Games of the week
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Deal yourself a hand of futuristic strategy
Nowhere Prophet is a bit Mad Max, a bit Fallout, and a lot of Magic The Gathering's card battling. It's got deck-building, choose-your-own adventure storylines, permadeath and randomised challenges. The art style is lively and distinctive, the music is atmospheric, and the post-apocalyptic world it creates is intriguing and well developed. It is, however, still a card game. If you're seeking an action-packed, cutting-edge experience then Nowhere Prophet is nowhere close – yet there's enough moreish gameplay to coax you into multiple play-throughs, as you lead your ragged convoy of survivors through the blasted wastelands on a quest for a technological marvel from the old world.
Skip to the end: A captivating and great-looking doomsday card battler.
Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble
If you loved Advance Wars and have spent the last decade praying for a sequel, then Tiny Metal: Full Metal Rumble is a perfect way to scratch that itch. It's just a shame that, although Tiny Metal's grid-based battling is almost equal to the strategic quality of Advance Wars, this unashamed clone doesn't go far enough. The visuals are colourful and vibrant, the tactical options are deep and satisfying and the modern-style military theme benefits from a pleasing variety of units, battlegrounds and missions. Yet the wonderful artwork is undermined by awful story and dull dialogue. There's no attempt at touchscreen support, and there's no local multiplayer! But until Advance Wars returns, Tiny Metal offers an acceptably adequate alternative.
Skip to the end: Entertaining battler but lacking in flair and personality.
Blood Bowl: Death Zone
Blood Bowl: Death Zone takes the brutal sport into new territory, abandoning the turn-based tactics of previous outings for a bewildering real-time rush. This is no-holds-barred American Football in the fantasy world of Warhammer, where players are more likely to be pummelling their opponents unconscious than scoring a touchdown. You command your team by clicking on areas of the pitch they should run to, enemies to attack or friendlies waiting for passes. The emphasis is on enjoyably hectic multiplayer bouts (plus a decidedly simple singleplayer mode) and even with just four players to order around, things get messy very quickly. It's not clever, but it is fun.
Skip to the end: Breathless multiplayer madness without much strategic depth.
Back to the future
Flashback Mobile is unadulterated nostalgia, a 30-year-old game given a gentle remastering (some SFX tweaking here, a bit of visual polish there) that will both enthral and frustrate any long-serving gamers. The otherwordly adventure blends 2D platforming with side-scrolling shooting and a solid interplanetary conspiracy yarn, with brand new touchscreen controls – however, these aren't wholly reliable, and it's all too easy to get taps and swipes mixed up while you're learning the ropes, leading to irritating falls and deaths. But committed retro fans who overcome the challenging controls (or just use the old inputs) will relish the authentic action, especially the always magical rotoscoped animation, even if most gamers born after 1985 will find themselves baffled by Flashback's appeal.
Skip to the end: A heartwarming, though inevitably outdated, retro treat.
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