Another week, another clutch of interesting games fall into my grateful paws. Obviously Limbo has already had its moment in the sun, and deserves all the plaudits coming its way. But that's not the only game you should be considering this week.
Top of the heap is undoubtedly Q-Games' 3D Space Tank, a DSiWare game of such excellence it's a wonder Nintendo didn't go the whole hog and turn it into a boxed product - or, hey, hold it back for the 3DS.
Elsewhere, it's a bit of an eighties tribute this week, with the likes of Astro Dodge, Miner Disturbance and Crossfire all revisiting familiar retro concepts and giving them an interesting twist - with mixed results.
3D Space Tank (a.k.a. X-Scape)
- DSiWare / 800 DSi Points (Ł7.20)
Back in 1992, the humble Game Boy wasn't exactly famous for 3D shooters. Given its meagre innards, it was a task roughly akin to asking a poodle to tap dance while quoting Shakespeare. Backwards. But that's more or less what Argonaut's Dylan Cuthbert managed to eke out of the humble Nintendo handheld with the seminal X.
No doubt personally offended that Nintendo never bothered to release X outside of Japan, Cuthbert and his Kyoto-based Q-Games outfit have decided to belatedly redress the balance by releasing a hugely enjoyable sequel (known, bizarrely, as 3D Space Tank in Europe, rather than X-Scape).
Featuring a slick touchscreen control system broadly similar to that featured in the excellent Dementium, you zip around a series of stylish environments, blasting enemies, hacking terminals, collecting energy orbs, opening up warp gates and generally whizzing around the galaxy righting wrongs. Like a proper space hero should.
Missions rattle along at a pleasing pace, and before you know it you're increasingly drawn into working your way up the ranks, upgrading your ship, and taking on side missions to unlock what is a surprisingly big and deceptively challenging game.
But what's really pleasing is how much effort has been put into conjuring a unique-looking title. With its endearingly eccentric colour schemes, you'll swear the team is trying its best to come up with combinations that will fry your eyes out of their sockets. Mmm, orange and green.
There have been quite a few really promising DSiWare titles of late, but none come even close to matching 3D Space Tank. If it was a boxed title, I'd have no trouble recommending it, but as a download game for under a tenner, it's essential.