- PC - Steam £5.39.
With a title as knowingly bland as "Alien Hallway", you might expect it to fool us all and be a sprawling space opera with consequence and morals. But no. The joke's on us: Sigma Team's latest is set in a hallway, where aliens endlessly pour out of a teleporter and try to feast on your brains.
In a basic sense, we're dealing with a tank-rush Tower Defence of sorts, where building endless units of all kinds as quickly as you can is about as strategic as it gets.
The early levels hint at a sort of Plants vs. Zombies level of strategy, where resource-gathering takes initial precedence over gung-ho assault. Once things get going, though, you have little choice but to arm up with flamethrower dudes, lob some grenades and get stuck in.
A few minutes down the line and you'll have inched forward enough to take down said teleporter. And with that achieved, the respawn ends, and it's off to the shop to spend your winnings on upgrades before the next corridor-based excursion.
Such is the minimal difficulty, though, that every level plays out roughly the same way. A more varied selection of aliens appear in increasing numbers, but the same all-out assault tactics work every time.
If Alien Hallway bothered to adopt the 'lanes' system of PvZ, it might have worked, but instead this headlong battle quickly descends into a repetitive brawl of little consequence.
Fighting Fantasy: Talisman of Death
- PSN Minis - (£3.49)
To prove how much of an old bastard I really am, my recollection of Fighting Fantasy books actually predates owning a home gaming system. I'd like to think that, in some small way, Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's Choose Your Own Adventure books inspired my love of video games - or at least my love of creaky text adventures.
Turning the concept into an oddball text adventure-RPG hybrid is both logical and endearingly unhinged all at the same time. It would have made sense in 1984, at least, but it was 'interesting' to witness how Laughing Jackal (yes, them again) could make a video game interpretation of something that crafted an adventure out of multiple choice.
In Talisman of Death, the adventure progresses in much the same way as one of the books, with a brief description of your scenario, followed by a few choices, and the corresponding page to turn to. So far so trad.
For a while, it follows the same formula, but once you get to actually fight people you can engage in a bit of turn-based RPG-lite to decide the outcome.
Faced with a hex grid, the tiles flip for a brief moment to give you a glimpse of the possible outcomes. Once they flip back, it's up to you to pick one and determine whether you land a hit, or get hit yourself. The harder the opponent, the fewer chances there are to pick a 'safe' tile.
If you succeed, you can move on with the story and continue to walk headlong into trouble even when you're trying to be careful. You'll pick up things you assume will be helpful, only to turn into a mouthy moron, or try to be bold when you're clearly out of your depth. You'll probably not do very well, but it doesn't matter.
The way the game manages to weave simple RPG mechanics on top of the narrative works surprisingly well, even if, ultimately, it all feels like a curious throwback to the days when even the most basic graphics were something of a luxury.
If you weren't schooled in the dark art of multiple-choice, narrative-based adventuring, then the chances are you weren't much of a nerd in the eighties. If, like me, you stood in WH Smiths thumbing through The Warlock of Firetop mountain for larks, then it has a disproportionate allure. Like the man says, choose your own adventure.