- Xbox Live Indie Games / 80 Microsoft Points (Ł0.64)
It says a lot about Microsoft's daft Xbox Live Arcade restrictions that a quality retro shooter like Gravitron has to slug it out with the detritus on the Indie Games channel in order to get a 360 release. Such is life for the average indie outfit: unless you've got a publisher backing you (and taking a big chunk of the cash), the XBLA portcullis slams down right in your face - regardless of how swish your latest effort is.
For poor old Ron Bunce, the situation is even more aggravating than usual. Released alongside no fewer than 35 titles in a five-day period at the end of August, Gravitron360 never even had a chance to stay on the new release blade for more than a couple of days. We'd all prefer to check out the latest spirit-crushingly awful Avatar and Zombie games, right?
But enough of the hard luck stories - the game's more than good enough to succeed through word of mouth alone. Ported lovingly from the PC, this ridiculously good value, neon-tinged shooter takes a pinch of Thrust, sprinkles in some Defender, and serves up one of the most accomplished retro evolutions around.
Spread across 70 supremely challenging levels, Gravitron asks you to gently coax a ship into the deadly caverns of a planet, rescue stranded scientists and destroy subterranean bases. With gravity providing an ever-present tug-o-war, piloting your ship through the twisting corridors is a delicate eye-of-the-needle operation, as you gently tap the thrusters and judge inertia.
But thanks to excellent level design and supremely solid controls, what might have been a frustrating slog becomes an artful dodge through some of yesteryear's forgotten mechanics. With four challenge modes to wade through, Gravitron360 offers an embarrassment of riches. A mandatory purchase.
- PSN (PS3) / Ł3.99
I'm the kind of guy who shows Alive to people before their first long-haul flight, so I'm maybe not the ideal candidate to run a chaotic air traffic control centre.
But thrust a PlayStation Move controller in my hand and ask me to plot squiggly descent paths on the screen, and I'm your man. At least until kamikaze pilots start haplessly making a beeline for the runways all at the same time.
This time around, mind you, you can get by with a little help from your friends, with up to four players supported in this motion-control-enhanced edition of the classic touch-screen game. The ability to meddle with each other's flight paths is obviously a recipe for disaster, but if you're planning on having four Move controllers to hand it's a quick and effective means of falling out with friends and family. You can also show off your spanking new 3D telly if you're a money-no-object type.
In its unexpected transition to the big screen, Firemint's two-million-selling sensation has lost little of its insanely addictive quality, with the instant precision of Move allowing you to be almost as quick off the draw when it counts.
Fine game that it is, though, Flight Control is still better suited to filling time waiting for public transport. Out of context, it just doesn't have the same allure.