First Impressions: Puyo Puyo Tetris (Nintendo Switch)

I’ve got to confess that I didn’t expect to enjoy a Tetris game again! Tetris feels as old as the sun to me. It was one of the first, if not the very first, games I ever played and I have had it (or clones of it) on countless consoles and mobile devices. At the end of the day it hasn’t really changed – or not for the better – over all those years and I thought my time with it would be done.
Additionally, I also have to confess that I’ve never played a Puyo Puyo or Puyo Pop game. I was vaguely aware of their existence but didn’t know anything about them. Thus the combination of Puyo Puyo and Tetris didn’t particularly appeal to me.
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However, this was one of the few games out there these days that had a demo, so I thought I’d give it a go. I am pleased that I did! Outside of the Puyo Puyo being new to me – and at this stage I’m still enjoying the Tetris more – the game injects another dimension into the Tetris by being really going all in on the competitive play. You can just play a normal game of Tetris by yourself but the main bulk of it is playing against the CPU, playing against others locally or playing online.
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The demo gives you a good idea what to expect but the full game adds Adventure mode. I can’t tell you anything about the story as the ‘cut-scenes’ quickly became insufferably long and cringe-worthy. What’s great about it is that it constantly throws different challenges at you, across both Puyo and Tetris and a huge host of game modes. The steady stream of different games is, so far, keeping me fully engaged.
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I’ll do a more full review when I’ve completed Adventure mode and played more in the other modes too. For now, I’d recommend it if you can find it for a good price. In the review I’ll answer whether it is worth the high price of entry for a puzzle game.

Click here to purchase the game on Switch from Amazon.co.uk:

Click here to purchase the game on PS4 from Amazon.co.uk:

First Impressions: Horizon Zero Dawn

It has taken me a while to get into this game. Perhaps because I spent so much time in Hyrule playing Breath of the Wild earlier this year. Perhaps because that game was so good. Perhaps simply that Horizon doesn’t start all that well, relatively speaking. I stuck at it because basically everyone loves this game, so I assumed it must get good sooner rather than later.

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And oh boy, it certainly did! Without spoilers, there is a section early on – for me it was between 5 hours and 6 hours play time – where the little you know so far is torn up and wildly discarded as you are set on your quest and sent out into the full game. It’s a wonderful, spectacular and gut-wrenching section that somehow manages to be different from what is immediately before or after it and yet still feel like a natural part of the game.

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So far I take this to be a mashup of Breath of the Wild and Mass Effect. You have the same exploration and crafting stuff going on as in the Zelda game but the story and the missions are dealt with much more like Mass Effect – even down the way conversation choices are chosen. This is not a bad thing! Both those games are in my Top 10 Games Ever – maybe by the end Horizon Zero Dawn will be too.

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Click here to purchase the game on disc from Amazon.co.uk:

First Impressions: NBA Playgrounds (Nintendo Switch)

I nearly picked up this game on it’s initial release but then when I read a couple of reviews, I paused. No online play they said, poor graphics they said, game felt unfair they said. Despite that though, the idea of having a sports game on the Nintendo Switch was interesting enough that it never fully left my thoughts and then I got it a few weeks ago as a Father’s Day present. My initial experiences have made me glad I did – smashing your opponent to the ground as you nail an alley-opp slam dunk is a joy that could cover multiple issues!

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Let me tackle those issues that gave me pause. Firstly, there is indeed no online play on the Switch version. As yet that hasn’t really annoyed me as I’m still getting to grips with it offline. Hopefully it will finally arrive before I get bored of the single player mode. Secondly, the graphics. I’m not sure what other people are seeing but it looks great to me. It’s not really a game that I am expecting amazing visuals from. What I want is a smooth-running game with tons of spectacular animations – that’s exactly what we have here.

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Lastly, the gameplay. I can see why some people feel the game is unfair. The scoring system is quite varied – a basket can count for 2 points to 12 points depending on what else is going on in the game. Really though, it’s not unfairness that is the issue, it’s inconsistency. Many games are ‘unfair’ (just recently we have had a new Mario Kart game – possibly the best example of not getting what you deserve in gaming, ever) but at least they apply that consistently so you know what to expect. Here you have things like the ‘perfect shot’ mechanic, whereby an extra point is awarded for timing your button press perfectly. However, the window for this perfection is so small that I have never found it. Indeed it is different for each different player you choose on your team so you have even less chance of nailing it intentionally. As such, it then feels unfair when the opposition gets a +1 for a perfect shot but really its the inconsistency of what happens when any player is shooting that causes the issue.

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They are promising a patch that will fix things like this (as well as giving online play) so hopefully that will materialise before I am ready to do a full review of this game. In the meantime I am just going to have to get better to try and counteract these dramas – and I’m happy to do so because I’m having a lot of fun with the quick gameplay, the spectacular slam dunks & blocks and the quest to collect all the players from my favourite NBA team, the Toronto Raptors.

First Impressions: Super Mario Galaxy

We are supremely late to this party! Super Mario Galaxy was released nearly ten years ago in November 2007. I never got around to playing it at the time and so I had kind of given up and moved on to newer games until The Boy spotted it in a store recently. He’d obviously seen a video of it on the internet as he knew more about it than me so we picked it up.
Better late than never!

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Well my first impressions are that I’m glad for his persuasion. I like the planet-hoping dynamic and the story so far is classic Mario. However, it’s the control scheme that has interested me the most so far. The combination of walking around with an analog stick (as in every other game) with the pointing at the screen with the Wii Remote is fantastic. If more games had employed the Remote this well on the Wii it might have been a better place for ‘serious’ games rather than being overtaken by party games with gimmicky swinging about of the controllers.

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The only flaw we’ve discovered so far isn’t really a flaw at all: this game is hard! We haven’t got far yet and it’s already getting a bit tricky for me and too difficult for The Boy. We try and take it in turns but on each of the last few stars we’ve collected he has ended up just letting me do it.
Hopefully as we continue it will still have enough levels that he can do to be be fun for him.

A full review will follow when we eventually finish it and then we will move on to Super Mario Galaxy 2! With any luck we will get both of these done before Super Mario Odyssey towards the end of the year.

First Impressions: Magikarp Jump

Any new Pokemon game needs to be checked out right?! Magikarp Jump is no different. As usual for a Pokemon game it more or less defies explanation and yet is still brilliant!

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The gameplay is super simple – basically just press on areas of the screen in sequence is what it ultimately boils down to! And yet it is really really addictive. Between fishing for a new Magikarp, naming it, feeding it, training it, battling with it and all the other bits of the game related to collecting coins and diamonds the game doesn’t have any natural stopping points and so you just want to keep on playing – on and on!

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I’ll give it the full review treatment after I’ve played it more but given that it is free to play (with in-app purchases if you are impatient!) I’d highly recommend picking it up on your phone or tablet.

 

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First Impressions: Super Bomberman R

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I have finally won my first battle since I picked up Super Bomberman R a couple of days ago. It has turned out to be much harder than I had imagined for me to pick up and play. Clearly my Bomberman skills have rusted over the last 10+ years since I last played one of these games!

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First impressions are surprisingly good. Surprising because this game hasn’t reviewed very well and that put me off picking it up initially.

In the end I couldn’t resist the call of a portable Bomberman game any more and I’m glad I gave in to it. I have played other versions of this game over the years that have felt horrible; vague, loose controls and uninspiring battles. There’s none of that here – the battles are fast paced and the control is tight and reliable.

I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the story mode with The Boy and my full review will follow later when we complete it.

Have you played any previous Bomberman games? Which are your favourites? Let us know in the comments below!

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Click here to purchase the game on cart from Amazon.co.uk