Review roundup

Review Roundup: Wattam, Frog Detective, Hades & More!

Start off the New Year with new games.

As we look forward into the New Year, it’s important to also look back – in this case, at some of the games released over this month. If you’re already bored of the games you got for Christmas or – shock horror – if you didn’t even get any, perhaps you should check out one of the games in our review roundup. From all of us at TIGW, have a great New Year!


I’m a giant mouth with arms and legs called Ian. I’m running towards an apple, except he used to be a mayor. An opera singer warbles vigorously in the background. I swallow the apple, take a few bites and eject him out the other side as a smiley green poop. At once, a giant toilet warps down out of the sky, carrying a smaller toilet with which to flush him down with. 

What the hell am I playing?

The answer is Wattam, the latest crazy adventure from Katamari Damacy creator, Keita Takahashi. But while Wattam is similarly jovial and offbeat with a love for (typically) inanimate objects, it unfortunately isn’t a patch on the much-loved roll-’em-up. 

You initially play as a cuboid mayor with a hat that unleashes a fun bomb (don’t ask), but can swap at will to control all sorts of objects that spawn in Wattam’s world, from forks to eyeballs and trees. You have simple puzzles to complete that require combining the objects in different ways, while a heartfelt story uncovers itself about how the world used to be before disaster struck. 

Wattam’s main problem is that it’s simple to a fault. It’s essentially a sandbox that doesn’t give you enough worthwhile stuff to do within it. Ultimately, playing Wattam is like watching a baby’s TV show as an adult: its colourful visuals and fun music may initially captivate and its heart is in the right place, but there just isn’t enough substance to hold your attention for long.  

[Reviewed on PC]


Hades (Steam Early Access)

With Bastion, Transistor and Pyre under their belts, Supergiant Games is a developer for which each new release should make you sit up and take notice. Hades is no exception. But they’ve taken a different tack this time around, favouring the slower, community-oriented road of Early Access. After a year spent as one of the Epic Games Store’s first exclusives, Hades now comes to Steam – and while it’s still not finished, it’s a no-brainer of a purchase.

You don’t play as the titular Hades but rather his son, Zagreus. After having enough of spending eternity with dear ol’ Dad in his dingy Underworld, you resolve to break out. But this is easier said than done, even for the immortal son of a god.

Hades is a rogue-like dungeon crawler that plays out across one procedurally generated room of the realm at a time. Enemies spawn in waves, and you’ve got to use all the weaponry and spells at your disposal to put them down and survive. The further you progress through the labyrinthine Underworld the tougher your foes become, but stat upgrades and abilities gifted by Olympian gods help even the odds.

Despite being a rogue-like, Hades features permanent upgrades which have a significant impact on your subsequent runs. This need to grind to put yourself in the best stead is no issue at all, however, with you gradually uncovering more backstory as you keep respawning back at the family ‘home’. Playing Hades is a joy, with razor-sharp combat combining with personality, run variety and a comic book aesthetic that makes the depths of hell more beautiful than they have any right to be.

[Reviewed on PC]

Avicii Invector

Invector is something of an oddity, combining a now slightly archaic rhythm game style with a tribute to the late Swedish DJ and songwriter. If you’re a fan of the two constituent elements, it’s an easy recommendation. But it’d be doing Invector a disservice to pigeonhole it as only worthwhile in this niche scenario, as it’s a surprisingly solid music game in its own right. 

Invector most strongly resembles Harmonix PS2 classics Frequency and Amplitude, with you piloting a spaceship across a track, lining yourself up with incoming notes and tapping the respective buttons in time to the music. Adding variety is the four-sided track which requires you to rotate 360 degrees through it, and short free-flying sections through rings in the sky. 

It’s an engaging setup which takes rhythm games beyond the most rudimentary four-button tapper, also demanding that you hold shoulder buttons through certain sections and featuring a boost mechanic once you build up enough of a meter. Between levels, short animated cutscenes tell the story of your spaceship pilot and her adventure through the skies.

There are a few quirks in Invector’s design, most notably that it forces you to play through the game on normal difficulty before it’ll let you attempt songs on hard – annoying if you’re a rhythm game veteran. I also struggled to set up the latency properly, with the in-built calibration tool setting it way off and requiring that I tweak it through trial and error. But this is otherwise an enjoyable rhythm game that gave me a new appreciation for Avicii’s music. 

[Reviewed on PS4]


Planet Zoo: Arctic Pack DLC

Planet Zoo may have had some teething issues since launch including technical issues and a somewhat broken economy, but it’s an undeniably ambitious and detailed zoo sim with which to appreciate Mother Nature’s creatures. Players were clamouring for more animals to look after and breed within it, and that’s just what the Arctic Pack has delivered, in perfect timing for the holidays. 

Don’t get too excited, however, as the Arctic Pack expands Planet Zoo’s roster of beasts by just four. Reindeer, Dall sheep (the nice, curved horn ones), polar bears and arctic wolves join the pack. They’re all rendered and animated in lifelike detail just like the rest of Planet Zoo’s critters, but I can’t help but think that other thematically appropriate animals could have been included too, like walruses or penguins. 

The extra animals aren’t all that’s on offer, as a couple of hundred arctic scenery pieces have been thrown in, as well as a couple of new scenarios. While the first is the sort of challenge you’d expect from the theme – taking charge of a Norweigian zoo – the second takes place in sunny Mexico, asking that you look after your new arctic friends in this atypically hot setting.

Arctic Zoo isn’t the best value proposition for Planet Zoo fans, but it’s at least a good quality one. And if you’re keen to expand your menagerie, it’s your first and only opportunity. 

[Reviewed on PC]


Frog Detective 2: The Case of the Invisible Wizard

Games don’t get much more light-hearted and wholesome than Frog Detective. The first, The Haunted Island, won hearts with its goofy characters and even goofier dialogue. And its sequel thankfully sticks to the same formula to reasonable success.

This time around, our loveable second-best amphibian detective (beaten only by Lobster Cop) investigates the trashing of a welcome parade for a magical village’s new resident – the titular invisible wizard. He’ll have to interview and do favours for the wacky menagerie of citizens in order to solve the crime, this time aided by a notebook you can personalise with adorable stickers.

This is an adventure that’ll likely charm your pants off with its low-fi aesthetic. There are genuine laughs to be had here too, thanks to the slapstick dialogue. My only criticism is that the very light ‘puzzles’ are completed in a chain reaction, in that once you’ve done one it solves the next, and so on. I’d have enjoyed just a little more brainteasing, even if the detective work isn’t supposed to be the star of the show.

Frog Detective 2 is another bitesize tale, but it’ll only set you back a few quid. It even goes as far as advertising the fact it’s only an hour long with an animated gif on its Steam page. 

[Reviewed on PC]