How's this for generosity? 200 new levels for 200 Points (GBP 1.70 / EUR 2.16). That's one point per level. Admittedly, a level for N+ isn't quite the same undertaking as a new map for an FPS, but I'd wager the design work is no less impressive and the result is infinitely more charming.
The Xbox Live Arcade outing for Metanet's limber little ninja is already assured a spot in my favourites of the year, squeezing a well-earned 8/10 from my calcified heart back in March, so 150 new single-player levels and 50 new multiplayer maps - the first of four such packs - are a most welcome addition to the family.
The solo levels open with an apology directed towards "everyone still stuck on Master Control", referring to one of the more brutal levels in the original game. The first level, taking place beneath a giant "SORRY" is as easy as walking left to right. Things get considerably trickier, but this batch is deliberately less taxing than the rather daunting levels that came with the game. Even so, 150 of the buggers is more than an evening's work - and that's before you tackle the fifty multiplayer levels. Those are "regular" difficulty, by the way. You also get some new costumes for N himself, or rather two fetching hairstyles - Afro and Mohawk.
For 200 Points, it's the perfect amount of fun, intelligently parcelled up in just the right portions. Even if dedicated players will find the new solo levels none too challenging, there's a joy in simply seeing what ingenious new layout they'll come up with next.
And so we come to the part where I list a bunch of songs that you can download for guitar games, and you decide if you like them or not. Rock Band is at least mixing things up a little, with two new albums added to the line-up recently.
If you're not excited by the prospect of playing Doolittle by Pixies in its entirety, from Debaser through to Gouge Away, then I fear for your soul. Not only is it a great album, but a sign that the people choosing tracks for Rock Band are looking for more than just big stadium riffs. Doolittle is a great pop record, but it's also a weird pop record - constantly shifting the musical dynamic, with songs that come together in unexpected ways. It's a great choice and one that's both fun and challenging to play, without being impossible. God help the poor sods who have to try and match Black Francis on the microphone though. Theirs is the toughest job, and I Bleed and Tame both earn their throat-mangling high-tier status for vocalists. Doolittle is 1520 Points (GBP 12.92 / EUR 16.43) for fourteen tracks, and all tracks are also available separately for 160 Points (GBP 1.36 / EUR 1.73).
For the more traditional rocker, The Who joined the fray in the middle of July with the 12-track Best of The Who collection for 1600 Points (GBP 13.60 / EUR 19.20). Yes, that's 80 more Points than Pixies with two fewer tracks - looks like Roger Daltrey is getting his conservatory done. It's a good selection, including essentials like Baba O'Riley and My Generation, but it feels like a bit of a mixed bag. Personally, I think the chance to play along to the whole of Live At Leeds would have been more satisfying - and more in keeping with the whole Rock Band concept of virtual performance. What better way to live out that fantasy than by recreating one of the most legendary live recordings ever? Again, all tracks are available separately.
Recent weeks have also tracks brought us fun playalong tracks by Rush, Red Hot Chili Peppers and speccy indie faves Weezer. The most recent addition is the second Nine Inch Nails pack, boasting Burn, Capital G and Last - still no Head Like A Hole? For shame. There's also a track by earnest plod-rockers Staind and if you download that I will hunt you down like a dog. I mean it.
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock
While Rock Band has been coming up with entire albums, and smatterings of single tracks, Guitar Hero is still strumming away with the ol' three-track pack routine. The fixed 500-Point (GBP 4.25 / EUR 5.40) price-tag seems little rigid when compared to Rock Band's more flexible approach, where such packs vary from 240 points to 440. Whichever way you slice it, Guitar Hero is both pricier and less varied. With that said, here's what they've offered in the last few months.
The Isle of Wight Track Pack sounds like it should appeal to the old groovers in the house, but these tracks are taken from the revived festival, not the seminal 1970 shindig. So instead of Hendrix, Miles Davis and Sly Stone you get Shoot the Runner by Kasabian and I Predict A Riot by Kaiser Chiefs. Hmm. Also included, rather bizarrely, is a live recording of The Sex Pistols. Performing in Brixton. Hmm again. So the concept is basically that these are three acts that played at the Isle of Wight this June. Apart from Kasabian, who were on last year. It's a muddled selection, basically, and one that reeks of a rushed promotion.
If you're focused on the riffs, then you can't go wrong with the beer and chips leather anthems of Motorhead. As tracks go, (We Are) The Road Crew, Stay Clean and self-titled headbanger Motorhead are all fine examples of Lemmy's no-nonsense rock but you'll really need Ace of Spades from Guitar Hero II for the obvious-but-essential neck-snapping finale.
Other track packs include three from twiddly-fingered heavy prog-rockers Muse (Exo-Politics, Stockholm Syndrome and Supermassive Black Hole) and a trio from the shiny golden manes of Def Leppard (Nine Lives, Photograph, Rock of Ages). And maybe I'm just showing my age, but a Def Leppard Guitar Hero pack without Animal hardly seems worth the data it's printed on.
Look out for more DLC roundups in future - and if there's a specific item you'd like to see addressed, let us know below.