This week, Borderlands unveils its Handsome Collection on PS4, the Giana Sisters are in for some Twisted Dreams on PC, while Rock On tests your rock music knowledge on mobile devices.
Elsewhere, Last Voyage and Super Hexagon provide some awesome kaleidoscopic post-Easter eye candy on smartphone and tablet.
Here’s this week’s low-down on what’s hot and what’s not game-wise:
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
PS4, Shooter/RPG, £39.99
The Borderlands franchise has become an iconic shooter/RPG escapade, combining cracking storylines, vast game environments and awesomely accurate controls in recent years. Here, The Handsome Collection offers up the definitive versions of both Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, specifically built for next-gen consoles. The colourful cel-shaded environments ping off your TV once again, proving that this series deserves its place in the 21st century’s hall of gaming fame. Foul-mouthed friends and foes, loot galore and some of the tastiest steam-punk weaponry you’ll ever find in an in-game desolate wasteland offer an abundance of enjoyment for those craving an adventure soaked in the atmosphere of armageddon. Even though this is a revamped version of two older titles, there’s a stupendous amount of content here for PS4 fans to get their teeth into. It’s a shooter laced with wonderful style and substance, and if you haven’t experienced it yet, you have no excuse now.
2. Sisters are still doing it for themselves
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams
PC, Action/Platform, £21.99
Twisted Dreams represents the modern remake of a 1980s classic, which made its biggest waves in the gaming world mainly because of how close it sailed to the Mario Brothers wind than how well it played as a jump’n’run adventure. However, over 20 years on, this release represents an excellent, nostalgic step forward for the series, employing the intriguing option to shift your progress between dreams and reality. It’s a must, though, as some obstacles can only be overcome in this way, and your main character will flip from Punk to Cute mode, activating different abilities and alternative terrains to navigate. Graphically, it’s a platforming treat, accompanied by top-notch audio and some super-tight controls. It may not provide the all-action fix that many gamers today crave, but for platform fans looking for a bit of old-school entertainment with modern-day polish in spades, Twisted Dreams should tick all the boxes.
3. A stellar performance from a near-perfect puzzler
iPhone/iPad, Puzzle/Adventure, 79p
Simplicity and serenity prove to be a powerful combination when it comes to experiencing Last Voyage, an intergalactic puzzler that deserves the utmost prominence in your app collection. Providing another take on the popular genre of “cinematic game experiences”, it fuses five chapters of mind-bending puzzle challenges set in deep space, without a spaceship or alien in sight. The game is wonderfully atmospheric – at times psychedelic – and the controls are so intuitive you can easily sink into the game without worrying about the consequences of a stray tap or swipe. The soundtrack serves to heighten the overall experience even further – certainly one title best enjoyed with your headphones on – delivering an engrossing interstellar encounter that cannot be bettered for just 79p.
4. Small, six-sided shapes make a big impression
iPhone/iPad, Action, £2.29
There are games where the sheer frustration of being unable to make progress simply spurs you on to keep having one more go, when your rational head is telling you to simply delete the app from your desktop once and for all. Super Hexagon fits that genre perfectly, demanding players properly plug in and focus on the minimalistic, kaleidoscopic shapes before them (all offering an escape for your tiny craft stuck in orbit around a hexagonal sun). Clockwise and anti-clockwise movements are all you have to influence your progress, and time and again you’ll curse the degree of precision required to squeeze through a series of speedily-diminishing gateways. The feeling of constantly being sucked into obsoletion is compelling, and even though the controls will twitch here and there to hamper your cause, it won’t be enough to stop you going again to set a new record time. Be warned, staring at Super Hexagon for too long may (a) hypnotise you or (b) affect your perception of the real world after a long session. Either way though, you’ll have had a lot of fun in the process.
5. Name that tune!
iPhone/iPad, Quiz, Free (with in-app purchases)
Everyone’s got a friend who calmly states “leave the music round to me” in a pub quiz, before proceeding to scrape a six out of ten score accompanied by a flurry of excuses (poor audio, ‘not my genre’ etc. etc.). Now, you can test out your pals’ suitability for such activity with Rock On, an excellent audio teaser that calls upon a catalogue of over 3,000 songs to test your knowledge of artists and song titles throughout a series of challenging game modes. You might be up against the clock or under the pressure of sudden death, but the premise is still the same – prove your musical brain is as encyclopaedic as humanly possible. A host of old and current tracks are featured, meaning the gaming shouldn’t alienate anyone of a particular musical persuasion, while the game interface is super-simple – as it should be for a game of this kind. Waiting for more lives without stumping up cash can be a bit of a pain, but with so much content on offer for free, it’s a small virtual price to pay.
WHAT’S HOT AND WHAT’S NOT?
Those cheeky little yellow Minions from Despicable Me are carving their own path onto the big screen this summer, and it looks like their mischievous antics will spill onto your smartphone, too, after the announcement of a multi-game deal with Electronic Arts (EA).
Minions Paradise is scheduled to hit app stores around the same time of July’s big cinema release, and will be free to download. Speaking about the characters’ global appeal, EA Mobile’s executive VP Frank Gibeau said: “EA is excited to partner with Illumination and Universal Partnerships & Licensing to bring these delightful characters to life for millions of fans on mobile devices. This incredible partnership will help us bring players an unforgettable way to build the ultimate playground for their Minions, with an engaging story and deep and varied gameplay.”
Meanwhile, in the charts this week, Battlefield Hardline kept hold of top spot for another seven days, as GTA V crept into contention, climbing two places from two to four. Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin was the only new entry to the top ten at eight, while Destiny stormed back into the reckoning, climbing a whopping ten places from 20 to ten.
GAME CHART ALL FORMATS FULL PRICE
1. Battlefield Hardline
2. Grand Theft Auto V
4. FIFA 15
5. Far Cry 4
6. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
7. Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
8. Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin
9. Dying Light
(Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (c) 2015 UKIE Ltd)