Familiar games, new content – time to take a look at updates for Planet Zoo, Kao the Kangaroo, Out There: Oceans of Time and Scathe.
Planet Zoo – Twilight Pack DLC review (PC)
We’re very close to the three year anniversary of Planet Zoo, and Frontier is still supporting the game with fresh DLC. This last week, we’ve been playing the Twilight Pack, which is a surprisingly good fit with the Halloween season.
As you’re probably aware, most of the expansions for Planet Zoo have been based around continents, but recently they’ve shifted to more thematic approaches with the conservation pack and wetlands pack. The new twilight pack follows that pattern with five new species that flourish in the nighttime and 200 scenery items that can give a ghostly appearance to your environments or even entire zoo. There’s even a brand new career scenario included to make use of all the new content.
And although the raccoon, red fox, common wombat, striped skunk, and Egyptian fruit bat are good additions (our personal favorites this time are the raccoon and fruit bat), this is probably the first DLC pack for the game where we had more fun with the scenery than with the animals. From mist-filled entrances to jack-o-lanterns, it almost feels you can put theme park-like ‘scare zones’ into your zoo with this pack.
The new campaign is fun to play as well, and made us realize how much we missed the more story-driven approach to playing Planet Zoo. Here, you head to Transylvania to complete a number of objectives inside a specially-built zoo that looks as spooky as you’re expect and hope. It’s also a great source of inspiration for your own creations, as you can construct impressive buildings yourself – our best creation being an eerie castle that housed spiders, snakes and bats – for the latter we used the new walkthrough exhibit feature that lets people walk around with bats flying around them. If you enjoy building sceneries in Planet Zoo, then we’d say this is the most fun expansion thus far.
Kao The Kangaroo – Oh Well DLC review (PS4)
We were reintroduced to Kao the Kangaroo with a reboot of the franchise earlier this year, and while it wasn’t a bold step forward we enjoyed the retro appeal of the game in our review. Now, about half a year later, we’re getting a dose of DLC content with “Oh Well”, which adds 5 new Eternal Wells and 5 additional skins – all of which are geared towards the Halloween season.
After a few free post-launch content packs, Oh Well is the first paid DLC pack for Kao, but it sadly doesn’t feature any kind of new campaign content or even additional levels to teleport to. Instead, you get five additional Wells – which are essentially (timed) challenge scenarios, of which there were fifteen in the original game. It seems like an odd choice to base the DLC around these as they always felt like “extra” content to begin with, whereas the story-driven campaign felt more like the heart and soul of the game and the element we were most drawn too.
Post-campaign the Wells are fun little challenges that you can easily get drawn back to in order to see if you can beat your best time, but once you did as well as you could there was little reason to return to them. Oh Well doesn’t change that, although the five new challenge levels have been designed well to offer up a handful of quite distinct challenges, each one largely based around a singular mechanic – rotating platforms, for example.
After a few retries (for which you have to go back to the hub first instead of just pressing ‘retry’), you’ll probably be content with your performance and move on. As a result, Oh Well offers about an hour of new gameplay, which is definitely on the short end for the asking price – for which you can also pick up a full indie game. We had fun with it, but unless you can pick it up at half price there’s a better reason to go back to Kao the Kangaroo, and that’s to play the campaign again, as this is still one of this year’s best classic platformers.
Out There: Oceans of Time receives its Redshift Update
The PC-exclusive sequel Out There: Oceans of Time recently received a major update to the game that was dubbed the “Redshift Update”. If, like us, you enjoyed the original Out There, then this could be a great time to jump in. So far, we’ve enjoyed how similar it is to the award-winning predecessor, with the biggest new feature being the away missions where you travel to planets with a small team. More of an incremental update than a radical new direction, but if you liked the original that shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Full patch notes for Redshift can be found below:
- New Oxygen management system on Rocky Planets Expeditions
- New class skills
- New Consumable Items
- New maps for all expedition types
- New way to explore maps (Tunnels, Ancient Portals, and Unstable Structures)
- Overall difficulty balancing
- New UI to follow your exploration
- New save system with multiple endings
- Text Adventures balancing
- Spaceships balancing
Scathe gets a major ‘Guiding Light’ update
Scathe launched on Steam this summer, and although we can’t wait for the console release we decided to check out the current PC build when it received its recent Guiding Light update – which streamlines part of the experience with quality of life features in addition to fixing a few technical issues.
With Scathe’s emphasis on bullet hell gameplay and legions of the undead, it’s not much of a stretch to see the inspiration that Doom was for the game. But where a lot of ‘retro’ shooters mimic the look of the first two Doom games, Scathe feels like a classic FPS game with a more modern aesthetic, which makes for a welcome change in the retro shooter genre.
As for the update, it’s worth pointing out that Scathe isn’t organized like the most recent Doom games that have a story-driven campaign with rich environments to progress through, but is divided into zones that can also be seen as challenges. From that perspective, the option to fast travel between them is great, letting you revisit zones to clean up missing collectibles. Doing so is also easier now because of the updated map systems that helps point you in the right direction, as does the new objectives system that lets you know what you still have left to do. We’re liking what we’re seeing, and look forward to spending a lot more hours with Scathe once the console version hits.