Need for Speed : Hot Pursuit Remastered, XBOX

I first discovered Need for Speed : Hot Pursuit around ten years ago.

It came in an unmarked padded bag and was a surprise review.

Knowing nothing about the game I went in blind, it was early in my ButtonmasherNZ days and I was keen.

Out of that came an overlong and excitable review, the game was good and had its turbo boosted hooks in me.

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Lets Sing Queen Byte Size Review (Xbox One X)

Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon. Legends! Queen. Best. Band. Ever!

I have always loved Queen. In some ways it is the soundtrack to my youth. In my younger days I really enjoyed playing all the Lets Sing, Guitar Hero, and Rockband games.

I was never really any good at them but with a few mates and a few more beers, many a good time was had. Now with the experience that comes with age I realise how absolutely terrible I am at singing.

Will that knowledge stop me playing Lets Sing Queen? Well, yes, it probably will.

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Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, XBOX Review

Crash Bandicoot 4 is a difficult game. Negotiating this platform-hopping, crate jumping, dimension-swapping, time-slowing, enemy-infested gauntlet feels like you are learning a blistering guitar solo one note at a time, until you can almost play through it without stumbling. Almost.

It’s a journey conquered inch by inch, checkpoint by checkpoint, until you stand at the end, panting, spent.

Every level takes the form of attempt, die, repeat, die, repeat again. Usually, this is enough to make me bounce right off a game, but there’s something about Crash Bandicoot 4.

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Street Power Football, PS4 Byte Size Review

Street Power Football is a mixed bag of soccer stuff. Delivering six distinctly different game modes to  a pumping beat, while they are somewhat linked it feels at times like an identity crisis.

It’s soccer Jim, but not as we know it.

That’s the crux of it, the core of the game is about 3 vs 3 Street Soccer, end to end short and snappy games. Most often decided by who made the fewer mistakes, like NBA Street the game is quick, chock full of power-ups and “character”.

I love a good soccer game, having spent my formative years in the U.K. it goes without saying. While I can appreciate the niche for flashy moves, lycra and the odd Panna. I find the game lacks subtlety and doesn’t hit my sweet spot, which is obviously  touch slower.

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JBL QUANTUM Wireless 600, review

JBL ANZ very kindly supplied us with a set of Wireless 600 headphones to celebrate their Australian launch last week. Over the course of this year they have made a big impact in New Zealand with their gaming range and we have been able to review some of the range previously.

Of course JBL are not only known for their Gaming Headsets, as part of the Harman Karman Group they are responsible for a range of lifestyle audio devices too. Some of which will be finding their way to Australasia soon.

The Wireless 600 is a set that is easy to put on, the packaged (braided) cables make it simple to swap out from PS4, to Mac, to Xbox to Switch. I am happy with it and will be making the most of them.

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Windbound (Playstation 4)

Stranded on a desert island, what do you bring? As much as I would love to say…. “a PS4 and a copy of Windbound”, alas I cannot.  Its beautiful art style and fun sailing mechanics, have been scuttled by the tough rogue-like penalties and clunky combat encounters.

Windbound is a survival game built around rouge-like mechanics and procedurally generated islands. Anyone who has played “Don’t Starve” will have a very good understanding of the design philosophy.

Windbound initially presents as a sort of paired down version of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Which, let’s be honest is a great place to start. Windbound will not however, have the broad appeal of Zelda. I think it’s going to be an acquired taste for many gamers as they will need to be patient and forgiving lovers of rogue-likes, to find joy here.

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Railway Empire Complete Collection [reviewed on PC]

Railway Empire Complete Collection doesn’t know I’ve never been one of those people that has found trains fascinating. Sure, I’ve been on trains but for me they’ve always just been a means of getting from point A to point B. There’s no denying that the steam locomotive was a pivotal instrument in the industrial age of the late 19th Century.

Railway Empire, which first came out in 2017,  builds on that pivotal time period and publisher Kalypso have just released the Complete Collection. The definitive edition, I guess, that comes with two years worth of updates, as well as eight pieces of released DLC. Which let you set up train networks in Mexico, the Great Lakes, The Andes, Great Britain & Ireland, France, Germany, Northern Europe & Down Under.

I can see Railway Empire Complete Collection appealing obviously to people who love trains. As well as those gamers who love the city management/tycoon games where you get to micromanage every little aspect of what is going on. If this is you, you’ll find hours of enjoyment in this empire builder.

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Cinema Gaming, going large on the Silver Screen

As a young man I had two dreams, one was to own a nice little campsite and the other was to own a boutique cinema. The second was born of a love of movies and the plan for some cinema gaming on the big screen after hours. Neither of these dreams took off, until now.

We probably have to thank Covid and 2020 for the opportunity, as traditional business finds other ways to make its assets work.

I recently spied a Facebook ad by my local Event Cinema offering gaming sessions. How could I not take it up?

For prices and details read on.

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Warhammer 40,000 Mechanicus, PS4 Review

Warhammer 40,000 Mechanicus will be familiar to die-hard Games Workshop fans, the average gamer, perhaps not so much. Drawing on the very deep and very wide canon of Warhammer 40k, this game adds to a varied pedigree of stablemates.

Considering the complexity the Warhammer family its a shame that the digital versions of these tabletop adventures often fall flat.

It’s fair to say, that first couple of hours of doubt were soon demolished as I understood the systems on offer and gripped the gameplay.

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Carrion, Nintendo Switch reviewed

Carrion is a horror game with a twist: You are the monster in the dark, hunting the humans – not the other way around.

In a genre that the game’s makers have described as “reverse horror”, you control a red amorphous tentacled blob that escapes confinement in a secret research facility and must escape.

Carrion is Metroidvania in style, with the monster having to unlock doors to progress to the next location and that often involves backtracking to locations you’ve visited before and pulling levers that will unlock chambers in another area.

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