The same goodness… but super-gorgeous: PETER HOSKIN reviews Ratchet & Clank – Rift Apart and Game Builder Garage
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (PlayStation 5, £69.99)
Verdict: Beautiful mayhem
I’d always thought of lombaxes as weird creatures. They’re misproportioned cat-weasel things from the planet Fastoon. They go around bashing the scenery with wrenches.
But in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, in which you play as the lombax Ratchet alongside his diminutive robot friend Clank, they’re just stunning. Their fur is luscious, their eyes are expressive and even their wrenches shine like never before.
Rift Apart, the 17th release in a series stretching back to 2002, is one of the most beautiful games ever made. Imagine a Pixar cartoon; all that animation, colour and detail. Then imagine playing that cartoon. It’s an astonishing demonstration of what the PlayStation 5 can achieve.
And the gameplay isn’t shoddy, either. You’ll bounce around a series of planets – from neon dystopias to verdant wetlands – and either thwack or shoot any space-baddies who get in your way. It’s challenging enough to be, well, a challenge, but straightforward enough to be all-ages fun.
But as polished as that gameplay is, it’s also quite familiar from previous Ratchet games. Rift Apart gestures as though it’s going to change the formula, particularly with the inclusion of a new playable character, the female lombax Rivet. Yet it never really gets beyond the gesturing.
Still, it’s not a bad place for a long-running series to be: the same goodness, only super-gorgeous this time.
Game Builder Garage (Switch, £26.99)
Verdict: A-OK DIY
Making a game can be a trying experience. Years of hard programming, constant revisions, and marketing meetings.
Except when it’s not. There’s now a sub-genre where games design is, in itself, play – from PlayStation’s Dreams to Nintendo’s Super Mario Maker. And now they’re joined by another Nintendo effort, Game Builder Garage.
This is the closest to actual coding, though it’s all done under cover of cutesy characters called Nodon. Link them up, and make everything from Mario-style platformers to crossword-style puzzles.
My own creations are, of course, all masterpieces.