Minecraft | Platform: Xbox 360 | Genre: Adventure | Price: £13.99
What started as an independent cult game is now a global gaming sensation, and those of you who have yet to experience the delights of this block-building masterpiece should snap it up immediately. The game involves players creating and destroying various types of blocks in a three dimensional environment, building an avatar that can destroy or create blocks, forming fantastic structures, creations and artwork across the various multiplayer servers in multiple game modes. It’s one of those titles where you are limited only by your imagination, such is the incredible game world that you operate in. You’ll battle beasties in the night, build a home to call your own and develop your own crafting skills thanks to the handy tutorial showing you the amazing things that can be achieved with a little lateral thinking. Stupendous gaming, super-shiny hi-res visuals and the all-important human touch with a brilliant multiplayer mode make Minecraft the game you’ve been digging for all these years.
The Sims 3: Island Paradise | PC | Simulation | £25.99
So, what adventures can we take the Sims on next? Dropping anchor this year is Island Paradise, an excellent expansion pack filled with fun, exploration and a world of new discoveries, all set on the sunny shores and glistening water of tropical paradise. The additional content always looks to push the boundaries of what’s possible for these virtual people and now, for the first time ever, your Sims can take the helm of fully customisable houseboats and set sail in search of uncharted islands. You’ll create, own and manage resorts or discover what lies beneath the ocean through the new skill-based scuba diving and snorkelling activities. All the new ways to build - whether it’s a lavish five-star resort, a bungalow on the water or a paddleboat - inject new life into the fantastic franchise, and that’s even before you receive the first hotel review from the Simoleons that visit you. From watersides to pool-bars, from mermaid encounters to buried treasure discoveries, island life doesn’t get much better than this...
Deadpool | PS3 | Action | £34.99
Deadpool, the Marvel anti-hero, finally takes centre stage following a flurry of X-Men disappointments, and soon proves to be the perfect antithesis to bland middle-of-the-road action adventures. Favouring the mature approach to adult comic book affairs, it is overflowing with personality, as well as some of the tightest script-writing you could hope to find in a comic book context. It mixes hardcore combat with an eclectic mix of other gaming approaches that add huge variety to the main game. The basic incredible combat is further augmented by a huge arsenal of weaponry, while momentum attacks also unleash the kind of jaw-dropping animations you couldn’t have envisaged even in your wildest dreams. Challenge mode adds an extra bit of frenetic fun to the content on offer outside the main game and, much like the comic books that inspired this digital delve into Marvel’s world, once you pick up Deadpool and put it in your PS3, you’ll find it hard to put down.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown | iPad | Action / Strategy | £13.99
Strategy games have come on in leaps and bounds since 1994, when the first XCOM title was released, and there may only be a pocketful of gamers who remember the original with the fondness it deserves. Nineteen years on, though, and we’re back in action, as the PC hit makes it to the tablet screen. It charges you with leading your troops to defeat the alien front in a host of fierce battles, as well as rescuing civilians and remote outlands around the world. In true turn-based strategy style, you must construct and expand your XCOM headquarters, recruit and train up unique soldiers to thrust into battle, and research alien tech to enhance your weapons and capabilities to overcome the opposition. The level of soldier customisation is astounding, but when you do manage to draw yourself away to resume the action, you’ll find one of those games that rewards persistence - difficult, but not enough to put off fans of the genre. Such superb sci-fi presentation is sure to ensnare a whole new XCOM fan club, who will revel in the strategic combat, careful troops consideration required, and stylish presentation that make this a cracking tablet gaming option right now.
Where’s My Mickey? XL | iPhone | Puzzle | £0.69
Where’s My Water and Where’s My Perry prove that if you find a winning game formula, there’s no shame in giving fans more and more of what they love. Where’s My Mickey might, at first glance, appear to be the biggest cash-in on the franchise to date - daubed with Disney’s most famous character and delivering yet more of the same action puzzling, challenging you to guide water to the character by digging a trench with your digits and utilising the numerous additional elements to help you. Thankfully, though it could have been samey, it’s not. Why? Because of brilliant presentation, ingenious level design and an out of this world, fantastical storyline that could only have been dreamed up in the Disney stable. With a huge bundle of levels to complete, plus even more on offer for a small extra fee, Where’s My Mickey? XL will leave you thirsty for more, even if you do already have a good idea of what lies ahead.