Borderlands 2 (18+, PS3, Xbox360, PC, £39.99) dominates the releases this week. The original was a huge hit in 2009 when it combined first person shooting with a loot-and-level mechanic normally found in a top down action rpg. The art style, too, set it apart.
With tongue firmly in cheek, the apocalyptic world of Pandora was open to explore in all its colourful cell-shaded glory. Another secret to its success was the co-operative multiplayer, and developers Gearbox clearly know this: the sequel retains both split screen and LAN co-op as well as online, so there are plenty opportunities to play with friends as you explore the frozen tundra of Pandora, choosing from outrageous amounts of guns and shields. It’s a winning formula, why would Gearbox stray from it?
Talking of formulas, Codemasters are next on the grid with F1 2012 (3+, PC, PS3, Xbox360, £37.99). The developer secured the Formula One license in 2008, and have done a good job in creating a deep experience that appeals to racers of varying skill levels. They’ve extended the multiplayer options to include split-screen, co-op championships and online against 16 players. It simulates the F1 season, from a training mode called Young Driver Test, which teaches you how to use DRS and KERS, through to full seasons at all the licensed tracks including the new Circuit of The Americas. For a quicker game, players can take on specific challenges against the greats in Champions mode, or Season challenge, which gives you ten short races to go for glory. F1 2012 feels like a step forward for the franchise, not just an update of the stats.
Scottish company Outplay have released Booty Quest (N/A, iOS, Android, Facebook, Free) on mobile devices. This game is instantly recognisable – it’s a clone of Bejeweled Blitz. Matching up three jewels will clear them away, while matching four or more will create explosive pieces that can be used to rack up extra points. It’s a common style, with Diamond Mine and Rome Puzzle among others, but Outplay have made a solid competitor, with plenty of power-ups and scorechasing via facebook to get you hooked.
Another Scottish games company Ludometrics, creators of Matching Set (N/A, iOS, Free) have donated two of the new iPod shuffles to the prize list for Sick Kids Save Point. Anyone who raises £100 or more in sponsorship for their games marathon next month will enter the draw. Other prizes include games and accessories from Rockstar North and Playstation Access. More details at sickkidssavepoint.org