- Xbox Live Indie Games / 80 Microsoft Points (Ł0.68 / €0.96)
Good news for cackling sadists this week: it turns out that being beaten repeatedly over the head has positive benefits after all, if this delightfully off-beat slice of bullet hell is anything to go by. Having been aggressively manhandled by all and sundry into taking a look at YO1 Komori's chaotic shmup, I concede they were right all along: it's bloody great.
Available for a ridiculously generous 80 points over on the distressingly overpopulated Xbox Live Indie Games channel, the game initially gives the impression of being just another restless stab at the age-old vertical shooter. With abstract psychedelia spewing forth dizzying patterns and snaking tendrils, it's the kind of game you can imagine Jeff Minter, Treasure and Tetsuya Mizuguchi collaborating on after a hard night on the mushies.
But beneath the visual freak-out lies something deserving of more than a cursory glance thanks to its cunning weapon system. Simply trying to blast your way out of trouble hardly ever works, as the play area becomes swamped with bullets and quickly breaches your feeble defences. Gradually, it becomes apparent that certain sections work best with a particular weapon, such as the Homing device when you need to circle-strafe an enemy, or the Snow gun when you need maximum shield protection from a blizzard of bullets.
Knowing when best to deploy firepower versus using your tentacle-style shields turns Prismatic Solid into a more strategic affair. With its often stunning backdrops and polygonal beauty set to thumping electronica, Prismatic Solid will put you in the perfect mindset before you board the Friday night Shame Train. Toot toot!
- PC (Steam) / Ł6.99
If the idea of Lumines x Bejeweled + Audiosurf has you frothing uncontrollably then Turba could well be your new favourite indie puzzle game.
Unleashed on Steam this week, it's one of those puzzle games that literally clicks immediately, as you aim to clear a screenful of coloured tiles to the beat of your favourite tunes.
Available in three subtly different modes, the core match-three premise involves fast and precise mouse control as you whizz around the playing area attempting to combine three or more of the same-coloured tiles. With high scoring the priority, you have to try and select as many tiles of each colour as quickly as you can, before clearing the combo with a click of the right mouse button. Repeatedly clear your combos to the beat of the music, and you'll clock up even bigger scores.
Although Turba comes with its own selection of tunes, you can also import your own direct from your PC, or plug in your Last.fm account details and choose songs there. With numerous unlockables and online leaderboards to fight it out on, this is a fine first attempt from developer Binary Takeover, and well worth losing a few hours to.