This week, Yoshi’s Woolly World unravels on Wii U, MotoGP 15 burns rubber on Xbox One and Piloteer attempts a safe landing on iPhone. Elsewhere, Tales From Deep Space and Her Story crank up the adventure dial to 11 on smartphone and tablet.
Ross Wilkinson checks out this week’s hot tips:
Yoshi’s Woolly World
Wii U £29.99
An expertly knitted platform adventure
It’s time to embark on a new Yoshi adventure in a world made from yarn, cloth and textiles.
Here, you’ll explore the world by using your yarn to weave wool platforms and warp pipes to reach new areas, as you gleefully unravel its secrets and puzzles by pulling those woolly walls apart.
Yoshi and his squishy surroundings provide a lovely left-field feel to what has always been a staple gaming operation for Mario. And Yoshi has never been more adorable than as a toy knit from yarn.
His entire environment is gorgeous in HD, looking good enough to touch. While the boss fights aren’t always the most enjoyable experiences, the innovation in level design and the addition of co-operative online gameplay will draw in Nintendo’s army of platforming fans with little resistance.
This delightful dragon still has the moves, even if he has now become a flammable fire hazard to himself.
Xbox One £36.99
Will you fall for two-wheeled twisting on the track?
Bike, rider, and team customisation. Enhanced career mode. New game mode. Legendary two-stroke bikes.
Welcome to the 2015 MotoGP season. All these ingredients bear the promise of revolutionising the gaming interpretation of biking blasts in its annual celebration of two-wheeled racing.
But when it comes to the crunch, it’s not as big a leap forward as we might have hoped. Incremental graphical and gameplay upgrades do provide a more polished feel and, as official licenses go, it’s an incredibly accurate translation of the sport onto your TV. But it never quite gets you off your seat, whooping after a victorious final corner finish.
The authenticity and attention to detail is there but, despite hefty boosts to the career mode where you can now start your own team, you’ll need to be a die-hard MotoGP fan to fully appreciate the content on offer here.
Casual gamers may soon come to the conclusion that, on consoles at least, four wheels are generally better than two.
Jetpack high-jinks for comedy physics fans
If you’ve ever seen a video of someone trying to control one of those water-propelled jet-packs, you’ve probably got some indication of how darn hard they are to handle.
Piloteer provides further proof that a rocket on your back is never going to provide the smoothest ride by setting you a series of increasingly tricksy challenges to complete with the pack on your back.
Right and left thrusts are activated by tapping on the corresponding side of the screen, as you wrestle with the comedy physics premise of this side-scroller to perform forward flips, precise landings and other aerial acrobatics.
The physics never becomes frustrating, though, because Piloteer makes such a hilarious visual point of your failure, through the comedic collapses in this beautifully paper-crafted world.
It’s not without its faults, but 60 levels over three environments offer a whole load of laughs for those of you with a masochistic calling for some aerial amusement.
Video diaries deliver an incredible investigative experience
Her Story is a delightful detective game that charges you with unearthing the truth behind the death of a husband, recounted through countless video clips from his wife.
The central role of Hannah is outstandingly realised by actress Viva Seifert and each clip is housed within a primitive program called LOGIC, which has tagged them all to aid your search as you unearth more and more avenues of investigation to pursue.
Names, places and other areas of interest will bubble to the surface as you watch more and more clips, sending you down some intriguing rabbit holes and delivering a truly unique interactive gaming experience that marries superb narrative and acting with a deceptively cohesive way to hold all this video material together.
Her Story brilliantly fuses gripping crime drama, today’s obsession with streaming video and the gaming delights of search and discovery. It’s unlike anything you’ve played before and well worth the £4 admission price.
Tales From Deep Space
An intergalactic entry from your favourite online store
So, Amazon has its own game studio! Who knew? Although Tales From Deep Space isn’t the first release from the gargantuan retailer, it’s certainly the one that will create the biggest ripples in the mobile gaming world.
While previous titles have pretty much sunk without a trace, TFDS offers up a stylish intergalactic platforming adventure, where you switch controls between an astronaut stranded on a space station and the drone buddy in two.
You’ll need each of their special abilities to help you navigate the puzzles that lie in wait, accompanied by a healthy dose of no frills laser-gun combat sequences to satisfy those of you with an itchy trigger finger.
Amazon has clearly learnt from its mistakes, and TFDS packs a whole lot of polished platforming and humorous adventuring into one app package. Although there’s little in the way of innovation, it marks an upturn in fortunes for Amazon’s gaming output, and is well worth a look.
What’s Hot & What’s Not:
Minecraft fans will be interested to see how acclaimed publishers Telltale Games will tackle the block-building world in its new Story Mode release, out this weekend.
Set in the Minecraft world, the game will feature an original story where the decisions you take shape the narrative and, while it’s not an “official” release, the title has been developed in collaboration with Minecraft’s originators, Mojang. Released episodically, as with Telltale’s recent portfolio, it looks set to be another fantastic bundle of cubic fun that will run for months and months.
We can’t wait.
Meanwhile, in the charts this week, Batman: Arkham Knight smashed its way to the top of the tree in its first seven days of release, sending LEGO Jurassic World and The Elder Scrolls Online down to two and three respectively. Yoshi’s Woolly World was the second of three new entries in the top 10 at four, while Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward performed well for an expansion pack, debuting at 10.
1. Batman: Arkham Knight
2. LEGO Jurassic World
3. The Elder Scrolls Online
4. Yoshi’s Woolly World
5. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
6. Grand Theft Auto V
7. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
8. FIFA 15
10. Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward
Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (c) 2015 UKIE Ltd