, as the March 25 release date for the Nintendo 3DS handheld draws ever closer. UK retailer GAME has dropped its price to £219.99 - a further £10 off the £229.99 it originally planned to sell the device for - in response to fierce competition from online rivals including Play and Amazon, who are selling the 3DS for £202. Games are expected to retail at around £35, and the 3DS will have a good nine to 12 months to establish itself before Sony's direct competitor, the NGP (or PSP2), goes on sale in 2012.
In the charts this week, Dead Space 2 took over at the top of the 10, sending LittleBigPlanet 2 spinning into second spot. Call Of Duty: Black Ops took an even bigger stumble, falling three places from two to five, while Art Academy was the week's biggest climber, jumping six places from 15 to nine.
GAME CHART ALL FORMATS FULL PRICE
1. Dead Space 2
2. LittleBigPlanet 2
3. FIFA 11
4. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
5. Call Of Duty: Black Ops
6. Just Dance 2
7. Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit
8. Wii Fit Plus
9. Art Academy
10. Just Dance
Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (c) 2010 UKIE Ltd