GAMES: Will you take on this tale of the unexpected?
This week, Tales of Xillia takes flight on PS3, while a host of mobile apps make sure the kids are kept entertained this summer holiday - from the light-fingered Tiny Thief, to sweet-toothed Candy Crush Saga, the wonderful world of Minecraft and the ravenous Baby Nom Nom
Tales of Xillia | PS3 | RPG | £33.99
Tales of Xillia launches gamers into the world of Rieze Maxia, where humans and spirits live together in harmony. However, a powerful device capable of global destruction now threatens to disrupt these pleasant times, meaning you must assume the role of either medical student Jude Mathis or paranormal misfit Milla Maxwell and restore peace. It’s a classically quirky set-up for a Japanese RPG, and Xillia displays all the characteristics we’d expect from such a genre - a fun combat system, interesting storyline and plenty of replay value, bearing in mind there are technically two ways to tackle this title. The graphics don’t quite match-up to the back end of this generation of console releases, but there are enough cool anime cut-scenes to keep style fans entertained as they discover the vast, weird and wonderful world of RPG. Now go, save the world!
Tiny Thief | iPhone/iPad | Action | £0.69
The only point in history where parents would probably advocate stealing to their children was when recounting the story of Robin Hood, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Here, our pocket-sized pilferer exudes similar virtues. You nab precious goodies from the bad guys across a series of gloriously realised medieval world, through the premise of point-and-click style adventuring. The lead character is simply too cute to be true, and your time spent picking up and using items while exploring each area will fly by - at least until you reach the latter stages, where things get a bit trickier. There are moments during the game where individual challenges seem to lose their direction and a little too much wandering about in the game world ensues. But, when back on track, Tiny Thief proves to be a brilliantly animated little adventure with bags of personality and, if you’re any good, even bigger bags of swag to boot!
Candy Crush Saga | iPhone / iPad | Puzzle | FREE
It’s the biggest iPhone phenomenon since Angry Birds, possessing a captivating blend of tactical puzzle challenges with a superb slice of the unknown as coloured candies cascade from the skies. And, with over 350 levels of match-three (or more) levels, your swiping skills will be stretched to the limit as in-game power-ups do battle with the game’s protective positioning of cream swirls, chocolate blockers and sweet-shuffling portals. One move will occasionally trigger the kind of explosive chain reaction to reward the countless hours kids (and parents) will put into climbing the game board, overtaking their Facebook pals in the process. But don’t gloat for long - you’ll need them to donate tickets to help you unlock new worlds without spending real world cash, while you can also dish out the extra lives to friends in need. In short, it’s sweet-shop genius, and a perfect pocket puzzler.
Minecraft - Pocket Edition | iPhone / iPad | Adventure | £4.99
The indie block building gaming sensation recently made a shift to the smartphone and tablet world, delivering much of the awesome adventure gaming that made the original so successful. Undoubtedly destined to suck the battery life from your mobile device, you can now easily lose weeks to three-dimensional building, as you form fantastical structures, creations and artwork, limited by nothing but your imagination. Early criticisms of the first release lamented the lack of enemies to battle, but recent iOS updates have added skeletons, spiders and zombies, allowing you to battle beasties in the night as well as build a home to call your own. Other crafting skills must be on the horizon, as is the gradual roll-out of multiplayer servers, so now’s the time to fine-tune your construction and survival skills, before this pocket edition hits its peak.
Baby Nom Nom | iPhone / iPad | Puzzle | £1.99
From the studios that brought us WipEout and Table Top Racing, Baby Nom Nom marks a radical departure from the racing norm, instead opting for a board-spinning puzzler where you must keep a cheeky infant topped up with baby rice! Each level acts as a maze that you must spin to tip the grainy sustenance towards the exit and into Baby Nom Nom’s bowl. Early game exchanges are easy enough to navigate, but the second and third dozen levels - Inca’s Curse and Tiki Torment - prove much more challenging with the addition of locked gates, portals and other obstacles that could claim a percentage of those precious carbs. Beautiful cartoon design and slick control mechanics make Baby Nom Nom a breeze to get into, and there are some seriously tricky trials awaiting you on later levels - definitely a case of practice making perfect. It’s all over a little quickly, though you can bet your bottom dollar that Nom Nom will follow the model, made so popular by Cut The Rope, with increasingly weird worlds released as game updates. We can’t wait.