Spider-Man review: King of the swingers
(PS4) **** Age: 16+
The king of the swingers leaves behind some awkward questions. To what do Spider-Man’s webs magically attach to up high beyond the buildings so that he may swing through Manhattan like a modern-day Tarzan? Who cleans up all the webbing he slings at crooks? Is it biodegradeable?
This new Spidey adventure turns roving through the skyscraper canyons of New York into a joy, one button effortlessly flinging Marvel’s hero from point to point (though the physics are a little iffy, even for the superhero genre). And there’s a multitude of activities here, the map pimpled Ubisoft-style with icons indicating puzzles, crimes in progress, collectables and missions.
It even spins a good yarn featuring Dr Octopus (plus other villains) and Peter Parker with love interest MJ. Truly, it’s highly entertaining and never less than fun with a combat system that transcends its inspiration in Batman: Arkham Asylum.
But. And it’s not a big but. But there’s a wearying sense of familiarity that stems from playing the same types of missions over and over. Spider-Man nails most of its targets in a gleeful concoction of superhero wish fulfilment, yet its lack of depth and true variety means its best moments fail to stick.
(PS4/XO/iOS/PC) *** Age: 7+
A seemingly deep game with hidden shallows, Donut County builds a short two-hour experience around one clever idea. Give the player a moveable hole that grows bigger as it swallows objects. This playful conceit is the opposite of euphoric collect-em-up Katamari Damacy, itself a commentary on consumerism. It’s woven into the whimsical story of a malicious raccoon determined to ruin his home town by sending the hole to locals who order doughnuts delivered (yeah, don’t ask).
At first, it appears devilishly smart and funny as you work out how to devour ever-bigger things (first rocks, then chickens, then cars, then houses, etc). DC gets mischievous with a few puzzles involving fireworks and switches but wastefully doesn’t evolve much beyond its basic concept. Not even the fitfully amusing cut-scenes featuring bemused residents trapped underground can fill the gap at the centre of Donut County.