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Mortal Kombat X (Xbox One)
Mortal Kombat X (Xbox One)
Price: £34.85

4.0 out of 5 stars MK X's combat mixed with MK 9's roster and story would have been the perfect MK game., 27 July 2015
Let's get this out of the way: Mortal Kombat X features the series' fastest and most fluid gameplay, making it the best MK to date mechanically. The animations are clean and smooth with weighty sound effects making every blow hurt. Each character is fitted with 3 variations that each add moves and techniques, allowing you to customise how you play with each character.

As a fighting game MK is again quite full-featured, with multiple modes and variables for single and multiplayer, both on a couch and online. It also has a first person Krypt that allows you to explore and spend your earned Koins to purchase new Kostumes and Fatalaties, amongst other things. Personally I don't play fighting games online much, but from what I've tried the Konnection has been fairly stable.. I would Konsult a different review for better analysis in that area.

Overall though my impression is slightly soured by a disappointing roster and the abundance of micro-transactions and badly priced DLC. MK9 featured 30 characters upon release as apposed to MK X's 24, however many of the Klassic MK characters have been replaced in favour of 'the new generation' such as Jonny Cage's and Jax's daughters. Some of the new characters are genuinely exciting additions, but others feel like bland copies of their parents. Some of my favourites are strangely missing including Noob, Smoke, Baraka and many of these people show up in the story mode - including Rain as a non-playable character who is still able to fight.

When you consider the cost of new DLC characters - £4 each - it quickly becomes noticeable that to get the best out of this game you will need to spend a lot more than the initial disc. Additional skins and Kostumes are also priced very high and don't seem to add any substantial difference to the game. It's also disappointing to see 'easy fatalities' as micro-transactions and a whopping £20 to unlock all of the items from the Krypt. Presumably the publisher has put a lot of pressure on the developers to market their content in this way and it's such a shame to see a game crafted with so much love feel like it's trying to rip you off. MK has survived over the years thanks to it's cult following and at times it feels this game just wants to take advantage.

So what's the verdict? MK X is still a great fighting game and it looks fantastic. Compared to many other games in it's genre it packs a lot of content with a fully fledged story and online modes. However the roster, amount of stages and story were far superior in MK 9. It's a shame to see a game that has matured and evolved in many ways but dropped the ball in others. I think MK 9 is still the better overall package, but if you need a new MK fix then this has you covered.

Let's hope MK 11 blows them both out of the water.

Sunset Overdrive (Xbox One)
Sunset Overdrive (Xbox One)
Offered by bid2win-ltd
Price: £21.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Ludicrous FUN, 15 July 2015
Sunset Overdrive is one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had with a video game for quite a while and is an absolute must-own for people making the step up to the Xbox One.

I have to confess that before it came out, I had written it off from the gameplay videos I had seen and had a hunch that it was going to be repetitive and disappointing. After hearing such good things I was really excited to break the game in but I must also confess that for the first hour or two the game didn't get its hook into me, even though I really wanted to like it. The city traversal just wasn't quite as fluid as I was hoping and I found certain elements like wall running a bit clunky.

... and then it clicked.

Not too far into the game you learn a new dash skill that makes linking grinds and other manoeuvres together a breeze, which is the point where everything slots into place. Chaining moves together becomes glorious fun and like many have mentioned, a love letter to old Tony Hawks games, enabling you to get across the entire city in one long effortless combo. You'll spend most of the game having to get from point A to point B and I can honestly say that I enjoyed it to the very end.

But alongside the movement mechanics you have combat and at your disposal is a wide and creative arsenal of ridiculous weaponry. The guns become more and more exaggerated as the game progresses and you will be filling the screen with brightly coloured projectiles and explosions, especially when the game fills up with enemies - of which there are a lot - and the game never seems to drop a frame. Glorious.

The gameplay is great but arguably more impressive is the vibrant graphics and zany art style. This entire game exudes confidence in design, with so many incredible fluid animations and vivid colours. Getting up to a high location to look over Sunset City and you will be excited by just how big a playground this game is.

I've seen many criticisms of the story and the vulgarity in dialogue, but I never found an issue with this. The story is basic, sure, but the game is immensely self-aware and regularly mocks it's own mechanics and rules - or more so the common rules of most video games. There are so many pop culture references sprinkled throughout the game and it's willingness to regularly break the fourth wall and speak to the player directly make me feel respected as a gamer. Sure, some of the jokes don't pay off or make you roll around laughing - but if you play a lot of games and watch a lot of films you'd be hard pushed to not appreciate the witty satire occasionally buried within. Simply put, it's a hell of a lot better than most games that try to apply a serious story.

Sunset Overdrive is not an especially difficult game and if you were to skip the side-missions it doesn't feel too long. In the later levels I started to die more often and this was the only time I felt like I had to switch my tactics up. Generally, the game is quite easy and very rarely punishes failure - even dying results in a quirky animation that puts a smile on your face. This is clearly deliberate however, as Sunset Overdrive embraces it's fluidity, built from the ground up to be an enjoyable ride rather than a gruelling test.

The game has a lot of collectables and thankfully they are of actual value (unlike a lot of games that shamelessly fill their game with pointless collection - I'm looking at you Assassins Creed), giving you the ability to buy interesting new power-ups and incentivising exploration. There are also a ton of little challenge missions that test your ability to navigate certain obstacle courses, use specific weapons and more. These are surprisingly fun and especially if you have some other friends to compete for leaderboard scores with. Finally it also has an online mode that, whilst fairly basic and limited, is still a hell of a lot of fun. You play a bunch of challenge missions with up to 8 people that lead up to a final base defence mission, swarming with enemies and destruction - and these are absolute anarchy (in a good way).

To sum up, Sunset Overdrive is an amazing game - a MUST-OWN for Xbox One players. It's incredibly fun, incredibly pretty, regularly funny and never takes itself too seriously. It taps into the central core of what video games are really all about - FUN - and drops so much of the superfluous nonsense that bog most modern games down. I cannot recommend this game highly enough.

I hope there's gonna be a sequel.

Ferti - PitchCar Mini
Ferti - PitchCar Mini
Offered by Acrodeal
Price: £31.56

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Fun, 15 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Ferti - PitchCar Mini (Toy)
PitchCar Mini has taken over my board-gaming life recently, solidifying itself as regular whether it's a quick two-player game or a whole room of drunken friends on a friday night. The game is so simple, easy to explain/play and always ends up being immensely fun.

In PitchCar you and your friends take it in turns to flick your discs around a modular wooden track and aim to be the first to complete 3 laps. To play the game well you need to gauge your power correctly and use the rails to get around the corners fast. Like many dexterity games, this results usually in either tremendous success or tremendous failure, which is always funny. It's a game where everyone will make a crappy shot or two but it's rarely frustrating, yet when you make a great one it's genuinely satisfying.

Other than the game itself there are some points to note:

- You should play this on a flat table where possible. My dining table extends in the middle which leaves a very tiny height indifference between it's sections - causing the tracks that go over it to protrude at the connections and therefore can cause the cars to bounce off of it which is very frustrating.

- This core set is a bit light on content and could have done with a few more pieces to give more track variety. This makes the first expansion, that includes jumps, absolutely essential so if you're considering buying this then you should factor that into the cost.

- I haven't played the full PitchCar for reference, but I know it would have been way too big for my table. PitchCar Mini though allows me to have quite big and elaborate tracks on my table with ease making it very convenient (the box is also surprisingly small and portable - even fitting in expansion 1). The discs are very light, but this makes gauging your power all the more important - as predictably all of you will at some point shoot one across the room.

Panasonic RPHXS200EA On Ear Street Headphones - Blue
Panasonic RPHXS200EA On Ear Street Headphones - Blue
Price: £19.77

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor Sound, 15 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have to be honest in saying that, having regularly used many pairs of expensive headphones/speakers over the years that it's hard to know what to expect from something in this price range. However to be blunt, I think these sound pretty bad to the point I simply don't want to use them. They have very low bass response and harsh treble, making many different genres feeling flat or at worst uncomfortable. Other than the sound though, they look and feel pretty good, with the tangle-less cord a bonus.

I can't recommend these, but I would suggest either looking to spend some more money and get something better or if you want to stick in this price range, maybe have a look at some Sennheiser sets instead.

Igenix Four-Burner Electric Hob Hotplate with Side Controls - 60 cm, Stainless Steel
Igenix Four-Burner Electric Hob Hotplate with Side Controls - 60 cm, Stainless Steel
Price: £104.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Works fine, relatively easy to install and functional, 15 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Works fine, relatively easy to install and functional. It looks and feels pretty sturdy, but all the same it's quite simple.

Bosch IXO Cordless Lithium-Ion Screwdriver with 3.6 V Battery, 1.5 Ah
Bosch IXO Cordless Lithium-Ion Screwdriver with 3.6 V Battery, 1.5 Ah
Price: £39.99

5.0 out of 5 stars this screwdriver is a great quick solution to little jobs around the house, 15 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A really convenient little tool, this screwdriver is a great quick solution to little jobs around the house. It comes in a cute little case and even arrived fully charged.

I would say that it might not suit some jobs where you need to get into small spaces, but that's probably fairly obvious from it's design. What's more, the controls don't have any speed settings so sometimes it can be a bit fast, but this isn't a large issue.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf
One Night Ultimate Werewolf
Offered by Toy Haven UK
Price: £16.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Social-Deduction in Managable Chunks, 11 May 2015
If you've played any social-deduction games like Werewolf or The Resistance then all you need to know is that this condenses the experience into about 6 minutes with all the fun and much less of the stress. It's a fantastic game that can easily be played as an opener to an evening, a filler, or even repeatedly throughout the night. It can also be played from 3-10 players which is going to suit most gaming groups.

If you don't know what I'm talking about then let me elaborate..

In 'ONUW' each player is given a card with a secret role that they don't show anyone else. These are essentially split into two teams: Werewolves and Villagers. At the beginning of the game, everyone will close their eyes and then a series of instructions will be given to everyone (either through a moderator or !USE THE FREE APP!) that enable people to perform unique abilities. For example, the Werewolves will open their eyes and see who each other are.. assuming there are any. Unique characters such as the troublemaker (a villager) will get to swap two people's cards without looking at them. Then, after everyone has performed their roles in secret, everyone open their eyes and a timer of 5 minutes begins. At the end of that time, everyone votes to kill someone else at the table. The person with the most votes dies (in ties both people die) and if a Werewolf is killed then the Villagers win. Werewolves win if a villager is killed instead.

So, going back in time to when that 5 minute timer began, we discover the meat of this game. Everyone at the table has a piece of information: who they were originally and what they did 'at night' (during the closed eyes period). But what this game should probably be called is "Alibis" as this is how the game will be won or lost. Villagers are likely to be quite honest, having nothing to hide, but Werewolves are probably going to claim that they were one of the other roles - perhaps causing a contradiction at the table as two people claim they were the Troublemaker. However, things get more complicated as some people have had their cards swapped without knowing it and no longer truly know what they are. On top of that, there are two special roles: The Tanner who wins when he is killed and the Minion who counts as a villager but wants the werewolves to win. These throw a gigantic spanner into the works that dynamically shifts the bluffing mechanics in the game. It's very clever and very sneaky.

You can then mix and match the roles to suit your game and what you like, keeping the game fresh with variety. It's a great system because it plays so quick that you never feel bogged-down in lying when you're a werewolf and unlike longer games you won't spend half an hour trying to make the whole table distrust your friend. Instead, the game here is a lot more logical presenting a social puzzle that with a bit of teamwork can be figured out.. unless, damn, are they just the tanner and want me to kill them? It leads to some pretty funny reveals when everyone flips their cards over and you talk about what just happened.

It's too easy to recommend this game, everyone should buy it. Quick, easy, fun, clever, small and fairly cheap. Get the free app, it's almost essential and perhaps buy the expansion for even more variety.

Star Wars Imperial Assault Board Game Base Set
Star Wars Imperial Assault Board Game Base Set
Price: £64.22

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you were on the fence..., 11 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Imperial Assault is going to cost you a lot of money. It's a big heavy box packed full of miniatures, cards, tokens and dice. What's more, you're going to find it very hard to resist buying all of the expansions as characters that are used in the campaign would otherwise be represented by boring flat tokens. Then, with the new Twin Shadows expansions on the way (and Boba Fett as a further expansion pack) it's going to eat up more than it's share of your board game allowance.

But that's okay. Because it's worth it.

When Fantasy Flight put out X-Wing a few years ago I got suckered in and have since spent way too much money on additional ships. Whilst I love the game, I hardly ever get to play it and as such feel like I'm just a slave to the FF marketing machine. Imperial Assault though is a game that I'm almost happy to throw my wallet at, as since I got it, I've barely played anything else.

First of all, I've never played Descent (the game engine that this is heavily based from), so my review is from the perspective of someone fairly experienced with board games but fairly new to dungeon crawlers. In Imperial Assault, you combine modular tiles to create numerous classic Star Wars environments and attempt to complete objectives. IA is split into two modes: Campaign and Skirmish - with both providing a healthy amount of content for different situations.

Campaign is undeniably the bulk of the game, with one person taking command of the Imperial forces and up to 4 others taking charge of an individual Rebel character. Combining a decent chunk of story and flavour, the Rebels will uncover an Imperial plot over the course of about 10 missions and develop their characters over time, gaining new skills, items and even allies from the Star Wars universe (like Luke and Han). At the same time, the Imperials will slowly add new tricks to put up their sleeves and become more powerful over time. What's more, the missions have branching paths meaning that the next mission you play will depend on the outcome of this one, giving the game a lot of replay value.

This mode is fantastic and created with a lot of love for the franchise. Each mission feels authentic and varied, with objectives that change throughout the missions and multiple triggers that activate new chunks of story and Imperial deployments. It's incredibly exciting/terrifying when someone opens a door and suddenly Darth Vader arrives to spring a trap. After each story mission you'll also play a side mission, which could focus on an individual Rebel character or something totally divergent and these are always fun with interesting rewards. All of this will keep you hooked until the final mission where both sides will be at their maximum strength and the victor will be decided for the campaign. By the time you've finished this one campaign, you may very well have already put 20 hours into the game and quite likely might want to start another one, switching characters and roles.

Then when you're in the mood for something with less commitment, or simply can't get the full group together, you can play Skirmish mode which puts two sides against each other in a one-off battle. The base game comes with 3 maps with 2 missions on each, all of which have fairly different mission objectives and still manage to include some backstory and theme which is admirable. Each side is able to build teams based on their faction cards deployment costs and a deck of Command cards that gives interesting bonuses during the battle. This mode actually has a fair amount of depth to it and can become especially competitive for one-on-one bouts. Unfortunately the Rebels are quite limited in terms of miniatures and might have to resort to using flat tokens unless you buy the expansions.

I do have a few criticisms, but they're merely things to take into consideration rather than severely damage the game. Firstly, this is another example of FF's poor box insert designs ( a pet-hate of mine) which doesn't do a great job of organising the many many many components you'll have to store. Secondly, the campaign that we've played so far has been heavily weighted towards the Imperials - which isn't so much a criticism of the balance of the game as I've seen online many Rebel teams dominating - but more a balance of the group that you play with. We've actually had to resort to a handicap as the other players were starting to get frustrated with constantly losing which obviously isn't ideal. This is something that will fluctuate with who you play with and how good they are at these games, but I'd say try to always keep it light-hearted and enjoy the experience rather than play to win.

Overall though, Imperial Assault is a fantastic package that is impressive from top to bottom. It's an expensive box, yes, but it's almost impossible not to get your moneys worth as you'll likely play this a lot more than other big games on your shelf. Also, I recommend getting 4 other friends together and each pitch-in to buy the base game, that way the cost is cheap and you'll make sure that the same group sticks together to play the full Campaign. The gameplay itself is fun and fairly straightforward in the beginning, with much of it's depth and complexity arriving over time as your characters grow in abilities - giving the game a helpful learning curve. The artwork is incredible and the production values on the whole are sky-high.. this is about as good as it gets when it comes to board game design.

I think it's time for you to buy Imperial Assault.

Escape Expansion: Illusions
Escape Expansion: Illusions
Price: £24.16

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent expansion, extortionate price., 23 April 2015
This review is from: Escape Expansion: Illusions (Toy)
I love Escape: Curse of the Temple, it's one of my favourite games. Which is why it pains me so much to review this expansion badly.

You see, if I were to strictly talk about the pieces that Illusions adds then what I would have to say would be mainly positive. The added 6th player makes things even more chaotic (occasionally too much so) but it's a welcome addition for someone who's friends always seem to come in pairs. The added trophy room adds a dollop of thematic sauce to the existing puzzle, amping up the difficulty for veterans and giving some new excitement to the latter stages of the game. The various new tiles (including curses) are fine, not all astoundingly exciting but welcome all the same - even if the card stock is a different colour making it obvious when they are about to be drawn.

It's all fairly good stuff and adds to the core experience (even if some of it feels like it should have been in the core set to start with).

However, as part of a review I cannot talk about it without taking value into consideration. At a recommended retail price of £30 (and rarely dipping below £25) it's 3/4 of the price of the base game for what feels like about 1/6th of the content. It also comes in an absolutely huge box that is obviously just to fill up shelf space in the store rather than conveniently contain it's components.

It's just too expensive.

If you love the game and money is not an issue for you, then you're probably not even reading this review. For everyone else though, you could buy a whole other game for this price and you probably should.

Breville 4-Slice Toaster the Perfect Fit for Warburtons
Breville 4-Slice Toaster the Perfect Fit for Warburtons
Price: £34.50

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PERFECT for Warburtons bread., 23 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In case you didn't notice, this toaster is PERFECT for Warburtons bread. The team of Breville toaster scientists must have been working day and night to reach such optimal toasting quadratics for Warburtons very special requirements. What's even more astounding, is that besides this incredible synergy, Breville have even enabled their machine to perform completely with OTHER brands of bread-based products. This toaster can simply do it all. Furthermore, this machine has really unveiled my true creative potential in bread toasting and has literally brought my breakfast TO LIFE.

All jokes aside..

This actually is a decent toaster. It's simple to use, with decent functionality (such as "lift and look", "toast to the top" and the removable crumb tray) and has a fairly durable feel to it. It's somewhat reasonably priced for what it is, probably the maximum that I would ever spend on a toaster and for the average toast-muncher it might already be a bit too extravagant - although if you are looking for something a bit more middle-class then I'm sure there are more expensive options, toast enthusiasts might also be suited elsewhere. Certainly nothing wrong with it though.. besides the egregious marketing spiel.

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