Games: Mario marriage made in heaven
Super Mario Run, (iOS), 5 Stars, Age: 3+
Hell froze over. Or common sense prevailed. Whichever, the iconic plumber now runs (and jumps and chuckles, etc) on a device Nintendo vowed never to touch.
But ignoring the smartphone meant ignoring the biggest gaming platform in the world - and Nintendo can't afford to do that any more.
The given reason up to now was that phones didn't have the responsive controls of Nintendo's hardware such as the 3DS. So Shigeru Miyamoto and co reinvented Super Mario as an auto-runner in which you play using just one finger to control his jumping. You ask him to jump and all he wants to know is: how high?
Call it simplifying but not dumbing down. Of course Super Mario Run lacks the intricate multi-button trickery of the main games, but it's far from one-dimensional. Mario automatically scoots across the screen and even hops unaided over enemies. But subtle control emanates from how long you press to jump, and a handful of new bricks (pause, extra time, etc) introduce new tactics.
In typical Mario tradition, the 24 levels come stuffed with secrets and depth, encouraging replay. Then there's the Toad Rally mode, which remixes the layouts, and demands stylish play.
Super Mario Run is joyful, expertly made to Nintendo's superlative standards and, yes, it's expensive for a smartphone game at €10. But quality has its price and Mario's marriage to smartphones is a match made in heaven.
(PSVR) 3 Stars, Age: 12+
For all you gun (and knife) fetishists out there, Lethal VR dispenses with virtual reality's fascination for "presence" and "experience" in favour of an old-fashion shooting gallery. It hands you a procession of deadly implements with which to blast a parade of training dummies in a series of virtual rooms.
Unfortunately, the choice of weapon (handgun, shotgun, ninja throwing stars, whatever) is out of your control. Even more unfortunately, the tracking of the controllers varies from satisfyingly accurate to teeth-grindingly ropey, particularly with the knife-throwing.
Lethal VR could well be patched to alleviate some of its shortcomings but for now, it's just a short-lived curio.