PSN Roundup: Comeback Special • Page 3

Armageddon! Red! King! Octopus! Siege!

Armageddon Riders

  • PSN - 7.99.
  • Coming soon to Xbox 360.

Soon after confirmation that Carmageddon is finally making a comeback... along comes a game that drives headlong towards the cankered corpse of Stainless' zombie-splattering racing relic at full pelt. Coincidence or spoiler?

In a business ram-jammed with, ahem, loving tributes, Targem Games wears its Carmageddon love like a soup sandwich. Set in a familiar sandbox environment, you get to drive around smearing zombie goop over your windshield, with the perennial option to dive into various race events at your leisure.

For the want of a less lazy comparison, this is a low-rent Burnout Zombie Paradise, with all the usual racing disciplines from straight-up circuit racing to elimination, as well as brutal takedowns.

4

Blood on the tracks.

The floaty handling model and overly forgiving boost system gives it an instant accessibility that some may warm to initially, but after you've won the tenth event in a row without really breaking sweat, excitement soon flatlines.

And don't be fooled by the PEGI 18 rating. Smashing into the shambling undead and slicing them up with your wheel-mounted blades might give it a perverse appeal, but it's wholly undermined by the uninspiring visual style and routine gameplay. Smashing into crowds of rancid flesh-eating zombies ought to be a terrifying life-or-death battle, not like shooting fish in a barrel.

4/10

Babel: The King of the Blocks

  • Minis - Free - PlayStation Plus exclusive.

When they're done well, simple shape-piling balance games can be inexplicably entertaining. Just look at Shin'en's overlooked WiiWare wonder The Art Of Balance.

5

Maybe not King of the blocks. More the prince.

Shorn of the excellent twisty-tilty controls of Wii, Stormbasic's Minis effort takes on a stripped-down form, but still manages to be more entertaining than you would reasonably expect from such an obviously low-budget offering.

Set atop a rickety bridge, the game's idea is to simply stack up the various shapes in your possession without causing any of them to a) fall over or b) touch your bridge.

Of course, the reality is somewhat trickier, with a skinny plinth to drop them onto and ill-fitting objects that delight in rolling into the abyss if you align them with their shapely pals without resolute exactitude.

Stacking them into improvised towers of dubious quality becomes an increasingly fraught process with every passing level, and it's small wonder that you invest painstaking minutes trying to do better than last time. You know you can. You just need one more chance to prove it. Just one.

7/10

Bonus Round: Also Out Now in the PlayStation Store

After nearly six weeks out of action, it was hardly surprising to see a lorry-load of content spilling out attractively. Here's the best of the rest.

  • Outland (7.99) - Probably the best game of the lot. A 2D platformer that's "pure design craftsmanship," according to Christian.
  • Parasite Eve 2 (5.49) - Forget the Third Birthday - survival horror completists would be better off checking out this PSone relic.
  • Space Ace (7.99) - In 1984, laser disc games looked like a glimpse into an impossible future. Now they just feel like clunky anomalies.
  • Wizardry: Labyrinth Of Lost Souls - ($14.99 - US only) Acquire's old-school JRPG favours first-person 3D grid dungeon exploration. As hardcore as it gets.
  • Red Faction Battlegrounds (Free to PlayStation Plus subscribers) - Rather dull top-down arena combat twin-stick shooter. Just as well it's free.
  • Bunny Dodge (2.49) - Dodge falling blocks as a bunny who wants to become the king of all the carrots. Seriously.
  • Drums Challenge (2.99) Another curious addition to the Minis, involving, shock, drums and challenges.
  • Puzzle Agent (7.99) - Arguably Telltale's best yet. Brilliant on PC. Great on iPad. Definitely worth owning on PS3 for a bit of unhinged Professor Layton-style nonsense.
  • Streets Of Rage 2 (Free to PlayStation Plus subscribers) - Always regarded as a true early-nineties classic, now a bit rubbish really. But don't let me ruin your nostalgia.
  • 20Q - (2.49) The popular 20 Questions premise knows what you're thinking: why on earth would I consider paying money for this?
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