This week, Quantum Break cuts loose on Xbox One, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles sneaks onto PS Vita and Dirt Rally’s Legend Edition races onto PS4.
Elsewhere, Flipped Out: The Powerpuff Girls and Drop Flip deliver some flippin’ fine quick-fire finger action on smartphone and tablet
GAME OF THE WEEK
Title: Quantum Break
Platform: Xbox One
Breaking new ground for action shooters
Quantum Break delivers on a pretty unique promise on Xbox One, blurring the line between television and gameplay, integrating the two into one seamless, uniquely immersive experience. It succeeds to stunning effect, weaving the cinematic action of intense gameplay with the tension and drama of episodic scripted television, creating a world where each has a direct impact on the other. The sci-fi storyline is engaging enough, but it’s when you’re in the shoes of hero Jack Joyce putting it to brilliant effect in combat that the goosebumps really rise. His time-bending powers are varied and visually astounding, using time dodges to confuse enemies with his movement, time bubbles to temporarily stop an enemy in his tracks and pump him full of lead, or time shields to deflect enemy fire. These build as the game progresses, to make your arsenal of special effects incredibly gratifying. The overall experience of this action shooter is one that will live long in the memory - as long as you don’t travel back in time before you first played it...
Title: Assassin’s Creed Chronicles
Platform: PS Vita
Familiar stealth action takes a new platforming perspective
The PS Vita sets the small-screen stage for you to follow three legendary assassins on journeys of revenge, retribution and redemption. This enjoyable new saga in the Assassins Creed universe lets players discover three distinct civilisations and time periods throughout history, from the start of the crumble of the Ming Dynasty, the Sikh Empire going at war in India and the aftermath of the Red October revolution. It’s designed for masters of stealth, in a 2.5D reimagining of the AC world. You’ll slay from the shadows, master the art of parkour, and take a leap of faith in what looks like a collection of stunning, living paintings. Aided by enemy field of view and noise indicators that point out how much of a racket you make, you can decide whether to steam in with a full-blown attack, but where’s the fun in that? Assassin’s Creed Chronicles is meant to be enjoyed the strong, silent way, and here you’ll have a lot of fun in all corners of the globe for a very reasonable price.
Title: DiRT Rally: Legend Edition
Rally racing that’s so real it’s unreal
If you’re looking for a racing game that provides all the modern comforts of arcade action - power-ups, time rewind features and other fantastical add-ons - keep on driving. DiRT Rally is real racing, set firmly in simulation territory, with 39 of the most iconic and relevant cars from yesteryear through to modern day. Six rallies with over 70 stages allow you to head to the muddy paths of Wales, the dusty trails of Greece and the icy tarmac of Monte Carlo. You can even take on the legendary hill-climb of Pikes Peak, if you’re able to amass enough credits to unlock this stiffest of challenges. The difficulty curve from the outset is high, but not in an inaccessible way; just be prepared to spend quite a bit of time in the trees and ditches either side of the tight tracks early on! As you find your feet, and develop a trusting bond with your advising co-pilot, the victories will start to roll, and you’ll almost be able to afford a good look at the stunning scenery around you. DiRT Rally delivers in every way, and sets a new benchmark for racers that swerve the all-action arcade pathway.
Title: Flipped Out: The Powerpuff Girls
The search is over for your latest pocket rocket
Match-three puzzlers have become standard fare on smartphone and tablet - most mobile gamers have at least one on their device. But Flipped Out is well worthy of consideration, perhaps even side-swiping some stalwarts off your desktop, as The Powerpuff Girls breathe new life into the genre with a whirlwind combination of traditional matching alongside fast and furious brawling with enemies. Flipping your device from portrait to landscape sparks a whole new game encounter, transforming the action into more of a touchscreen cartoon fight-fest. Here, pretty much everything Flipped Out tries in pushing the boundaries of the genre, comes off, leaving you invigorated by the on-screen action and appreciative of a developer’s desire to challenge the puzzling status quo. That cute-looking trio of titular heroes looks destined to carve out true superhero status in the smartphone arena.
Title: Drop Flip
A prime physics puzzler that won’t drop the ball
In true Heath Robinson contraption-creating style, Drop Flip challenges you to control every last element around you without letting you touch the only thing that really matters - the ball. Getting the spherical shape into an end-of-level bucket can result in a convoluted series of experiments on your part, across dozens of stylish, stripped back levels that let you shuffle all the obstacles and areas of assistance into perfect formation before dropping the ball and watching the fruits of your labour unfold. It’s a great brain teaser for on-the-go gamers and poses more than enough of a challenge for fans of physics puzzlers such as Magic Shot, Cut The Rope and many more. The absence of in-app purchases is welcome, presenting a big bundle of puzzles for you to sink your teeth into for just a couple of pounds, and anyone with a penchant for minimalist environment manipulation will likely have manoeuvred into download position already.
WHAT’S HOT AND WHAT’S NOT?
Mobile is the undisputed number one gaming platform, according to a recent report by App Annie and IDC. The mobile games market was worth 34.8 billion dollars around the world in 2015, with PC and Mac gaming lagging behind at 29 billion dollars and consoles sitting on just 18.5 billion dollars. Mobile gaming growth is also outstripping all other platforms with this 84.5 billion dollars global market, with 40% of game time now spent on mobile devices. Appy days for the smartphone manufacturers!
Meanwhile, the same 10 titles jostled for position in a quiet seven days in the charts, with Tom Clancy’s The Division holding firm in first place. EA Sports UFC 2 was the week’s biggest faller, dropping from two to six, while GTA V jumped two places from six to four.
GAME CHART ALL FORMATS FULL PRICE
1. Tom Clancy’s The Division
2. Far Cry Primal
3. FIFA 16
4. Grand Theft Auto V
5. Call of Duty: Black Ops III
6. EA Sports UFC 2
7. Star Wars Battlefront
8. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6: Siege
9. LEGO Marvel Avengers
10. Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2
Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (c) 2015 UKIE Ltd