PSP Roundup • Page 3

Vegas, Puzzle World, Hot Brain, SBK-07 and Xiaolin Showdown.

SBK-07: Superbike World Championship

Motorbike games have a reputation for being strictly for the hardcore. Much like Formula 1 games, they're almost always technically detailed titles with little time for brainless weekend gamers who just wanna make stuff go fast and hurr hurr hurr.

With Sony's Moto GP failing to impress on the PSP, there's certainly a gap in the market and Black Bean's more down and dirty take on the world of Superbikes may have come along at the right time. It's an almost exact port of the PS2 version, which crossed the line with a decent 7/10 back in May. The number of racers on the track has dipped from 22 to just 14, but considering they're all based on real Superbike riders that's still not too shabby.

sbk

SBK-07. The answer to the question "What's hard and covered in leather?"

The game has even retained the numerous game modes, including the lairy weekend events which aim to simulate the cider-and-leather ambience of a full-on biker meet. That'll be why you can unlock photos of pouting "umbrella girls" then. You can also join up to four players in wireless races, though you'll have to supply your own faint smell of vomit, petrol and stale smoke.

Personally, I found the handling a touch too heavy for my tastes, with accurate cornering a skill that needs more practice than most fair-weather fans will want to bother with. Committed bike nuts, however, will be in hog heaven. That's hog as in "bike", obviously, not "bacon makers".

7/10

Xiaolin Showdown

If you claim to know what's going on here then you're either lying, seven-years-old or very, very creepy. It's yet another anime-flavoured TV spin-off, presumably from some incomprehensible show that's on fifty times a day on Cartoon Network or Fox Kids. Or Jetix. Whatever they call it these days.

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Xiaolin Showdown, aka Charlie Brown: the jaundice years.

Anyway, whatever its genesis, Xiaolin Showdown is a simple four-way melee game, with the aim being to grab as many Shen Gong Wu (power-ups, basically) before the other players. There are also bad guys (Jack Spicer and Chase Young, apparently) who are trying to stop you. Story missions - and I use both words loosely - segue into showdown arenas where everyone jumps around and kicks each other senseless. Again.

Shrill and confusing, it's clearly aimed at those who appreciate the TV show but I suspect even they'd be left wanting by the flimsy "run around and grab stuff" gameplay and muddled graphics here. During the showdown levels, your character can be only a few pixels high, for God's sake. It may not have the playground kudos of being based on a Japanese TV show, but Power Stone already has a lovely PSP version and the added advantage of being bloody great. Buy that instead. Little Timmy might grumble at first, but it's for his own good.

4/10

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