GAMES: No strings attached

Puppeteer
Puppeteer

This week, Puppeteer cuts the strings loose on PS3, NHL 14 skates onto Xbox 360 and there are no half measures for Kingdom Hearts 1.5 ReMix on PS3. Meanwhile, Giant Boulder of Death rolls onto iOS, followed closely by Call of Duty: Strike Team.

Puppeteer | PS3 | Action | £24.99

It’s always nice to see a new franchise enter the gaming world; one with out a 2, 3, 4 or even V alongside its name (though we’ll excuse GTA...). Puppeteer transports us to a magical puppeteer’s theatre, introducing an ever-changing, strange and fantastical world, where a rich, dark fairytale acts as the backdrop for an intriguing, novel and engrossing platformer. Its control mechanics may appear simple, but combining the dual thumbstick controls of two lead characters, along with the jumping, scissor-chopping and blocking is no walk in the park, particularly against the staggeringly creative boss battles, where snipping their fabric adornments in a gorgeous theatrical environment holds the key to success. Puppeteer won’t get the hype big-name games can afford, but for sheer innovation, creative presentation and a wonderful array of gameplay touches you won’t see anywhere else. This is one interactive show well worth buying a ticket for.

90%

NHL 14 | Xbox 360 | Ice Hockey | £34.99

The summer’s barely over, but we’re already pulling on our skates and facing the sub-zero temperatures, not to mention frenetic physical action, that ice hockey brings to Xbox 360 this autumn. This year, you can unlock the highest level of hockey aggression, speed and skill, delivered through NHL 14’s Collision Physics, built from FIFA’s Player Impact Engine. You can take the physicality to the next level by dropping your gloves with the new Enforcer Engine, powered by EA’s Fight Night technology. This is an awesome game engine package that proves the perfect foundation to layer over enhanced speed and control with the second season of True Performance Skating. New and established game mode mesh together superbly to advance the series, while retaining - and improving upon - all that has made NHL such a success to date. It’s as brutal and bone-crunching a sports sim that you’ll come across, but one where gaming finesse still stands tall, and smacks a puck-er punch to the competition.

89%

Kingdom Hearts 1.5 ReMIX | PS3 | Action / RPG | £23.99

Fans of the Disney and Final Fantasy mash-up series will find plenty to be thankful for in this gloriously remastered HD collection of the critically acclaimed KH Final Mix and Re:Chain of Memories, which have never previously made it to European shores. In addition, high-def cinematic story videos from 358/2 Days, a host of gameplay mechanics and new PS3 trophies all deliver an invigorating universe where Mickey, Goofy and Donald tread the gameplay boards with our FF friends, traversing rich worlds from Aladdin to Alice in Wonderland. It’s a brilliant combination of real-time battling and RPG depth, which will continue to delight gamers of all ages, backed up by the kind of fabulous fantasy storyline that will inspire a new generation of interactive Disney diehards.

84%

Giant Boulder of Death | iPhone / iPad | Action | FREE

Endless runner titles must be nearing the end of their gaming life - after all, how much more innovation can there be in a game mechanic that simply requires you to shimmy left and right, dodging obstacles and collecting power-ups? Giant Boulder of Death only slightly suffers from this over-familiarity because it throws everything it possibly can when it comes to humour, creativity and crazy encounters with the world your faced with on your mountainous start point. Once you set the ball rolling, you can crush the people and animals that cross your path in pursuit of more and more points, while avoiding the defence barriers that also litter the landscape. As the pace picks up, you’re afforded a feeling of overwhelming power, blazing a trail through beautiful alpine villages and high-altitude vistas. But if the objectives get too tough, you can always turn to an in-app purchase or two to super-charge your next descent. It’s mindless fun, yes, but in an over-saturated genre the Giant Boulder of Death certainly stands tall.

79%

Call of Duty: Strike Team | iPhone / iPad | Shooter | £4.99

Think Call of Duty, think first-person-shooter, right? Well, yes, for the most part, but Strike Team elevates the action out of the eyes of your lead character and shoots the camera into the sky, peering down upon the battlefield below. It presents a completely different perspective on the war-torn franchise, and delivers a real-time-strategy experience that succeeds in outperforming the more traditional run and gun rigmarole we’ve become accustomed to with CoD. Switching from up-close-and-personal action to the more tactical top-down view shifts up the pace and the approach you’ll take to different stages - separating your soldiers and sneaking around the environment to flank the enemy, then dispatching them with more traditional shooting skills by flipping views at the touch of a button. The shooting may still suffer from the same glitches as a number of touchscreen titles in the FPS genre, but overall Strike Team is an enjoyable extension of the console franchise on the small screen.

78%