Like PlayStation? Like smartphones? PlayLink might be just the thing you’re looking for.
Announced back at E3 PlayLink is a range of PS4 exclusives that does away with the DualShock controller and replaces it with a smart device e.g. your Xperia smartphone or tablet.
We headed down to PlayStation’s exclusive Christmas event, grabbed an Xperia XZ1, and got our hands on a few of the games.
This family-friendly quiz game would be good for keeping families entertained over Christmas. Players each select a character, take a selfie, and begin. Each round consists of choosing a category and then answering questions. Straightforward enough, butyou can scupper your opponents by using various power ups to freeze their answers or cover them in goo. The whole game takes place in a super-shiny gameshow world which you are guided through by a host with potentially the most extraordinary quiff in video games.
PlayLink isn’t all about party games. Hidden Agenda is a gritty crime thriller from the makers of Until Dawn. Playing like an interactive movie, players vote on choices as they search for a serial killer known as The Trapper. Playing on a phone throws up an interesting twist; players are periodically sent a secret ‘hidden agenda’ which only they can see and leads to some seriously sneaky behavior. The whole game is around 2-3 hours long so makes a good alternative to a Saturday night movie session.
Frantics is a compilation of increasingly daft minigames making it a great one to play with kids. Within ten minutes of playing we were firing our characters out of canons and trying not to slide off a disappearing block of ice. Did we mention the whole thing is hosted by a brandy-swilling, suit-wearing fox with dodgy stubble? Superb.
Another quiz game but with a difference – the questions are all about you and your mates. Once everyone has taken a ridiculous selfie, the game asks various questions like ‘who would fall in love on a first date?’ or ‘in art class…who would eat the glue’. You answer by swiping on the photo of the player you think it is with plenty of banter as the answers are revealed. “That’s You” is the kind of game that you could never really play using a typical gaming controller, with dedicated rounds that require players to draw each other as lumberjacks, elves, fairies and more, always with hilarious/terrible results.
Only recently announced at Paris Games Week, Erica blew us away and felt like the next step in the interactive drama genre. The whole thing plays out with live action cinematics so really feels like you’re playing a movie. Here, the smartphone controls deliver a real level of immersion. In one scene Erica, the character you control, begins to cry and you can swipe the screen to wipe away a tear. The whole demo was shrouded in mystery but for fans of interactive drama this is certainly one to watch.
We played these titles on the Xperia XZ1 which boasts a 5.2” HDR-enabled display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, and 13MP front camera for taking those all-important selfies.