In this week's roundup, intrepid digital warrior Kristan Reed presents us with a more diverse range of downloadable delights than ever.
- Xbox Live Arcade Indie, 80 Microsoft Points
Presented with the monochromatic grace of a mid-1970s science experiment, Flipside is the kind of stark and brutal experience you can imagine Kraftwerk composing a sprawling trance opus about.
On one side of the screen, you pilot a black ship on a white background with the left stick. On the other, you simultaneously steer a white ship on a black background with the right stick.
The respectful speed of the first level initially fools you into imagining that such feats of dual-brained co-ordination might not be beyond your poor ailing mind. Carving a path between the respective gates feels almost manageable - or at least something you might get better at with practice.
But with a jump in speed that sends you from Sunday drive to warp drive in the space of a single level, the ability to stay alive for more than a few seconds soon becomes deeply impressive. To illustrate how improbably difficult the game had become, we decided to experiment (read: cheat) and play the game with two players. With each player focusing on controlling a ship each, progress was still regularly thwarted thanks to one or the other of us snagging our poor fragile craft on a wall.
No doubt some crazed duo-brained gamer with insect-like twitch reactions can play this with their eyes closed, but for the rest of humanity, this is one of those indie gaming experiments that we can only admire piteously from the sidelines. Still, for 64 pence, the admiration comes cheap.
Crap of Defense
- iPhone, Lite version free, full version Ł1.19
Benefiting from a nice line in self-deprecation and gorgeous scrapbook visuals, this amusingly billed 'worst game ever' is actually another annoyingly addictive twist on the tower defence premise.
You're armed with a single missile-spewing tank in the corner of the screen, and the idea is to try and thwart the oncoming hordes by repeatedly blasting them into oblivion. With a rotatable turret controlled by your left thumb, you simply position the direction of your shot while charging up the power, then point where you want it to land with your right thumb. Simple.
Represented by crude child-like drawings, enemy units march in varying formations, dodging obstacles in a relentless onslaught that threatens to overwhelm your destructive capabilities. With kill targets to reach or time limits to survive, each challenge quickly descends into a merciless frenzy of well-timed blasts as you try desperately to stem the tide. Meanwhile, careful deployment of limited special attacks or one-time power ups help give you the edge, though can also work against you if you mistakenly activate them in a moment of thoughtless panic.
With 24 levels to work through, and a entire Winter Assault campaign thrown in as an added bonus, Crap Of Defense boasts untold hours of palpitating fun for its paltry asking price. And while hardly changing the world with its startling originality, it gets our vote for its endearing style.