Every year seems to boast more and more huge game releases, to the extent that it’s been difficult to keep up with everything for a good long while now. The usual suite of heavy hitters monopolise a lot of people’s time, but, as 2018 comes to a close and the release schedule settles for all of a few weeks, we thought it’d be nice to shine a light on a few of the year’s less-loved games. Who knows, maybe we’ll find them homes for the holidays.
Chris | ONRUSH
Despite largely favourable reviews (including our own), ONRUSH has failed to take the world by storm. In fact, if not for its inclusion in the Xbox Game Pass catalogue, I wouldn't have even considered giving it a try.
The game mimics the best parts of Burnout, that being the smashing and crashing, without the pretence of racing. Each non-race has objectives and yes, they involve going as fast as possible, but the real reason we're here is to twist steel. Being smack bang in the middle of a furious fracas is not only the most fun aspect, but it's also the most prominent, as dropping too far behind the pack will see you teleported right back into the action and if you happen to be flying ahead solo it won't be long before others materialise around you.
There are minor differences in how each vehicle performs but the arcade handling means every bike or truck is as viable as any other. Whilst this trait may be seen as a negative in any traditional racer, ONRUSH is neither traditional nor a racer, and it serves to enhance the experience by ensuring a playing field that's as level as it can be.
Liam | Flying Tigers: Shadows Over China
Cast your mind back to the very beginning of the year and you probably won’t recall Flying Tigers: Shadows Over China sneaking its way onto Xbox One as a console exclusive. Arriving with little fanfare during a period when most people are feeling the financial brunt of the recent festivities, FTSOC didn’t really get the recognition it deserved.
Its delivery is a bit cheesy and the gameplay a touch too arcade-like for simulator fans, but I very much enjoyed playing through a theatre of WW2 that’s never really been explored in gaming.
Hopping into a Buffalo fighter to “sally” incoming bombers is oodles of fun, and, as I mentioned in our quickie, reminiscent of classics like Blazing Angels and Rogue Squadron. There’s even a cool Dogfight mode that lets you pit all manner of iconic fighters against one another in fantasy showdowns.
Flying games are a bit of a rarity these days, and I say kudos to Ace Maddox for playing their part in keeping the genre going with this engaging effort.
Rob | Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn
Folks, I’ve been a very bad boy this year. I’ve failed to sample so many intriguing and colossal games (Celeste, Dead Cells, Moonlighter, Spider-Man, RDR2) that I feel like a right fanny-pack. We’ve all been there: work, relationships, children, house moving, life, etc. getting in the way of what’s really important - vidya gamez!
Now, with this in mind, my underappreciated title of 2018 goes to the gaming equivalent of an oft-mocked reality reboot, or a nasty 80s soap being resurrected for one last foxtrot. What am I waffling on about? Well, Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn, of course.
The 90s original regularly features on worst-of lists, but the sheer dumb, button-bashing fun and moronic sense of humour present in this revival really helped to take my mind of some “real” stuff during the month of September.
It’s colourful, the soundtrack is great, the combat is simple and satisfying in that 90s side-scrolling brawler kinda way, and the story (Shaq is a Chinese orphan saving the world from demonic celebrities that have scary resemblances to Paris Hilton, Justin Bieber, et al) is little boy’s humour of the most glorious order. Did I mention there’s an add-on where you play as Barack Obama in The Adventures of Dirty Barry? Escapism here thy come!
Which games didn't get a fair shake this year in your opinion? Let us know in the comments below.