Geometry Wars: Galaxies
- Release date: Late 2007
If the throwaway Geometry Wars Waves game bundled with Project Gotham Racing 4 on Xbox 360 is anything to go by, Bizarre Creations was right to try and extend the two-stick shooter formula it found so much success with on Xbox Live Arcade. Waves (amazingly deemed too insubstantial to actually be sold on its own) sees players trying to weave through increasingly nasty lines of encroaching enemies that weave back and forth like explosive cross-stitch.
Galaxies, meanwhile, extends the concept to fill out a range of levels - "battle grids" - across a single-player campaign, and even introduces multiplayer Retro Evolved. If Galaxies can recapture the precision of control and gorgeous, constantly varying action gameplay of its fabled predecessor, then it could be more than the cult hit Retro Evolved arguably remains despite its deep penetration among Live Arcade enthusiasts.
Sky ports: You may have heard that there's a DS version of Galaxies too. Well, they can be linked up, combine leaderboards and unlock content in one another too.
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games
- Release date: 23rd November
Much as we love dear old SEGA, we didn't have high hopes for this. It's a sports game with the Mario and Sonic characters in it, among others, and has "mini-game compilation" written all over it (which is quite impressive when you consider how many words are in the title). But every time we hear more our cynicism drops a little, and the prospect of being able to compete as your Miis in a series of Dream Events has us tweaking most unpleasantly. We've spent 12 months building an army of Miis, you see. What else was there to do?
Other events for proper characters (like Bowser - rrrrra) include the hammer throw, running, jumping and all that nonsense, and controls will of course be Wiimote and Nunchuk based. 100 metres sprinting, for example, involves shaking the Wiimote and Nunchuk alternately in a sort of running action. Which raises an interesting possibility: is this the spiritual Track & Field successor that Kristan really needs so he can shut up about retro games and get down with the kids? It could be. Or it might still be rubbish. Hope not.
Need a little: One of the lesser promoted bits of Mario & Sonic is the random drug test game where you have to tie the Nunchuk cable around your upper arm, slap your veins a bit and then gradually draw the Wiimote back until [this isn't going to get the piece finished any quicker - Ed].
LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
- Release date: 9th November
I still remember when I first played Lego Star Wars. It was another disc on the pile. I vaguely remembered some people at a trade show "raving" about it, but then people say the craziest things at trade shows especially when they're ten Rogue Ops for goodness sake what was I drunk? Anyway, Lego Star Wars involves guiding cute little brick men around the galaxy far, far away using hokey religions to reassemble Lego bricks in a beautiful, addictively gorgeous manner that revives your childhood love of building things without any actual graft.
Not only is The Complete Saga a welcome compilation of the first two excellent games (both of which were funnier than Kiefer is a pirate), but the Wii version allows you to use the Wiimote as a sort of imaginary lightsaber, which is exactly what Satoru Iwata and Shigeru Miyamoto designed it for even if they don't quite remember (they didn't need to see our identification). Here's hoping that Traveller's Tales keeps up the high quality of the first two, because if they do then you have something even better to do than doing Google Image Searches for Carrie Fisher when you inevitably watch Empire Strikes Back on Christmas Eve and "need to pop upstairs for a bit" afterward.
Luke be a Jedi toniiiiight: Ellie has a friend who, if I remember correctly, has a) written a book about Star Wars and b) genuinely thinks the Trilogy of Shame are almost uniformly brilliant and full of subtle nods and lines that tuck extremely cleverly into all the nooks and crannies left in the original three films. But he is a nice man so ridiculing him seems mean.