10 Tons channel a post-apocalypse Wreck-it-Ralph with Dysmantle

Billed as part survival, part carnage, part building game, Dysmantle goes to the limit of what you can break in a game with 99% destructible content. It offers the total challenge of exploring, fighting, level up, surviving, gather craft and harvest, farm, hunt and fish, build, solve puzzles, as you get to live and enjoy the bittersweet post-apocalypse.

Doing all that well in a game world is a serious challenge and one 10Tons (developer of the funky Tesla vs Lovecraft) has implemented with a Sims-style look, while borrowing from Stardew Valley, Fortnite, Minecraft and many others. That's no bad thing, as long as their bespoke engine and the game's plot keep thing interesting. More to come over 2019!

Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization Deluxe Edition heads to Switch

Bandai continues its rapid wave of Vita updates with Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization Deluxe Edition bringing the full game with all the DLC. it offers a unique story supervised by the original SAO author Reki Kawahara.

The offline/online MMORPG simulator, Hollow Realization Deluxe Edition features an expansive world where boss battles and raid modes are the norm. The game will be available in Spring 2019, and Switch owners will also get SWORD ART ONLINE: Fatal Bullet Complete Edition at a later date.

Switch sales plummet, but still dominate in Japan's post holiday chart

As the Switch motors into the third year of its life, the seasonal sales come to a halt with a bump as the Nintendo heartthrob console shed 120K sales last week, back to the more usual 78K territory.

That's still 75% of the Japanese market according to the latest Media Create data, probably helped by the arrival of New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe, which sold 166K units on its relaunch for Switch, and puts three Mario games in the Media Create top 10.

Silver 2017, Red 2018, Gold 2019
It might take another hit next week as Resident Evil 2 takes to the other consoles, I wonder how long this sales dominance will force the likes of Capcom to get a port over and Namco to work on the likes of Ace Combat 7 for Switch?

Classic Out Run revs up on the Switch

Inspired by movies like Cannonball Run, Sega's Out Run is a true gaming classic, and while the pinnacle of the series was probably Out Run 2006 Coast to Coast on the PSP, there's nothing wrong with the original. So. the Sega Ages Out Run is now on the eShop for $7.99/£5.99 or equivalent offering an against-the-clock race over five stages, with your route varying the difficulty.

 Enhancing the original are tracks added for the 3DS version of Out Run along with all-new arranged versions of songs from the Genesis and Master System releases, such as Midnight Highway and a chiptune version of Radiation from Out Run 2006: Coast 2 Coast.
 The star of the game is the Ferrari Testarossa Spider, whizzing around the corners around the coastal, forest, desert and many other tracks. While a lot of the early Sega games had really limited replay value, the branching route makes this a lot of fun and adds to the challenge.

OlliOlli spins its wheels on the Switch

OlliOlli Switch Stance is an updated version of the great Vita skateboarding series from 2014, bringing both games in glorious HD to the Nintendo hybrid. Rack up epic scores by pulling off the most radical tricks and surviving to the end of the increasingly tricky levels. Simple, unputdownable and packed with challenge, it is another must-buy.

Roll7 and Good Shepherd Entertainment have lined up Valentine's Day, February 14th, as the day to grind your Switch with love. Both games pack in plenty to do in a fast-and-smooth 2D side-scrolling world. The simple controls help you pull off awesome tricks and some epic faceplants.

OlliOlli: Switch Stance combines addictive die-and-retry gameplay with over 120 tricks and grinds, 50 cunningly crafted levels, 250 challenges, plus Spots Mode, Daily Grind, and unlockable RAD Mode. Take command of the Joy-Con, land those sweet tricks, and bathe your ears in a soundtrack of exquisite electronic head music.

The Princess Guide gets a praiseworthy trailer

Teaching a princess the art of war was never going to be easy, but you can only work with what you've go. So, NIS America's new tactical RPG battler game has four kingdoms up for grabs and we suspect a lot of tutorials as you train her majesty in the ways of combat.

Will you heap praise on the royal head or scold her majestic bottom - I think we can see where this one is going, wonder if the PS4 version will be edited? All will be revealed on March 26th when the game hits Switch.

Review: Horizon Shift '81

Price: £7.19 eShop
Developer: Flump Studio
Players: 1

At the dawn of arcade gaming, a handful of pixels and simple line art was the order of the day for entertainment. With such limitations, developers created all kinds of cunning twists and gameplay tweaks to keep people dropping cents and quarters in arcade games.

But for all the clever tricks offered by Moon Cresta, Phoenix, Galaxians and many, many others, I don't recall seeing any game cram quite as few ideas in as Horizon Shift 81, using the power of the Switch to perform all sorts of tricks to the many graphical styles of the original shooters.

An unashamedly nostalgic game paying home to curved screens, raster lines and power-ups, Horizon Shift '81 has your ship in the middle of the firing up or down using a horizontal axis. The rules are simple - shoot everything - but if anything gets to the axis, you can side swipe them to keep your field of fire clear.

Bonuses rain down or up the screen offering shields, power ups and points, get enough of them and you are temporarily invulnerable to the chaos going on around you. That's as a maelstrom of effects - ships warping in, enemies exploding and general weirdness go on in among all the action.

Every few levels, the axis drops down and a level boss appears who takes a great deal of shooting, and into the later levels, there are mixes of genres with nods to Centipede and Asteroids that can tear apart your axis, leaving you stranded in one area, reliant on a friendly power up with the right sort of shot spread to survive.

With many forms of Invaders and power up to collect, keeping an eye up and down is vital and prioritising what to shoot is key to escaping a level. As you plough on, you can unlock side art to tart up the screen, and adjust the various levels of scanline and screen curve, but it looks superbly retro right from install.

Modes include classic and hyper (with one life), modern or true retro graphics, and a range of settings you can unlock through progression. Thanks to the game credits for also showing me where Darryl Still (the poor guy who single-handedly marketed the Atari Jaguar and Tempest 2000 in the UK back in the day) is these days!

So, alongside TxK on the Vita and that whole host of modern-retro shooters,  Horizon Shift '81 is a master of invention and great entertainment in short bursts, throwing a tough challenge at your pixelly form, soundtracked by clanking ammo, explosion effects and a fun, pulsing soundtrack. All of which adds up to a viciously tight blasting experience with the clever twist adding a whole new dimension to traditional arcade games.


Review: Horizon Chase Turbo

Price: £17.99 eShop
Developer: Aquiris
Players: 1-4

Arcades reeking of smoke, coins clanking, kids yelling, but none of that mattered when I was sat in an Out Run machine or astride a Super Hang On bike, focusing on each corner, curve and the jagged approach of rival racers. Those days of stripy tracks used to generate the sense of speed are gone forever, but the spirit of those games makes the odd appearance, as with Horizon Chase Turbo.

Developed by Brazilian team Aquiris as a nod to them and the likes of Virtua Racer, Chase HQ, Road Blasters and many others, it has toned down those harsh just-one-more-go timers and roadside-fling-of-death mechanics into something more forgiving and fun for the modern age. In its place are super smooth detailed cars in a pixel-sharp environment that looks simple but has plenty of its own attractions, all at 60 fps oil-and-lube smoothness.

Horizon Chase Turbo still requires that players learn the tracks and master overtaking to get good lap times, and need a bit of luck to challenge for the win in tougher races. But the first few races are a good learning curve for anyone fed on today's complex racers that are buffed up by insane amounts of lighting effects and crash mechanics.

Taking the World Tour, there are suitably themed levels for each country on the map. Along the way, there's blue tokens to collect to get a maximum score, turbo boosts and petrol/gas to keep on running, with a top result winning the Super Trophy required to open up new areas. Hitting another racer or rattling off in the scenery, results in a quick flip, losing only an acceptable amount of time.

Green Light, Go

Even so, racers will need to be perfect to get a spot on the global leader boards as one bump often leads to another when racing in the pack. Running out of fuel leads to a slow and ignominious limp back to the pits, while being rammed by other cars, not the neatest way to handle that part of the game, if you're a newbie. But if you do screw up, give up and the near instant restarts will get you going again.

With little quips from the drivers, changing weather and time of day, there's plenty of little touches to watch out for, but as advanced tracks with narrow lanes, off-road sections, tricky corners, eyes really need to be on the road for the more competitive races. Between regions, there are special upgrade races to win, to choose a gizmo for better handling or performance.

The range of looky-likey vehicles also grows, perhaps an expert will pick a specific car for a type of track, but they all feel reasonably suitable for the job. As the challenge gets tougher perhaps they play more of a role, but keeping the fuel topped up and staying ahead is always the focus, whatever the car.

Anchoring all this fun is a sterling 16-bit era soundtrack by composer Barry Leitch, who provided the tunes for the Top Gear series (not the TV show) that provided a lot of inspiration for this game. There's lots of epic tinkly tunes and sharp effects to keep players in the zone.

Playground mode is a new feature for the Switch, with changing race types to provide a fresh challenge, and there's always the fun of up to four-player splitscreen mode if you have enough controllers. Yes, while HCT is just going round similar looking corners fast, there is still plenty of challenge and the fun factor is pretty high, even for younger gamers fed on modern effects and whizzy multi-level tracks.

Not something I can play for extended periods, HCT is still great in short bursts of action for that one race where you really fly around the track before moving on to the next stuttering effort of bumps and bodywork bruises.


Switch sales monster the Japanese chart

Having sold 281K units two weeks ago, the Switch matches that feat in Japan with another 281,000 sales last week. So, half a million units shifted in two weeks, wow! Nothing will stop the Switch dominating the Japanese console landscape this Christmas, with the PS4 and PS4 Pro falling way behind on just 81,000 in a distant second place. The only question is will Nintendo run out of stock?

Super Smash Brothers continues to boss game sales, shifting another 400K copies. Senran Kagura Peach was the only Switch new entry on the Media Create chart, selling a saucy 10,000 copies at No. 12.