Who's That Flying?
- PSN Minis (PSP & PS3) - Ł3.99
God damn the Doom Beasts. Don't they know who they're dealing with? Any scowling veteran entering their fourth decade of side-scrolling warfare won't take kindly to enemies with an absence of facial features. This lot are literally all mouth and no trousers, and anyone with greying facial hair knows that to make it count, hell's denizens must take a bullet between the eyes.
Mediatonic revels in rubbing us all up the wrong way. With a nod and a wink, WTF? (as it would prefer to be known) is actually described as a side-scrolling shooter meets tower defence with courtroom drama and intrigue.
Judged as a shooter, it's a by-the-numbers affair, with wave upon wave of crazy Doom Beasts arcing across the screen in pretty formation. But unlike most shooters ever made, avoidance is not really an option, because every enemy that slips off the screen takes away one of your 50 lives. Run out of those, and it's Game Over. With the focus firmly on taking out everything you see, it becomes much riskier and more frantic.
You can charge up your Super-Beam by blasting enemies consecutively and unleash it with the square button when you need it most. Sometimes, though, the beasties are too big, and require you to hit the R button and hammer the X button to smash them up. We all know how good that feels.
With 15 levels to romp through, gorgeous, irreverent cut-scenes and various challenges, WTF? proves that talented developers haven't completely deserted the Minis scene. Just most of them.
- PC (Steam) - Ł3.49
If I was a tiny robot slave, I'd almost certainly want to go on big adventures. If only to meddle with my inventor's rubbish iTunes library. I'd probably delete all the terrible teenage girl stuff and duplicate the rest. That'll teach him for abandoning vinyl!
Given that this actually happens in real life, Wadjet Eye's charming little Steam adventure is probably closer to a documentary than a mere videogame. And just like reality, each robot has one special ability, forcing you to into a kind of robotic Escape To Victory minus the stirring soundtrack and random footballers from Ipswich Town.
See that book? Switch to the one who can push things. Oh look, there's some water - switch to the one that can swim. Once you slip into the mindset and embrace Puzzle Bots' lo-fi charms, the initial clunkiness dissipates into a cloud of goodwill, and chipping your way through 17 stages of point-and-click puzzling seems like a fine way to occupy an evening.