Continuing our regular feature with quick-fire reviews and impressions of what I’ve been playing this week, old and new and a bit of both…

Legendary lost arcade game Clockwork Aquario finally emerged after 27 years this week, and while it’s not the best platformer you’ll ever play, it’s a decent one and is a proper looker on Switch with a great soundtrack. It’s a bit Wonder Boy (no surprise because it’s also from developer Westone) and a bit Mega Man and a bit Sonic, and like all of those it controls well, it’s addictive and the challenge is just about right while it lasts (which isn’t very long). Full review here!

Kind of between games after that, and went on a bit of a journey through new stuff on Xbox Game Pass and Games With Gold, so in the order they installed… Orcs Must Die is an old 360 action tower defence thing and is a lot of fun until it gets a bit monotonous. Will be coming back here! Archvale is a twin-stick bullet-hell dungeon crawler that reminded me of the combat bits in Moonlighter, but without the compelling looting and selling mechanic. It’s polished and it’s alright but it’s not really for me. Townscaper is just about plonking down building blocks on top of each other so they turn into buildings. By its own admission it’s not a game, and I concur.

The Escapists 2 provides pixel art prison breakout, a bit like an updated Skool Daze on ZX Spectrum, but I always thought that was overrated and this is more of the same, with you following the rules while sneakily plotting your escape. Just not my cup of tea. Night Call was on a Free Play Days weekend, and is a narrative noire murder-mystery that can stay a mystery – I played taxi driver to obnoxious people on Apple Arcade a couple of years ago and I’m not ready for more yet! And I’ve no idea what Kingdom Two Crowns was all about, but it’s for some nice pixel art! That’s the lot, and while it mostly wasn’t for me this time, never any complaints about finding that out.

Also played a load of arcade 1943, but try as I might don’t think I’ll ever get beyond stage two and will probably revert back to its predecessor (and my all-time favourite vertical shooter) 1942 again in future! I’m less likely to be sticking with Supertrux, Elite’s 1988 ZX Spectrum truck racer that moves beautifully, but the timer stinks and the collision detection makes it stink even worse! I’ll persevere a bit more though because we’ll be coming back to all of that truck racing here early next year! Which is a good place for a quick preview of what’s coming up next week, when we’ll be discovering Road Runner on NES, but until then, that’s all folks!