- Xbox Live Indie Games - 80 Microsoft Points
Imagine the fun we'd have with seven fingers on each hand. Imagine the guitar solos. Perhaps we could have a bonus thumb while we're at it. It would certainly make playing Dot Zo Games' hand-mangling platformer a fair bit easier, that's for sure.
As in his previous 2D platformer, the similarly taxing Ninja Bros., the idea is to get a cute little cluster of pixels to an exit. This time, though, it's basically up to you to turn the platforms on or off to create safe passage for your cute little cat-girl-thing.
But what starts off as a simple exercise rapidly builds into something of a trial in dexterity, as the game often requires the player to hold down several buttons at once during their platform negotiation.
You might, for instance, have to hold down LB to switch off a platform, leap up and then let go of LB to make the platform solid again. No sooner have you got your head around that idea, the game swiftly raises the stakes by ensuring that the jump button also doubles up as a platform switch. Before long, you're using your index finger to jump so that you can also keep Y and X held down at the same time.
Nothing in the game is designed to feel natural – and that's part of its genius. Whatever combinations of buttons will make you feel most uncomfortable, Nyan Tech has them, and negotiating its twisted obstacle course is a masochistic dream. It's almost a relief that there are only 30 levels. Any more, and it might not have been possible to write this review.
Digger Dan & Kaboom
- DSiWare - 500 DSiWare points (£4.50)
"Digger Dan has always loved digging. That's probably how he got his name although nobody knows for sure." Nobody? I can give them a clue To be fair, Ocean's Digger Dan was 28 years ago. I should probably get over the name and get on with reviewing the stupid thing.
But as as soon as you find out that the game is a basically a (horribly) reskinned Boulder Dash, you feel your hackles rise again. Alternatively, you stop being a grumpy old retro purist for a moment and get on with enjoying Casual Arts', ahem, loving 'tribute'.
As with Peter Liepa and Chris Gray's 1983 classic, the idea is to burrow through an underground lair, scoop up all the gems and reach the exit within the time limit. Along the way, you have to push boulders out of the way and try not to get squashed/eaten/generally killed to death.
Eventually a sleepy squirrel called Kaboom enters the fray and adds a welcome tag-team element to the gameplay. Although he can't push any blocks out of the way, his ability to squeeze into small gaps makes him a useful ally in your gem-hunting quest.
Viewed without the surly baggage of a retro purist, you'll take it for what it is: a jolly old-school throwback with dozens of dastardly levels to mine and a hideous art style. Can you dig it?