Jake Bugg – Hearts That Strain
Jake Bugg made a name for himself with a sound that was well beyond his years; but the Nottingham musician’s last record, one unshackled by co-writers, was a bizarre and confused mix of self-indulgence and weird hip-hop sections.
Back with his fourth studio album, Hearts That Strain, Bugg has returned to writing with others, enlisting the likes of Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys on How Soon Till The Dawn, and Noah Cyrus, the younger sister of Miley Cyrus, on Waiting.
Though an improvement from On My One, Bugg’s return is a rather damp one, and while there are some songs that shine on Hearts That Strain, the majority of Jake Bugg’s country-folk outing is still a bit confused.
Hearts That Strain is out now on CD and digital download.
Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 (12)
Returning to save the galaxy whilst being sound-tracked by the best playlist in the cosmos, Star Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) are running from their lives when they encounter a being claiming to be Peter’s long lost father.
The first Guardians Of The Galaxy film was one of the most pleasant surprises within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Superhero films, in part thanks to Marvel, have undergone a renaissance but Guardians Of The Galaxy felt special because the heroes in question didn’t feel like real heroes, making them all the more relatable.
In this second instalment, the gang returns with their chaotic humour and 80’s hits, but this time it’s personal; literally. The Guardians come into contact with a being called Ego; a living planet played by the wonderful Kurt Russell, who claims to be Peter’s father; inducing a full-blown family therapy session.
In terms of plot, this sequel feels less sure of itself than its predecessor, but enough humour and cool action sequences, alongside a brand-new mixtape, keep it from feeling stale, and the chemistry of the cast, including the likes of Michael Rooker’s Yondu, is just as engaging.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is out now on Blu Ray, DVD and digital download.
Former TV detective Richard Thorncroft (Julian Barratt) must return to his role to help solve a murder on the Isle of Man, the setting of his 80’s show, after the culprit refuses to talk to anyone but Richard’s character.
The Brit-comedy from first-time director Sean Foley boasts a cast of sitcom favourites – it’s a bit like Alpha Papa meets Mighty Boosh, and it is great to see Julian Barratt in full swing.
There are welcome additions to the cast, such as Steve Coogan and Essie Davis, playing a former Mindhorn supporting actor and Thorncroft’s former love interest respectively, but Barratt gets the most characterisation out of everyone.
It’s got some genuinely great moments, but at times Mindhorn feels like a one trick pony; albeit a very funny one at that.
Mindhorn is available now on Blu Ray, DVD and digital download.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
If there’s one game that mastered the art of crossovers it was the Super Smash Bros series; pitting multiple characters from different worlds together can be a daring endeavour, but in their case, it worked perfectly. When you think about mixing the world of the Mushroom Kingdom with that of Ubisoft’s Ravin Rabbids, it sounds like a disastrous idea; but Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is quite the opposite.
Playing as a turn-based tactical-combat game, Mario and co must save the Mushroom Kingdom from the Rabbids invasion, fighting in different worlds and picking up allies along the way. Aside from the humour that is ever-present throughout, the gameplay is enjoyable and much like XCOM to which many have drawn comparisons, you can level up characters; creating your own unique team. There’s also escort missions as well as combat, and a secret level that you have to revisit each map to unlock.
On paper, this shouldn’t work, but Mario + Rabbids is a tour de force, and one of this year’s highlights on the Switch.
Mario + Rabbids is out now exclusively on Nintendo Switch.
Killing Floor 2 (18)
Having already been out on Steam and PS4 for over a year, Xbox fans will have the chance to join in with Killing Floor 2 being released on Xbox One. Continuing from the original Killing Floor, biotech firm Horizone has created a zombie apocalypse that has crippled Europe, and you have to stop the “Zeds” from tearing you and everyone else to shreds.
The game feels very similar to Left 4 Dead, even in the variety of zombies that you encounter, and the two game modes also conjure up these sentiments; there’s the survival mode, where up to five players must survive 4 or 10 waves across a level, as well as versus mode, where a team of humans fights a team of the infected.
It’s not exactly a game-changer, but Killing Floor 2 is fun and will make you want to come back for more. The survival mode is a particular highlight, and the variety of levels keeps it feeling interesting.
Killing Floor 2 is out now on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
Paden R Vaughan