Plays, 17th December, 2016 – Astroneer, Super Mario Run, Pokemon Sun/Moon, and Driver Plays, 17th December, 2016 – Astroneer, Super Mario Run, Pokemon Sun/Moon, and Driver
Tom Orry Updated on by

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Tom Orry, Editorial Director – Astoneer, Xbox One

Astroneer Screenshots

Astroneer, the indie game that looks a little bit like No Man’s Sky, launched in early access on PC and Xbox One this week. I had a dabble with the Xbox One version and I’d advise holding off for a while. It really does seem rather early, and the game does a pretty terrible job of directing you. Essentially you have to use a vacuum of sorts to gather resources, which you can then use to build a base station that expands out from your small rocket ship. There’s the expected tussle with your own oxygen supply and power for your hoover, but so far it’s all a bit fiddly. Perhaps I’m asking for too much but the brief hour you get to sample the game isn’t enough. I might like what is ahead, but I was still figuring out what to do and haven’t really got to the point where I know if I like it or not. Currently, no purchase from me.

This, incidentally, is my last ever VG Plays entry. I’m leaving VideoGamer next week and we wrap up for Christmas on Tuesday. I’ll post a slightly longer goodbye on my final day, but if you don’t see that, thanks for reading the site. Bye.

Alice Bell, Content Editor – Super Mario Run, iOS

My commute to work this week has been worse than usual because there have been roadworks both near where I live and near the office. This morning the bus terminated halfway in. It’s been ridiculous. Super Mario Run is apparently the best game for commuters because you can play it with one hand while you’re miming being on the bus or miming eating a big burger, as Miyamoto demonstrated when announcing Super Mario Run at that Apple thing. So I have played some Super Mario Run.

There are things about it that feel very high quality, like the sound. All the bubbly, tingly, WAHOO! noises you associate with Nintendo are there, but it feels a little more soulless than regular Ninty games simply because it’s a well designed game for mobile, which means it’s got a repetitive central loop to pull you in. Also it seems quite determined to get me to link my Nintendo account and turn on push notifications.

The gameplay itself is actually pretty good. It’s a lot harder than I was expecting, and specifically I’m angry that I did worse than Jimmy Fallon did on the level he played on live TV. In fairness I didn’t have Reggie Fils-Aime helping me, and wasn’t able to practise beforehand like I assume he did, the gurning tit. Anyway, I’d probably play quite a lot of Super Mario Run because I am as impressionable as damp sand, but I don’t know if I’d pay eight quid for it.

Merry Christmas!

Sam Riley, Junior Content Editor – Driver: San Francisco

Driver: San Francisco Screenshots

All this talk of Watch Dogs 2, with its beautifully-rendered San Fran setting seems to have put me in mind of a slightly older take on the ‘The City by the Bay’. Older, not just in the literal sense (of having hit store shelves some half-decade ago) but also in terms of its spirit — of harking back to an age of funky vibes and gas-guzzling rides.

Driver: San Francisco was something of a surprise package when it launched back in September of 2011. Hailing from the spoiled stock that was the Driver franchise, developers Ubisoft Reflections had plenty to prove here. They knew that another uninspired, me-too racer simply wouldn’t cut the mustard, and so something new was devised — something decidedly strange.

The resulting package might best be described as ‘Quantum Leap with Camaros’, or ‘Life on Mars with Mustangs’. To say too much more would be spoiling, but suffice it to say that the player here can control every other car on the road. It’s a novel idea, and one that surely warranted a sequel, even if the surrounding game never quite knows what to do with it. That said, Driver: San Francisco remains a worthwhile shout for any driving fan who’s gotten sick of the same old gear-schtick. Find it for cheap and check it on out.

Colm Ahern, Content Editor – Pokémon Sun, 3DS

Pokemon Sun and Moon starters

I’ve been well and truly sucked back into the world of Pokémon, but I haven’t really been catching many of the Pocket Monsters or progressing in my quest to beat all of the island Kahunas this week. Instead, I’ve been hammering everyone* in the Battle Royal mode. Rather than the normal one v one battles, you’re up against three other Trainers and can only bring three of your party into the arena, creating a new element of strategy to battles. 

With everyone colour-coded like a member of JLS, these big fight feel events occur at Sun & Moon’s equivalent to the MGM Grand. It feels like something Dana White would have no issues promoting and the bloodthirsty crowd lap up every Tackle, Tailwhip and Thunder Shock. I can see myself playing this for a little while longer.

*Everyone is probably a bit strong…a few, really. I’ve beaten a few.