It says a lot about the health of the downloadable gaming sector that you could probably do one of these roundups every single day and still not cover everything. As Americans refuse to say, let's do the maths.
Most weeks we get two Xbox Live Arcade games, about five DSiWare titles, a couple of WiiWare games, maybe a Virtual Console addition or two, usually three PSN Minis, two or more full PSN titles, numerous unannounced Xbox Live Indie titles and goodness knows how many Steam offerings. Turn your back on Apple's App Store for a couple of weeks, and you'll be wading through several dozen across iPad and iPhone. Factor in those on other mobile platforms and the endless Flash games and independent PC games, and it's tough just to keep up, never mind try them all out. For any developers who are wondering why we haven't reviewed your game yet, we're doing our best!
With that in mind, we're always grateful for suggestions for gems that we might have overlooked. Take Prismatic Solid: released back in March, the sheer volume of mentions for this game made us finally go and take a look, and it was well worth it.
- WiiWare / 1000 Wii Points (Ł7 / €10)
11 years on, people still feel the need to party like it's 1999. That's OK. I rather liked the days before social networking, comment threads and Big Brother, too. You were forced to thumb the racks in high street stores before buying anything. You could smoke in pubs and spend an entire evening arguing about something you could now Google in five seconds. You could also buy 37 different games where you got to jump around jolly 3D worlds, collecting coins and stomping on bad guy's heads. Good times.
Who can blame German studio Shin'en for wanting to relive this era with such devoted zeal? 3D platformers are now officially retro, right? Available for a mere Ł7, it's also officially unfair to moan about how derivative it is. Don't they call rip-offs "tributes" these days? If so, this is a worthy celebration of the past.
With more than a nod to Rare's glorious late-nineties peak, you guide a wee fellow called Jett Rocket around regulation environments (Arctic? Check. Tropical? Check. Swamps? Check), gathering up coins, stomping on nasty critters, activating machinery and bashing gigantic buttons. There's not one single new idea or mechanic we haven't seen before. And that's just fine.
The important thing is that it's all rather good fun, right down to the level design, colour palette and even the sound effects. If gaming archaeologists were to unearth this in 1000 years' time, they'd carbon date it 11 years too early. Don't judge them, it's an easy mistake to make.