Animal Color Cross
- DSiWare / 500 points (£4.50)
There are two suggested requirements for appreciating Little Worlds Studios' latest DSiWare release: one, you go to bed at night with after-images of Picross puzzles burned onto your retinas, and, two, you're a sucker for cuddly animal pictures. [John Walker would give it 10/10 then - Ed.]
Despite looking for all the world like another utterly throwaway, cheap Nonogram knock-off, it's evidently a gameplay formula that's impossible to screw up.
If you've never played any of Nintendo's many Picross titles, this is as good a place to start as any. Presented with a simple grid, you have to fill in squares with the correct colour to reveal the animal picture beneath as quickly as possible.
To help you fill in the picture are a series of numbers down the side and across the top, each corresponding to how many squares of the respective colour are required in each column or row, and the general idea is to gradually deduce the correct colour based on the information available to you. Each wrong guess incurs a time penalty, so it's vital not to be too hasty.
Complete with 72 grids to unpick, the boast of 50 hours of gameplay is probably not far from the truth, and for the sake of a few quid you'll get to feel good about freeing cute furry things.
Omium - 2 Player Shooter
- iPad / £0.59
What's that coming over the hill? Is it the inevitable barrage of novelty iPad titles knocked up quick-smart to take full advantage of the pent-up demand for something vaguely original? Why, you massive cynic, you.
Amusingly rated 9+ for its "infrequent/mild cartoon or fantasy violence", NimbleBit's two-player shooter intriguingly puts one of you in the role of the Bad Guy, while the other is presumably defending the very fate of mankind (or playing in goal for England).
By simply tapping the top portion of the screen, one of you rains moody-faced blocks down on your opponent like some sort of lunatic Space Invaders dispenser, while the one controlling the spaceship returns fire and dodges nimbly for as long as possible. With a limited supply of Bad Guys at your disposal, the aggressor can either rapidly tap to try and fill the screen with enemies, or hold a finger down to make the Bad Guys grow larger.
With its ultra-retro monochrome styling and extreme minimalist approach, it's a game you'll probably expect to be amazing. Sadly, the novelty wears off in a matter of seconds rather than minutes, and as soon as your opponent regularly unleashes the drumming fingers of death down upon you, it ceases to be a fair fight.
The presence of three subtly different modes (Dodge, Juggle and Infinite) twists the rules a touch, but its lustre soon diminishes. What you're left with is the skeleton of a cute idea, but for the price, that's probably fair enough.