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The Year In Reviews Part 1

January 27th, 2016 by

MidlifeDid you know that the diligent editorial team at MLG reviewed 98 games for your reading pleasure last year? So if you have a steam voucher burning a hole in your pocket, or want to pick up a cut price gem this is the article for you. From the unexpected classics to the forgettable stinkers here is a run-down of all the games reviewed from Jan-June for your viewing pleasure. The second half of the year will follow in a week’s time.

Jan

January’s MLG Reviews started strong with Derek “Digi” McRoberts’ glowing review of Never Alone which described the Inuit Platformer as “attractive and engaging”. Dave Moran had a much worse time with series filler Escape Dead Island “I wasted hours of my life here” whilst MicroMachines pretender Table Top Racing earned a very respectable 7/10 from gogul1. Call of Duty Advanced Warfare and NBA Live ’15 were scrutinised by Munkimatt and Si Stevens respectively, both as sequels losing momentum. The FPS powerhouse won out in the ratings though, beating EA’s hoop efforts by 2 points with 7/10 given for their efforts to reinject life into the franchise with new dev teams. The last game reviewed in January was Alien Isolation almost overlooked after the usual busy release schedule every winter. Overlook at your peril though, as Munkimatt called it “an Alien game that the source material deserves” – a ringing endorsement given previous disappointments in the canon.

Feb

February was a bumper month for indie reviews. Si Stevens disappointment in the missed opportunity of Funk of Titans was followed up by another top down racer vying for the position as successor to MicroMachines Toybox Turbos previewed very favourably for Munkimatt down to the option for four player online action replacing the nostalgic sofa racing of old. Sarahf followed her review of competent spook-fest Kraven Manor with a double header of indie games. Whilst The Sun and Moon made all the right moves as a “little gem of puzzle platformer”, point and click adventure The Shopkeeper didn’t live up to the marketing hype earning a dour 2/10. Derek ‘Digi’ McRoberts chaired the first round table for the year with Zombie romp Dying Light earning 3 thumbs up from the panel who all recommended the title. Trainspotter’s wet dream Train Fever had a “lot to offer” according to Ben Rayner, gaining a solid 7/10. Ben hadn’t run out of compliments that month though, naming re-releases Terraria Next Gen and Monster Hunter Ultimate Edition as two of the most addictive games he’s played. The 8/10 and 9/10 scores the games earned respectively ensured that the month ended very strongly indeed.

March

March began with Munkimatt’s confusion as to how Scrabble-cum-RPG-em-up Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey could distract him from Elite Dangerous. Testament to why we love games as a random gem can catch you unawares and gain a strong 7/10. Another surprise hit was Hand of Fate as reviewed by Si Stevens, who praised it for it’s good balance of different gameplay elements. We came crashing back down to mediocrity in Munkimatt’s review of Tennis in the Face, an Angry Birds successor that was sadly “not worth booting the console up”. Derek “Digi” McRoberts found more to praise in Evoland, a history lesson in JRPG presentation that he claimed “what it does in its homage, makes up for what it lacks in its gameplay” before awarding it 7/10.

Spotting a theme in March, Si Stevens gave Saints Row IV Re-elected: Gat out of hell another 7/10 for the month, saying that the ending in particular proves “Volition still have plenty of crazy and outlandish ideas left in the tank”. Ending the month was Derek “Digi” McRoberts’ 4/10 review of the dangerously named Fluster Cluck lamented for the lack of online multiplayer given that there are so few opportunities for a bit of sofa based gaming with friends.

April

April started just as March ended, with a review from Derek “Digi” McRoberts. This one, of White Night hailed a “welcome return to a purer form of horror games” citing the tension alongside P.T., Alien Isolation, and the original Alone in the Dark as worthy of a 7/10 score. Changing pace, Si Stevens found a “lasting appeal” in puzzler Screamride – an 8/10 rollercoaster game offering both fun and depth. Equally fun was mobile game Playworld Superheroes that took Si Stevens back to a simpler time of cardboard and make-believe earning the second 8/10 of the month appealing to parents and kids with accessible gameplay. Sarahf was underwhelmed by parody beat ‘em up Akiba’s trip writing that it “exposes itself too soon, like a stripper on a time limit” earning 4/10 for lack of depth. Conversely, Motorbike racer Ride proved to be an excellent title for both seasoned pro’s and newcomers to the racing genre according to Si Stevens who awarded it 8/10. Munkimatt returned to the reviews section to finish up April with his 8/10 review of Life is Strange Episode 1 hailing it as a “strong start” to the story based adventure.

May

May demonstrated the strength of indie games in 2015 as “Digi” McRoberts showed us Switch Galaxy Ultra, an arcade racer on Playstation4 and Vita. His 8/10 review claimed “what it lacks in diversity it makes up for in style, presentation, speed and sheer enjoyability”. Ben Rayner’s 6/10 review of another indie entry, The Blue Flamingo, was less glowing speaking of a solid game, but “ a game to spend a few brief moments on” rather than heavy binges. With “pointlessly sexualised upgrading” and dated mechanics, Criminal Girls: Invite Only, another game reviewed by Ben Rayner, was the low point of the month. The month ended with a triple-threat of high scoring games, all 8/10 or more, gameplay between them was hugely varied though. The PS4 port of Final Fantasy Type-0 was let down by the graphics and voice-acting, but remains a “shining gem of an action-RPG” according to Derek “Digi” McRoberts. Zombie Army Trilogy stood out from the generic zombie shooter fare for the same reviewer. The game borrowing the satisfying mechanics of the Sniper Elite series and earning a recommendation as a must buy for zombie game fans. The month ended on a high with an 8.5/10 reboot Mortal Kombat X that according to Si Stevens, fighting game fans “can’t ignore”

June

June hailed the middle of the year and a period of time that traditionally sees very few big releases. Indie gaming being particularly strong MLGers could have expected some strong reviews. However, the month didn’t start that way; a potted version of Ollie Gosling’s 2/10 review of Yorbie: “Please don’t buy it”. Oh dear! Supreme League of Patriots helped pick things up with Munkimatt giving the humourous superhero point-and-click adventure 6/10. Yeasty puzzler I Am Bread proved one of the most unique games of the year– you control a slice of bread trying to become toast(?!). Despite the bonkers premise, it continued the upward trend earning 7/10 from Si Stevens. The same reviewer helped relieve the bread based excitement in his review of Farming Simulator 2015. The “fun, relaxing title that breaks up the onslaught of continual triple A games” earned another 7/10. Ollie Gosling had a chance to renew his faith in indie gaming with the 7/10 Shiftlings, the puzzle-platformer combining nonsensical comedy nicely with “challenging and surprisingly unique gameplay”. The last game of June was Morningstar: Descent to Deadrock closing the half year as we began – a review from Derek “Digi” McRoberts. A mixed bag that adds a decent sci-fi sheen to a classic point-and-click gameplay earned a solid 6/10.

Monster Hunter got close, but did you notice that there weren’t any 10/10 games from Jan-June? Of course you did you wiley so-and-so. Check in next week for the July-December roundup and see if the second half of the year softened the hard hearts of the MLG review team or whether there was a shocker worthy of a single digit of shame…

For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.

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