This week, Grid 2’s Race Edition roars on to PS3, the Fuse is lit on Xbox 360, and Diggs Nightcrawler gets the Wonderbook treatment on PS3 too.
Grid 2: Race Day Edition | Platform: PS3 | Genre: Racing | Price: £35.99 | ASIN: B008U5H7Q2
Don’t we all love a good action racer? One that doesn’t take itself too seriously but still packs enough of a virtual punch to turn your knuckles white while you’re gripping the controller? Grid 2 delivers this in spades. The next generation of the EGO Game Technology Platform pumps out genre-defining visuals and jaw-dropping damage while you push yourself and your vehicles to the limits across three continents in a new, evolving world of motorsport. Handling is well balanced, offering enough stickiness on track but with ample freedom to kick the back end out and drift your way through the excellent career mode. More tracks would have provided the icing on the cake, but there’s enough aggression on the tracks that do exist to keep petrolheads happy, particularly with the commendable collection of cars available in-game. OK, it’s definitely more arcade racing than hardcore simulation, but the graphical and audio flourishes on top of a super-solid core race experience should keep your pedal to the metal until Gran Turismo 6 parks up...
Fuse | Platform: Xbox 360 | Genre: Action | Price: £39.99 | ASIN: B00BIXWTZM
So, what happens when human beings access powerful alien technology they were never meant to have been exposed to? Well, when a volatile energy source called Fuse falls into the wrong hands, the CIA calls upon an elite contact team to retrieve it, known as Overstrike 9. Enter your fingers and thumbs skills as you team up with up to three friends in this co-operative action-fest to take down the rogue paramilitary corporation behind the theft, using lethal team work and high-tech weapons and gadgets. One of Fuse’s USPs is its LEAP feature that lets you instantly shift from agent to agent during combat, allowing you to take advantage of each one’s special arsenal. This adds a whole new dimension of creative combat potential and makes the gameplay different enough to set it apart in an already crowded market. The controls are fluid and satisfying, and you can also tell that some serious love has gone into the boss battles, which appear to be a bit of a dying breed these days. Overall, a fine third-person shooter that’s well worth a look.
Wonderbook: Diggs Nightcrawler | Platform: PS3 | Genre: Action | Price: £13.99 | ASIN: B00AF2IYKG
The Wonderbook peripheral, if you haven’t had the pleasure of its inaugural Harry Potter experience, takes gaming, camera technology and augmented reality to the next level by offering a brilliantly immersive way to play. Here, Diggs Nightcrawler presents a detective story developed exclusively for Wonderbook, where you partner up with the eponymous hero, a bookworm detective, in his quest to solve the mysterious crimes in Library City. Framed for the murder of his best friend and boss Humpty Dumpty, you must help Diggs clear his name and discover the villain behind the crime, and by exploring the shelves of Library City, you’ll meet a whole host of characters from fiction to find out what they know. A really original plot, and the need for you to work in partnership with Diggs, manipulating the world to help him unravel the mystery, makes this Wonderbook outing a real treat for gamers of all ages. The art style, characters, narrative and gameplay are all unmistakably inspired by film noir, creating an engrossing atmosphere that will leave you looking at those characters from classic stories in a whole different light...
Donkey Kong Country Returns | Platform: Nintendo 3DS | Genre: Action | Price: £29.99 | ASIN: B00BG4R0JS
Donkey Kong Country Returns was a great side-scrolling action romp on Wii when it launched three years ago. Now, the legendary ape is back in glorious 3D, optimising all of those great moments from the original, as well as offering players a host of new features that make DKCR a stonking portable purchase. A choice between New Mode and Original allows those new to the franchise to get a gentle introduction to the gameplay mechanics, while there are also eight challenging new levels located within the all-new ninth world, exclusive to this version, unlocked after you complete the main game. You can also now opt to conquer Donkey Kong Island with a friend (if you both own a copy of the game), by connecting via local wireless and teaming up as Donkey and Diddy Kong for some barrel-blasting multiplayer action. If you missed out on Donkey’s first pass on the motion-sensing Wii, make sure you don’t skip this second chance - it’s a polished platformer that showcases everything that’s great about the 3DS, and proves that a ‘port’ of the original doesn’t have to be a dirty word!
Tetris Blitz | Platform: iPhone | Genre: Puzzle | Price: Free | ASIN: N/A
With Candy Crush making waves in the match-3 battleground on iOS right now, it was only a matter of time until the ultimate vertical puzzler made a romping return to our small gaming screens. Here, Blitz bombards you with lightning-fast, bite-sized play, where you want it, when you want it. It’s an all-new Tetris experience, packed with intense build-ups and explosive power-ups, all underpinned by the classic premise of clearing lines of blocks to trigger mesmerising cascades. It’s a brilliant new take on the world-famous puzzle game and a must-have on mobile. Be prepared, though, to have your purse-strings stretched to the limits, as in-app purchases could become seriously addictive (much like Candy Crush). But, if you want to hit the top of the tree when it comes to social positions among your Facebook friends, it may need to be a hit you’re willing to take. But, with online tournaments reset every week, don’t worry - there’s always another chance to celebrate gaming glory, Tetris-style.