Games of the week – John Wick Hex, Streets of Rage 4, Fledgling Heroes and Get Packed
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John Wick Hex
Platform: PS4, PC, Mac
Price: From £15.99
Take on the skills and strategy of the professional hitman
Strategy gaming makes a simple but effective leap in John Wick Hex. Though there is a new story away from the movie franchise – complete with voices from Ian McShane and Lance Reddick – the narrative is nothing to behold, but that doesn’t matter as the gameplay more than makes up for it. In the main role, you take turns against the baddies to strike them and move ahead in each level. It’s a test of attack management. Do you go straight in for the kill using a gun, or do you save precious ammo and strike them instead? Do you move to another spot, or wait in the shadows hoping for the enemies to fall into your firing line? Despite the slower nature of this turn-taking approach, things can easily become tense, particularly when a huge swarm of gun-waving antagonists come your way. For all John Wick Hex’s strengths, the experience was marred by the odd clumsy glitch and even one crash error just as we were doing well, which prevents it from achieving full marks.
Skip to the end: John Wick Hex is a strong strategy title filled with plenty of tension and action despite its relatively slow-moving nature.
Streets of Rage 4
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Genre: Beat ’em up
Price: From £22.49
Mr X’s children bring havoc back to the streets
This beat ’em up classic makes a 2020 return, set 10 years after the events of Streets of Rage 3. Mr X’s children, the Y Twins, take over as the main antagonists, in this retro-pushing side-scrolling comeback. Rage 4 is brimming with all the action past players have come to love, alongside five new characters, so expect to be bashing away at your controller to stay alive. However, the side-scrolling nature make some moves clunky and messy, leaving you frustrated in moments when your character is too rigid to comply with the direction you desire.
Skip to the end: A nostalgic trip down beat ’em up memory lane, Streets of Rage 4 is packed with action, though clunky movement mechanics can make it a tad frustrating.
Platform: Nintendo Switch, iOS
Flappy Bird with style
Who could forget the craze that was Flappy Bird in 2013? Well, Fledgling Heroes definitely takes some inspiration, as it makes its way onto Nintendo Switch. Here, you take on the role of several different birds which possess different strengths. So one, for example, can get through water smoothly, but you will find dangers like jellyfish and sharks to dodge in your bid to reach safety at the end. Developers attempt to add some flavour with the ability to design your own characters, as well as create your own levels, but the option feels very limited. The overall game also seems quite short, but we still found ourselves getting addicted, as if we were back in 2013 with Flappy Bird all over again.
Skip to the end: Short but fun arcade title suitable for all the family with a vast array of different levels.
Platform: Google Stadia
Price: From £7.99
Seriously fun co-op
By its very nature, Get Packed is a co-op so you’ll need another friend play with to get a taste of its full potential. The main campaign mode sees residents of Ditchlington forced to quickly pack their stuff and move as they’ve been evicted by Industrial Salt Co, which has taken over the city. So the aim of the game is to bundle your belongings into a small truck, but it’s not as simple as it seems. Like anyone who has moved house before, items can get damaged, and in Get Packed this results in cash being knocked off your total. Each level last three minutes, so it really is a race to pack up shop ASAP. While playing alone is nowhere near as fun, there are objectives to make it interesting. But you really do need to play with friends.
Skip to the end: Get Packed is one of those games that really is best played with others. The urgency of packing in three minutes is stressful, messy fun best shared.
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