Slam Bolt Scrappers
- PSN - Ł11.99, Free demo available.
Combining Super Smash Brothers with Tetris is either the work of cracked genius, or a slightly ill-advised mashup. Can you guess which?
Firehose Games' PSN exclusive certainly starts off with the best of intentions. Over the first few levels of its campaign mode, it eases you into the chaos and patiently explains how interlocking like-coloured shapes need to be turned into square blocks, which subsequently act as the basis of your defence or attack.
But getting those shapes in the first place essentially involves beating the crap out of any of the enemies loitering around your tower - as well as ensuring that your adjacent opponent is put firmly in their place.
The fighting system is necessarily stripped-down, but serves as enough of a continual distraction to make the business of shape-positioning a trickier prospect than it initially appears. No sooner have you lined-up your shape, ready to drop, a gaggle will invariably descend and start pummelling chunks off your health bar. Take too much damage, and you're forced to sit out for precious seconds.
This somewhat stressful formula only ever seems to get increasingly unrelenting as your chip your way through the game - so you can probably imagine that the multiplayer Battle Mode is concentrated insanity with four of you at it.
Slam Bolt Scrappers certainly merits applause for managing to make the idea work at all. But the constant need to multitask makes it feel like you're being persistently harangued by a hyperactive four-year old. If that sounds like your idea of entertainment, be my guest.
- DSiWare - 500 DSiWare points (Ł4.50)
With such little regard for their own safety, I'm not surprised these penguins have been captured. You could probably just usher them in the direction of the nearest lava pit and save yourself the bother of painstakingly ushering the flightless little morons to safety. Just saying.
Against your better judgement, though, you'll more likely wind up spending hours of your life painstakingly directing them to the next flight back to Antarctica.
Yes, it's pretty much Lemmings again, but presented in a way that doesn't make it feel like a cheap knock-off. You'll start off each of the 104 levels with a gaggle of Pingus wandering to-and-fro, bumping into things and turning back round again.
But via the magic of arrow placement, these curious creatures can be pointed in the right direction, and once they've all gotten to the chopper, it's off to the next challenge.
Once Teyon's unexpectedly enjoyable offering gets into its stride, you'll end up not merely directing traffic, but have to make sure they flick switches and jump at the right time. Exciting stuff. No, really.
Now and then you'll find yourself having to hastily rearrange your carefully laid plans once bridges start to collapse. But such is the nature of the DSi, you'll have to keep in mind that only the touch screen portion of the screen can be messed around with - a limitation that becomes apparent the tougher the game gets.
With its rather rudimentary style, Arctic Escape will doubtlessly pass most people by, but those of you who take pride in rooting out DSiWare's hidden puzzle gems will be happy they did.