Cutting right to the chase, Teslagrad is a beautiful, intriguing, challenging and often incredibly frustrating game blending Metroidvania-style progression with fairly complex 2D puzzle-platforming. It’s a mix that should and …
Sparkle Unleashed was developed and published by 10tons on Xbox One. It was released on June 3, 2015 for $7.99. A copy was provided by 10tons for review purposes.
In a competitive market with many games vying for consumer purchase, I can’t find a single major fault to Sparkle Unleashed. Every feature is well-crafted, and there isn’t a wasted step in its motion. The graphics are aesthetically pleasing, and the music reminds me that a magical world can exist right at home. So can I cut this review short and recommend you buy it right now? Not quite.
Sparkle Unleashed is a puzzle game in which the player shoots colored balls into matching, moving colored balls to remove them from the play area. The balls on the field are constantly moving forward and will try to reach an end (that varies per level) to cause the player to lose. Some level layouts will feature multiple tracks from which moving balls may appear. As you complete levels, you’ll eventually reach scripted locations that allow you to choose to upgrade power-ups. It’s a simple but solid system that invites players to keep, well, playing.
Badland was developed and published by Frogmind on Xbox One. It was released on May 29, 2015 for $9.99. A copy was provided by Frogmind for review purposes.
Badland is one of the most popular mobile phone games ever, so I guess it’s no surprise to see it finally making the long-awaited transition to home consoles. Developer Frogmind have certainly talked a good game and are promising that this Game of the Year Edition features a huge raft of new and upgraded content, including over 100 levels, plus a load of multiplayer features.
For those (like me) who are pretty new to Badland, the game is a side-scrolling, physics-derived puzzle-platformer that features a chasing camera (think the original Mario Bros.) to ensures a frenetic pace. The sumptuous, hand-drawn graphics mask challenging and varied gameplay that is dished out in bite-sized levels. There is an element of trial and error in most games like this, but Badland does well to ease the pain with its generous checkpoint system.
Shiftlings was developed by Rock Pocket Games and published by Sierra. It was released on March 4, 2015 for $14.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.
The Xbox One is already home to an increasingly diverse range of game genres thanks to the ID@Xbox initiative, and it’s encouraging to see even crazier games like Shiftlings adding to the rich catalogue that already exists. Essentially, Shiftlings builds upon the existing range of puzzle-platformers by adding a unique twist on cooperative play along with stunning cartoon graphics and a slightly dark sense of humour.
Shiftlings is a game about two unfortunate aliens who happen to perform maintenance duties across a range of space installations whilst being watched by a reality TV audience. Why, you might ask, would anyone want to watch the Shiftlings at work? Well, apparently because the hazards involved in performing space installation maintenance are many, varied and often hilarious. The hilarity for the TV audience is presumably heightened by the fact that both Shiftlings are connected to each other via a pipe — a fact that plays a key role in the gameplay for us as players. The question is, can the beautiful visuals, strong humour and lure of cooperative play overcome the inherent challenges and frustrations that not arise in all puzzle-platformers, but also those that are specific to Shiftlings (such as the fact that both characters are literally connected throughout)?
Pneuma: Breath of Life is set to be released for a price of $19.99/£15.99 on February 27 and is a timed console exclusive to Xbox One for 30 days, developers Deco Digital and Bevel Studios have announced.
Pneuma is a first-person puzzler designed with the power of the Unreal Engine 4 engine to deliver a visually beautiful world. Pneuma, voiced by award-winning voice actor Jay Britton, is a god that delivers comical inner monologues while taking the player through a journey of puzzles in his world.
Unique lateral thinking will be required to overcome puzzles based on perception, observation and attention that will keep the player occupied as the type of story that can only be told in a video game unfolds.
Seeing is believing, so continue on to see Pneuma: Breath of Life in action.
Unmechanical: Extended Edition was developed and published on Xbox One by Grip Games as an improvement to Talawa Games’ and Teotl Studios’s Unmechanical. It will release on January 30, 2015 for $9.99. A copy was provided by Talawa Games for review purposes.
Up until January 21, 2015, I didn’t even know this game existed until I happened to come across an achievement list for the Xbox One version. The game peaked my interest, and I’m glad I saw that achievement list. Unmechanical was originally released on Steam and Android in 2012 and has been rereleased to home consoles with a new extra side level called “Extended”.
Unmechanical: Extended Edition claims itself as a simple game with a variety of puzzles. After starting the game and looking at the controls, it was definitely simple. The left or right stick can move the character and every button and trigger besides the Y button was a tractor beam. That’s it. What can a simple game bring to the table?
Grip Games, Talawa Games and Teotl Studios have announced that their hit game Unmechanical will now see an Xbox One release as Unmechanical: Extended Edition featuring an additional new story level with its own set of puzzles to solve. This title is releasing on January 30, 2015 for a price of $9.99 / 9.99 EUR.
The story is about a little robot that is trapped in an underground complex and his journey to freedom by means of solving puzzles that impede his path.
One of the prominent features of the game as quoted on the developer’s site is “Intuitive and simple controls, applied to a great range of interactions.”
Featured below is a trailer of the game in action.
Tetris Ultimate was developed by SoMA Play Inc. and published by Ubisoft on Xbox One. It was released on December 17, 2014 for $9.99. A copy was provided by Ubisoft for review purposes.
I’m a huge Tetris fan. Ever since summer camp and the original Game Boy version (1989), I’ve probably played 20 or more different renditions of the classic puzzler across every system I’ve ever owned. So when the opportunity came to try out a brand new version, Tetris Ultimate, for the new next-generation Xbox One, of course I jumped at it.
You probably already know the basics, but just in case you didn’t, Tetris has you dropping different-shaped blocks into a playing field in attempts to create and clear lines of blocks. It’s simple, fun and addictive. So how does Tetris Ultimate add to the formula?
Stick It to The Man! was developed and published by Zoink Games. It was released August 28, 2014 on Xbox One and Xbox 360 for $9.99. An Xbox One copy was provided for review purposes.
It has been an awfully long time since the likes of Braid, Limbo and Super Meat Boy first began to demonstrate just how innovative and enjoyable smaller, digitally delivered titles could be. Unbelievably, though, there are still independent studios out there that continue to push the envelope. With Stick it to the Man!, Zoink games have done exactly that, delivering an entertaining, polished and highly amusing puzzle/platform game that oozes originality from every pore.