Games of the week
Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey
Adapt or die in an evolutionary drama
Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is demanding, frustrating and awkward. But its mind-bending ambition to provide a first-hand interactive journey through the early steps of human evolution is unforgettable. You begin your odyssey in control of a gathering of apes, roaming a stunning jungle environment in search of basic needs – but hours (and hours!) later, you'll be swaggering over the savannah with sharpened sticks. And while it's not always enjoyable – exciting leaps through the trees inevitably end with painful falls thanks to some unreliable controls – the rich immersion and atmosphere creates a compelling experience. Ancestors is a gaming event not to be missed, despite the irksome flaws.
Skip to the end: A thrilling, if infuriating, voyage of flawed brilliance.
Astral Chain calls you a hero but you're nothing more than a spectator. The titular chain is a futuristic binding connecting your character (a blank anime stereotype in police fatigues) to one of several powerful living weapons called Legions. These demonitech monsters are wielded by specialist warriors against a horde of inter-dimensional invaders, and the opportunity for linked moves and special chain-based attacks ought to make Astral Chain an unusual spin on Devil May Cry's explosive fun. Instead combat is a bind. You can't control your leashed Legion, only walk it into battle like an angry dog, reducing you to the role of a button-mashing escort while it performs all the stylish fighting. Don't shackle yourself to this pedestrian actioner.
Skip to the end: An innovative idea that becomes a restriction.
Remnant: From The Ashes
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Remnant: From The Ashes has been called 'Dark Souls with guns', but it's the wrong comparison. For the uninitiated, Dark Souls is shorthand for a style of punishing, difficult game that emphasises dedication and timing, whereas Remnant's combat is instantly empowering, with satisfying gunplay and just the right number of enemies to be challenging. In this way, Remnant is more like 'Diablo with guns' (or even the game that veterans wished Hellgate: London had been), while other similarities come from randomly generated terrain and multiplayer co-op. Finally, though it doesn't have Diablo's captivating atmosphere, it's got the same moreish appeal that'll hook you time and again.
Skip to the end: A rewarding and replayable action romp.
Wargroove Deluxe Edition
Platform: PS4, Switch
In the groove
What's Deluxe about this edition of Wargroove, which launched back in February? First, this Advance Wars-inspired fantasy turn-based battler gets a physical release for the first time on Switch and PS4, a well-earned reward for a game that nicely blends cute 2D visuals with chessboard strategy. More importantly though, this copy of the game is pre-packed with a great editor (for making your own battle scenarios or downloading new ones), as well as quality of life improvements that enhance controls and interfaces and bring additional difficulty modes – which help prevent Campaign mode becoming such a slog during later, grindy missions. Tactics remain straightforward – battles rely on the old rock, paper, scissors formula – yet Wargroove also remains a wonderfully appealing struggle.
Skip to the end: Fun and challenging warfare with added improvements.