This week, New Super Luigi U and Pikmin 3 provide summer fun on Wii U, while Napoleon: Total War Gold Edition sets sail on Mac. Futuridium EP provides some retro kaleidoscopic action on iPad, and Sky Gamblers: Cold War takes to the skies on the same system
New Super Luigi U | Wii U | Action | £29.99
The man in green gives Mario a back seat here, starring in his own platform adventure, exclusively to the Wii U system. Designed to test the capabilities of seasoned gamers and fans of the series, you must complete the ‘simple’ act of travelling to the Goal Pole at the end of each of over 80 courses. They’ve been gloriously remixed with seemingly improbable jumps, formidably hidden Star Coins, and all with a time limit of only 100 seconds to do it in! It’s a great action challenge, and presents some seriously tough asks on the later levels, but that’s all part of the colourful green plumber’s platforming appeal. New characters such as the adorable Nabbit may also give a new generation of gamers an appropriate introduction to the world of Mario, Luigi and co, but hardcore gamers should still apply - it’s tougher than you think!
Pikmin 3 | Wii U | Strategy | £31.99
Action and strategy is not an easy gaming combo to pull off, but the previous two Pikmin iterations succeeded in surprising and delighting gamers with a brilliant blend of quirky characters and the call for ruthless organisation. Here, part 3 puts you in control of three explorers and an array of cute Pikmin in a struggle for survival. By exploiting the unique abilities of these little Pikmin creatures, you’ll solve puzzles, battle dangerous predators and forage for the food you need to save the your home planet. For a sequel, it’s been a long time coming, but everything from the crisp HD visuals and super-cool audio to the careful balancing of strategy, discovery and laugh-out-loud moments of pure fantasy combine to deliver one of the Wii U’s finest moments to date. You’ll love it, hate it and, importantly, care for it, such is the emotion attached to the game’s over-arching premise.
Napoleon: Total War Gold Edition | Mac | Strategy | £24.99
Napoleon: Total War defined a new standard within the strategy world when it first hit PCs in 2010, offering exciting characters and a cinematic narrative, some truly mind-blowing battle sequences and a quality mix of turn-based and real-time strategy. Now set to make mincemeat of your productive work time on a MacTake, you must command and lead your armies on land and sea over three campaigns: Italy, Egypt and Mastery of Europe. Combining objective-based missions and sandbox experiences, it proves that spontaneity can still exist in a strategic world of narrative-driven game time. Throw in the fully integrated multiplayer modes and other online Steam functionalities and you’ll quickly realise this is a completely captivating way of immersing yourself in the military career of a historical icon. Building real-time battles on an epic scale is an absolute hoot, with a sizeable enough back-story to engage even the biggest historical philistines.
Futuridium EP | iPad / iPhone | Action | £1.49
It doesn’t matter how fancy your phone is now, Futuridium EP laughs in the face of technological wizardry, focusing on the core objectives of devilish level design and a brilliant hark back to arcade action and the associated difficulty levels. That said, the 3D effects that grace this game will have you hypnotised as you look to navigate your way through 13 alien ships, on which you must destroy all of the cyan energy cubes to unearth the core. It might be inspired by the 1980s title Uridium, but modern takes on game mechanics - like a floating joystick to control your craft and a banging audio soundtrack - also keep the game with one foot firmly in the future. As the speed cranks up and your ship’s energy levels drop, you’ll feel the tension rise just like when you reached for your final 10p at the old beach-front arcades. Of course, now there’s always the option of just one more go, but beware, Futuridium could seriously suck you into it’s kaleidoscopic world.
Sky Gamblers: Cold War | iPad | Action | £2.99
Mobile gamers have been encouraged to take to the skies on their smartphones and tablets a lot in recent times, so could Sky Gamblers: Cold War makes this a dogfight you’ll never forget? Well, it’s fair to say that Cold War is more Ryanair than British Airways, seemingly scrimping on the graphical polish and gameplay testing that may have taken it into the stratosphere. The 12 missions on offer don’t really give gamers enough variety to be eager about what else may be on the horizon, while aiming can be extremely tricky with such a small targeting reticule to control. Multiplayer modes may give you a little more of a buzz when flying against pals in the Cold War world, but they’re only likely to offer a brief respite from the more mediocre airborne action that packs the single player offering. If you’ve got this in your sights, you might want to consider re-setting your radar.