Skip to main content

Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

What's New?

(This week's new releases.) A new convenience shop up the road proves more interesting than the games you can buy for the first time this week.

It's official: going for a walk in the rain to check out the new Sainsbury's Local up the road and buying a sandwich whose nutritional information implies that even the bread and lettuce are made of mayonnaise [ulp] is not a great muse. But it is a soggy and guiltily tasty way to fill a few more minutes before blindly wittering on about a release list comprised entirely of games I haven't played, only one of which has received anything approaching critical acclaim from my peers.

I got the BLT/Egg Mayo Bacon/Sausage Brown Sauce trio, by the way. You work from left to right, obviously, and personally I pick the tomatoes out of the BLT first because, having lived for many years with a sister who used to like "food with her Ketchup" and not the other way round, I've developed something of an aversion to the little red devils. And they're covered in mayo, too.

If December 17th were a Sainsbury's BLT, however, we wouldn't have much of a sandwich left after picking out Blowout (an action game that "just isn't interesting for very long" - GameSpot) and Miami Vice (winner of the coveted "Turd Award" from Loaded Inc.). All we'd have left would be Racing Gears Advance, which looks a bit like Rock 'N' Roll Racing in screenshots (which is already available on the GBA, lest we forget), and Metal Slug Advance.

Outsiders would presumably imagine we have something of an aversion to slugs in our baps, too, but as you - gamers with demanding palettes - might well interject, the revered shoot-'em-up simplicity of SNK's oddly named series of 2D side-scrollers slimes its way onto the GBA with a great deal more success than our attempts to justify the sawdusty aftertaste of an alleged sausage to our whinging intestines.

Despite misfiring a bit with its SNK-derived output since the original company imploded, it appears that finally SNK Playmore has managed to concoct something with MSA that makes the most of the base Slug elements, resulting in a five-level effort more than worthy of our filthy gaminglucre. Naturally the first bite is with the eye, and seeing the cartoony capers borne out on the GBA is enough to erase even memories of crusty fake-bacon lazily slopped in-between supposed wholemeal and egg mush.

In the words of one of our friends who's played it, "of course it's fun to play, they haven't changed anything". In a general sense he's not wrong, but don't be dissuaded by the prospect of more-of-the-same. Word is that the levels are typically engaging, and a new card collection element helps bolster your arsenal at intervals without vomiting reprocessed cow entrails all over itself, which would obviously upset the moo somewhat. Mood. There are secret bits too. Lots of them.

Unfortunately, however, there are no secret treats to be had down the shops this lunchtime. But there will be lots of people suddenly lurching into pre-Christmas panic, so keep your guard up, and choose your sandwiches wisely. We should've bought some Quavers.

  • PAL Releases
  • Blowout (PC)
  • Metal Slug Advance (GBA)
  • Miami Vice (Xbox)
  • Racing Gears Advance (GBA)

  • Key US Releases
  • Nothing exciting.

Read this next