Category Archives: Reviews

Inside review

My anticipation for Inside could hardly have been greater. I’m a huge fan of Playdead’s first outing, Limbo, and after reading a slew of gushing reviews of its latest game it was all I could do to wait the extra week for it to be released for PC.

Boy was it not worth the wait.

Trailers for Inside had hinted at a slightly different style of game to Limbo’s 2D, side-scrolling puzzling action. One that was more three dimensional (figuratively and literally), told more of a direct story and that included an intriguing dystopian society setting, potentially providing an extra level of depth and engagement over the bleak fantastical world of Limbo.

However, the reality is that it’s very much the same game with a slightly tweaked visual style, a few new additions to the formula and an even more unsatisfying, abrupt ending.

Indeed it’s the length of this game that is a crucial failing. At around three hours long it feels distinctly lightweight. While other highly praised indie games such as Journey and indeed Limbo are equally short, the six year development period for this game, and the fact it’s built on the back of the success of Limbo, leaves you expecting more.

Then there’s the fact it starts in exactly the same way, with a seemingly lost boy in a woods, escaping some unknown evil. On one level it’s a fun nod back to Limbo but on another it feels like retreading the same path.

Not that this game is a complete disaster, by any means.

The setting looks stunning and has a wonderful weight and depth to it. There are also some amazing set pieces, and in fact it is the opening sections of the game that feel like they have the most atmosphere as you escape your pursuers through woods and farmland. It’s as you get into the mysterious cityscape sections shown so prominently in the trailers that the game starts to feel a bit generic.

The flow of the game and puzzle design also means you’re constantly kept guessing and on edge but seldom frustrated. Like with something like Half Life 2, there’s a real sense of the game having been honed to perfection.

There are also some clever new puzzle ideas and fun, tense moments such as when you’re having to imitate being one of the brainless mass of bodies that otherwise seem to occupy this world.

Unfortunately, it’s just that there aren’t enough of those truly great moments and the rest of the game just feels a bit weak. The puzzles tend to be on the easy side, with just a couple of occasions early on where it takes a bit of head scratching to figure out the game’s tricks.

Several of the puzzles are overly drawn out too, requiring protracted fetch and carry missions over fairly large maps. Although it has been a while since I’ve played Limbo, from what I recall I don’t remember the puzzles ever being so large and tedious.

In the end, though, the key failing of this game comes down to Playdead’s attempt to make it enigmatic. To make a rich, engaging environment that hints at all sorts of weird goings on that you want to learn more about, but to then completely hold back on explaining anything.

While I can take an ambiguous ending, Inside has gone too far. It’s stepped into the realm of the TV show Lost. Meandering around, hinting at this and that, and then finishing on a thoroughly unsatisfying zinger.

It’s worth playing, simply because it’s only three hours long and is quite the odd experience, but I’d wait for it to drop to a fiver and lower your expectations of greatness.

Download Inside from Steam

Dell XPS 13 (2015) Review


My latest post for TechyTalk:

It has taken long enough but finally one of Apple’s competitors has built a machine that can wrestle the “best ultrabook” crown from the MacBook Air. The 2015 version of the Dell XPS 13 is smaller, lighter and has a vastly superior screen than the Air and it even undercuts it on price – the most crucial factor that every competitor has so far got wrong.

Read my full Dell XPS 13 (2015) review on TechyTalk

Toshiba Kira (2015) review


My latest review for TrustedReviews:

The Toshiba Kirabook (Kira in the UK) has been the company’s premium 13in ultrabook line for a number of years now and its latest incarnation brings with it an optional 2,560 x 1,440 touchscreen, the latest Intel Broadwell processors and nearly 10 hours battery life.

All wrapped up in a slim and light magnesium alloy chassis, on paper it’s certainly got what it takes to beat the likes of the MacBook Air 13in, Dell XPS 13 (2015) and Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2015). The question is whether it lives up to that expectation.

Read my full Toshiba Kira (2015) review at TrustedReviews

Asus ZenWatch Review


My latest post for TechyTalk:

“The Asus ZenWatch is a smart watch running Google’s Android Wear operating system. It sports a 320 x 320 pixel AMOLED screen and has a battery that lasts about a day and a half.

It’s one of the better looking Android Wear watches with a well thought out design that doesn’t worry too much about looking like a conventional watch but embraces the features it has.”

Read my full Asus ZenWatch Review at Techytalk.

Corsair Gaming K70 RGB Review


My latest post for TrustedReviews:

“Both mechanical-switch keyboards and multi-colour backlit keyboards have been around for a while. However, what we haven’t ever had before is a keyboard that combines the two, marrying the high-end typing ability of mechanical switches with the pizzazz of 16.7 million different colours of backlighting. That makes the Corsair Gaming K70 RGB a first. It also makes it one of the snazziest keyboards you can buy.”

Read the full review at TrustedReviews

Corsair Gaming K70 RGB Video Review

Logitech G402 Hyperion Fury Gaming Mouse Review



My latest post for TrustedReviews:

“Logitech has a long and enviable history in the gaming mouse market and its latest model looks set to continue that line. While it may not include every possible feature, it packs in a high-speed, high-sensitivity laser sensor, a 32-bit ARM processor and oodles of programmable buttons, so it’s got all the performance you should need.”
Read the full review at TrustedReviews

Corsair K70 Review


The Corsair K70 is one of the most desirable gaming keyboard’s currently available thanks to its stylish brushed aluminium construction. It’s also fully-equipped with mechanical switches for speedy typing and greater longevity, and it’s fully backlit too.

Although it’s branded as a gaming keyboard and does come with replaceable contoured WASD keys there are no extra gaming keys here, though you do get a selection of multimedia keys.

Read the full review at TrustedReviews

Unique Melody 3X Review


The 3X are, along with the 2X, the first universal-fit in-ear monitors (IEMs) made by Unique Melody, a brand that previously dealt exclusively in custom-moulded IEMs.

More than just a first for the company, though, they’re also a pretty rare sight in general for IEMs as they combine both the balanced armature drivers used by most IEMs with a dynamic driver. This should in theory give the ‘phones both accuracy at the top end but plenty of oomph down low too.

Read the full review at TrustedReviews

Samson Meteorite Review


Portable USB microphones are a dime a dozen these days but one of the finest we’ve ever encountered is the Meteor Mic by Samson. Now the company has released a new, even smaller addition to its lineup, and it’s called it the Meteorite.

Coming in at just £35 it offers ‘CD’ quality sampling and a 20-20,000Hz frequency range and weighs just 124g. What’s more it’ll work with your iPad too.

Read the full review at TrustedReviews

Logitech G710+ Review


The G710+ is Logitech’s current flagship gaming keyboard, so plays host to a multitude of programmable keys and multimedia controls as well as so called ‘mechanical’ keyswitches for longer life and a better key action. Coming in at around £140 it may seem outrageously expensive just for a keyboard, but then it really does deliver.

Read the full review at TrustedReviews