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Sony PlayStation Classic mini console lacks games and kudos

In a move that will surprise no one, Sony has dragged out the original PlayStation for minification with 20 original era games. Five have been announced so far with Final Fantasy VII, Ridge Racer Type 4, Jumping Flash, Wild Arms and Tekken 3, although they may vary by region and more will be announced.

Note the small print, "Software titles cannot be added on via download or any other way," So no access to the PS3/Vita catalogue of 100+ classics, which is deeply annoying. My first thought is why didn't they do a portable version based on the Vita design, rather than having those blotchy blob polys and vertexes writ large on a HD screen? At least give people the choice.

Also, the controllers are pre-DualShock, so expect lots of tabloid "PlayStation sent my child to the hospital with his thumbs rubbed off" stories!

It costs £90 and hits in December, hopefully not in limited edition numbers to cause pointless eBay frenzies! Second thought, what's inside this thing? Is it basically a PSTV (it only runs at 720p) resolution with a new OS and interface?

Big question has to be, where's the Mini Dreamcast, come on Sega - do it!

New Atari VCS retro game streamer lurks in marketing-spiel crowdfunding campaign

Atari has been teasing a reimagined VCS console for some time now, and the company is so bankrupt that it has had to turn to Indiegogo to crowdfund the whole project. People clearly like the idea as its already raised around $2.5 million in three days.

For $229 with the classic controller among various other packages, it promises the Atari Vault with 100 classics, plus download and streaming services for a range of games. Inside is an AMD/Radeon chip running on Linux. All its studio partners are indies, so don't expect any major announcements, but Jeff Minter's Tempest 4000 is always welcome on any platform.

At 14.5" x 5.3" x 1.6" its just about a microconsole, and the company is banging on about its design as retro-futuristic, because its got a piece of wood in the front. That makes me think the marketing men are all over this and there's no sign of a gaming brain in the process, or anyone with a true idea of Atari's history

Still, we'll see as further wraps come off. If there's Atari 400/800, Jaguar and Lynx emulation, it might come across in a better light, but for now it reads like the worst marketing fluff over any serious attempt to give the company back some credibility.

Alto's Odyssey gets underway on Apple TV

Another of those games that so gorgeous to look at, making you play it almost ruins the effect. Team Alto have a fantastic desert adventure launching this week. Alto’s Odyssey is an endless sandboarding journey for tvOS (and iOS) set against a gorgeous and ever-changing landscape.

The game features fluid physics-based movement, procedurally generated terrain, and dynamic lighting and weather effects. Players will soar above windswept dunes, traverse thrilling canyons, and explore long-hidden temple cities in a fantastical place far from Alto’s home village. Along the way, you’ll grind across vines, bounce atop hot air balloons, ride towering rock walls, and escape mischievous lemurs – all while uncovering the desert’s many mysteries.

Bayonetta 2 bewitches the UK Switch chart

Bayonetta 2 takes the top spot on the UK retail sales chart this week. Not only that, it manages an impressive new entry at No. 5 in the all-formats chart, showing how popular the witchy series is. FIFA also made an impressive surge up the middle thanks to a price cut for the half-term school holiday.

New 1 Bayonetta 2      Platinumgames 
8  2 FIFA 18  EA Canada        EA Sports         
1  3 Mario Kart 8 Deluxe      Nintendo           
2  4 Super Mario Odyssey   Nintendo           
3  5 The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild  Nintendo           
4  6 1-2 Switch        Nintendo          
7  7 Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle            Ubisoft
6  8 Splatoon 2        Nintendo          
9  9 Pokken Tournament DX         Namco 
19 10 Just Dance 2018           Ubisoft

Chart information Copyright UKIE

Switch: Aqua Kitty UDX review

Price: $8.99/£6.49
Dev: TikiPod
Players: 2

Aqua Kitty UDX is an update to a great PlayStation Vita game (via Xbox) that gets its inspiration from the legendary Defender with a canine and lactose twist. And what's more natural than deep-sea diving cats mining for milk? The Ultra Edition gets co-op mode, a new Dreadnought gameplay mode and graphical updates, looking bright and breezy on the Switch's screen with brilliant clarity for every pixel.

The premise is simple and a well-trodden one for Defender fans, scoot left or right around the level, protecting your milk-mining kitty buddies from the nasty robo-enemies. Some enemies fire bullets, others homing torpedoes, while the nasty red droids aim straight to kidnap your milk-mining feline friends. Protect these at all costs to maintain any chance of a high score.

There are three main modes, Classic with easy and normal difficulty levels, Arcade with a different power up mechanism and Dreadnought set in the Miowiana Trench. The new mode sees you take on huge ships, having to break them down section by section through concentrated firepower while dodging the usual enemies and waves of falling mines and other nasties. As a extra bonus, Expresso mode plays like an endless stripped-down version of the game, and there are a range of in-game achievements to beat for extra challenge.

In Classic mode, your ship can get a range of upgrades (rear fire, vertical shots, always useful if an alien has taking a cat out of the water, and angled fire) to boost its power. Also, the more damage you do, the more powerful your limited extra weapon boost to hose down enemies.

Through careful dodging and shooting, and often bit of good luck with a well-timed bonus, you nimbly take on wave after wave of robots. They get bigger, nastier and the screen gets busier as you dodge, weave and try to protect your mining buddies with a chunky armoured boss at the end of each section.

Your ship can take five hits in all modes, with the occasional extra heart appearing as a power-up to top them up. Each level has some gorgeous pixel backgrounds and little details that make this crazed concept look pretty normal, almost begging for an anime.

Packed with brilliant chiptune music, ferocious gameplay that's great for kids to play on Easy mode, and lots of options and the challenge of online high scores, it is great fun. The addition of two-player mode is excellent and this is a great game for the odd burst of blasting among all the Switch's big hitters.

Score: 4/5

Switch: The Longest Five Minutes review

Publisher: NIS America
Size: 1GB
Players: 1

The Longest Five Minutes is an unashamedly retro RPG from Japan that spins the usual concept on its head, starting with your team facing off against the ultimate nemesis. This means there's no time to build a team, spec them out or choose roles.

Instead, the hero Flash suddenly gets a major dose of amnesia leaving his team floundering in the face of their biggest enemy. To get things back on track, Flash has to remember what led up to these epic scenes.

This sends the party jumping back through time to how they set off one fine day, and the various adventures they undertook to get to the current crisis. Each mini-adventure has no reward-based outcome on the fixed stats of battle at the end, but you can learn what decisions to make in the final battle to beat down the evil lord.

In reality, that means lots of pixel-fun light RPG adventuring with short and longer quests across a bright and fun pixel world linked by a series of boats, trains and bridges spread across the map. This approach means there's no need to care about leveling up, and hitting auto-equip and auto-battle will see you fight quickly and effectively.

Each part of your past has one key objective to meet and a few side quests that you might want to follow up on. In its fast 8-bit style, there's not much to look at, and most characters have a couple of quirky or funny lines to make them worth talking to, but its not exactly a chat-fest.

A basic adventure?

With landscapes and buildings ranging from the modern to classic RPG fodder, the simple pixel design is bright but effective. The pan-pipe led tunes are also charming and expansive, and perhaps the only major annoyance is a lack of signage or detail on the map screen.

The story itself has plenty of humour and little quirks to it, with enemies taking on the form of wherever you happen to be, which is better than generic rats or random creatures that many JRPGs throw at us.

Add in some mini-games and there's a lot to enjoy, but you could easily finish the adventure in under six hours. If you like plain and simple retro adventuring this is a decent effort, but if you a little more dash or verve to your adventuring, then probably better wait for something more menacing.

My main issue is the price at $40/£40, which for a retro light RPG is way overboard. This feels like it is ripping off Switch owners, when there are so many lower-cost and indie games with way much more to do.

Score: 3/5

Gore, Guns and Cannoli 2 takes aim at the Switch

Launching on PC in March but in development for Switch and other consoles,is a frenetic mafioso shooter with a great sense of humour and hand-drawn visuals. From developer Crazy Monkey, it moves the original story on 15 years, setting the scene for mob shenanigans against a WWII backdrop with online and local co-op (on the PC version). Maybe see it on the Switch later in the year!

Using a ridiculous arsenal of weapons, players can blast their way through across the levels with a new weapon wheel and full 360° aiming. That combined with improved mobility of good old Vinnie lets players easily shoot everything that moves.

Note, while there isn't a Switch logo on the game's site it is mentioned in the press release, so rest assured Switch owners will be able to fight Nazis, zombies and aliens all in the one game! 

Yesterday Origins sets up for a future Switch launch

Mature adventure Yesterday Origins from Pendulo Studios has been rated for the Switch, suggesting a near release for the grisly tale across time. The story started 500 years ago when a young John Yesterday was imprisoned for sorcery by the Spanish Inquisition. After escaping from his cell, he used alchemy to become immortal. One problem: every time he comes back to life, he has no memory of the past.

During the present day, John lives a quiet life with his immortal partner Pauline Petit, in Paris, where they run an antique store. Together, they leave on a quest to find a special artifact that will allow him to repeat the alchemical ritual so he never loses his memory again.

Solve puzzles and immerse yourself in a challenging quest full of unexpected turns! Discover an original visual style and story, touched by the unique offbeat humor that helped Pendulo Studios' success!

Runner3 now with Nintendo for QA

Choice Provision's Runner 3, the latest in one of the brightest series of mobile games is headed to the Switch with development done and the game with Nintendo for testing. The curious lead figure has starred in a string of games across multiple formats, but his latest rainbow-farting effort looks by far the most imaginative and entertaining. Release soon!