Maestro! Green Groove
- DSiWare / 500 DSi Points (£4.50)
- iPhone / £0.59
If at first you don't succeed, bung it out again on DSiWare, as the saying doesn't, but probably should, go. You might remember that in the dim, distant fog of November, Maestro: Jump In Music came out to a ripple of applause. Well, now here it is again, in a somewhat cheaper, slimmer form.
Identical to the boxed version of the charming musical platformer, the premise is to essentially strum strings in time to the music as Presto marches across a series of vibrant scrolling environments. Enemies float past, necessitating a similarly spot-on tap, as you act as conductor to the jolly bird's actions.
By the end of your giddy jaunt, you receive a grading, which ultimately dictates whether you can bound along to the next stage and eventually meet the boss. Played out like a series of Simon-says tests, in boss fights you have to match the precise timing by playing it back in order to inflict damage on your gigantic foe.
Although it's shorn of a few licensed tracks (such as Madness' Our House, sadly), Maestro remains a charming curiosity - though the enormous price disparity between the DSiWare and the iPhone is just plain curious.
- Minis (PS3 and PSP) / £3.49
- iPhone / £1.79
Game developers seem to work on the assumption that we need at least four new tower defence variants every week. Presumably someone's buying them all, or else there are going to be an awful lot of destitute developers out there in the near future. The latest candidate to roll onto our fast-moving conveyor belt is the Minis version of Digital Goldfish's popular Flash game and iPhone title, Bloons TD.
It may have escaped our attention the first (and even second) time around, but now thrust into the thoroughly suitable realms of Mini-dom, it's easy to see why people are making such a fuss about what would appear to be a straightforward twist on the popular sub-genre.
In this case, 'twist' is the operative word, as you're tasked with preventing a procession of coloured balloons from snaking their way down a twisty-turny passage. If you prefer, you can think of the balloons as Skittles snaking their way down your intestines, and your role is as the dispenser of appropriate gastric fluid. It would probably make more sense, anyway.
At your disposal are a clutch of weapons, such as dart- and boomerang-throwing monkeys, or spike-emitting towers, or ice towers that temporarily freeze the oncoming foe. With a limited stock of funds, you have to place your weapons wisely, and then commence the round, ever-hopeful of stopping the relentless march in its tracks.
Ultimately, the idea is to survive 50 rounds of balloon punishment, and then try your luck at one of the other 14 maps (nine of which are new to this version). There's not a huge amount of difference between them all, but when you've got a game as curiously transfixing as this, it hardly matters. The music appears to be specifically designed to drive you insane, though, so best play with it turned down if you want to remain a functional human being.
Typically, as soon as you think you've had your fill of Tower Defence, another one comes along to remind you of why so many of them exist. Resistance is futile.