The Fisherman: Fishing Planet – PS4 Review

Grab your tackle box and find yourself a nice spot at the lake in The Fisherman – Fishing Planet, the latest from the team at Fishing Planet LLC.

The Fisherman is an immensely deep and detailed online multiplayer fishing simulator game where players will seek out various species of fish across multiple countries and locations. Boasting life-like fish AI, realistic aero/hydrodynamics and over 110 different fish species in game, The Fisherman is certainly a leap forward for fishing sims. Players will have the chance to customise every part of their fishing kit, including but not limited to: rods, reels, leading lines, floats, hooks and even equipment bags. With so much variety and choice it can be a bit daunting at first for new players but the tutorial system is very detailed and spread out very effectively. Fishing is affected by multiple different conditions, just like real life, including time of day, weather and bait used so players will need to plan out each expedition depending on what they wish to try and catch.

On a standard PS4, The Fisherman visually looks good but has the usual sim game rigidity in certain secondary aspects like level elements away from the waterline but the details in the fishing itself are fantastic. Fish and fishing equipment are highly detailed and branded with different stats or visual flair so you can customise your character and load-out however you prefer. Equipment is also modelled to be as close to their real world counterparts as possible, meaning that rods, reels and fishing lines can break if used incorrectly or if too much tension is applied.

Being an always online game means that players can obviously play with friends but it also means that the game is constantly being populated with other players from around the world. This can help hint towards better fishing spots and adds to the sense of community around this title, which appears to be nice and strong. Fishing challenges and competitions are available to compete in online and bring with them some nice friendly rivalry and competition for players from all over the world.

Regardless of whether you are a casual fishing enthusiast or a die hard fan of the sport, The Fisherman – Fishing Planet has a lot to offer with the added benefit of not needing to wake up early in the morning.

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Mat Panek, Chief Reporter
Retromancer – Collector, repairer & fan of retro games & tech. Atari to Amiga, Nintendo to Sega! LD, Zip, Beta and a proud dad! One half of the TiredParents on Twitch.

Follow Mat on Twitter and Twitch

 

 

Disclosure: The Fisherman – Fishing Planet [PS4 PS Store code] was kindly provided by Homerun PR for this review.

 

 

Riverbond – Nintendo Switch Review

Gather some friends and prepare to hack, slash and blast your way through Riverbond, the latest title from the team at Cococucumber.

Riverbond is a funny, energetic, adorable and frantic voxel based, dungeon crawler. Up to 4 players can join together for some couch co-op fun and journey through 9 different dungeons on an epic adventure to restore peace and order to the land. Each dungeon is themed differently and enemies can range from different animals like pigs or crabs to cannon wielding parrots and bomb throwing books. Each dungeon is made up of a handful of areas with simple tasks or objectives before players must battle it out in a boss arena battle. Defeating enemies, talking to NPCs and opening presents are rewarded with points that go towards each players score. At the end of each dungeon, players are ranked on how well they do, this feature adds some nice competition between players but can be ignored for friendlier play sessions. 

Players will collect a number of different weapons to defend themselves, these are often placed along the major pathways in each dungeon. Exploration is rewarded though, as hidden within each level is even better weapons to use and new player skins to unlock. Weapons include swords and guns of various varieties but certainly lean towards more humorous options like slapping fish, ice creams, umbrella spears and foam dart guns with over 50 in total to find. Before each level begins, even mid dungeon, players can choose a skin that suits them ranging from fruit, sushi, animals, special guest characters and content creators. With over 100 different character skins to choose from, players will most certainly spend a fair bit of time switching and choosing skins depending on their personal preference.

Each dungeon is beautifully themed and well laid out with lots of nice little touches and secrets for those with a keen eye. Levels are also highly destructible which we found to be joyously cathartic. Early levels can be a little slow at times but this helps to get new players familiar with the controls and the general game mechanics. Difficulty seems to be at a set level though which means that having more players will work in your advantage but having less or playing solo will prove to be more of a challenge.

Full of mischief and mirth, Riverbond is a fantastic couch co-operative hack and blast with a nice competitive streak that is best enjoyed with friends. Players of any age will surely love all that Riverbond has to offer. 

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Mat Panek, Chief Reporter
Retromancer – Collector, repairer & fan of retro games & tech. Atari to Amiga, Nintendo to Sega! LD, Zip, Beta and a proud dad! One half of the TiredParents on Twitch.

Follow Mat on Twitter and Twitch

 

 

Disclosure: Riverbond [Nintendo Switch eShop code] was kindly provided by Stride PR for this review.

 

 

Bus Simulator – PlayStation 4 Review

Please have the exact fare ready as it is time to play Bus Simulator on PS4 from the team at Stillalive studios.

Bus Simulator is a game in the ever expanding genre of “Simulator” titles that has you start off with humble beginnings and go on to forge a mighty business empire. Players start off by learning the basics in a bus supplied by your new city council that wishes to develop more public transport. Starting off with a single test route outside of the main city, players learn all the knowledge required for the daily operations of a bus driver. As a driver, players are required to maintain a bus route correctly by stopping on time, opening the doors, lowering the bus, taking fares, giving change and deal with any disruptive passengers. While this may all sound rather dull it actually takes quite a bit of concentration. After learning the basics though it is possible to hire other drivers and buy extra buses to create more routes. After showing the city council what a wonderful job you are doing it is possible to expand your routes to various other parts of the city or create whole new ones.

Buses are naturally far more complex machines than the usual vehicles we are all used to driving and every single button on the controller is used to its fullest. Between the use of actual buttons and a pop up radial wheel, controlling the lights, wipers, turn signals and doors are all spread out in a way that can at first feel daunting but becomes second nature after spending a bit of time with the game. Various buses are available to unlock and buy from the simple double door design buses to full accordion buses that take some serious skill to maneuver around the city. Buses can be customised with different paint jobs, colour schemes and decals to make each one unique or make your fleet all superbly uniform. It is also important to note the deep and rich business sim aspect of the game that will have serious entrepreneurs weighing up every buses positives and negatives to make sure their business is profitable and each route is planned perfectly for maximum efficiency.

As with other games in this genre, the vehicles are finely detailed but the environments are simple and basic while still feeling like a natural city. There is a lot of good humour spread throughout the world too and some of the little details are fantastic, well worth the time to leave the confines of your chosen bus and do a little exploring when possible.

Bus Simulator is a terrific “podcast game” that will have you engaged enough to never feel bored but also relaxing enough to help players unwind after a long day with the help of a good podcast and a nice cup of tea. Fans of buses, Sim games and efficiency will definitely love all Bus Simulator has to offer.

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Mat Panek, Chief Reporter
Retromancer – Collector, repairer & fan of retro games & tech. Atari to Amiga, Nintendo to Sega! LD, Zip, Beta and a proud dad! One half of the TiredParents on Twitch.

Follow Mat on Twitter and Twitch

 

 

Disclosure: Bus Simulator [PSN Store code] was kindly provided by Homerun PR for this review.

 

 

Spin Rhythm XD – Steam Early Access Review

Prepare to blast down the intergalactic note highway in Spin Rhythm XD from the team at Super Spin Digital.

Spin Rhythm XD is an intense and fast paced rhythm game where players can use a multitude of different input devices from a humble mouse or gamepad to a full on MIDI controller. Regardless of your chosen input method, players will have to spin, slide, tap and flick their way through various high tempo tracks in hopes of a perfect run and high score. Spin Rhythm XD is a new take on the beat rhythm genre that is more about positioning of the notes and the style and flair achieved to hit them. Players must line up an alternately coloured ring with the correctly coloured notes or bars while also spinning the ring when needed to rack up multiplier points. With numerous thumping electronic tracks available, it is certainly not for the faint of heart or those with slow reflexes.

Each track has 4 available difficulties, each of which will make the notes multiply and style vary immensely. Easy tracks usually involve positioning the ring for notes, a few tap bars and a handful of spins, as difficulty increases these become far more frequent and complex. Some tracks require players to spin multiple times in succession and quickly maneuver the ring to the next note as fast as possible. We played with both the mouse and gamepad, finding both feel fantastic to use but those with serious musical dedication will want to grab a USB or MIDI controller for a bit more finesse.

Although still in early access, Spin Rhythm XD shows immense promise and still currently being revised and updated regularly, giving electronic music fans a long overdue beat rhythm game to call their own.

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Mat Panek, Chief Reporter
Retromancer – Collector, repairer & fan of retro games & tech. Atari to Amiga, Nintendo to Sega! LD, Zip, Beta and a proud dad! One half of the TiredParents on Twitch.

Follow Mat on Twitter and Twitch

 

 

Disclosure: Spin Rhythm XD [Steam code] was kindly provided by Stride PR for this review.

 

 

Bee Simulator – Nintendo Switch Review

Time to get busy as a bee in Bee Simulator from VARSAV Game Studios, out now on the Nintendo Switch.

If you have ever wondered about the life of bees and insects then Bee Simulator is the game you have been waiting for! Players take the role of a new worker bee as you try to save your hive and prepare for winter by exploring a vast level inspired by New York’s Central Park. As a bee players will collect pollen, race other bees, fight deadly wasps and communicate with other bees using sweet dance moves. Various actions, such as returning pollen to the hive, are rewarded with knowledge points which can be redeemed for alternate Bee skins, fancy hats and colourful trails. Apart from the single player story mode there is also a split screen mode where both players can compete against each other or just take in the sights and collect pollen.

On the Nintendo Switch, Bee Simulator is a very simple game graphically and looking too closely makes it feel a bit like a clockwork world. Taking a step back and enjoying the games simplicity gives it an almost childlike appeal though, making everything seem very charming and full of whimsy. Despite the limitations of the switch, it is all very beautiful, especially on some of the multiplayer maps. Wildlife litters the landscape and flowers are abundant and naturally spread around. There is a great scale to everything and Bee Simulator really makes the player feel small but in no way helpless.

Controls are a little touchy but fairly minimal which makes Bee Simulator a great game for new players to just pick up and take in the sights of a bee’s unseen world. Multiplayer is plenty of fun and a relaxing way to spend some time, we spent ages just exploring and poking at the world. Sometimes even literally by stinging the odd passerby! While more serious gamers might get a bit bored in co-op, casual players and couples will enjoy buzzing around the different locations and discovering lots of wonderful little details.

Bee Simulator is a whole lot of fun on your own or with a friend, regardless of if you enjoy completing every story and side mission or just stinging picnic goers and popping balloons. A mellow and relaxed experience full of interesting bee facts and information that makes it a great game for players of any age.

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Mat Panek, Chief Reporter
Retromancer – Collector, repairer & fan of retro games & tech. Atari to Amiga, Nintendo to Sega! LD, Zip, Beta and a proud dad! One half of the TiredParents on Twitch.

Follow Mat on Twitter and Twitch

 

 

Disclosure: Bee Simulator [Nintendo Switch eShop code] was kindly provided by Homerun PR for this review.

 

 

GENSOU Skydrift – Nintendo Switch Review

Time to fly into the magical world of GENSOU Skydrift, out now on the Nintendo Switch from the team at illuCalab.

GENSOU Skydrift is a Touhou Project racing game set in Gensokyo, located somewhere in japan where the world of humans and yokai (spirits) meet. No prior knowledge of the Touhou universe is required to enjoy the game but it also probably doesn’t hurt. Players choose two characters to use, each with different stats and abilities, where one acts as the rider and the other becomes the board. While racing it is possible to switch between the two to maximise each characters strong points such as offense, speed and cornering. Each track is littered with magical boost gates that will propel players along but also charge up your spell meter that, once full, will allow players to randomly claim a spell card to use. Spells are either offensive, defensive or boosts but each player also has a special and devastating “Last word” ability unique to them. 

Controls are simple and easy enough to pick up but are only displayed briefly in the campaign tutorial, there are no other real reminders such as if you jump into a versus match without prior knowledge. The controls are easily figured out though by just mashing the buttons as you race and hoping for the best. Players can tightly turn or drift around corners depending on their playstyle and character selection. The whole vibe of Gensou Skydrift is very cheery and extremely Japanese with lots of visual novel style over the top moments in the campaign. Courses are diverse and interesting, ranging from human villages to magical sakura trees either being a looping track or a start to finish sprint. In every mode apart from online there is some serious AI “rubber-banding” going on to keep things lively, so no need to feel discouraged if you fall behind but also a good reason to not get too confident while in the lead.

Feeling like an extremely colourful and cheery Kart racing game, Gensou Skydrift has some very obvious nods towards more established games in the Kart racing genre but still keeps things fresh enough. An interesting alternative for those in the market for another quick kart racing game or fans of the Touhou franchise but probably not for everyone.

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Mat Panek, Chief Reporter
Retromancer – Collector, repairer & fan of retro games & tech. Atari to Amiga, Nintendo to Sega! LD, Zip, Beta and a proud dad! One half of the TiredParents on Twitch.

Follow Mat on Twitter and Twitch

 

 

Disclosure: GENSOU Skydrift [Nintendo Switch eShop code] was kindly provided by Stride PR for this review.

 

 

The Eyes Of Ara – Nintendo Switch Review

Prepare to unravel the mysteries that lie waiting for you in The Eyes of Ara out now on the Nintendo Switch from 100 Stones Interactive.

The Eyes of Ara is an adventure puzzle game that has players investigating a mysterious signal that is coming from an old weathered castle sitting atop an isolated island. Up until recently the castle has laid dormant with only folk tales remaining of its origins and ghost stories surrounding its former occupants. Arriving by boat, players start to explore the castle room by room in an attempt to uncover the secrets of this mysterious location. Apart from the amazingly intricate main story puzzles there are countless other minor puzzles, hidden passages and collectables for those with a keen eye to uncover. 

The Eyes of Ara takes us back to the classics such as Myst and Riven, giving players a real sense of wonder and discovery. Just like those classics, there is an oppressive sense of isolation and confinement that gives the game a fantastic atmosphere. Environmental storytelling is fantastic and plays a key role, giving the player lots of backstory and minute details to look over, journals or notes to read and riddles to solve. Every nook and cranny has something to look at or discover, the whole castle feels very lived in and believable. Going into the world and its story any more would ruin the sense of discovery surrounding every fiber of this game. 

Control on the Nintendo switch is done with only a single Joycon or via the touch screen in handheld mode which is fine but never our personal choice on the console. User interface is simple and gets out of the way of the rest of the game, being easily hidden and recalled only when needed which is superb. Every puzzle involves solving and manipulating puzzles in a very natural and tactile way that has you moving, twisting or rotating objects that is fun and rewarding. Even objects that cannot be directly interacted with will give a knock or puff of dust when clicked on, making the world feel fully immersive. 

Full of elaborate and devious puzzles, The Eyes of Ara is absolutely for fans of the classic adventures games or lovers of fiendishly clever puzzles. An amazing feat for a one man game studio and a game that firmly asserts itself as a must play title, regardless of platform.

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Mat Panek, Chief Reporter
Retromancer – Collector, repairer & fan of retro games & tech. Atari to Amiga, Nintendo to Sega! LD, Zip, Beta and a proud dad! One half of the TiredParents on Twitch.

Follow Mat on Twitter and Twitch

 

 

Disclosure: The Eyes of Ara [Nintendo Switch eShop code] was kindly provided by Stride PR for this review.