Hypership Out Of Control!
- Xbox Live Indie Games / 80 Microsoft Points (£0.64)
Sometimes the misery is worth it. After spending hours wading through the raw Xbox Indie sewerage, whistling half-remembered hymns, it starts to seem like some sort of elaborate sanity test. You check for hidden cameras, pat down the sofa for bugs, and shut the blinds. At times like these, you pump up the Kraftwerk and imagine that we're still living in 1982.
And then it is 1982. Or at least Fun Infused Games reckons we'd have more fun if it was. Inserting our imaginary massive ten pence pieces, we recline into this vision of the past, cut the brake lines and cruise into sprite-based doom.
Like the best arcade shooters of the past, Hypership Out Of Control succeeds by keeping it simple, and by making the seat-of-your-pants twitch gaming disproportionately compulsive. It doesn't resort to the lazy insanity of bullet hell, but demands that you precisely negotiate a twisting space obstacle course without smacking yourself into the nearest wall.
With your hypership unable to slow down, the task gets progressively more tricky, as unpredictable scenery hurtles towards your puny vessel. Power-ups and coins lie before you temptingly, and powerful blasters allow you to tear up anything in your path - but any advantage is tempered by the constant risk of instant death.
Blessed with an incessant one-more-go appeal, multiple gameplay modes and even global online leaderboards, Hypership will have you quite happy to live in the past for the duration. For 80 points, it would be rude not to.
- PSN (PS3) / £8.99
Rarely has a game danced the precarious line between love and hate so balletically as TerRover. Throughout, you're faced with one of the most visually striking games ever made, but one with a control system that may inspire you to be mean to kittens.
The main problem is its near-vertical learning curve. As you guide a cute little robot buggy over hazardous terrain to a goal in the shortest possible time, what looks like a routine task becomes an unexpectedly fiddly exercise in brutal, stunt-negotiating trial and error.
If a casual bystander observed you playing the game for the first time (as happened to me), you may well look like the worst videogame player of all time - but the truth is that Creat Studios' PSN exclusive dares to expect the player to reconfigure all their control expectations and start over from scratch.
With this tricky inertia-based physics system, you'll most likely spend the first few minutes constantly flipping your rover and getting stuck in tight spaces. You can jump, change orientation and flip yourself over, but, for the most part, you'll steer yourself rather haplessly with the left stick, flip-flopping around, never quite sure how much - or how little - pressure to apply.
Somewhere along the line, though, all the trial and error eventually pays off. Something clicks, and you'll start to figure out how to approach ramps, and how to distribute your weight when and where it's required.
With more than a nod to Trials in TerRover's DNA, the more patient among you will lap up TerRover and all of its wilful insanity.