GAMES: A retro formula for success

F1 2013
F1 2013

This week, F1 2013 screeches onto Xbox 360, Beyond: Two Souls rises up on PS3 and Moshi Monsters’s Katsuma is unleashed on 3DS. Meanwhile, The Cave and Gunner Z present some serious polished action of differing kinds on iOS

F1 2013 | Xbox 360 | Racing | £34.99

The James Hunt biopic, Rush, has reignited racing fans’ interest in the history of Formula One, back when men were men and cars were, er, cars. His rivalry with Niki Lauda was the stuff of legend, and F1 2013 seeks to harness this retro racing feel with the introduction of all-new 80s classic content, in addition to all the cars, stars and circuits from the present day. F1 Classics, the new game mode introduced by legendary broadcaster Murray Walker, allows you to race famous cars from Ferrari, Williams and Lotus against icons of the sports like Nigel Mansell, Mario Andretti and Gerhard Berger, on historic circuits including Brands Hatch and Circuito de Jerez. Wiping the rose-tinted fog from your visor, the game still boasts the modern-day polish we’ve come to expect from Codemasters’s franchise, and it’ll be interesting to see how things move to the next level when drivers drop into a PS4 or Xbox One driving cockpit. Glorious, high-speed hijinks.

89%

Beyond: Two Souls | PS3 | Action/Adventure | £37.99

There can’t be too many PS3 exclusives to come before the PS4 takes centre stage. Here the life of Jodie Holmes, who possesses supernatural powers through her psychic link to a mysterious invisible entity, provides the narrative backdrop for another of those titles that play out more like a movie experience than a ‘game’ in the traditional sense of the word. The balance appears to have been tipped too far in favour of film-watching, though, as the experience of the most striking moments of Jodie’s life, played out in jumbled chronological chapters, feels like gameplay is second fiddle to storytelling. The two should be tightly intertwined, but you never feel as if your actions and decisions really determine the lead character’s fate, instead pushing towards an inevitable end scene. It’s a real shame, because the story is incredibly compelling, but so are the best films of this supernatural genre, only at a more digestible running-time.

75%

Moshi Monsters: Katsuma Unleashed | Nintendo 3DS | Action | £24.99

The Moshi Monsters phenomenon shows now signs of slowing down - if anything, it’s furry reach is spreading by the minute. Here, on Nintendo 3DS, this all-new, fresh and friendly, monster-ific adventure, allows you to help Katsuma and the rest of the Moshi menagerie save the world from the evil schemes of Dr. Strangeglove and his destructive robot Moshlings. You’ll bash and dash your way through six worlds, packed with intense battles, wild boss showdowns and a host of glittering treasures to discover. It’s a pretty decent, colourful and jingly platformer that’s going to delight the hordes of card and sticker collectors out there. Without doing anything technically brilliant, kids will still find plenty of fun to while away the hours, and the Super Moshi abilities you can amass from rescuing your Moshi friends add extra depth to the game, unlocking short-cuts and other hidden secrets in the process. All in all, the franchise still retains a sure footing here, with Katsuma at the helm!

77%

The Cave | iPhone/iPad | Action | £2.99

The brains behind the Monkey Island series has gone back to what it does best, creating the latest point-and-click-style puzzle platformer for smartphones and tablets, which sends you underground to conquer a collection of crazy fantasy quests. Along the way you’ll pick up different items, meet a cast of weird and wonderful inhabitants of the world, but you’ll also quickly encounter a flurry of control issues on the touchscreen, which put a bit of a dampener on your descent. Puzzles are fun and require a bit of grey matter to solve, which is appreciated, but the long treks from one end of a level to another, hunting down activity hotspots can be draining. It’s a shame, because with such a celebrated head honcho at the helm and seven different characters available to provide a multi-layered experience, The Cave could have been fantastic. In the end, though, it’s more likely to leave you scrambling in the dark for the off switch.

69%

Gunner Z | iPhone/iPad | Action | FREE

Who doesn’t like shooting a zombie to smithereens? OK, perhaps not everybody, but the resurgence in horror game offerings has encouraged developers to come up with more and more ingenious ways of reducing these enemies to nothing more than a heap of mush on the floor. Gunner Z takes an on-rails approach to this undead annihilation, as you take control of a heavily armoured truck and spin around numerous stages with you finger permanently on the trigger. Displayed in night vision style, Gunner Z’s presentation is slick and atmospheric, while the variety of enemies and truck customisation offers additional layers of depth to the experience. However, these aren’t enough to position the game above more than an extension of what is essentially a FPS turret-based mini-game and, as a result, you may run out of enthusiasm for zombie-bashing well before you run out of ammo.

76%