In the midst of the pre-Christmas gaming rush

It seems we are already in the mad pre-Christmas gaming rush. Hayden Meikle takes a quick look at three recent releases.

Knack 2

For: PS4

From: Sony

Rating: (PG) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Photos: Supplied
Photos: Supplied
Remember when games were about having fun, and not necessarily about cutting edge graphics or immersive customisation or exquisite simulation?

Knack 2 is from that time, a glorious throwback to a simpler time that I can honestly recommend to every single person who enjoys gaming.

It’s a sweet, enjoyable action­platformer that has you step back into the shoes of Knack, a sort of animatronic, cyborg-ish creature made up of bits and pieces. Knack has the ability to grow in size through absorbing bits of rock and debris, and also the ability to shrink.

Levels constantly present you with two sets of challenges — big Knack handles the fighting, the extreme jumping and the environmental destruction; little Knack slips into small tunnels and uses small steps to scale heights.

A simple skills tree adds a role­playing element to the story, which is rather confusing, but does not detract from the sheer enjoyment of old-fashioned run­jump-punch gameplay. Highly recommended.


NHL 18

For: PS4, Xbox One

From: EA Sports

Rating: (PG) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

It is always a battle for NHL games to get the sort of global acclaim the likes of EA Sports’ own Fifa and Madden series, and NBA 2K, enjoy. But that’s only ever been because ice hockey does not have the same worldwide pull as the other sports. The game itself has been good for years.

I actually haven’t played the last couple of NHL games, so it was fun to get back on the ice. The sport offers a fast, intimate experience and the production values are top-shelf.

There are the usual modes — a solid career option, Be A Pro, Ultimate Team and so on — plus a new one this year, NHL Threes, a hectic and fun mode aimed at those who simply want a pick-up­and-play sports game.

Smartly, NHL 18 also offers a range of control layouts to cater for both the experienced stick­wielders and newcomers who just want a couple of buttons to press.

Like many New Zealanders, my knowledge of ‘‘harkey’’ is limited — though I know Connor McDavid is the new Wayne Gretzky — and this does make it difficult to get really immersed in the game. But then, as with Madden, maybe one of the best ways to get to know the NHL is to play the game.


Aven Colony

For: PS4, Xbox One, PC

From: Team17

Rating: (PG) ⭐⭐⭐

The trend for building-block games in recent years has been ‘‘bigger is better’’, but this is proof that sometimes you don’t need to promise the world.

Aven Colony is a neat city­building game with a sci-fi flavour. You’re in god mode and charged with the colonisation of an alien planet. You want humans to settle, and you need to attend to their every need. Build a better colony, attract more settlers. Simple.

Slow-paced and deliberate, the game rewards those who are prepared to quietly tick off the various challenges to develop their colony.

Nothing particularly new here but it’s done well and will find favour with those who like the genre.


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