- Xbox Live Indie - 80 Microsoft Points (Ł0.68).
Mr. Gravity - let's call him Clarence - has no interest in obeying the laws of gravity. He isgravity.
With great power comes great physical deformity, mind you, with his hideous moon face taking over his entire body. You'd think that a giant space hopper of a man might encounter a few issues finding a mate, but apparently not. If fact, each maze-like level provides a neat account of how he goes about reaching his lover on a daily basis.
For your part, the aim is to use the forces of gravity to guide Clarence to his belle as quickly as possible, while navigating the isles of the local supermarket, picking up groceries and trying to avoid bumping into any chavs en route. At least that's what I read into the situation. Perhaps she works at the checkout and needs rescuing.
The problem with Mr Gravity's ability is that you tend to pull everyone and everything towards you as you move. For example, as you exert the forces of gravity in a particular direction, you not only move yourself, but everything else within range.
To make sure the way is clear of spiky chavs, you often have to manipulate your foes in specific directions, while, perhaps, wedged up against a wall. With this forward planning, the way may be clear for you to slip past any sentries and home to your partner.
Despite its exceptionally minimalist presentation, Mr Gravity is far more involved than it appears, and once you've earned enough stars to unlock the later worlds, developer Angry Newton wastes no time in heaping the pressure on your with bigger mazes, more enemies and far more collectibles.
At this point, it's contentious whether the steeply rising challenge is actually a good thing. Such is the exacting nature of the inertia-based control, getting through certain later levels can be fist-gnawingly tricky - especially given the absence of checkpoints. This is one game that relies entirely on super low-latency control accuracy, and sometimes it doesn't quite deliver that feeling. Then again, it might have just been me being rubbish again.
Either way, Mr Gravity is like an undiscovered gem from our Spectrum youth. For some, that's the best possible news you could receive on a Friday lunchtime.
Valet Parking 1989
- DSiWare - 500 DSiWare Points (Ł4.50)
Sometimes it's not enough to play the grizzled space marine or the mechanoid super soldier from The Future. Sometimes all you really want to do is slip into the comfortable leather brogues of the valet parking attendant from a time when Miami Vice was still the epitome of cool.
And it seems that someone at Swedish crazies Zordix AB agreed that we should invest our spare time in the pursuit of parking pretend celebrities' vehicles.
Like Airport Mania, Diner Dash, Tapper or any of these other time-pressured throwaways, the idea is to do your job as quickly and efficiently as possible. They line up, you park them, they sod off for a bit, you park a few more, and then attempt to juggle the demands of those who want to leave and those who are continuing to arrive. Oh the pressure.
The fun bit isn't so much the driving and parking bit, but the cute avatars and knowing jingles that ape the rich and famous of that gaudy decade. One minute, A-ha's Morton Harket is asking you to take on his car, then it's Arnie reminding you he'll be back, then Bruce Willis barking at you to drive hard. You get the idea - or you will if you're over 25, anyway.
Over the course of the game's 12 levels, the goal is to earn enough dosh to buy yourself a smart car and retire to the beach for a life of leisure. Inevitably it doesn't quite work out like that, and it's back to parking spoiled famous folk's motors for a living.
Annoyingly, if you happen to fail any stage (or do what I did, and quit), the game makes you play the whole thing from the beginning. The spirit of the 1980s is strong in this one.
But such is the casual disregard for commercial considerations, it's hard not to feel a certain irrational fondness for this rather odd DSiWare nugget. There are much better things to blow 500 points on, but then you'll never get to hear the cheesy synth jingles, will you?