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Dead Block

When the zombie apocalypse comes, I'm going to be absolutely no use to anyone. I'll be too busy trying to safeguard my record collection and rare C64 floppy disks to bother dismantling furniture and setting up elaborate traps.

It's probably this tendency to get distracted by the detail that makes me so hapless at zombie smashers like Dead Block.

Ideally, you're supposed to diligently board up doors and windows, lay slabs of meat on electrical heaters and find enough loose change to pump into nearby jukeboxes. Yes, because the inherent power of early rock'n'roll has the ability to make the undead spontaneously jive around your dining room. Something to keep in mind.

deadblock

Zom-bomb.

So in the self-consciously wacky world of Dead Block, you spend most of your time studiously breaking home furniture into bits, and the rest setting up makeshift traps and rifling through assorted junk in the hope of finding the objects that will eventually enable you plug in your guitar and rock these zombies to death.

With just a smidgen more subtlety it might have worked, but the cod 1950s B-movie horror shtick is rammed home in CAPITAL LETTERS and SHOUTY VOICES at EVERY OPPORTUNITY to the point where you just want to tell Digital Reality to just PLEASE SHUT UP.

It doesn't help that game seems incapable of making the basics fun. So much of your time is spent tediously smashing things up and searching for objects that you'd at least hope that decking the undead might be enjoyable, but no. The flimsy combat compounds the issue, and far from providing the amusing romp intended, it just flails along like a windmilling child.

If the core actually worked, split-screen multiplayer might have been a riot, but it's unlikely too many of your buddies are going to be drawn into a poor man's Call of Duty Zombies.

4/10

Dead Block gameplay trailer

Kirby's Dream Land

  • 3DS eShop - 3.40/3.99/$3.99

It's probably tantamount to heresy around these parts to admit that you prefer the Kirby games to the Mario ones, but there. I've said it. Bite me.

Having recently wallowed in the quilty salubriousness of Kirby's Epic Yarn, going back to the source of this pinky wonderland could have been a sullen reminder of the days before colour was considered a basic requirement for handheld gaming.

But the great thing about the best Game Boy titles is that such trifling matters cease to be important the moment you start playing.

kirby

Suck it and see.

Like Super Mario Land, Donkey Kong and Link's Awakening, Kirby's Dream Land (re)opens your eyes to what a capable little system Nintendo's humble machine really was. More specifically, it neatly illustrates how important HAL Laboratory was to Nintendo.

That said, despite Kirby's Dream Land being a great little game with adorable sprites and tight, inventive mechanics, it's just that: little. Just five stages are present, making it the kind of game you'll rip through in a matter of an hour without breaking sweat. Sure, there are multiple routes to explore and bonuses to discover, but that's clutching at straws.

And with that in mind, the dreaded issue of price rears its ugly head. While the likes of Donkey Kong and Zelda more than justify the asking price, this is little more than a demo by comparison. You'll enjoy it while it lasts, but for 3.40, Nintendo can dream on.

6/10

Kirby's Dream Land video

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