Games of the week
Far Cry New Dawn
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Wake up to a neon apocalypse
Spoiler! Far Cry 5 ends with the Armageddon predicted by big villain Joseph Seed, as thermonuclear war shatters Hope County, and presumably the rest of the globe. From this bleak conclusion flowers Far Cry New Dawn, a riotous post-apocalyptic shooter set in a renewed wilderness of bright flora and mutated fauna, where what remains of Hope County is ruled by a vicious gang of scavengers. The fundamentals of FC5 are unchanged, and New Dawn is less a new game and more of a wholesale reskin. But despite pay-to-win elements threatening to ruin everything, the novelty cobbled together weaponry and equipment, within a familiar but transformed environment, plus some gorgeous visual flair, breathes a new life into Far Cry's exciting adventures.
Skip to the end: The innovations are skin-deep but the action is still engaging.
Tech Support: Error Unknown
Hack your life
In Tech Support: Error Unknown, you're a 'live chat' operative for an all-too-sleek tech corporation, sending scripted responses to consumers with problematic mobile phones. The story develops through messages which begin to ping in to your virtual desktop from a hacktivist group looking for someone on the inside. Do you get involved, get on with your job, or even report the hackers to the police? It's immersive stuff, authentically simulating a daily grind and challenging you to keep track of numerous tasks while stealing bank balances, blackmailing clients or exposing company secrets, but takes too long to unveil the more appealing features buried away inside.
Skip to the end: Appealing fantasy that demands too much hard work.
Fear The Wolves
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Runt of the litter
Fear The Wolves isn't going to challenge big Battle Royale celebrities like Fortnite or insta-blockbuster Apex Legends, but a variety of good ideas create a distinctive flavour of wide-open warfare. To win, for instance, you board a helicopter evac that arrives in the endgame, an action leaving you vulnerable to attack, while killer wolves will hunt you down in packs as you scavenge for weapons and equipment. Still, all the clever features in the world can't make up for poor gameplay. Movement is awkwardly limited – no climbing through windows or jumping low obstacles – which stymies the action, guns feel pathetic and rough edges abound.
Skip to the end: Weak action undermines a handful of neat ideas.
ToeJam & Earl: Back In The Groove
Platform: PC, Mac, Xbox One, PS4, Switch
The beat goes on
ToeJam & Earl are videogame fossils from the Sega Megadrive era. Back in the Groove is the result of a Kickstarter campaign funded by fans who clearly can't get enough of bizarre gameplay or 90s-style humour. The plot is simple: the extraterrestrials have crash-landed and must gather pieces of their broken ship. You wander each level collecting presents, which provide skills like stealth, protective effects, or reveal the exit. There's no combat, instead enemies can be avoided or taken down by 'bodyguards' found as you explore. Then there's the dance-offs and side-scrolling stages. Back In The Groove is unusual and eccentric, both rare qualities in modern games. Just as rare are the gamers who might actually enjoy this trivial oddity.
Skip to the end: It's unique, but that doesn't make it any good.