Super Mario Odyssey. Buy it.

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I read a review of Super Mario Odyssey which ended with the phrase "If you've got a Switch, you must buy this game. If you've not got a Switch, buy one and then buy this game".

I agree. It really is that good. Not that I'm anywhere near through it, but I'm enjoying every minute. Everything is polished to perfection. The game runs well on portable and on TV. The idea of having something this good that you can play on the train is really nice. 

When I bought this game I did something I don't usually do with full price games like this. I bought the download version. It meant I could get started without a trip to the shops or waiting for a parcel, and it also means that the game is always present on my device. I've got a micro SD card in my Switch and the game takes up around 5.3G, which is not a huge amount of space by today's standards.  

I'm starting to wish that I'd bought all my other games this way, it would remove the need to carry round cartridges. Perhaps a video game shop could over a scheme where they take your game media back and swap it for a download code.  I'd go for that. 

Overcooked

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Let’s say this at once. Overcooked is great fun. You and a bunch of friends control cooks franticallly grabbing ingredients, following recipes, washing up, putting out fires and trying to keep the customers satisfied. I’ve not laughed quite so much playing a game as I did when we were all blundering round the kitchen, getting too many mushrooms (cries of STOP GETTING MUSHROOMS) and setting fire to things (cries of FETCH THE FIRE EXTINGUISHER).  

You start off in a fairly conventional kitchen, but before long you’re on the deck of a pirate ship or, worse yet, on the back of two speeding trucks. There’s a back story of sorts, and you work through a map of different locations in your little van, trying to rack up enough points to unlock the next level. As a multi-player game this really, really shines.  The Nintendo Switch is a great platform for this kind of mayhem, you can rock up with the console and a bunch of joycons and have totally crackers, shouty, fun. Very strongly recommended.

Death Squared

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The people who wrote Death Squared must have played quite a bit of Portal. (If you’ve not played Portal, where have you been? It’s a series of fiendish puzzles which are overseen by a nasty computer with a great line in one liners).

Death Squared uses a similar scenario (you have to perform a series of tests for some reason) but the actual tests themselves involve each player getting their coloured cube from the start position to the end position. Each level involves a lot of experimentation, and it works really well the more people you have. Two player is rather good, three player for us was hampered by the need for one player to control two cubes. The puzzles are nicely progressive and really encourage the players to work together. Nowhere near as frantic or silly as Overcooked (of which more later), but fun for thinkers who want some cooperative action. 

Snake Pass

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Snake Pass is a charming little game in which you have to steer Noodle the snake around a range of different locations, picking up points and and climbing around things. The biggest problem I have with the game is that the snake is a bit hard to control. Snake steering is not too tricky, but it can be hard to climb things. You’re supposed to be able to contract the snake to grip things, but I seem to lack the skills to grab things and climb up them. I found it a bit frustrating when I couldn’t reach high things and even more frustrating when I fell off the game world and plummeted to my doom.

Perhaps I should spend an evening practising climbing fence posts, but that sounds a bit too much like work to me. The environments are sumptuous and the snake is charming though. I'm going to have to put in some proper practice methinks. . 

Shephy

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Shephy is cheep. There. I’ve said the nice thing about it. It’s based on a card game, and for me it should have stayed as one. I’ve tried to like it but failed several times, and now I just don’t care. The aim of the game is to play different kinds of sheep card to assemble an impossibly large number of sheep on the screen. Every turn cruel fate gives you a bunch of horrible cards which take you further from your goal. The instructions on the cards are a bit hard to read, and its hard to remember what they all do.  

This might be a case of me getting upset with a game that I just don’t have the mental horsepower to play, but I challenge anyone to have a go and enjoy it. Best avoided. Would make a good Christmas present for someone you don’t like much. 

The Bridge

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The Bridge is a physics based game with a nice artwork style and a bunch of puzzles that are really brain bending but very satisfying when you figure out how to solve them. I bought it on the Nintendo Switch but it is available on lots of other platforms too.  

You have to navigate a nicely animated professorial type around a series of locations. You can rotate the world around your hero and make gravity your friend to avoid nasty adversaries and find keys. It works really well as a hand-held game, but the monochrome artwork looks very nice on the large screen too. 

For the price it represents good value. I’ve reached the point where I want to step back from the game for a while so that I don’t finish it too soon. 

Zelda Guide

I suppose it's an admission of defeat to buy a game guide. But actually I like them for the pictures as much as anything. And sometimes they are useful because they let you know that something is possible, rather than telling you how to do it. 

My official guide for the Zelda: Breath of the Wild arrived today and I really like it. Lots of detail and lavishly illustrated. If you've got the game I reckon you'll get a lot out of this guide, whether you need it or not.