Space Pirates And Zombies
- PC Steam £9.99.
If you want a job done properly, you do it yourself, so the grumbling mantra goes. This might not be such a smart idea when it comes to Ikea furniture assembly, admittedly, but when it comes to obscure gaming sub-sub-genres, developer MinMax Games might have a point.
Anyone looking high and low for top-down shooter/space strategy-RPGs hybrids this past 30 years might have been out of luck (correct me if I'm wrong). But that's part of the fun of ice cream pizza game development: sometimes it works out. Kinda.
In the case of Space Pirates And Zombies, what starts off as a simple deep-space mining mission quickly morphs into something altogether more interesting and elaborate, as you fend off pirates and gather up enough resources to improve your ramshackle fleet of ragtag nobodies.
OK, so the initially flimsy combat is off-putting, the sub-menus sprawl, and the lack of joypad support is a bit of an annoying oversight in 2011, but if you can put the nit comb down long enough to delve into the game's unfurling campaign, there's a grand vision worthy of investigation.
Beyond the initial shooter frippery is an involving tactical side of the game, where commanding a fleet and issuing commands becomes progressively important. There's also an absolute treasure trove of stuff to do, see and unlock: 30-odd ships, dozens of parts, a vast number of increasingly steely missions, factions to align with or fight against... and the promise of a zombie ecosystem. Well, quite.
It takes a while for Space Pirates And Zombies to really play its hand, but that's the trouble with something so wilfully creative - it takes time to peel away the layers. But if you make the effort, it's worth the effort.
- DSiWare - 800 DSiWare points /£5.40.
There's a reluctant acceptance within the downloadsphere that ideas are going to be repackaged and recycled even more than they are in the world of Big Bastard Budget Blockbusters(TM). That's the way it goes. But, seriously, what's the point of making a knock-off that's so enormously terrible it can be seen from outer space?
The stunt-racing Kikstart/Trials template has proved predictably popular over the past couple of years, but that's hardly surprising. It's an age-old formula that can provide endless OCD leaderboard fun in the right hands.
But the usually reliable Chillingo clearly had a bit of an off day with Moto eXtreme, to put it politely.
Even on the most basic level it fails to drag itself out of the mire, with haphazard handling and regrettable collision detection conspiring to ensure that any enjoyment you eke out of it will be entirely coincidental.
You might force yourself through each of the 32 levels in dutiful search of the stars contained within, but at some point you'll probably get snagged on, or more accurately within, a chunk of scenery and emit a chuckle of sympathy.
But any residual goodwill for what was intended quickly drains with every incident of incompetence, and you're left to reflect on an irrelevant addition that's priced with all the misguided optimism of a T-shirt wearing Englishman in summer.