We see if Mario Strikers: Battle League scores a goal, and go hands on with Soundfall, OlliOlli World: VOID Riders, The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe and Belkin’s SOUNDFORM Immerse Noise-Cancelling Earbuds.

Nintendo has been steadily pumping out their sports titles for a little while now, and with tennis and golf having had their fun in the sun, Mario Strikers: Battle League finally takes the Mushroom Kingdom back to the world game and it’s chaotic as all hell. A 5-vs-5 affair, Mario Strikers: Battle League does surprisingly well to stick to the traditional conventions of soccer. In fact, the game’s biggest surprise is just how complex it can feel. You’d be forgiven for thinking Strikers is a FIFA-lite experience but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

With through balls, pass variations, dodge moves and more there’s plenty of buttons to try and remember. And that’s before you add on the Strikers-specific additions that grant spectacular abilities that will see you potentially add multiple points to the score card. We’re big fans of the specials in particular, which transform into spectacular cartoon like animations that are unique amongst the whole roster.

If you’ve got eight friends, jumping on the one the one Switch can be an absolute blast with the usual hijinks Nintendo excels at. Online multiplayer is less stable, so prepare yourself for a bit of lag depending on the session.

Our biggest complaint with Mario Strikers: Battle League is the low number of characters and courses, but fingers crossed that gets rectified with future updates in the months to come.

Mario Strikers: Battle League is out now for Nintendo Switch.

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Also out now…

OlliOlli World: VOID Riders (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, XBO, Switch, PC)

Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? If you enjoyed your time with OlliOlli World like we did, then you’ll likely feel very much the same way with the game’s first DLC release, VOID Riders. That’s because, love or it hate it, you can expect more of the same here. The good news though is that’s more of the same polished and addictive side-skating gameplay that’s difficult to put down.

The difference with VOID Riders is its aesthetic, which thanks to a few cheeky Aliens that have seen it fit to visit Radlandia, leads to a fresh sci-fi twist. It also paves the way for our favourite change-up so far: the Grabby Beam, which allows you to utilise various UFO tractor beams to elevate your rider at various points during a level while performing a grab. Knowing when and when not to utilise those beams is a part of VOID Riders’ new challenge, and is a great way to help continue your OlliOlli World love affair if you’ve already completed the main game.


Soundfall (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, XBO, Switch, PC)

We’re suckers for a game with a bit of a musical twist and Soundfall does well to scratch that itch. You play as Melody, a barrister with a dream of superstardom who unexpectedly gets transported into the world of Symphonia. Sense a theme?

Where Soundfall really tries to carve out its own niche is with its rhythm-focused dungeon-crawling gameplay. Using a metronome at the bottom of the screen it’s your job to try and attack and move in line with each levels track. Stick to the beat and you’ll dish out more damage and build your combos. Fail and you’ll become more vulnerable to attacks and be generally less effective at dispatching your admittedly samey foes.

There’s a bit of a learning curve but once we got into the *ahem* rhythm of things, we quite enjoyed ourselves. The game’s soundtrack is also surprisingly solid and varied.

The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe (PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, XBO, Switch, PC)

Released back in 2013, The Stanley Parable was celebrated for its creativity, wit and razer-sharp game design. If you were a console gamer though, you were shit out of luck… until now. This long-awaited port spruces up the visuals and throws in a bit of extra content for good measure. Oh, and that creativity, wit and charm are still very much present.

If you’ve played The Stanley Parable once before, there’s a few neat twists that should help keep things a little fresh, although much like the main game, saying too much will actually do a disservice to the overall experience. Just trust us when we tell you that Ultra Deluxe is well worth your time and money and will easily become one of the most original video games you’ll ever play.

Hands-on with the Belkin SOUNDFORM Immerse Noise-Cancelling Earbuds

The earbud game continues to heat up and now we have Belkin once again entering the fray with its SOUNDFORM Immerse Noise-Cancelling Earbuds.

Straight out of the box these are a pretty attractive pair of buds. We’ve been trialling the white set for a little while now and their design, as well as the case that houses/charges them, is incredibly clean and sleek. Outside of the Belkin logo it’s a subtle approach that we’re big fans of, however it won’t be long before you likely notice one of the Immerse’s biggest sticking points: their size.

The round shape of the bud adopts a sleeker stem-less design, but is admittedly a little on the chunky side as a result. Much like Sony’s WF-1000XM4, the Immense will pop out quite a bit, especially if you’ve got small ears. That said, we can’t say we found the buds uncomfortable to use, and the wing tip design did help keep them in place.

Similarly worth noting is that the case is also on the large side when compared to the likes of the AirPods Pro. It’s hardly a deal-breaker but something worth considering if you’re low on pocket space.

Whether or not you’ll actually want the Immense buds in said pocket though will be dependent on sound quality and we’re happy to report that Belkin has done a pretty decent job this time around. While the bass isn’t quite as thump-happy as the WF-1000XM4, it delivers a reasonable amount of pop. The same can also be said for the midrange, which delivered consistently without any distortion or flatness. Overall, a well-balanced sound that should satisfy your run-of-the-mill audio needs.

With a $299 price tag, Belkin has certainly tried to jam in a number of extra features to make the Immerse buds competitive in a stacked market. As a result, you can expect bells and whistles like Fast Pair for Android devices and active noise cancellation, that although not best-in-class, performed fairly well during our testing. And while you’re probably most likely to make use of the Immerse if you’re an Android user, we were especially chuffed at the features Belkin have tried to implement for iOS users as well. Case in point: the Immerse is compatible with Apple’s Find My network, meaning you can stress slightly less if you happen to misplace them.

All-in-all there’s a lot to appreciate with Belkin’s SOUNDFORM Immerse Noise-Cancelling Earbuds, and although they might not tick every box, they’re well worth a look, no matter your device of choice.

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