Save The Turtles
- DSiWare / 500 points (£4.50 / €5)
Being regularly proved utterly wrong is an occupational hazard of covering the download sector, and here's another example of a terrible-looking game turning out to be far more interesting than it seemingly has any right to be.
Despite its rather charmless kid-friendly veneer, Save The Turtles is a commentary on the fragility of nature, full of death and nerve-wracking torment as you tread a delicate tight rope in your quest to usher baby turtles to the relative safety of the sea.
Set on a beach, you use the stylus to sweep away the sand to reveal the egg, and then gently tap each one to hatch it. Once exposed to the elements, you then have to line them up with three of their (same-coloured) brethren in order to invoke the power of the waves and get swept out to the ocean.
Each of the 32 levels tasks you with saving a set number within a time limit, thereby prompting frantic tapping and scribbling as you attempt to simultaneously hatch and rearrange a whole gaggle of turtles before they all die. Faff around too long and the sun will start to roast them alive and make it impossible to move them, but move them too hastily and you might stumble into the jaws of a predator lurking beneath the sand.
The further you delve into Sabarasa's DSiWare gem, the more unforgiving it becomes, turning a pleasant diversion into something altogether more stressful and involving. For a mere 500 points, this is well worth digging into.
- DSiWare / 500 points (£4.50/€5)
Presumably when developer Arika isn't dreaming of playing in an Octopus' Garden, it's fondly remembering the glory days when men were men and gamers sat bug-eyed and took whatever 2D bullet hell games could throw at them. And came back for more.
These days, we're obviously all a complete bunch of lightweight pussies, crestfallen whenever a game deigns to kill us and doesn't checkpoint our progress. So maybe Metal Torrent is the perfect shoot-'em-up for the beaten generation.
Playable in what amounts to super easy or super hard mode, you can either choose to play the game the old fashioned instant-death way with the Blue Nova ship, or plump for the altogether more forgiving Red Orion ship.
With a screen-spanning cone of fire at your disposal, annihilating everything that moves with the Red Orion is an oddly perfunctory exercise, involving little more than basic avoidance tactics to steer out of the way of the regular hail of incoming bullets.
But to make matters even less engaging, the Red Orion can magically soak up bullets to an absurd degree, causing relatively superficial damage to your (recharging) energy reserves. Over the course of the game's eight 'phases', it's actually quite a challenge to lose a single ship and you'll likely never play it again once you're done.
On the other hand, you could just play the game 'properly' and take the blue pill, but with any stray bullet causing instant death, its appeal is likely to be exceptionally narrow. That said, if you've got an eye for twitch shooters and reckon you've got what it takes, then 500 points is a small price to pay.