Two weeks on, and still no sign of the PSN outage coming to an end. Knocking two platforms out of the download equation has obviously had a pretty noticeable impact on the number of games we have to cover over that period; normally we'd find at least one PSN game to cover each week, and probably a Mini as well.
To compound matters, Nintendo's two download platforms haven't exactly been brimming with quality lately, with a notable absence of WiiWare titles beyond the kind of early learning guff that few would be interested in.
On the flipside, Steam has been flush with interesting titles. Two make it into today's roundup, while Cargo! got its own full 8/10 review elsewhere this week.
It's also good to see the recent dearth of decent Xbox Indie titles come to an end in spectacular style with the release of the excellent Sequence. If you've come looking for value for money, you're in luck.
- Xbox Live Indie Games - 240 Microsoft Points (Ł1.92).
We've had our fair share of puzzle RPGs over the past few years, so it was only a matter of time before someone crafted an even unlikelier combination. Behold the ice cream pizza of the gaming world: the rhythm action RPG!
In Iridium Studios' long-awaited indie offering, you face off against a succession of assorted lunatics, mutated plants and gigantic insects who feel compelled to throw some shapes in a desperate beat-matching stand-off.
For reasons that are probably best left mysterious, this cast of oddballs has trapped you at the base of a tower, and it's up to you to battle right to the top. The idea is to whittle down each opponent's HP before they get the chance to do the same to you via arrow-matching mechanics pinched from Dance Dance Revolution.
In each of the battles, you have to pay attention to three separate gameplay panes, which you can flick between on the fly using the shoulder buttons. One represents your mana regeneration, while the other two deal with defence and attack.
Still with me? Good. To attack, you need to cast one of your spells, and then match the direction of the falling arrows on the beat when they reach the bottom of the pane. Get it right, and your opponent takes damage.
Meanwhile, they'll be trying to do the same to you, and when you see arrows appearing in your defensive pane, you can prevent any damage by swiftly switching over and, again, matching the arrow formations at the right moment.
Casting attacking or defensive spells, though, uses up a portion of your limited stock of mana, so in between all the attacking and defending, you'll also be hurriedly nipping back to the mana pane, and arrow-matching like crazy to keep your stocks topped up.
After some (extremely necessary) tutorial battles, Sequence wastes no time in cranking up the pace and testing your rhythm action credentials on multiple fronts. As unlikely as it sounds, once you've got your head around the basics it becomes second nature, and sure enough, it gets its hooks into you via moreish RPG traditions.
Before you know it, you're grinding for rare items and XP, fashioning new equipment and spells from the various recipes you unlock along the way, and unleashing increasingly complex strategies.
In short, Sequence is an outstanding effort. Not only does it outclass practically everything else on the Indie channel, there's nothing else quite like it out there. For two quid, this has to be the bargain of the year.