Zombies Ate My Neighbors: It Has Risen Again

Zombies Ate My Neighbors is a run and gun game that was released for the SNES and Sega Megadrive/Genesis back in 1993.

In the game, you take control of one of two protagonists, Zeke, a 3D glasses-wearing boy, or Julie, a baseball cap-wearing girl, in order to rescue neighbors from hordes of zombies that want to eat their brains. To accomplish their mission, they have a variety of weapons that include but are not limited to; a water gun, soda can grenades, silverware and ice lollies, along with various power-ups such as health kits, clown doll decoys and potions that turn you into a big purple monster – because why not? As you traverse each level, you fight various enemies that range from the titular zombies, evil dolls, werewolves, chainsaw wielding madmen and even a giant baby – yes, a giant baby.

When this game was first released back in 1993, we got it for our SNES and even though I was only young at the time – 8 to be exact – I was hooked from the beginning. The cartoony graphics and the weird characters kept me playing. With this being a two-play co-op game, I played alongside my brother (I was always Julie…) and we did our best at fighting our way through the levels.

Each level is harder than the last, and even as early as level 4 or 5, the difficulty seemed to spike, and I just ended up dead more often than not. Even still, I loved this game. I would play often, and even though there were no save files back then and you relied on getting a passcode at certain points in the game, I would happily reply the same levels repeatedly because I enjoyed it so much.

When I rebought a SNES, Zombies was one of the first games that I knew that I had to have, and when it finally arrived, I spent hours playing. I still wasn’t great at it, but I had definitely improved since childhood – I was so happy to be playing it again.

Fast forward to today. I’ve been thinking about Zombies for a few weeks now and decided that I would write a blog about it and my love for it. When I was doing some research, however, I found out that at the end of June this year, it was re-released for the Switch and Xbox – it was supposed to be released for PS4 too, but I can’t find any trace of it, so I don’t know what happened there.

When I looked it up on the Nintendo store, I found that it was only just over £11, and it even came with its sequel, Ghoul Patrol ( I didn’t even know there was a sequel.) For that price, I wasn’t willing to hang around and bought it straight away. However, I relished the opportunity to play it on a modern console.

It took me a day or so to finally sit down and play it, but when I did, all of those memories were there once again.

Now, this re-release isn’t a remaster. Nothing has been done to the game save adapting it for the generation of consoles. The display is still 4:3, but to fill the gap at the edges of the screen, you get a border very similar to the ones that you get on any of the mini consoles. This doesn’t detract from the game – I guess it’s just there to fill up some empty space. One change, though, is that you now have the ability to save your progress on exit. This, unfortunately, doesn’t mean you can save at any time and pick up where you left off if you die. If you lose all your lives, you’re straight back to the beginning. You still have to rely on the passcodes given after certain stages. But, this – as in the original – comes with a cost as if you use a code, you start on that level with only your base water gun, so this may make some of the later levels nigh on impossible, so it’s probably easier to go back to the start.

The game is just as difficult as its original version. There are no different difficulty settings; you either play it as is or not at all. So far, I’ve only made it to the Big Baby level – you know the one I mean – but when I restart, I’m already blasting through the earlier levels quicker than I ever have. Could the difficulty of the levels have been altered? Yes. Should it have been? Absolutely not. The game is perfect the way it is, and part of that is the challenge of it.

Now onto Ghoul Patrol. This was released in 1994 only a year after Zombies for the SNES.

I’m not as familiar with this title as I am with its predecessor as I didn’t even know it existed until getting this new bundle, so I went into it with an open mind, and my first impressions weren’t great.

So, you play as the same characters as in Zombies, but they appear to be slightly older. The game’s main premise seems to be exactly the same, traverse levels, save people, and kill bad guys. There have been some new additions, though, that just don’t seem to work very well. For example, you now have the ability to jump and slide, this comes into play in some platformy bits of levels, but all just feel very clunky.

The art style is very similar to the first game, just maybe a little more cartoony; this also doesn’t really work. To me, everything seems bigger and more exaggerated and just isn’t conducive to play.

I’ll admit I’ve not given Ghoul Patrol a lot of time to impress me, and I will have to play it some more to be able to give a proper opinion on it, but first impressions do matter.

Overall this sequel feels like half an idea that was finished – so, does that make a quarter of an idea? Maybe. I don’t know. But I digress.

Zombies will always have a place in my heart, and I think it will be one that I will go back to time and time again; this probably won’t be true with its sequel.

But having said all this, getting both games for less than £12 and the ability to play it on a large flat – non CRT – screen on new hardware is well worth it. So if you were a fan of the original or if you just like the sound of it, I’d say give this re-release a go.

That’s it for now; I’m off to try and take down that damn giant baby.

Fallout 4 and it’s Platinum Trophy: A Guide

Fallout 4 is an action role-playing game that was released in November 2015 for PC, Xbox One and PS4. It’s the fourth main game in the Fallout series. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic Boston and Massachusetts region known as The Commonwealth.

The main story takes place in 2287, ten years after the events of Fallout 3 and 210 years after The Great War. You take control of a sole survivor who has been cryogenically frozen in an underground shelter called a Vault. The character has witnessed the death of their partner and the kidnapping of their son and goes on a mission to find him when they venture out of the vault.

Personally, I have loved the Fallout series of games for years, all the way to the turn-based isometric original on the PC. The worlds and characters that are crafted draw you into the story and let you live the apocalypse.

Fallout 4 expands on its predecessor by adding a crafting element. You can collect all sorts of junk on your travels around The Commonwealth, take it back to settlements that you set up and craft items to improve the living conditions of other survivors. The settlements vary in size, from the large starting one named Sanctuary to the smaller Hangman’s Alley. Each has its own challenges to overcome, be it space to build, or raider and super mutant attacks. This crafting element adds just that little bit more detail to your environment and makes your actions feel more like they have a purpose.

I got Fallout 4 when it first came out on the Xbox One, but I have also since repurchased it for the PS4. I’ve lost track of how many hours I’ve put into it, whether building up my settlements, exploring the map or trophy hunting. It’s a massive game that you can get lost in and easily spend hours playing.

This brings me to what I want to talk about in this blog; trophies and hunting that elusive platinum.

Over the past week or so, we’ve been working hard trying to get Alex the platinum trophy for Fallout 4. I managed to get it on my account a few months ago, so you’d think that getting it again wouldn’t be an issue…well, you’d be wrong.

For the most part, the trophies are pretty straightforward; you’ll get many of them for simply playing the game and completing quests. I’ll go into some of the more difficult or confusing ones here.

Some trophies require different playthroughs – at least from a certain save point. This is because you have the option to choose from one of three factions and get different endings. If you want to get the trophies for all you need to make a separate save at a particular point in the game – I chose to do this before undertaking the “Battle for Bunker Hill” quest. If you save at this point, you don’t have to replay the entire game to get the different endings. It’s a good spot to diverge into the various factions as not long after it you’ll end up pissing off the other factions to the one you chose and losing the ability to use their resources or complete their quests.

Once we finished the main game, it was time to do a mop-up of other trophies. For example, to get the two – yes, two – bobblehead trophies, you have to wander around the map – probably to places you’ve already been but weren’t paying attention – to pick up each one.

Each bobblehead gives a boost to a stat too, so it’s well worth grabbing them when you see them, even if you don’t care about the trophies. I used a great guide from game-maps.com to find the ones that I had missed. It shows you where they are on the maps with a brief description of its location within the given area – it’s really easy to follow.

The next trophy I’m going to talk about is called The Harder They Fall, where you have to kill five giant creatures, i.e. Mirelurk Queens and Super Mutant Behemoths. To get this trophy, you need to fight said creatures and get the last hit on them. If you’re with a companion and they get the final blow, it won’t count. Below are the locations of 5 of these big nasties;

  • Swan is a unique Super Mutant Behemoth found at Swan’s Pond in Boston Common.
  • A Behemoth can be found south of Walden Pond at a location where cars are stacked on top of one another like some kind of druid meeting place.
  • A Mirelurk Queen is killed as part of the Taking Independence quest at The Castle.
  • A  Behemoth can be found outside of Fort Strong.
  • A Mirelurk Queen can be found to the west of Salem, northwest of the Museum of Witchcraft.

Next up, it’s Mercenary. This quest involves completing 50 miscellaneous quests. These are quests that appear under the miscellaneous heading in your Pipboy quest list. Below I’ll list a few of them which you may miss.

  • In Diamond City, next to the shop on the end is a “Wanted” board. You can get several quests from this, all of which will be classed as miscellaneous.
  • If you visit the Atom Cats Garage on the east coast of The Commonwealth, they will give you several quests; again, all are classed as miscellaneous.
  • If you visit Bunker Hill, Joe Savoldi, Deb and Kessler, they will each give you a quest.
  • In the Third Rail in Goodneighbour, Whitechapel Charlie will give you a mission to clear out some warehouses.

Now comes the biggest pain in the butt trophy to get in Fallout 4; Benevolent Leader. There are a load of guides out there that work for some people and not others. I’m going to go through what worked on our last playthrough as what I did to get it on my account didn’t work on Alex’s.

First off, you want to get your settlement up to what’s considered “large”. This means that you need to build and build in your chosen settlement – in our case, this was Sanctuary – until the bar in the top right of the screen fills and turns yellow.

Second, make sure you’ve got enough settlers there that you can assign wherever needed. In our case, it was the more, the better. I think we had around 24 when the trophy popped. If you’re not getting new settlers, make sure you send any companions that might be present to other settlements. To get them quicker, visit other populated settlements and tell them to go where you need them.

Third, build the last stage of the Clinic storefronts – you’ll need the perks Local Leader level 2 and Medic level 1 to be able to place these. These increase happiness as long as someone is assigned to them. So build and assign as many as you can. Of course, you have to make sure that you’ve still got some people working on food production. If not, this will cause your happiness level to drop. This will make all your hard work on creating a kickass settlement for nothing, but it seems to be the only sure-fire way to raise happiness enough for the trophy.

Fourth, get into a pattern of sleeping and ringing the bell that gathers everyone around you. From around 80% happiness, you want to make sure that you never stray far from your settlement. Ringing the bell is a good way to get everyone to gather around you and bask in your benevolent glow. We did this for around an hour or so for the final few happiness points.

That should hopefully be it. As I said, this method is just what worked for us. This is a good starting point to give you an idea, but you might have to tailor it slightly to make it make for you.

Hopefully, Benevelont Leader is the last trophy you need to make that platinum pop.

All I can say now is good luck, and happy (trophy) hunting.

It Takes Two (Review)

It Takes Two is a co-op adventure game that was released in March 2021 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. Like the publishers previous game, A Way Out (see my blog this game here), there is no single-player option and relies on either online or local split-screen co-op.

The story revolves around a married couple that are due to divorce. Their daughter Rose creates two dolls in her parents’ image and tries to repair their relationship by acting out actions with the dolls by using advice from a book about relationships – don’t ask why she has this. When Rose gets upset, tears fall on the dolls. This causes Cody and May – the parents – to get trapped within the dolls. When they wake up in their new bodies, they have to find a way to get to their real bodies by traversing their house and gardens, ably – if somewhat annoyingly at times – assisted by the now talking book on relationships – again, don’t ask why.

The levels consist of various sections of the house and gardens, where the pair of dolls have to fight their way through enemies – like, wasps plants and anthropomorphised toolboxes – and using the powers that they receive – like reversing time, a giant flaming sword, hosepipe and the ability to sing and break glass.

We loved A Way Out – it was a game that we took away on holiday with us – so we were really looking forward to the publishers next game. When It Takes Two was announced, and I saw the trailer, I thought it would be another great game that Alex and I could play together as there are precious few true co-op games for the current generations of consoles. We picked up our copy when it was on a weekly offer on the PlayStation store and jumped right into it.

Straight away, this was a very different game to A Way Out. The latter is a more realistic looking game, whereas the former is more cartoony in its style. However, this isn’t a bad thing as it does detract from the seriousness of the subject matter.

For the first level, you’re thrown into, you’re in the shed and have to traverse the environment to make it to Rose. You’re given powers that involve throwing nails into certain sections (Cody) and using a hammer head to swing on said nails to new areas of the level (May). Throughout the story, there are puzzles that you need to solve in order to progress. At times this can be very frustrating as you need to get the nails thrown into the correct section of a moving platform for May to swing across to another. The camera doesn’t help with this as it can be very touchy and difficult to control, and sometimes the view that you have means that you can’t really see what you’re doing. This only gets worse and more annoying as the game progresses.

Speaking of annoyance, I’m going to take a minute to mention the irritant that is the talking book. The book is meant to be the author taking its form and serve as a therapist to help Cody and May fix their relationship. What it does do, however, is bug the ever-loving sh!t out of you. It’s basically the book version of Lovelace from Happy Feet, and it gets even more annoying after you’ve spent your time trying to kill a box that was only difficult because the camera view was crap. The more he talks, the more you want to rip off its purple eyebrows and pull out of its pages.

The levels themselves and the bosses you face aren’t necessarily difficult, but sometimes the controls and camera mean that you die for unnecessary reasons, which just adds to your anger.

Throughout the levels there are multiple mini games that you can find. Most of these games are fairly simple, button-bashing affairs that allow you a break from the main game for a few minutes, but don’t serve to do much else- except help you with a trophy.

We managed to complete the game in a matter of a few days – this includes getting the platinum trophy. The platinum isn’t a tough one to get, but we did nearly scrap the idea of getting it when we had to face the damn Helltower in one of the levels. But after throwing the controller down a few times, we finally did it and carried on with the trophy hunt.

The controls aren’t the only thing that let this game down. The two main characters – Cody and May – aren’t especially likeable, and we found it hard to care about their relationship. By the time the game ended, we wanted the choice to select them to not get back together. In addition, the constant sniping and one-upmanship grated on us after the first level and having to go through the remaining levels with it just made us hate them even more.

Most of the levels are okay, but the garden level was our favourite. There was just something about it that made us enjoy it more than the others.

The graphics are pretty decent but aren’t enough to take your attention away from the games issues.

As it is, the game is alright. It’s nowhere near on the same level as A Way Out and was a bit of a disappointment coming off the back of this game. I just hope the publishers next game is better. I’m going to give the game a 5/10. It was okay but had so many issues that I can’t really rate it any higher.

I’d say if you want to test your real-life relationship, this is an excellent game to do it with.

If you’ve played this game, let me know what you thought of it.

Mass Effect Andromeda (Review)

Mass Effect Andromeda is a space action role-playing game that was released in March 2017 for Windows, PS4 and Xbox One. It’s the fourth entry in the acclaimed Mass Effect series and is the first to focus on a new protagonist in a new galaxy. You take on the role of Ryder and have the choice of playing as either the male or female of the two siblings. Both are inexperienced recruits of an organisation named “The Initiative”, whose goal is to populate new worlds in this new galaxy.

The game is set between the events of Mass Effect 2 and 3 as the four council races – human, turian, salarian and Asari – plus the quarians send 20,000 citizens in what are termed “Arks” on a one-way journey to the Andromeda galaxy to explore and populate new worlds.

Through events that take place at the start of the game, your Ryder becomes a Pathfinder. A Pathfinder is a leader of sorts that leads a squad of military-trained explorers through the galaxy. They are trained in combat, survival and diplomacy. You have to lead your team through new worlds, against new enemies and establishing new colonies on alien planets.

Mass Effect is one of my favourite game series. It’s an epic series that gives you complete control over how you play. The first three games in the series told the story of Shephard, who you follow through to a massive conclusion. This new addition to the series had a lot to live up to, and it had a hard act to follow.

Of course, with this being a favourite series of mine when a new game was announced, I couldn’t wait to get into it. It seemed like a long road, filled with very little information and delays, but as soon as I could preorder it, I did.

When it arrived, I dove straight in. I wanted to know what the story could be after the massive events of the third game. But as much as I wanted to play it, I just couldn’t get into it.

I don’t know what it was, whether it was because it was a new character or whether I just didn’t like the start of the story, but I spent a few hours playing and then just sort of gave up. Theirs is a lot going on in this game. It has a much larger open world than any of the previous games. There were new elements like the strike teams – teams that you send on missions for rewards that can also be played using multiplayer. There were new puzzles that I to solve – sudoku like puzzles that allow you to unlock technology on planets that make them more habitable (when aliens came across sudoku, I’ll never know.) It was all just overwhelming, and I didn’t feel any connection to any of the characters. First off, the main protagonist isn’t particularly likeable, and of course, you’ve not got any of the same characters you spent years getting close to in the previous games.

Recently though after playing through the original trilogy’s legendary remaster, I’ve restarted it and have actually now got the hang of it and am really enjoying it. There is a lot to it, and it is still overwhelming in parts, but I’ve just been methodically going through the list of quests and tasks and doing them in order rather than going all over the place to explore, and I’m finding this much better.

I still don’t feel like I have much of a connection to Ryder, but the other characters like Drax, Vetra and Peebee, I’m starting to like and enjoy having them around.

Once I got into it, the story is really enjoyable, and I am finding myself getting more engrossed in it, but like the rest of the game, there is a lot going on.

The graphics are amazing, and the difference between the worlds that you visit is amazing and variable. Each one has its quirks, whether being too cold, too hot (or just right) and having all sorts of different flora and fauna. There is a lot to explore on each planet and all kinds of hazards that you have to fight your way through or around.

Without a war going on in the background – as there is in the original trilogy – this game feels altogether lighter, and there is more humour peppered throughout, which does an excellent job of lightening the mood at times.

Mass Effect Andromeda is a good game, even if it does take some getting into. I would recommend to anyone that is a fan of the original trilogy to give it a go, but I would say to change your expectations. Although it’s a similar game, it’s still very different. I’m going to give it 7/10. I’m yet to finish the game and still have a long way to go, but what I have played is promising, and I feel like I will actually get to the end of it this time. Please give it a go yourself and let me know what you think.

Two Point Hospital (Review)

Two Point Hospital is a hospital simulation game that was released in August 2018 for PC and Mac and February 2020 for PS4, Xbox One and Switch. It is a spiritual successor to Theme Hospital by Bullfrog and even has some of the same developers. Throughout the game, players are tasked with building, operating, and maintaining a selection of different hospitals in the fictional Two Point County. In addition, you have the goal of curing fictitious comical illnesses such as animal magnetism, cubism, eye candy, jest infection and pandemic to progress through each hospital.

When this game was announced, I knew that I would have to play it. It looked almost identical to Theme Hospital – if with improved graphics – and because I spent so many hours playing that game, I just had to play Two Point.

Two Point has the same tongue in cheek humour as its predecessor and does its best to satirise the entire hospital experience. I mean, no one likes going to the hospital, so having so many humourous illnesses that poke fun at the real world is never a bad thing.

When you start the game, and you’re put in charge of your first hospital, everything seems so simple. You’ve only got a handful of illnesses to cure, and you only have to build a few rooms, like GP’s Offices and pharmacies. Still, as you progress through the levels, things get decidedly more complicated. You have to deal with more patients with a wider variety of problems, which means you have to build more rooms, ranging from psychiatry to x-ray to all the different machines to cure the ailments.

But that’s not all. As well as managing and curing your patients, you also have to maintain your hospital. This not only means hiring janitors to clean up and fix your various machines but also hiring/firing doctors and nurses, putting your staff through training, promoting them when necessary and making sure that they’re all happy lest they quit. You also need to make sure that you’ve got enough staff available so that when some tire and require breaks, you have others there to fill in for them. Sometimes this may mean that you end up with more doctors than you necessarily need at any given time just so you have them when you need them, which may mean you’re paying more for salary than you might need to and therefore end up spending more money than you have. It’s all a juggling act to make sure that your hospital runs as efficiently as possible.

Two Point Hospital is fun and challenging and, at times, infuriatingly so. There are so many times when you feel like you’re doing everything right. Still, for whatever reason, patients start to die (and haunt the hospital), you run out of money, or your reputation tanks, so you end up not getting as many visitors as you need to keep afloat. To see how you’re doing, at the end of each game year, you have the chance to win a selection of different awards such as Doctor of the year and the no death award, these serve to increase your hospitals reputation and also come with cash bonuses that can help you at difficult times.

I spent hours playing Theme Hospital back in the day, and although I haven’t played Two Point anywhere near as much, I feel like it wouldn’t take a lot for me to get hooked and while away hours in-game running my hospitals into the ground. There’s enough to this game to keep you coming back for more, and even if you play the same hospital multiple times, it’s always different. For example, you get the same illnesses but not in the same ratio. Also, things like the random VIP visits or emergency patients you have to treat in a specific time period come at different times, so you’re never truly prepared for them to happen.

There is so much to this game and so many different ways to play it that it never gets tiresome. If you enjoyed Theme Hospital or even just simulation games in general, I think this is a game that you will enjoy. I love both, and Two Point will be a game that, much like Theme Hospital, I will come back to time and time again. However, unlike some games in the genre, it’s not too tricky, and although it eases you in gently with the first levels, there isn’t the sudden spike in difficulty that you can experience in some simulation games.

I’ve played the game on both PC and PS4, and even though the controls are different on console with having to use a controller over a mouse, I haven’t experienced any glaring issues, and the port works just as well as the PC version.

I would recommend this game to any fan of the genre and I’m going to give it an excellent 9/10.

If you’d like to see the game in action before you pick up a copy for yourself, you can check out a stream that I did the other day over on Twitch.

Star Wars: Squadrons (Review)

Star Wars: Squadrons is a space combat game set in the Star Wars universe. It was released in October 2020 for PC, Xbox One and Playstation 4. It was made available for free as part of a PSPlus subscription in June 2021.

Set after the events of Return of the Jedi (the one with the Ewoks), the main story campaign follows a New Republic fighter pilot and a Galactic Empire pilot alternately as they get involved in the New Republics new secret project. Of course, one wants it to succeed, the other to fail – reasonably standard, right?

Squadrons follows in the footsteps of some epic starship battle games, the likes of Tie Fighter – a PC game from back in the 90’s, which I spent many an hour failing to complete – and more recently to the Rogue Squadron – unique title, eh? – games that were around in the late 90’s early 00’s. I didn’t play any of the latter, as I was so bad at the old ones, I didn’t really fancy giving the newer ones a go.

For this reason, I knew that Squadrons wasn’t going to be something that I would pick up as soon as it came out, or probably ever really. But as it was on PSPlus this month, I figured I would give it a go.

You start the game by creating a semi-custom character for each side of the fight. I say “semi” because you only have a limited number of things you can do. It’s not as detailed as games like Mass Effect, but for a first-person game that you don’t spend the majority of your time looking at your character, you can argue it doesn’t need to be.

After character selection, you’re thrown into the prologue level as your Galactic Empire character. This level serves – like in most games these days – as the tutorial level. It helps you get to grips with the flying of a Tie-Fighter in a fight that you would be hardpressed to lose – spoiler alert; I died a couple of times. This level also serves to set up the game and introduce the new characters that you will interact with throughout the campaign.

Once you’ve fought your way through this, you’re into the game proper as your New Republic pilot. The levels generally consist of flying around, blowing your enemy out of the sky and trying to protect various assets to your fleet. On the Empire side of the coin, you spend your time trying to attack these assets, and yep, you guessed it, trying to blow your enemy out of the sky.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much else to this game. I know some people will enjoy the continuation of the Star Wars franchise and story and will probably love the multiplayer angle. Still, there just wasn’t enough to hold my attention – and that’s not just because I wasn’t very good at it…I did get better.

I’ve enjoyed past Star Wars games, and I’m a fan of the franchise, but this game was more of a miss than some previous entries. I feel like the game makers spent more time trying to make multiplayer work than they did on the story of the solo campaign, which is a shame.

This game had the potential to be really good, and although I freely admit that it’s not something I would drift towards often, I would play it occasionally if it had some replayability – I just don’t feel it has this. It’s a good looking game, the graphics are incredible, and the character detail is first-rate, but this just isn’t enough to make me want to play it any more than I already have for this review. In addition, the story feels like a rehash of something that’s been told many times over in the Star Wars universe and so doesn’t really add anything unique to the player experience or universe lore.

I’m going to give Star Wars: Squadrons a mid-range 6/10. I wouldn’t say avoid it, but there are far better games out there to spend your money on.

Let Nostalgia Commence: Streets of Rage 4 (Review)

Streets of Rage 4 is a side-scrolling beat ’em up and continues the Streets of Rage storyline from the previous games – particularly the one from the Japanese version of SoR3 (titled Bare Knuckle 3). It was released in April 2020 on XBox One, PS4, Switch and PC.

This game picks up 10 years after the ending of SoR3 and follows original characters Axel Stone, Blaze Fielding and Adam Hunter. Joining these characters are Adam’s daughter Cherry and a cybernetically enhanced bloke named Floyd Iraia.

The story follows these characters as they fight against their old enemy, Mr X‘s children – the Y twins (yes, I know original names but hey, what are you gonna do?)

The main game is split up into multiple different levels which consist of battling through waves of enemies until you reach a mini boss at the end – if you’ve played the previous games, this won’t be anything new to you.

This was another game that as soon as it was announced I knew I had to play it, but it was yet another that fell by the wayside in favour of others. But, this month it became available on PSNow so I had to finally play it.

Personally I loved the original Streets of Rage games. I was never especially brilliant at them, but that didn’t stop me from dying repeatedly and always going back for more.

The combat in this sequel is very similar to the previous games. It consists (for me anyway) of button bashing to punch, kick and throw the onslaught of enemies. One addition to this game though is that you have several special moves. Although these moves use a portion of your health, you do have the chance to recover what you lose by successfully landing combos. I was happy to see the weapons are still there. There are a range to choose from, some dropped by enemies and some just in certain sections of the level. These include but aren’t limited to; knives, metal pipes, baseball bats, bottles and a golden chicken…yes, a golden chicken can be used as weapon. Along with these are several power-up pick-ups including apples, money bags and I’m happy to say the roasted chicken is back too.

The look of SoR4 is different to the other three games in that it’s all hand drawn rather than pixelated. This change doesn’t detract from you knowing that you’re playing a Streets of Rage game and this new style works really well with this kind of game. The music, as always, is top notch and definitely reminds of the original games, it’s not your usual repetitive noise that you sometimes get in side-scrolling games of this ilk. There’s even a way to play the original games’ music instead which is kind of awesome.

The main story mode is fairly short. I’ve only been playing it a day and have finished it. But, you have the replayability of going through it with the other characters or co-op with a friend or online player. And, of course, if you’re looking for trophies and need the extra incentive, there are ample up for grabs obtainable through your multiple playthroughs..

Simply put, I love this game. Not just for the nostalgia factor, but because games like this are a rarity these days. I only wish I could play it on a proper arcade cabinet like in the good ol’ days – I miss arcades…Anyway, where was I? Ah, yes. This game is brilliant, the art style, the music, the mechanics, there’s nothing not to love about this title and you should definitely play it, especially if you’re a fan of the originals. This game makes me want to find the originals and replay those too.

Streets of Rage 4 is a solid ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ in my book and one I will definitely be going back to. And if it disappeared from PSNow tomorrow, I would buy a copy. I intend on putting a lot of time into this game as I did the older games.

I will leave you with these words. Go and play it now!

A Free Bundle of Fun: Astro’s Playroom (Review)

Astro’s Playroom is a 3D platformer that was released in November 2020 for the PS5 and comes free, pre-installed on the console at purchase and makes use of the PS5 DualSense controller and all of its new functions.

I’m a little late with my review of this one. Astro was the first game that we played when we got our PS5 a few months ago, but I’m only now getting around to writing about it.

Astro’s Playroom isn’t the first Astro game, but it was the first one that we played. We didn’t expect it to be free with the PS5, so that was a pleasant surprise right off the bat.

The game spans four worlds with several different levels in each. Two levels within each are regular platformers and two. You’re given a special suit that allows different actions, for example, a frog suit that has a spring allowing you to bounce to higher parts of the level or over obstacles. This suit for us was fun, not so much the suit itself, but the way that the DualSense controller feels and sounds when you’re using it; it’s just like a real spring would be. The resistance is also the same as an actual spring. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s a fun feature. Other levels put you inside a ball which you have to navigate down a track or -the bit I really enjoyed – on a pinball machine. There also a monkey suit that allows you climb walls – some bits with suit were a tad frustrating but still enjoyable.

Astro’s Playroom isn’t a hard game, although it does have a few challenging elements. Some of the collectibles are difficult to get, but with a little persistence and timing they are achievable.

Another fun thing about this game is that there are little scenes involving other robots that act out characters and bits from other games throughout all of the levels. It was great to find them and figure out which ones they were. They range from games like Ratchet and Clank to The Last of Us to Horizon: Zero Dawn. There are probably hundreds to see, and over the couple of playthroughs we did, we think we found and figured out most of them.

I’ve never been a lover of the 3D platform game. I grew up with side-scrollers and still prefer them, but some like the previously mentioned Ratchet and Clank and this game Astro’s Playroom – that I do enjoy.

It’s not just the gameplay that is excellent, but also the soundtrack. There are several different songs that we found ourselves singing by the end of the game, they were that catchy. One of them is also written on a wall in one of the levels (see the above central image.)

Now on to trophies.

The platinum for this game wasn’t a difficult one, and we managed to get it after just a couple of days of playing. There aren’t many challenging trophies, but there are some that you wouldn’t necessarily get if you weren’t looking for them, for example, gaining a large number of robot followers in the home world.

For a free game that we didn’t expect, we really enjoyed Astro’s Playroom. With the other two games that we got with our PS5 – one of them being Werewolf (you can find my scathing review here) – it was by far the best of the bunch and probably one that, despite having completed and gained the platinum for, we would go back and replay at some point. I’d say if you’ve got a PS5 and haven’t yet played this game, you need to go and do it as soon as possible.

I’m giving Astro’s Playroom a fantastic ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and two big thumbs up.

Oddworld: Soulstorm (Review)

Oddworld: Soulstorm is a platformer that was released in April 2021 on PC, PS4 and PS5. It is a sequel to Oddworld New ‘n’ Tasty, which was a remake of the original Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee and re-imaging that games sequel Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus – Not confusing at all, right?

It’s set a few hours after its predecessor after Abe has rescued all of his fellow Mudokons from the evil owners of RuptureFarms and their plan to turn them into food.

I got a copy of Soulstorm as part of my PSPlus subscription and am playing it on the PS5.

Argh! F!ck. Damn it. Why’s he doing that? It’s a stupid game anyway – Just some of the things said whilst playing all of the games in this series. But despite all the stress and pain of playing them, I still enjoy them.

This game is a sequel to a remake and all that jazz; it pretty much has all the same play mechanics as its predecessors. However, it has one new mechanic, which is the ability to loot items from containers or enemies and craft other items that will help you along your journey. These take the form of different bottles, for example, ones that can create a smokescreen to allow you to pass by enemies unnoticed.

The Quarma system is still in the game, although it has been reworked to take into account not only the number of Mudokons that you’ve rescued but also the number of enemies that you’ve killed (so far, I’ve been doing more killing than rescuing.)

This game still allows you to possess enemies and control them, allowing you to use them to open doors, operate platforms or kill other Sligs – which is always fun.

The rescuing of Mudokons works similarly to the previous games, but they now mimic your every action, from running and sneaking to jumping, climbing and even hiding. This can be a bit of a pain as sometimes they can be a little slow to respond to actions, especially when you jump into a locker (yes, another game uses this same strategy to hide from people.)

From the first game on the original PlayStation, I’ve always enjoyed Oddworld games despite the fact that they drive me nuts sometimes. I enjoy the challenge of running or sneaking through the levels and finding new ways to dispatch with or get around enemies.

So far, I’m only a few levels into the game, and I’m really enjoying it so far. My Quarma is shockingly low as I spend most of my time possessing and then exploding Sligs – what? It’s pretty damn fun – and I’ve rescued maybe a third of the Mudokons that are in the levels – some got crushed or shot or electrocuted. Ah well, you can’t save them all.

I kept meaning to go back and finish New ‘n’ Tasty but never got around to it. This game is making me want to finally do it, and I think if I finish this one, New ‘n’ Tasty will be my next game – I know, I know, I’m playing them backwards, but who cares, really?

I would recommend Oddworld: Soulstorm for any fans of the original games or just platformers in general. You don’t see enough decent side-scrolling platformers around these days, so I’m all over this one. The only problem I have is that I’d much rather see a new Oddworld game than keep having remakes of previous ones. I’m going to give this game ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ as despite it being frustrating, it’s still a brilliant and well-done game. Go and play it!

Blindsighted Release Day!

Well it’s that day again. The day when I get to announce that a book I’ve written is being sent out into the world.

Blindsighted is a story I started writing before the release of my last book, The Next Stage. It’s a completely different type of story. Where The Next Stage was a cyberpunk thriller, Blindsighted is more a Horror/paranormal/ghost story.

Below you can find the books description:

HE CAN’T SEE YOU, BUT HE KNOWS YOU’RE THERE.

When Nathan and his mother move into their dream home, they think their days are looking up. But when Nathan starts to experience visions of a man with no eyes stalking him, their dream home soon becomes a nightmare.

Soon he starts to see a mysterious ghostly boy that seems to be guiding him towards something.

Can Nathan make sense of what the boy is trying to tell him before the sinister man gets too close, or will he disappear as others have?

As of this morning, Blindsighted is available on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited. The Amazon paperback version is still sat in the pending status but it should hopefully be available very soon too if you want a physical copy. I’ll post an update when it becomes available.

Releasing a book for others to read brings up feelings of relief and terror. Relief that it’s finally finished and ready for others to read and terror because you don’t know how readers are going to react to your story.

All in all it’s a good feeling, and with this – the publishing of my third book – everything doesn’t seem as strange. I feel like this is something that I should be doing, especially after the reception that The Next Stage got.

Anyway, you’ll be able to find Blindsighted over on Amazon by searching for it, going to the books page from the Books tab at the top of this page or clicking the links below.

Thank you in advance for buying a copy of this new novel. I hope you enjoy it!