- DSiWare / 800 DSiWare Points (Ł7.20)
Some games you really want to like, despite themselves. You make all sorts of slightly irrational allowances, take a deep breath, and give them the benefit of the doubt. Thorium Wars is one such example.
Despite doing its level best to offer impressive variety, slick 3D visuals, and a decent raft of challenging stages, it's a game that seems determined to irritate the player. Regardless of whether you're engaging in aerial combat, piloting a hovercraft or driving a tank, the game perpetually sends a posse of drones to pester the life out of you and chip away at your health.
While you're getting on perfectly well with the task at hand, blasting enemy emplacements, taking out sentry towers, and destroying the designated fixtures, the perpetual onslaught of these drones makes it practically impossible to get through without having your health knocked down to zero.
You'll respawn at the last checkpoint with all your health restored, and go through the motions all over again - and then maybe again. Eventually, by virtue of repeatedly having your health topped up, you'll beat the boss creature and move on. But after a while of tolerating this nonsense, you'll most likely tire of the incessant drones. Where do they come from? Why don't they just piss off? Who thought they were a good idea? Lord, I guess I'll never know.
Excruciating Guitar Voyage
- Xbox Live Indie Games / 240 Microsoft Points (Ł2.04)
Self-effacing game titles certainly work in getting our attention, but the idea of slogging through an agonising, extremely painful journey involving an invincible hairy moron didn't sound like the best way to round off the week.
But it turns out that this particular hairy moron can set himself on fire and electrocute himself to solve puzzles, jump around bizarre platform environments, and talk to absolute weirdos while trying to bust a mate out of prison.
It's all very knowingly lo-fi, with photographed heads superimposed on crudely animated bodies, and probably the most basic jump mechanics you've ever seen. But WickedWorx tries to win you over with its slightly surreal brand of humour, penchant for lever-pulling, and cast of complete losers who spout absolute nonsense at every opportunity.
Having spent most of its time recording demented dialogue and setting up one crazy skit after another, it's a shame, then, that the actual gameplay is mired in tiresome amateurishness. Pulling levers and messing around with flinging yourself into fire and electricity is mildly entertaining once or twice, but gets excruciating over the long haul.