Port roundup: Tinhead, The Samurai Collection & Gas Station Simulator

In this roundup, we’re going back about thirty years as we check out new ports of Tinhead and First/Second Samurai, as well as exploring the simulator scene with a console port of Gas Station Simulator.

Tinhead By PIKO review (PS4)

With Tinhead, QUByte is continuing their line of QUByte Classics, under which they’ve already brought back a handful of oft-forgotten classics from the past. Tinhead, a former Genesis/Mega Drive exclusive, is their next release, and actually comes bundled with the previously unreleased SNES version of the same game included – a nice little collector’s item.

We actually hadn’t played the Genesis version until now either, and Tinhead turns out to be a bit of a hidden gem. Of course the early 90s were full of 2D mascot platformers and many of them were extremely generic and forgettable, but Tinhead is a game that ticks a lot of the right boxes and is well worth playing. There’s even a story here, though it’s more of an excuse as to why you’re collecting a star in every level before you head to the exit – a bad guy has stolen them and you have to get them back!


But let’s face it, no one was playing platformers for their storyline thirty years ago, and Tinhead’s gameplay is solid. You’ve got your usual jump and attack buttons, with a third button giving you the option to change your aim – a funny reminder that we didn’t always have dual thumbsticks. You can upgrade your fire rate, pick up collectibles and there are hidden extras to find – lots of stuff to make this one fun and worth playing again to see what you missed.

Levels are divided into four worlds, and each one is guarded by a boss fight. And while Tinhead doesn’t offer anything we haven’t seen before, it certainly does more than many of the generic platformers released at the time. If you enjoy a good 16-bit console platformer, this might be one you haven’t played before and will want to pick up at its budget price point.

The Samurai Collection review (PS4)

The Samurai Collection is actually our second QUByte release in this roundup, and features First Samurai and Second Samurai – two games that got their start in the home computer era. They’re not available on all major console systems, so we took a look at them on a PlayStation 4.

I had actually played First Samurai myself ages ago, on an Atari ST, but had never played the sequel, which only came out for the Amiga and on consoles after being ported over. It’s those console versions that you get in this collection, with the SNES version of First Samurai and the Genesis release of Second Samurai. It seems like a rather random choice, and it’s a shame that (for completionist’s sake) you don’t get the original home computer versions here – which clearly feel like their most logical place in gaming history.


The reason these feel like home computer games is that they don’t fit the typical console platformer mold – these games have larger levels that encourage exploration and verticality, rather than just a horizontal run to the exit. They’re also slightly slower paced, as home computer platformers often were – especially those with impressive visuals, which was something these games were lauded for back in the day. It’s something that works well in tandem with the input lag that seems to plague some of the emulated titles too, which isn’t too big of an issue here. If you’re interested in playing two well-regarded home computer classics, this is a collection that gives you two good examples for a super low price.

Gas Station Simulator review (PS4)

In recent years, there’s been no shortage of “simulator” games. Steam in particular is overflowing with them, and there are some pretty obscure and random ones out there, but it’s rare see them on consoles. Gas Station Simulator by DRAGO Entertainment is an exception though, and was recently ported over to consoles after a 2021 PC release. We checked it out on a PlayStation 4.

As with many simulators of this type, the premise is rather simple, but doing the actual work involves more than you’d think. In this case, you end up buying an abandoned gas station along a remote stretch of road and need to get it up and running, eventually turning it into a successful business. And while that starts off with cleaning the place up and buying some gas that you can sell to customers, things quickly expand from there.

gas station

Playing out in first person, you get to fuel up cars, but later on you’ll add the option to perform minor repairs as well. In addition, there’s the opportunity to make some extra money by selling food and items in your little store, which means you need to manage your inventory and maybe even hire employees – all of which requires money and taking out a loan involves the stress of having to pay it back to the shady uncle that lent it to you….

Luckily, a decent tutorial helps prevent things from getting too overwhelming, though (like most sim games) the experience doesn’t feel optimized for gamepad controls. It’s fun to play a little RC racing minigame, but the day-to-day of running a gas station is less of a natural fit. The fact that this isn’t a die-hard and super in-depth sim makes it a good fit for consoles though, so if you’re looking to get into the “simulator” scene this is a decent starting point.

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