Now that we're wedged firmly in summer's grip, that usually means only one thing: an appalling absence of decent boxed releases to see us through till September.
That's fine if you're off on holiday to soak up the sun, but for those of us too disorganised to arrange a summer break, the prospect of high-quality download treats takes on a greater significance than usual.
Microsoft seems to be aware of this, and over the past few years has made a big deal of its Summer Of Arcade line-up, with the likes of Limbo, Trials, Braid, Lara Croft And The Guardian Of Light and Geometry Wars 2 gracing the past few years.
But what of this year? Well, the legendary Another World creator Eric Chahi is makes a long-awaited return with the impressive From Dust, then there's the crazed Fruit Ninja Kinect, and of course Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet to name but three.
But those are weeks away. Just as well this week has some good stuff in the shape of personal favourite Puzzle Dimension (now out on PSN), alongside the predictably great Galaga Legions DX and PC puzzler Critical Mass. Gaaaaames.
Galaga Legions DX
- Xbox Live Arcade - 800 Microsoft Points (£6.80)
- Coming soon to PSN
After Pac-Man CE was given a shot of pure adrenaline, it was probably expecting too much for Namco Bandai to transform Galaga Legions into a similar work of genius for its DX reincarnation.
As much of an assault on the senses as the 2008 original was, it never quite had people bellowing from the rooftops in the same way as the furiously addictive Pac-Man remake. Maybe we just prefer eating things to shooting them.
The answer this time appears to be broadly in line with Pac-Man CE's DX approach: make it easier, faster, and give you more of it. Early impressions suggest that it's a direction worth going in.
At the core, Galaga Legions DX remains a relentless fireworks display where the focus is firmly on clearing up each wave as quickly as possible. Vast swathes of enemies swarm onto the screen threateningly, but dispatching them is often about being brave and focusing on getting rid of the bigger troublemakers. Smash those up and the others blow away like litter.
The more efficient you are, the more points there'll be and the more you can revel in leaderboard-related glory. You know how this works.
To keep you plugging away, the DX edition now features nine areas to plough through, each with five waves to clear, along with the headline Championship mode and a Time Attack mode that allows you to focus on each and every wave, should you wish to prove your worth definitively.
It all adds up to an exceptionally accessible package that fools you into thinking you're doing well - until you observe your pitiful online ranking. But like Pac Man CE DX, hours of saucer-eyed commitment lie in wait, whether you like it or not.
- PSN £7.99
- Previously released on PC and Mac (Steam)
Exactly one year ago, I got justifiably excited about Doctor Entertainment's delightful ball-rolling brain-melter.
Set to a sunny backdrop of chirpy chiptunes, it starts off suspiciously innocuous with the simple goal of rolling a ball around a series of pixelated, three-dimensional environments, picking sunflowers.
On the face of it, it hardly sounds like the sort of thing to make you forget to get dressed on a summer Saturday, but it's the quiet ones you have to watch.
Once it starts throwing in collapsing floor tiles, bounce pads, fiery grills and an understanding of 3D spatial visualisation, the whole thing kicks up a notch, and you're forced to figure out the one route that doesn't result in agonising death.
As if 100 levels of enormously satisfying puzzling wasn't enough, PS3 owners have the added bonus of stereoscopic 3D support to brag about. For once, the extra depth genuinely enhances the appeal.
If you missed out on one of the finest puzzle games to grace the download scene, then don't make the same mistake twice. Puzzle Dimension demands a place in your heart.
- Xbox Live Arcade - 800 Microsoft Points (£6.80)
It might be more than two decades since the glory days of the venerable side-scrolling beat-'em-up, but you can always bank on a new one washing up on the download shores like a hairy castaway. Case in point: Lucha Fury.
Punchers Impact's lumbering, Mexican-wrestling-flavoured slugfest starts as it means to go on - with minimal finesse, scores of predictable enemies and similarly brainless boss battles.
Unlike, say, the sparky Comic Jumper, there's no attempt to do anything different whatsoever. For the most part, Lucha Fury appears to be some sort of elaborate test of your boredom threshold. Despite offering up the promise of unlockable moves, progress involves little more than simply stabbing the X button and occasionally belly flopping them until everything deigns to stop bloody respawning.
Whenever you're in danger of having your progress cut short, the game comes to the rescue by placing health-restoring chickens in front of you to kick, but you'd probably rather it put you out of your misery. Midway through the game's 11 stages, there's a sense that it's content to simply ape everything that Capcom and Sega mastered years ago - but it even manages to screw that up.
The promise of four-player co-op ought to salvage something from the wreckage, but with only local play to 'enjoy', and a curious absence of drop-in/drop-out play, it's unlikely too many will want to suffer the tedium.
The net result is a relatively pretty update of the classic formula, but one that lacks the soul or spirit to make it even vaguely interesting. If you enjoy poor facsimiles of gaming's past, go right ahead. The rest of us can point and laugh.
- PC (Steam) £6.99
If one were to judge a game based on screenshots alone, Critical Mass would most likely be wrongly accused of crimes against Rubik's Cubes.
But being a fair-minded individual, I listened to the appeal for clemency from developer Manic Game Studios and instantly absolved Critical Mass of all charges against it.
Foolish childhood prejudices are swept away as you're drawn into what amounts to the systematic clickfest destruction of a meddlesome three-dimensional cluster of cubes.
Via the magic of match-three mechanics (well, match-four-or-more if we're striving for correctness), your task is to reunite individual cubes with their like-coloured friends, and try to swiftly eliminate whole lot in the process. If you don't, the angry clusters shake, expand and explode right in your face. Charming.
The only solution to this malaise? Start over and do better next time with swift, precision placement.
You're aided in this frantic process by a slick control system that enables you to rotate the playing field by holding down the left mouse button and dragging in any given direction. Once you're set, placing new cubes into the fray is just a matter of pointing and clicking.
Beyond that, the only limit is your reaction time, and levels come and go in a blur of furrowed, block-dropping concentration.
With progression comes complication; the 'reward' is an increasingly elaborate array of structures to systematically dismantle. Rare power-ups help take some of the heat away when it really matters, but most of the time it's down to you to stem the tide.
And once you've had your fill of the level-based Classic mode, three more (Survival, Rush and Meditation) add further means of losing your day.
Despite - or possibly because of - its simple premise, Critical Mass is a game that's hard to put down once you get into a groove, and its a game we're likely to see a lot more of on handheld platforms once word gets around.
- PC and Mac (Steam) - £6.99. Free demo available.
Sometimes a game comes so far out of left field, there's no easy way to sum it up without making it sound like an exercise in wilful obfuscation - so bear with me on this one.
Creators Smestorp describes Vertex Dispenser, rather chillingly, as "an abstract real-time strategy game with mathematical puzzle elements." Possibly not the way I'd have sold it, but it's accurate, if instantly off-putting.
Appearances can be deceptive. In rather simpler terms, it's essentially a quick-fire land-grab affair, where the main goal of each level is to capture 'territory' by moving a ship around a geometric surface and taking on rival ships.
Capturing tiles is simply a case of directing your ship between vertices (the interconnecting blobs) and joining up each side. Once you do so on all three sides, the territory becomes yours and colours in accordingly.
While you're busy whizzing around, painting each territorial slice, a number of special abilities become available, and deploying them with timely efficiency is an increasingly necessary part of tipping the territorial tug of war in your favour.
Some, for example, act as defensive sentries to ward off incoming threats, while others enable you to soften up enemy territory to make it easier to capture, or perhaps instantly capture all surrounding tiles in one fell swoop. Meanwhile, your opponent(s) are all busy doing the same thing, so it can take a concerted effort before they eventually succumb.
Once you've got the basic mechanics down, Vertex Dispenser settles into a relatively comfortable groove - as comfortable as it can be to occupy abstract geometric shapes. And with campaign and puzzle modes to conquer and team-based multiplayer to explore, it's a concentrated dose of twisted real-time strategy for your money.