Games: Triumphant return of the mechs
Titanfall 2, (XO/PS4/PC), 5 Stars, Age: 16+
Attack of the Killer 50ft Robots could easily have constituted the elevator pitch for the original Titanfall, in which tooled-up mechs called titans go toe to toe while their hyper-athletic pilots do battle outside their mechanical cocoon.
The sequel merely tinkers with the basic blueprint but reassembles the robot wars in copious interesting ways, making it stand far apart from newly launched competitors in the Call of Duty and Battlefield franchises.
T2 even includes a creditable single-player campaign, short-lived but fizzing with ideas and serving as an intriguing appetiser for the multiplayer feast. In comparison to T1, the sequel brims with more titans, more weapons, more modes and more maps. Despite the additions, the game remains delicately balanced, with skilled teams of fast but vulnerable pilots at least a match for squads of lumbering but lethal mechs.
Tweaks to the gameplay and the broader range of titans with variable loadouts ensure a greater depth and longevity to T2. It stakes a genuine claim for shooter of the year, even in the current exalted company.
(PSVR/PS4/PC), 5 Stars, Age: 7+
Music rhythm games are generally a joyful affair but Thumper's deliciously twisted take on the genre splices music with horror for a game that's more anxiety attack than score attack.
You control what appears to be a beetle hurtling down a narrow, serpentine track, the neon-lit world warping and throbbing around you in time to a demonic, oppressive drum beat.
Created by two former developers at rhythm king Harmonix, Thumper subverts the genre with glee. In VR mode, it's electrifying but even without a headset, it's highly addictive.
Rhythm Heaven Megamix
(Nintendo 3DS), 5 Stars, Age: 3+
This gloriously silly greatest-hits package rounds up three games' worth of barmy music rhythm action. Resolutely simple controls are matched to a bumper collection of 100 levels (30 of which are new).
Throw in a reliably wacky cast of characters and you're looking at many happy hours of button-thumping entertainment.