- Minis (PSP & PS3) / Ł3.99
- Also available on iPhone for Ł0.59 as 'Urbanix Arcade'.
- Coming soon to WiiWare.
I love Qix as much as the next guy, especially if the next guy spends half his time pondering on the demise of arcades and the other half wishing we still loaded games from cassette. The rest of you might want to follow the magic blue letters and nod in appreciation of one of the most timeless games around.
In Urbanix, the aim is to guide a tractor around, building towns on open fields and avoiding the 'house crashers'. Quite how a tractor can build houses is never fully explained, but we'll let that one pass. For now.
More pertinent is why the designers thought it was a good idea to design a riff on Qix where you can only see a small portion of the screen at any one time. The very point of Qix (or Zolyx, which was even better) was that you could make daring manoeuvres by anticipating the likely path of your enemies. Without that ability, you're just driving blind and, unsurprisingly, you'll get unfairly caught out because of it.
Whether you'd want to slap down four quid on Nordcurrent's take on the idea is another matter entirely. Given that Urbanix is available for 59p on iPhone, you'd be better off looking up that version if you really must have a slightly broken take on an old classic. Better still, go and pick up the free trial of Taito's remake from last year instead.
- DSiWare / 500 DSiWare Points (Ł4.50)
Tedious, haphazard, unsatisfying: these are just three of the words that best describe ArtePiazza's uninspiring pinball-flavoured shooter. Others include unbalanced, frustrating, and unattractive. I could go on, but you don't want to kick something when it's down. Not when people are watching, anyway.
The third offering in Rising Star's promising GO Series of Japanese-developed DSiWare releases, Pinball Attack's big idea is to turn pinball into a vertical shooter, where you must fend off waves of incoming enemies using a pair of flippers and an errant ball that defies the laws of physics.
The prospect of a jolly pinball shooter might be a relatively fun were it not for the ridiculously bobbly ball behaviour, and the feeling that the game will gimp you at any moment. Progress seems to rely as much on blind luck as anything else, though a high tolerance for insipid game design won't hurt either.
And then there's the issue of the price. Unlike the other two reasonably-priced GO Series titles, this one demands 500 points, a 250 per cent hike. Talking of hikes, Rising Star can take one on this occasion – for free.