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Games of the week – Ninjala, SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle For Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated, Ruiner and Pokémon Café Mix


By Features Reporter

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Ninjala. Picture: PA Photo/Handout
Ninjala. Picture: PA Photo/Handout

Ninjala

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Genre: Battle royale

Price: Free (with in-game purchases)

Gum-tastic

Fortnite’s popularity has led to an onslaught of battle royale rivals in recent years, and it now feels like the Switch has one of its own in Ninjala. As ever in this genre, the aim is to reign supreme against a group of other players online – up to eight participants fight it out in an arena. The bright, bold visuals and bubble-gum being one of your principle weapons, make for a more child-friendly experience on the surface, but the skill required to win is a lot more full on. In particular, it can seem impossible to overcome an attack when it comes your way. That said, at least you are able to respawn and build up your points again within seconds. The relatively short play time really ramps up the pace, in what makes for a great free-to-play title – there is also a single play mode, but you will have to pay for this one, and frankly, you’re better off in the multiplayer arena.

Skip to the end: Welcome addition to the battle royale genre adds new flavour and brightness into the mix, though some of the fighting elements could do with development.

Score: 8/10

SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle For Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated. Picture: PA Photo/Handout
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle For Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated. Picture: PA Photo/Handout

SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle For Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated

Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC

Genre: Platformer

Price: £24.99

Or dehydrated?

Battle For Bikini Bottom was last seen on the PS2, Xbox and GameCube circa 2003 but it has been washed to the shore for today’s consoles. The end result? A mixed bag. While one should expect gameplay to remain virtually the same, some elements feel dated and could have been refreshed this time round. For example, the dialogue is super repetitive, as though the original catchphrases were ported across 17 years later. Loading simply to enter a small room also feels like something we shouldn’t expect in 2020. There is also a new horde mode to play with friends, where you confront a series of robotic enemies, but it’s a bit forgettable. For what it’s worth, this is very much a graphical upgrade, which does hit the spot, and the main gameplay is still good fun.

Skip to the end: Graphic upgrade is the only real big change for Battle For Bikini Bottom 17 years on.

Score: 6/10

Ruiner. Picture: PA Photo/Handout
Ruiner. Picture: PA Photo/Handout

Ruiner

Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC

Genre: Action

Price: £17.99

Stylish and bloody

After two years, Ruiner gets a Nintendo Switch release and has retained much of the dark cyberpunk look that gave it good reviews the first time round. For those unfamiliar, it’s set in the year 2091 in the cyber metropolis Rengkok controlled by the Heaven conglomerate, as you attempt to rescue your brother from their clutches. It is as bloody as before – and as challenging – filled with fast-paced violent combat, and a really wide choice of weapons and skills, which enable you to spice things up. Then there’s the strong soundtrack which adds some real oomph. Overall, the game works well in this handheld format, but there is the odd framerate issue when playing in docked mode.

Skip to the end: The bloodiness continues on the Switch, working well in handheld mode, with all the style and gritty music that worked the first time round.

Score: 7/10

Pokémon Café Mix. Picture: PA Photo/Handout
Pokémon Café Mix. Picture: PA Photo/Handout

Pokémon Café Mix

Platform: Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS

Genre: Puzzle

Price: Free (with in-game purchases)

Pikachu’s got a rumble on

As the name suggests, Pokémon Café Mix is about you managing your very own eatery for the Pokémon population. Every order is depicted in the form of a puzzle in which you have to link up matching Pokémon icons to clear the puzzle. This is entirely a touch-screen only game. The tutorial gently eases you into the system, before letting you loose with more pressing matters like Café Skills and Golden Acorns. Be careful with your lives though – lose any of the five you’re given and you have to wait half an hour for each to replenish, if you want to stick to free play of course. In-app purchases are not forced on you – they are there if you want to buy things like extra lives and power-ups, but it is possible to play most of the game without needing to part with cash.

Skip to the end: This game isn’t hugely difficult and is obviously skewed to younger players, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun for any Pokémon fan – especially considering it’s free.

Score: 7/10

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