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Sky Force

  • PSN Minis (PS3 & PSP) – £2.49
  • Also available on iPhone (£1.19) and Android

A scheduling quirk seems to have resulted in about 17 retro-flavoured shooters descending on Minis HQ all at once, which is no doubt good news if you enjoy having some sort of gaming Groundhog Day experience. The rest of us are jumping in front of buses in the hope that something else might come along.

To be fair to the appropriately named Infinite Dreams, though, it wasn't to know. Besides, Sky Force has been around for about seven years on various mobile platforms (including, most recently, iPhone and Android), and has long been held up as one of the best top-down mobile blasters.

The PSP, though, is a different animal, and loving homages to the past are basically a given. But even taking that into account, Sky Force holds its own and does a fine job of replicating all that was good about eighties classics like Capcom's 1943.


Mini magic.

With its finely detailed sprites, lavish environments and relentless bullet-spewing chaos, it wears its influences proudly. It even sports the kind of SID-chip soundtrack that would elicit approving nods from Rob Hubbard, and survives the transition from vertical orientation to widescreen without much cause for complaint.

But like many Minis ported from mobile platforms, you're left wondering whether it's worth the extra money for the luxury of playing on a d-pad versus a touch screen. If you're a huge fan of the mobile game, by all means pay the extra, but everyone else should be mindful of the competition before slapping their money down.


Surfacer +

  • DSiWare - 500 DSiWare Points (£4.50)
  • Also available on iPhone (£0.59)

If you've somehow managed to go your entire gaming life without ever having played Qix or any of the dozens of spin-offs and homages to the 1981 classic, then go and stand in the corner and wear my special dunce's cap. I don't care if you weren't even born in the eighties. Get to the back.

While you contemplate your transgression, have a crack on Lexis Numérique's riff on the the screen-hogging concept.


Flower power.

As usual, the idea is to try and command as much of the play area as possible without touching any of the little blobs bouncing around with prejudice. In this case, rather than land-grabbing by drawing lines, you simply touch the screen with the stylus and hold it down to make a flower grow; the longer you hold, the bigger the flower gets.

When you've filled up enough of the screen with flowery goodness, you move on to the next stage and try to repeat the trick. To make things somewhat trickier for you, the game then introduces more bouncy fiends, and avoiding their deadly attention becomes increasingly important.

Smack into them too often, and you'll eventually run out of flowers, and have to start a revolution from your bed. Or something like that. I forget.

The problem, of course, is that there are plenty of games like Surfacer + out already, and for a fraction of the price. The fact that Surfacer + is also out for iPhone for pennies makes the DSiWare price even more laughable.


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