The visuals alone are enough to lull even the most seasoned gamer
into a false sense of security. Vibrant colors abound, preposterous characters
gambol and cavort with giddy abandon, and vivacious animation breathes life
into the already-fecund levels. But don’t be fooled by Rayman Origins. This
intensely beautiful 2D platformer can easily crack open and scramble even the
most hardened of hardcore gamers.
And that’s a very good thing...
Welcome back Jak and Daxter. After four years of throwing darts at pictures of Ratchet & Clank, PlayStation’s original dynamic duo are back. As comebacks go, it’s a return to form: an inventive platformer that charms and challenges in equal measure.
The Secret Saturdays stars 11-year-old Zak Saturday and his super scientist parents Solomon “Doc” Saturday and Drew Saturday. The three of them together study supernatural animals called Cryptids – which are kind of like Pokemon only less cute. The PlayStation 2 game puts players in the shoes of the Saturdays at different points throughout the game.
MotorStorm: Arctic Edge marks the first time the series goes backward from the PlayStation 3 to the PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 2. Like you’d expect from any backwards conversion, some of the game’s slickness is lost in the downgrading. But as ports go, Arctic Edge holds up well enough on PS2 for diehard racing fans to consider it.
It seems Astro Boy returns every decade or so, and now American film makers have retooled the iconic character for another reboot. Albeit low budget looking and feeling, High Voltage Software put more life into Astro Boy: The Video Game than we’d expect from a movie tie-in. Bright, sleek and silver, Metro City sets the stage for Astro Boy’s adventure against an evil robot-wielding president.
To describe Staff of Kings as a game seems a bit disingenuous – this is a collection of smaller sub-games, similar to Disaster: Day of Crisis. There are puzzley platform bits, typically involving copious whip-cracking; there’s brilliant environmental combat, which lets you hurl pool balls at bad guys, shove enemies into aquariums or whack them in the head with garden tools.
You know exactly what you’re in for when a game’s first move – its way of drawing you in to the rest of the adventure – is forcing you to slowly drag a box around the kitchen. Then making you say hello to the neighbours. Then getting you to prepare tea. Basically, everything you don’t enjoy doing in real life.
The PS2 just can't be killed. Even with its successor nearly three years old, the war horse keeps going. And while the PlayStation 2 has a good amount of shovelware clogging its new release section, the Shin Megami Tensei series is keeping it honorable with games expertly tailored for the RPG fanatic in all of us.
You can always count on the Ultimate Ninja series to provide flashy, over-the-top kung-fu craziness with each installment, and Ultimate Ninja 4: Naruto Shippuden certainly delivers the fireworks … for a PS2 game. But even if you’re a Narutophile, you should consider how deep your love for lil’ whiskers goes before investing in this one.
The great trouble with a lot of SNK games is that due to the exorbitant cost of the Neo Geo consoles and cartridges, pretty much no one got a chance to play them when they first came out. It’s only now, through downloads and retro compilations like this one, that many of us are getting our first taste – and for many titles (such as the uber-bland King of Fighters) it’s just come a little bit too late.