It's hard to focus on writing right now. The pull of Pac-Man Championship Edition DX is just... too... strong. Namco has taken everyone by surprise with not only the best Pac-Man game ever made, but one of the best downloadable games into the bargain.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves; there were plenty of other goodies popping up in download land this week – not least Fireball, the fifth radiangames effort to emerge on the Xbox Indie channel in as many months. Whether anyone will buy it is almost beside the point, but it's 80 Microsoft Points – what have you got to lose?
- Xbox Live Indie Games - 80 Microsoft Points (£0.64)
Remember Pacifism mode in Geometry Wars 2? Remember the unblinking nights spent ducking and weaving, leading a procession of enemies to their glorious doom? Fireball takes a similar approach, adds a little more structure, sprinkles radiangames glorification over its silky innards and holds its hand out for 80 of your Microsoft Points.
Rather than lead your dim-witted 'snowball' enemies through gates, Fireball tasks you with setting off explosions by steering near bombs and crashing into powerful 'novas'. The more you blow up at once, the better your score, and the better your score, the more attractive you are to potential lovers. Not bad for 64 pence.
There are limits to your awesomeness, however, with each level giving you a specific kill target to meet. Clear that target, and it's on to the next level, and so on until you've eventually cleared all eight waves. To really build up a decent total score, though, you have to start from the beginning and avoid dying. You can temporarily boost yourself out of trouble when you need to, but one misstep, and it's curtains.
Waves mode is only part of the story, though, and the inclusion of four similarly demanding challenge modes keeps the score attack allure going long after you've milked the rest. Patience, for example, grants you just one opportunity to kill your foes, so leading them a merry dance for as long as possible becomes the primary aim.
Unlike most of the tat on the Indie channel, Fireball is something you'll feel warm inside about owning. And with two more radiangames titles due out before the end of the year, there's more to come from Luke Schneider.