Continuing our new, regular feature with quick-fire impressions of what I’ve been playing this week, new and retro…

Just moments after finishing Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance on Switch, a quick look at Aria of Sorrow turned into a very late night, and I played through the rest over the next couple of evenings! While I enjoyed every second (apart from a couple of unexpectedly nasty bosses), I was left wanting a bit more, both in terms of game length (at around five hours) and what it was bringing to the party – bit by numbers. Still looks great mind, with some of the most sumptuous graphics you’ll see on the system, and the soundtrack is all killer!

Overall, the Castlevania: Advance Collection has been a blast! I’d owned all three Game Boy Advance games, but only ever finished the first, and had never played the SNES take on Rondo of Blood, but now they’re all done I’ve not really got a bad word to say about any of them! I reckon Harmony of Dissonance just about comes out on top though, thanks to its well-paced and intuitive exploration, and because it reminded me so much of series favourite Symphony of the Night! And what it lacks slightly in the soundtrack department is more than made up for by the collection’s built-in music player! And what a collection to keep on my Switch!

Wasn’t sure what next, but saw Five Nights at Freddy’s is leaving Xbox Game Pass and managed two nights before I was bored. Nowhere near as bored as I was with Visage, a new Game Pass first-person horror – I spent an hour in a house collecting a few keys, opening some doors and changing a lightbulb, which was horror enough for me! Into the Pit is also new on there, but while the psychedelic rogue-lite FPS hellscape is really cool, there’s way too much not knowing what’s going on then messing around once you do, so another too-quick deletion. I recently picked up Dead to Rights on PlayStation 2 and settled on that instead – a pretty mindless third-person action-noir thriller with a bit of rhythm-action so you can pick locks, diffuse bombs or be a stripper too! Far more PS2 than it is PC, just like me!

As much as I enjoyed Apple Arcade when it first arrived, I eventually ran out of games, but a couple of years on I jumped back in thanks to a three month free trial with my new phone. And I always knew I’d be back, so I had a list of stuff I needed to play! I wasn’t expecting to be playing Monument Valley 2 again though, but the new Lost Forest Expansion just appeared as part of Playing for the Planet’s Green Game Jam. And it’s a quick reminder of how beautiful this game is! If you don’t have it, or access to the service, you can still sign the world’s forests protection petition here if you fancy, but it’s also available standalone everywhere for almost nothing, and it’s still the best example of mobile gaming you’ll come across! Speaking of which, Tiny Wings+ on there was a nice excuse to play it again, although the original hasn’t left my phone since it came out in 2011! It’s simple, with a single finger keeping your un-flying bird in the air with a bit of help from using hills as speed ramps, and it’s pastel patchwork art style is absolutely stunning. I can’t tell what the + offers, but it’s still so much fun to play regardless, and another of the best of mobile gaming!

Back to proper games, I finally beat Kung-Fu Master on Game Boy – bought for the original system then just sat there because it wasn’t proper Kung-Fu Master! Turned out to be alright all the same. Demon’s Tilt is more than alright – not just an occult pinball masterpiece, but one of my top fifteen games of all time, and I’ve been all over that again on Switch this week, followed (all weekend!) by it’s spiritual predecessor Devil’s Crush on PC-Engine. Now there’s a timeless pinball game!

Hopefully next week we’ll be reviewing the new Nintendo Switch releases of wonderful old shooters Panorama Cotton and Cotton 100% (depending on when I get them), and possibly also discovering The New Zealand Story on Atari ST, PC-Engine and it’s arcade original. Kind of depends on the new Cottons – worst case some of the above will be this week and we’ll save some for the one after! Whatever happens, I wish you a good one!