Fancy Pants Adventure
- Xbox Live Arcade - 800 Microsoft Points
- PSN - £7.99
I'm conflicted. On the one hand, I want to big up Brad Borne's achievement in scoring one for the little guy, but on the other, I just didn't have as much fun with his stickman platformer as I was hoping.
What started five years ago as a charming browser game has evidently taken on a life of its own, and it's not difficult to see why. With its adorable visual style and minimalist environments, it's jumpy doodle kleptomania, brought bounding to life from the crumpled pages of a sketchbook.
Millions of plays later, the mighty EA has got in on the act, and the whole idea has been fleshed out into an all-encompassing epic, complete with solo or co-op story mode alongside competitive Race and King Of The Hill multiplayer, both online or local. What's not to like?
Well, either I'm having one of my useless-at-games days, or the whole inertia-based jump system really is fiddly to the point of justifiable homicide. With every level designed around building up speed, sliding up walls and pulling off precision jumps galore, the whole thing falls apart every time your timing is off by the smallest fraction.
And despite throwing myself dutifully into level after level, I never quite felt in command of my little fancy-panted dude. As a result I spent more time honing my tourettes than enjoying the ride.
All of which strikes me as a shame. With endless props and silly hats to unlock, and elusive golden swirls to pluck out of the air, it feels like the sort of summery nonsense that's perfect to bound around with friends. If you can adapt to the control eccentricities, there's plenty to recommend, but you might find it too much like hard work at times.
Dodo Go Robo
- DSiWare - 200 Points (£1.80)
These eggs have suffered rotten luck. After two previous outings and hundreds of smashing levels, stocks have presumably run dry. The solution? Robot eggs.
That's not to say their shells are any less fragile. You just might not feel quite the same pang of regret every time you obliterate, incinerate or drown one as you haplessly guide them to safety.
For the third game in the series, the whole Lemming-lite concept has been rejigged, with some of the more fiddly elements chopped out altogether. Rather than worry about a whole gaggle of eggs, and their ever-changing moods, your focus this time is on simply shepherding one across various obstacle-strewn levels, while scooping up collectibles en route.
Unlike the last, rather ill-advised outing, you don't need any prior knowledge of the mechanics, and Neko intersperses the early levels with useful mini-tutorials to get you moving.
As before, getting from A to B relies on careful use of the (very) limited resources at your disposal, because while getting your egg safely to the goal might be straightforward enough, bagging all the shinies can often turn into a crazed exercise in trial and error. Lots and lots of error, in fact.
Progressing through the game wouldn't have been all that much of a headache, but Neko's often overly stringent demands force you to go back and replay earlier levels until you ace them before you can unlock the next set.
But if you're the kind of hardy soul who positively revels in merciless treatment, then a couple of quid is a small price to pay for such joyful puzzle punishment.