Game: a boy and his blob (Wii)

The format/developer/publisher: Nintendo Wii, developed by Wayforward, published by Majesco Entertainment

The ten-word synopsis: Boy helps adorable alien blob get home using magic jellybeans.

Games boxes are cold and hard. Hugging a game box, especially the sleek, white Wii ones, is not entirely comfortable. However, seeing as it is unfortunately impossible to embrace a boy and his blob (The name doesn’t use any capital letters, that’s not me being lazy) in any other way, it’ll have to do. Wayforward’s adorable little jellybean-based puzzle-platformer is a game you just want to reach out and hug at warmly as you can. Continue reading

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Game: Picross E

The format/developer/publisher bit: Nintendo 3DS (Digital download), developed by Jupiter, published by Nintendo

The ten-word synopsis: It’s just some new puzzles for those addicted to Picross.

Two glances at the screenshot above and I’ve already solved that puzzle. I couldn’t simply look at it as a picture. Instead, it’s a challenge. It’s Picross challenging me. There’s no two ways about it: I’m an addict. I’m a Picross addict. And I’m proud of it. Continue reading

Game: Elite Beat Agents

The system/publisher/developer bit: Nintendo DS, published by Nintendo, developed by iNiS

The ten-word synopsis: Rhythmically tap the screen to help those in need.

Whenever asked for compile my favourite films, TV shows, books, plays, whatever, my first instinct is always to impress. To list titles that make me come across as somewhat highbrow, like a proper critic type or something. However, it never takes long before the likes of Psycho and Hamlet give way to a mesmeric platoon of silliness. Scott Pilgrim, Danger Mouse, The Gruffallo… And, with the onset of gaming as a ‘serious’ new medium, Elite Beat Agents can take its’ rightful place amongst that most esteemed company. Continue reading

Game: New Super Mario Bros 2

The system/publisher/developer bit: Nintendo 3DS, developed & published by Nintendo

The ten-word synopsis: More 2D Mario platforming action, now with lots more coins.

It’s testament to just what a miraculous job Shigeru Miyamoto did in 1985 that Nintendo can release essentially the same game these days and it’s still one of the best titles put out all year. While there continues to be a Mario revolution with games such as Super Mario Galaxy, it’s the gentle evolution of the New Super titles that seems almost more remarkable than Miyamoto simply redefining the genre again, as the gaming dreamworker seems to do at least once every 5 or 6 years. Continue reading

Game: Super Mario Galaxy

The format/developer/publisher bit: Nintendo Wii, developed & published by Nintendo

The 10-word synopsis: Mario propels himself around brightly coloured planets hunting magical stars.

On the whole, video games are made by adults. Adults are, let’s admit it, largely boring people. Whereas kids are quite happy to let their imagination run free as they bound around playfully, adults tend to sit around and eat biscuits or something, neglecting the concept of fun. So quite how 59-year-old Shigeru Miyamoto managed to create such an audacious fun-riot shall long be pondered as one of the great mysteries of the universe. Because if there’s one thing evident in Super Mario Galaxy, it’s that nobody in Nintendos’ famed EAD studio ever grew up. Continue reading

Game: Pyoro

AKA Birds & Beans (US name)

The system/developer/publisher bit: Nintendo DSiWare, developed & published by Nintendo

The ten-word synopsis: Simple game in which a bird tries to eat beans.

The rise of the iPhone as a legitimate gaming device has really shook up the handheld market. Whilst there remains a gap for the meatier experiences found on the 3DS and Vita,  it has resulted in a mad panic for Nintendo and Sony to counter-punch with their own light entertainment titles. Pyoro was one of Nintendos’ earliest attempts to create an enjoyable 5-minute title, a launch game for their DSiWare online download service. Continue reading

Game: Rugby World Cup 2011

The system/developer/publisher bit: PS3 (Also available on Xbox 360), published by 505 Games, developed by HB Studios

The ten-word synopsis: A virtual version of Rugby Union’s quad-annual showpiece.

The essential way to start this article is by noting that the writer is a big rugby fan. As such, even if the game emitted deadly radiation that turned your hands into goats hooves after 20 minutes of play and then subsequently filled you with uncontrollable desires to eat your own family, I’d force myself to like it. And not just to like it, but to play it a lot. This happened with Rugby 04- then virtually the only Rugby game on the market for the owner of a PC that vomited every time a copy of Jonah Lomu Rugby was inserted. Continue reading

Game: Picross 3D

The system/publisher/developer bit: Nintendo DS, published by Nintendo, developed by HAL Laboratory

The ten-word synopsis: Chisel blocks to make an object using logic and numbers.

For a game that hinges itself around logic, Picross 3D doesn’t make a lot of sense. By rights, a slow-paced, ugly-looking puzzle game that just makes you count blocks for hundreds of hours worth of levels shouldn’t be fun. The appeal of Picross 3D, like it’s flat predecessor, is a mystery. Yet it remains just as endearing to play as the 2008 title, the bane of so many of its’ purchasers social lives. Continue reading