VIRTUA Tennis 4 will have PS3 owners warming up for Wimbledon, while Thor: God Of Thunder booms onto Xbox 360 and Puzzle Bobble Universe also enters the world of 3D on Nintendo’s 3DS. Ross Wilkinson reports.
GAME OF THE WEEK: Virtua Tennis 4 (PS3, around £49.99)
You know that summer’s on its way. Not because we’ve had a decent stretch of warmer weather, nor because of that faint whiff of sizzling sausages on the barbecue.
No, it’s down to the console tennis titles hitting the shelves with alarming regularity that means we can look ahead to the summer season, and Virtua Tennis 4 serves up a smokin’ ace on PS3, offering the usual high quality on-court simulation.
This year there’s also the excellent addition of Move compatibility as well as 3D connectivity, both of which bring an incredible extra dimension to gameplay should you be fortunate enough to own all the hardware required.
And one more thing, just when hi-tech takes tennis to an all-new level, those developers have thrown in some PS3-exclusive retro characters such as Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker for you to battle it out on the tennis world’s greatest stage.
Now, where are the strawberries and cream?
Game rating: 89%
Thor: God Of Thunder (Xbox 360, about £49.99)
FOLLOWING swiftly on from the big-budget action movie release, Thor: God Of Thunder delves deep into the heroic tales of the Thor universe as players take on an array of ancient enemies and beasts from the many worlds of Norse mythology by using different battle strategies and elemental powers.
What ensues is a whirlwind action adventure, where the valour you earn in combat provides the currency for upgrading your abilities, acquiring new attacks and other special powers.
The gameplay is pretty tight, but button mashers will be just as comfortable fighting their way through the hordes of enemies on offer, and although hammer-chucking and monstrous elemental powers all make a big graphical splash on the small screen, the overall experience is much like the just-above-average comic-book adventures that have gone before.
Game rating: 77%
Puzzle Bobble Universe (Nintendo 3DS, about £34.99)
IT’S great to see established franchises evolve as new technology becomes available.
Bub and Bob have been popping multi-coloured balls for longer than most gamers can care to remember, and now the brothers face more bubble trouble in the shape of a whopping 88 levels set in glorious stereoscopic 3D.
The core puzzle mode offers just what fans of the series will expect across eight different worlds, while challenge mode will push your bubble-popping prowess to the limit.
Gimmick bubbles is just that, making the most of the new visual effects on the 3DS in a crazy colour-combining caper, and overall this is more of the same enjoyable puzzle fun with a bit more depth, not just visually, but also in the challenges presented.
Game rating: 78%
Air Penguin (iPhone, 59p)
THE iPhone gaming world seems overloaded with cutesy cartoon animals, from candy-crunching creatures to freefalling chickens and irate tweeters.
And now there’s an airborne penguin to throw into the mix.
You must guide your Antarctic adventurer from one floating iceberg to the next by tilting the iPhone in the correct direction. Sounds simple, but once swordfish, sharks and shattered ice start getting in the way, the action becomes all the more frenetic (and addictive) as you battle to collect all the fish on each stage.
Graphically, this sits on a par with the aforementioned animal-mad iPhone titles, but the gameplay is much too simplistic to qualify for any further comparison.
However, it is well made, entertaining and a cool on-the-go gaming option during this balmy spring season.
Game rating: 80%
GAME CHART (ALL FORMATS FULL PRICE)
1. Portal 2
2. Mortal Kombat
3. Call Of Duty: Black Ops
4. Zumba Fitness
5. LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
6. Operation Flashpoint: Red River
7. FIFA 11
8. Crysis 2
9. Wii Fit Plus
(Compiled by Chart Track, (c) 2011 UKIE Ltd)