One day publishers will all collectively bang their heads together and figure out what they ought to be charging for downloadable games - and by extension, downloadable content.
On the one hand, you've got the likes of Rockstar effectively slinging out an excellent Red Dead Redemption sequel for a mere 800 Microsoft Points (roughly £6.80), while on the other, you've got Konami putting out a wearisome PSP port of GTi Club Supermini Festa for £23.99.
And then, of course, you've got the whole pricing model of on-demand games, which invariably end up costing far more than you'd be able to pick them up in the shop - with none of the benefits of being able to lend them to mates or trade them in at a later date. Right now, it seems like many publishers simply haven't got a clue, while others, like Rockstar and Zen Studios - the makers of the marvellous Pinball FX 2 - show how it should be done.
Pinball FX 2
- Xbox Live Arcade/ Free (Tables 200 Microsoft points each/ £1.70, or in packs of four for 800 Microsoft points/ £6.80)
All hail Zen Studios for ensuring that we can all officially shut the hell up about DICE's fantastic early '90s pinball games on the Amiga.
Simulating the ancient art of Pinball might seem like one of the most pointless wastes of time in the history of videogames, but put your preconceptions to one side, and you may be surprised at how much fun they can be. Especially when they've been lavished with as much lifelike attention to detail as Pinball FX 2.
Sensibly, you can try out each of the new tables for free, as well as updated versions of the four tables that featured in the 2007 original (backwardly compatible if you own the original), and new versions of the various downloadable ones as well (again, backwardly compatible if you've bought them already).
In all, you'll have access to 12 excellent tables, each now playable in the new split-screen mode, and benefitting from noticeably improved visuals and a spanking new physics model.
The real genius of this revamped version, though, is the new social gaming features, which lure you back in by letting you know when a friend has topped your score. Even in the two days between the game's release and writing the review, I couldn't help but make sure that EG's own Rich Leadbetter was comprehensively conquered.
Real pinball fanatics will be in tinkering heaven, too, thanks to the ability to fiddle endlessly with all manner of settings. Just don't get into a conversation with anyone who does this, ok?
If you've even vaguely have the urge to flip a steel ball around a pretend pinball table, then Zen have a little something for you. Just don't dare start beating my scores.
- PC/ £14.99 Steam
Ah, the age old story of a swashbuckling archaeologist stuck in the cavern inside the slopes of a dormant volcano somewhere in Mexico. We've all been there. Usually, though, we're staring at the toned buttocks of Lara Croft, wondering why she never gets bruised.
Apparently unable to do much more than hop around with the zest of a bored frog, athletics are out of the question in The Ball, and nor is unsavoury polygon lust: for this is a first-person physics puzzle adventure, starring an unseen dude and a mysterious ball.
As luck would have it, you stumble across some sort of glove that enables you to push and pull this sizeable sphere across the intricately rendered caverns, and so begins an absorbing journey involving our good friend, the pressure pad.
After a few perfunctory exercises in getting you into the swing of things, things take a more surreal turn, with deadly patrolling monsters and various other nasty hazards to be mindful of. At its best, it's all very bite-sized and relaxing, like a bucket of M&S flapjack bites, a glass of red and some ill-gotten American-strength meds.
Sometimes, mind you, Teotl Studios could have signposted the whole thing just a little better, because when you're stuck, The Ball is about as much fun as Five Live on the M25 in rushhour.
- Xbox Live Arcade Indie/ 80 Microsoft Points (£0.64)
Having mutated Gauntlet, squelched around with Robotron, and turned Space Invaders on its head with its recent trio of sparkling indie releases, radiangames clearly has a healthy fetish for bending arcade classics out of shape.
Fluid continues in this admirably wonky tradition by taking Pac-Man's dot-gobbling premise, setting it in water, and tasking you with chowing down as quickly as you possibly can.
Standing in your way are lots of gloopy red blobs that tail you around the soupy environment, but so much as brush past one of these aqueous denizens, and it's back to the start with you, sonny.
With murder on their mind, there's little choice but to high-tail it around with extreme precision, carving the perfect route through the angry blobs to a four-star performance.
While there might 'only' be 30 courses to circumnavigate, Fluid soon assumes a Trials-like obsession as you try desperately to shave off tenths of a second off your performance. And like Red Lynx's popular obsession, it's bastard hard, and requires the kind of steely-eyed one-more-go resolve to really get the most out of it.
But unlike practically every decent game out there, it's available for pennies, and therefore it is your duty to reward radiangames for its continuing knack of churning out excellent retro-flavoured gems.
- DSiWare/ 500 DSiWare points (£4.50)
Another absolute puzzle gem tossed casually onto the growing pile of essential DSiWare releases, Glow Artisan tasks you with replicating patterns onto your touch screen grid 'canvas' by painting and mixing the three primary colours.
What starts out as a thoroughly simple, relaxing affair, though, soon turns into more of a stormy, petulant divorce as Powerhead Games puts your powers of colour mixing firmly through the wringer.
Rather than simply allow you to colour in each square individually, you're forced to first paint an entire horizontal or vertical line from either the top or the left side of the grid. After that, you can then either start mixing up colours, or erase individual rows or columns in order to replicate the desired shape.
Matching the target illustration in the shortest number of moves becomes the game's central hook, with oh-so tempting medals on offer. If you just can't get your poor addled head around the problem, though, the game's handy autosolve facility takes away the inevitable temptation to punch nearby inanimate objects out of the equation, which is nice. No-one likes a savaged cushion.
And once you've worked your way diligently through all 100 puzzles on offer, you can even construct your own, using the DSi's camera, and the raw power of its digitising abilities. You can also import your own rude pictures, if that sort of thing gets you off. With Time Trial and Randomiser modes to unlock, there is possibly no end to your fun. Or frustration, take your pick.
Download it now, then shout at all your apathetic friends for not doing the same.
GTi Club Supermini Festa
- PSP/ £23.99
Released to justifiably minimal fanfare on the Wii back in March (and therefore wholly ignored by pretty much everyone), this latest version of the once-beloved Konami arcade racing series sees the venerable GTi Club franchise still firmly stuck back where it started in 1996.
What was once a crisp, breezy racing gem with hilarious handbrake turns now just looks and feels horribly amateurish in every department. Released (on the PSN store only) at a crazily expensive price, it tries to justify its existence with a plethora of gameplay styles and a drawn-out campaign mode, but ends up backfiring embarrassingly at every turn.
By forcing you to start at the insultingly easy beginner level, you're forced to flatline your way through pointless race after race, punctuated only by the odd nonsense mini-game. With all the fun of chucking tomatoes at one another and driving a football into a net, there's a numbing sense of 'will-this-do?' about the whole affair.
And the less said about the ludicrous slippery handling the better. It felt fun in its arcade context back in the day, but now just feels like they couldn't be bothered to adapt. Screeching around corners with the minimum of fuss, it's devoid of challenge, and made worse by a visual style rooted firmly in the late 1990s, complete with clipping issues.
Even if GTi Club Supermini Festa was a tenth of the price you'd be hard pressed to justify buying it. Its existence in 2010 is entirely redundant.