Could it be? Could it really be? A Sonic game that lives up to the Megadrive originals? Not wanting to lose face by dropping their forays into modernity entirely, Sega have seen fit to create a game where we can play as either the original 2D Sonic, or the 'new' 3D Sonic. While reverting back to 2D entirely would be a bolder move, it's cool - we can understand that Sega shareholders need to see games making use of new technology. But what really works here is speed. Like the genuine feeling of acceleration in Burnout, here Sonic feels almost, but not quite out of control, blazing forward in a relentless quest for the right-hand side of the screen. It feels like there's dozens of routes through the level we played, but we barely have a chance to chose between them in our rush. This is what we want from Sonic. And no sign of Sonic's 'edgy' rival Shadow. Thank fuck.
Ninja Gaiden 3
I must confess, I haven't actually played the previous games in the series, so I can't use them as a reference point. However, the sequence I played through here reminds me heavily of a male version of Bayonetta, with less tits and more gore. Fighting seems, at least at first, like a slightly wild latching together of baddie-slamming combos as the camera swings around, occasionally disorientating me - though this could either be me getting old, or the controller being attached far too closely to an enormous 40 inch screen. Either way, it was still pretty good fun.
Mario Kart 7
It's another Mario Kart game. It's just as good at the other Mario Kart games. Unlike Sega, Nintendo always knew better than to mess around with a good formula. So this is blessedly more of the same, with a couple of new ideas. The ability to glide is pretty interesting - it's certainly a more interesting way of using huge airtime than the annoying stunts from the Wii (which also return). Also, the brief underwater forays in the courses we played worked rather well, with enough aquatic drag to feel heavy, without completely losing control. Oh, and they've brought back the coin collecting that were have been absent since the Gameboy Advance iteration in 2001, which adds some replayability.
Batman: Arkham City
The first game, Arkham Asylum, was a rare enough thing - one of the few 'franchise' games that succeeded in being a hit on its own terms. However, it always seemed a little odd to set a Batman game inside. In the sequel Rocksteady have truly spread their wings (no excusing - Batman demands puns), taking our caped crusader out into the wider world of Gotham City (apparently five times the size of the original's explorable landscape). And he can make real use of that cape, with new Bat-like gliding skills and grappling abilities. Look forward to playing this come 21 October.
We notice that the corner stand for this indie title is rather popular, so give it a spin. It turns out to be a rather chaotic and very playable multiplayer platform battle game, fashioned in the vein of Super Smash Brothers combined with Metal Slug and painted in Earthworm Jim. The concept is simple - you run around collecting coins and shooting at the other team, slowly wearing down their defenses (hopefully) and amassing a wealth sufficient to buy upgrades and power-ups like the Angry Holographic Bull (Team17 called, they say they've lost some zany animals).
Mario 3D Land really deserves more than a passing line, but suffice to say that it's similar to Mario Galaxy with the raccoon ability. So, great.
Greedy Bankers vs The World is fantastic multiplayer gem-stealing fun on the iPad. Now I just need an iPad.
Smuggle/Snuggle Truck we love, both because it's pretty similar to the excellent XX and because when Apple got pissy about the concept of smuggling immigrants they altered the game to focus on soft toys instead.
Fruit Ninja Kinect carries on right where the iPhone version left off - which is to say, wildly slashing at exotic fruit. All the more ridiculous, given that you now have carry out your quest with flailing arms.
Saints Row: The Third might be taking its own silliness a little far, what with wacky dildo-bashing and hypnotic mollusc guns, but it's still pretty good fun
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