Games Central: OlliOlli is a side-scrolling skating sensation
Elsewhere, Day Of The Tentacle Remastered and Bulb Boy are unleashed on smartphone and tablet
GAME OF THE WEEK:
Title: OlliOlli: Epic Combo Edition
A side-scrolling skating sensation
Over 75 nominations and awards give you some indication as to why this OlliOlli bundle is a must-have in your PS4 collection. A side-scrolling skateboarder’s idea of heaven, OlliOlli and its sequel OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood, have been squeezed into one release to unleash all the kick flips and tricks you could ever want across a series of challenging levels that deliver a soundtrack as fresh as the fancy footwork you’ll be showcasing once you’ve had a chance to get familiar with the controls. It’s silky smooth stuff, with an intricate level of detail beneath what at first glance looks like pretty standard fare. Slick, subtle hand-drawn animations from your skater play out perfectly in the sequel, while there’s still plenty of fun to be had from the more retro original. In fact, it’s an outrageous amount of content to include in one release - dozens of levels for you to tackle as you move from amateur to pro status across several different environments, each with their own particular focus from a gameplay perspective. The addition of local multiplayer ups the competitive ante if you’ve got like-minded skater pals in your vicinity and, when you’ve finally established who’s the best boarder in town, the Combo Edition squeezes a host of exclusive content for you to discover in between the two games, including behind-the-scenes documentaries and interviews from the development team. The ultimate skate sandwich.
Title: Among The Sleep
Two-year-old hero tackles a creepy house of horror
There are plenty of horror titles in the gaming market, but none that are played from the perspective of a two-year-old child. Waking up in the middle of the night to find that your mother has disappeared marks the start of a poignant and refreshing adventure from a first-person perspective, where your house becomes packed full of scary sounds and strange shadows in the closets. You’ll solve puzzles, hide from monsters and waddle your way through your home to reach safety, drawing upon a number of unique skills, suitable only for the toddling lead character. For example, crawling faster than you can walk when on the move, or squeezing your teddy for comfort at the creepiest of times, which also emits a warm glow to enlighten you about your environment. It’s clever gameplay tricks like this that immerse you in the events that unfold, even if they only last a few hours. The atmospheric presentation and audio production values alongside the interesting psychological direction that a game of this premise must take, ensures you end the experience feeling a little freaked out, but also rewarded by the way that games continue to surprise us, however old we are.
Title: Air Conflicts Double Pack
Genre: Flight simulation
Airborne action in two historical wartime eras
Get set for a twin shot of aerial action as Air Conflicts brings together its Vietnam and Pacific Carriers exploits into one collection for PS4. In the former, you’ll take your seat in the cockpit of various fighter planes and helicopters, plunging straight into daredevil sky-borne battles above the jungles of Vietnam set to a rock soundtrack befitting the era. Pacific Carriers, meanwhile, then sees you step back further back in time into World War 2, battling your way through two distinct campaigns, either coordinating the defence of Pearl Harbour and the liberation of the Pacific Ocean by order of the USA - or winning honour and glory for the Japanese empire. As arcade flight sims go, it’s pretty standard stuff, darting from one aggressive objective to the next, interspersed with a number of aerial dogfights, which provide the games’ most enjoyable moments. Sadly, the controls don’t ever click to the point where your in-flight experience is as smooth as it should be - or reach the same gaming altitude the series’ attention to detail does when it comes to recreating the iconic aircraft from both eras. It’s a shame, as there was potential to really bring the games on from a PS4 point of view, with the addition of bonus campaigns, a multiplayer mode and head tracking support through the PS4 camera. Overall though, Air Conflicts is an arcade aerial sim that might be shot down by others on the market right now.
Title: Bulb Boy
A bright puzzling premise might leave you floundering in the dark
Ironically, for a title named Bulb Boy, it’s the lack of illumination that can sometimes hamper your progress in this stylised point-and-click-style adventure puzzler. The dark monster-filled adventure is peppered with the kind of brainteasers we were accustomed to in the 1990s, as you search the environment around you for increasingly weird and wonderful solutions that require some serious lateral thinking and a screw or two loose in your brain in order to make the right connections. This quirky challenge delivers joyful rewards and frustrated frowns as a result, with some puzzles feeling just impossible at times. But it’s the visual approach that proves to be the cause of more consternation, as the dark vignette around the screen often unwittingly hides some solutions from you. Just a little more light shed on the experience would have made a huge difference. Overall, the silly story is expertly amplified through a similarly strange soundtrack and, if you can get your head into the developers’ heads, you’ll find the whole puzzling angle very enjoyable. But just be prepared to scratch your head on occasions, searching for those Eureka moments when the lightbulb in your head goes off!
Title: Day Of The Tentacle Remastered
A tentacular adventure that’s well worth tackling
It’s 23 years since Day Of The Tentacle first reached out and grabbed Nineties gamers by the throat. And, given the fashion for resurrecting some of gaming’s finest achievements, unleashing them on an all new audience, it seems fitting that this sequel to Maniac Mansion be included in all the remastering fun and frolics. It’s quite amazing how much love developers have dedicated to this crazy action adventure in order to get it smart and slick on your smartphone or tablet. From the creation of a new user interface to play the game, to the painstaking recreation of every visual scene to ensure they pop off the screen, this is one reimagining that rarely falls flat, despite its age. Some of the dialogue is a little dated, but the humour certainly hits the mark, and Day Of The Tentacle still stands out as one of the most outrageously engaging adventures you can play - not least on a device as small as your smartphone. It’s witty, wacky and a wonderful trip down memory lane for the more senior gamers out there - download it and you’ll be delighted.
WHAT’S HOT AND WHAT’S NOT?
The votes have been cast and EA have finally revealed the identity of FIFA 17’s packshot star. Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus emerged victorious, beating off competition from Real Madrid’s James Rodriguez, Anthony Martial of Manchester United and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. The popularity of gamer input has been proved once again, after a staggering 3.1m votes were cast. “It is incredible to see how fans get behind their favourite player - Marco plays for a great club, is really fun to watch, and he is very popular in FIFA Ultimate Team, so it makes a lot of sense that the fans picked him,” said FIFA senior producer Nick Channon. “Reus joins an elite group of international football superstars who have appeared on the cover of FIFA over the years.”
Meanwhile, in the charts this week, it was FIFA 16 that made the big move this week, climbing five places from seven to two. It now sits just behind LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which enjoyed its fourth week at the top of gaming tree. Elsewhere, Overwatch climbed one place to three, as did Grand Theft Auto V up from five to four.
GAME CHART ALL FORMATS FULL PRICE
1. LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens
2. FIFA 16
4. Grand Theft Auto V
6. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
7. Call of Duty: Black Ops III
8. Rocket League
9. Monster Hunter Generations
10. Minecraft: Xbox Edition
Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (c) 2016 UKIE Ltd