The 2D Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character
- Minis - Free (timed PlayStation Plus exclusive). Available to buy soon for £2.49.
If you simply call your game The 2D Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character, everyone immediately knows where they stand and can get on with their lives like enlightened citizens.
So there you are, rolling an Octopus around the edges of simple 2D environments, trying to rescue your pals while avoiding the inevitable hostile sentries.
Unable to quell his rotational urges, the cheery-eyed Octopus moves continuously and can only do two things: change direction or jump. With that in mind, getting around proves to be a rather more exacting process of anticipation than it might otherwise be - especially once you move on to later levels.
Suddenly it's no longer about cheerfully rolling around making adorable noises. It's time to show off your long-dormant 1980s gaming chops and get ready for precision jumping as you dislodge obstacles and avoid imminent one-touch death by an Octowhisker.
It might look cuter than a kitten, but Rotating Octopus can be just as savage when it wants to be. And we still love it, fools that we are.
Red Johnson's Chronicles
- PSN - £4.00 to PlayStation Plus subscribers. £7.99 to non-members.
It's nice that we no longer have to carp on about the sad demise of the adventure game. It's back for good. Here to stay. And various other appropriate song titles.
As is so often the case in the world of point-and-clickery, someone is dead. Mysterious dark forces did it, and you're damned well going to pore over every pixel to find out who's responsible and bring them to justice.
Despite trying its best to shake up the tired formula, Red Johnson gets off to a pretty dreadful start. Stuck at a murder scene, the game resolutely refuses to move on until you finally figure out the relevant hot spot to click on, while hearing the same stock pieces of dialogue when you try to do anything outside of its narrow focus.
If you're not already tired of the woolly-hatted investigator within the first chapter, then the lazy stereotyping of Saul, your streetwise, superfly hint provider, will probably tip you over the edge.
Assuming you can put up with that kind of nonsense, the game at least nudges in the right direction with its interesting and challenging puzzle system.
Rather than opt for the thoroughly worn-out 'combine X with Y' inventory system, each of the game's problems takes the form of thorough object examination and manipulation, followed by analysis and comparison tasks once you're back at your HQ.
Each and every problem feels fresh, though it's a flawed system that can sometimes venture into rather obscure territory - and if you're stumped, Saul's hints mostly state the bleedin' obvious.
With its clumsy dialogue threatening to ruin everything at every turn, Lexis Numerique's high-gloss offering is a challenge to play - but perhaps not always for the reasons the developers intended. When it's good, it's great, but when it's bad, you might want to wear a gum shield to stop you grinding your teeth to stumps.