This week, F1 2015 roars onto PS4, while Garfield squeezes into his Kart on Nintendo 3DS.
Elsewhere, Adventures Of Pip, Heroki and The Executive deliver three absorbing action-packed adventures on smartphone and tablet.
Ross Wilkinson has the low down:
Startlingly real racing action
Fresh from his victory on home soil in the British Grand Prix last weekend, Lewis Hamilton steps onto the virtual circuits in F1 2015, putting you in control of his high-speed destiny or, indeed, any of the other drivers on this year’s racing roster.
While even the most considered tinkering of engines won’t help his real-life competition get close in the standings, this annual racing release has been revised to pull further away in the gaming standings, delivering an unbelievably absorbing experience that handles just as brilliantly as it looks.
While local split-screen play has been stripped away from the chassis this time round, under the hood there’s a fantastic new Pro mode for players to tackle, where cockpit cam only and no assists await. It’s perhaps one for seasoned drivers, offering the most intense on-track action, and will no doubt lead to a few race-ending crashes, realised in superb 1080p high definition.
F1 2015 feels fresh, and will give you renewed vigour to step into the pits and find your own high-speed path to glory. Go on, make Lewis proud!
Nintendo 3DS £26.99
Can the fat cat overtake the portly plumber for karting supremacy?
Mario Kart has consistently occupied pole position when it comes to Nintendo’s four-wheeled frolics, despite challenges from the likes of Diddy Kong and Crash Bandicoot.
Here, an unlikely opponent squeezes himself into the driver’s seat, as cartoon favourite cat Garfield dashes onto the dual screen for a lap or two.
His earlier outings on iOS and PC were enjoyable enough, but the leap to Nintendo’s handheld system appears to have put the brakes on the franchise’s progression, not least in the absence of any local or online multiplayer options.
The single player options that remain offer the usual 50cc, 100cc and 150cc cups, but to be honest, even jumping straight in at the deep end isn’t likely to challenge you that much.
All power-ups feel like poor imitations from Mario’s stable, and only the very biggest of Garfield’s lasagne-loving comic-strip fans will find any comfort in driving this chubby cat around the houses.
Adventures Of Pip
Pip proves there’s still life in platforming action
If you’re looking for quick-fire action fun and frolics on iOS, Adventures Of Pip is likely to deliver for you in spades.
Though it’s a platformer that you’re likely to whip through in just a few sittings, the ingenious storyline will hook you from the off and delight gamers old enough to know their single pixels from their 8-bit and 32-bit counterparts.
It’s a charming commentary on how far gaming has come, as Pip moves through the ages graphically, gaining additional skills along the way to reflect his more modernised appearance. This mechanic gives rises to some fiendishly devised and extremely varied puzzles, which will give you a great sense of satisfaction without ever taxing your brain too hard.
The levels have been lovingly designed, and the boss battles are as fun as anything you’ll have tackled in recent times on the bigger consoles.
Here, expert development and an eye for an engaging story that gamers will love all amount to one platforming app purchase that you owe it to yourself – and Pip – to download right now.
Copter haircut can’t quite take Heroki to dizzy platforming heights
When you first start playing Heroki, you’ll marvel at the pin-sharp cartoon graphics, chuckle at the lead character’s helicopter haircut and revel in the prospect of some top-notch platforming action on iPad.
Unfortunately, all of the gameplay elements that should complement the console quality graphics never quite gel together, and will leave gamers feeling frustrated that copter boy doesn’t reach the dizzy heights that we should expect for a penny shy of six quid.
Hovering around the levels, picking up items and flinging them at enemies is great fun… until the controls themselves trip you up as you try to do one thing but end up executing another.
It will grate on you at the fourth or fifth time of asking and begs the question that this little lad could have done with another month or two on the game tinkerer’s table before heading out into the ultra-competitive wide world of app gaming.
Here’s hoping some updates eliminate the niggles, because beneath them there’s a top-quality game lying in wait.
Fighting and finance find common ground
The Executive is pretty darn weird, where beating up werewolves, gravity-defying demons and mad frogs is all part of a day’s gaming. Throw in a collection of genres, from beat ’em up to management and you know you’re in for an eclectic and pretty unique smartphone treat. You’ll distribute the deadly blows with swift swipes and taps on screen, bizarrely earning cash as you play. As the profit mounts up, you can invest your hard-earned blood money in the mining business you manage in your Executive role. Slick, speedy levels manage the pace of the game superbly, and there are dozens of them, which allows you to develop your brawling skills to a level that will make you laugh out loud in real-time, while also climbing the online leaderboards. It’s big, brash and bloomin’ odd, but The Executive has got all the attributes to be worth a promotion to your App Store elite.
What’s Hot & What’s Not
The Minecraft madness keeps on building after more than 10,000 fans of the iconic independent game attended Minecon 2015 at London’s ExCel venue.
It was an opportunity for gamers to get up close and personal with developers Mojang, to find out about the future of the title and showcase some of their own seriously crazy Minecraft costumes, in true fan-conference style.
And it sounds like a host of new features will be added to the game in the coming months, including dual wielding of weapons, a bundle of new arrow types and some hefty developments to The End, which will make it a bigger and better place to spend your time.
All in all, an enlightening event that proves the block building behemoth is still right on top of its game.
Meanwhile, in the charts this week, Batman, LEGO and The Elder Scrolls kept hold of their positions in the top three of the 10 best games right now.
The only major movers were the Xbox and Playstation editions of Minecraft, which both climbed back into the top 10, at seven and 10 respectively.
1. Batman: Arkham Knight
2. LEGO Jurassic World
3. The Elder Scrolls: Online
4. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
5. Grand Theft Auto V
6. Yoshi’s Woolly World
7. Minecraft: Xbox Edition
8. FIFA 15
9. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
10. Minecraft: PlayStation Edition
Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (c) 2015 UKIE Ltd