ReCore review: One girl and her robots

Meet Seth, Mack and Duncan.

They’re Corebots and the co-stars of the Xbox One/PC game ReCore, a game from Japanese game developer Keiji Inafune, the man behind the Mega Man series, and a development team that have worked on a variety of games, including Metroid Prime.

Seth, a spider-bot, is good at climbing, Mack, a dog,  is good at headbutting other Corebots and Duncan, a gorilla, is good at smashing pretty much anything you ask him to.

This is Joule, she’s the main human character in ReCore.

Hero Shot of Joule

Hero Shot of Joule


Joule has been sent to the planet Far Eden to help set up terraforming operations before humans start colonising the planet. Unfortunately, things seems to have gone pear-shaped and Joule wakes from her cryosleep decades later than she should have and finds the robots designed to help make the planet habitable have turned rogue and Joule has to sort things out.

As she explores Far Eden, Joule must search for things called prismatic cores, glass prisms of light that unlock doors to help her progress through the game world. ReCore is very much an action RPG game, in that Joule has to search dungeons and complete challenges to get enough prismatic cores to progress.

Platforming is the heart of the game, drawing inspiration from Inafune and his Mega Man heritage no doubt, with plenty of double jumping and boosting to grab out-of-reach platforms. Combat, too, is a prime focus of the game, with Joule and her robotic pals having to fight plenty of corrupt robots as they scour the planet.

Joule using Seth to traverse an area

Joule using Seth to traverse an area

Seth, Mack and Duncan can be upgraded and modified to make them more powerful and stronger and Joule herself is a handy scrapper, too, able to zip and jump around thanks to a jet pack and an energy weapon that fires four different coloured charges: Red, blue, white and yellow. Shoot an enemy with the corresponding coloured energy and you’ll do more damage and defeat it quicker.

Destroyed, enemies explode in a satisfying shower of collectible parts but Joule is also able to rip out a vulnerable enemy’s core using a grappling hook. What ensues is a satisfying tug of war between Joule and the defiant Corebot as both battle to hold onto the core.

recore_enviro4ReCore is a fun game with a genuinely interesting dynamic between Joule and her bots but it’s hampered by some incredibly long long load times on the Xbox One and some frustrating platforming sections which will almost have you throwing your controller across the room. At least, I found some of the sequences frustrating.  There’s also a fair bit of backtracking and grind to search for more prismatic cores when you  realise you don’t have enough to progress.

ReCore is also one of the first games in Xbox’s Play Anywhere scheme where if you buy a digital copy on PC or Xbox One, you get another copy for free on the other platform, and it works. To be honest, I played it on PC as it proved more stable than the Xbox One version with improved graphics (there is still some glitching, especially when you quit the game) and much faster load times. I was also impressed that I was able to have the graphics cranked up quite high despite having a few-years-old nVidia Geforce GTX660Ti (I’m sure locking the frame rate to 30 seconds also helped a lot).

Another thing in ReCore’s favour is the price: It’s only around $NZ60, which for a new game is a great price.

I enjoyed ReCore but wonder whether it might have been rushed out of that gate a little early. A bit more spit and polish and it would have been a great game, rather than just a good game. I’m intrigued to see where the franchise goes from here.


Esper developer announces release date for platformer Shu

British game development studio Coatsink, probably most well-known for its VR game Esper and Esper 2, have announced the release date of its next game – and it has nothing to do with Virtual Reality or mind-control.

Shu, described by the team at Coatsink as a “hand-drawn and carefully crafted platformer”, will release on the PlayStation 4 and on Steam on October 4. It will also be available on Sony’s PS Vita later this year.

Here’s what the developer says about the 2.5D side scrolling adventure game: “Control Shu and a colourful trail of hand-drawn characters as they run, jump and glide their way up an ancient mountain, forever pursued by a monstrous and unrelenting storm. Can you outrun the end of the world?”

I’m guessing that monstrous, evil-looking purple thing chasing Shu and friends is the unrelenting storm. It doesn’t look very happy, does it?

Here are some screen shots to give you an idea on what it looks like. No word on regional pricing yet from Coatsink.

This storm is very hungry

This storm is very hungry

Here the storm is smiling.

Here the storm is smiling.

Shu and friends are about to take a leap of faith.

Shu and friends are about to take a leap of faith.

Unravel review: The journey of a character made from wool

unravel1280jpg-b7ace3_1280wMeet Yarny.

He’s the lead character in Unravel (EA, multi-platform), a side-scrolling, 2.5D platforming game.

He’s made of wool – or yarn – and must use his yarn to help him solve puzzles, traverse the game world and avoid dangers.He’s small, too, so the game world looks massive around him.

To help him traverse the game world, Yarny can make bridges using his yarn – but as he moves around the yarn unravels, meaning if he travels too far he runs out of yarn that can only be replenished by balls of red yarn dotted about the game world. It’s a nice mechanic that makes you think about the right path to take to reach an objective or solve a puzzle.

Another nice touch is that if you find that you’ve travelled the wrong way or to the wrong point, Yarny can pull on the yarn and get back to a previous point.



Yarny is definitely the star here and he has a cuteness about him that is hard to ignore. Unravel is also a game that attempts to tuck at your heartstrings but falls a little short of the mark as I didn’t emotionally connect with the old woman who appeared at the beginning of the game. As Yarny progresses through the game, the old woman’s memories are revealed through a photo album sitting on a table.

The puzzles aren’t particularly taxing in Unravel – many of them are physics-based or basic logic – so there won’t be any controller throwing or tantrums while you play and Yarny is a cute character that will bring a smile (it seems, though, EA have abandoned the Unravel trademark so there might be a question mark over any potential sequel).

unravelI know the developers tried to create an emotional story about love and memories but I just didn’t form an emotional attachment to the old woman at all or her memories (maybe I’m heartless but unlocking more memories wasn’t a driving factor for playing this).

That said, Yarny is a cute character that can’t but help make you smile and Unravel is a nice diversion that might not always obey the laws of physics but it’s a game that is perfect for when you want something cutesy and won’t tax you too much.