- WiiWare - 800 WiiWare Points (Ł5.60, free demo available)
Gaijin Games has a strange knack of making games that you feel compelled to own, despite the fact that they're not always especially satisfying to play.
Bit.Trip Fate is another classic example. As an audio-visual art installation it could win awards, with its alluring chiptune soundtrack and hypnotic, almost sensuous ultra-retro aesthetic. They're the kind of games you hope a skilled hyperkinetic guest will come around and play for you, so that you can sit in cuddly sensory bliss and avoid the petty aggravation involved with actually playing them.
Like all the Bit.Trips, Fate adheres to the principle that death is final, and that, dear player, means a lot of lengthy restarts as you go right back to the very beginning of a stage. If you're hard-wired to deal with that, then treats are in store in this engaging twist on the horizontal shooter.
This time around, Commander Video is tethered to a central rail which weaves a predetermined route around the level. Although you can freely move left and right, you can't stray from the path itself, and so avoiding the hail of enemy fire becomes even harder than it would normally be.
While you're dealing with the everyday grunts, it's not so much of a problem, especially as it's balanced by the the free-aiming precision that you get from the Wii remote. But as soon as the game wheels out the inevitably bastard-hard boss and starts firing curtains of bullets at you, the balance tips firmly in the opposite direction, and death soon follows.
If the game could just allow you to resume before the boss (even with a limited selection of lives), that would probably be enough to keep you going, but it doesn't. Instead, you guessed it, you're back to the start of the lengthy stage to dispatch everything from scratch.
One day, Gaijin Games might make it possible for mortals to play its games, but until then Fate is one you're probably best off spectating rather than getting smashed up by.
- DSiWare - 500 Points (Ł4.50)
- PC - $6.99
If the service industry has taught us anything, it's that the general public are rude, messy, ungrateful bastards that will stop at nothing to cause poor, harassed staff unending misery. Can't live without them, can't kill 'em.
Like numerous serve-'em-ups before it, Supermarket Mania buys into this multi-tasking nonsense wholesale, tasking the lovely Nikki with keeping the shelves of her local store well-stocked and the aisles clean of unseemly mess.
But that's not enough, is it? When the evil Torg Corporation decides to get robots in to replace the inefficient humans, she finds herself rising to the challenge of proving them wrong by, er, continuing to do the exact same thing at an old man's ailing store.
And so 50 levels of grocery-replenishing craziness await your ever-willing stylus in this wholly unoriginal but unexpectedly fun serving. As with most DSiWare titles, you'll wish Nintendo could allow publishers to price things a little cheaper, but if you haven't heard of smartphones G5's innocent effort is as fun as a trip to Lidl on a Wednesday afternoon.