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Bookworm! ThruSpace! Gnomes! Bots! WTF?!

Garden Gnome Carnage

  • Xbox Live Indie Games - 80 Microsoft Points (£0.64)

To quote the wise words of an esteemed Garden Gnome Carnage player: "At first I was wtf. But then I was wtf." I must also admit to being a little wtf upon firing up Remar Games' completely hatstand piece of "comic mischief".

Blessed with the little-known ability to slide an entire building along the ground, you, the grumpy gnome, must stop the happy gnomes from reaching the chimney and spreading Christmas cheer.

Fair enough, I guess, but in order to stop them from succeeding in their irritating quest, you must smash them up by any means available. This generally includes grabbing bricks off the side of the building and lobbing them at passers-by, swinging yourself around so that you knock them off, and calling in air strikes to carpet-bomb them.

2

Do they know it's bricksmas?

Handily, the momentum of shifting the house left and right across the street aids your swinging action, so most of your efforts are focused on being an effective pendulum, sweeping all before you. But the mass gnome genocide merely encourages the relentlessly cheering throng to keep on pouring out in their hundreds. It never ends.

And then there are the cats. Your feline friends apparently have a healthy disregard for festivities, and help restock your brick supply if you allow them to reach the chimney. Allow so much as one cheery gnome up there, though, and it's over. That's the price of failure these days. 64 pence versus no pence: don't ask why, ask why not.

7/10

Bookworm

  • DSiWare - 500 DSiWare points (£4.50)
  • Also available on XBLA, iOS, PC
3

Yes. Yes it is.

PopCap knows better than most that words are a sawed-off shotgun. More surprisingly, Google thinks this as well, if its eerily sentient autocomplete search bar is to be trusted.

If that's the case, then expect to find me slumped in the corner with my brains smeared delicately on the wall sometime soon. After two solid hours snaking through a jumble of letters to create words, I can confirm that Bookworm is just as hideously addictive as it ever was.

If you've somehow managed to miss out on Bookworm over the past seven years, then this DSi version is as good an introduction to its insidious word-searching fun as you'll find. Played, appropriately, in book orientation, you use the touch-screen to highlight the letter of your choice, and then piece together a word by joining up adjacent tiles in any direction.

Ferreting out anything more than a four-letter word takes a fair bit of concentration, but the longer the word, the higher the score, and the quicker you'll rise through the ranks. Predictably, perhaps, the game wants to end your fun as soon as possible, and throws in burning tiles that you must eliminate before they reach the bottom of the grid. Fail, and it's game over.

The only problem with Bookworm is that it's shorn of various modes included with other versions - but that'll be because there's a boxed version on the way. Not for the first time, perhaps the fully featured iPhone and iPad version is the way to go.

7/10

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