Another week, another busy crop of games that won't take up any shelf space whatsoever. Top of my personal list is definitely Double Fine's latest, Stacking which instantly catapults us back to the days of Grim Fandango for cracked originality. And then there's the genius puzzling of Space Chem, while AI War got some overdue love. Quality at every turn I tell yer.
That doesn't mean we're bereft of any decent download games to rant nonsense about in the roundup this week. Look at Ninja 360°, the Trials of platforming, or compulsive zombie slasher Twin Blades, two games that took up more of my week than is strictly healthy.
- Xbox Live Indie Games - 80 Microsoft Points (Ł0.68)
If I put on a pound every time I played an indie platformer featuring spikes, I'd be one huggable guy by now. Not that I'm not already, you understand. In fact, after enduring 987 deaths by grisly impalement in the past couple of hours, I really could do with a few restorative arms around me to take the pain away.
You see, Ninja 360° is not interested in playing nice, nor is it concerned with such trivialities as entertainment or fun. It just wants to break your spirit with impossibly exacting level design and the kind of time limits designed to etch miserable lines of defeat on your face.
The premise - scoop up objects of inscrutable function in the quickest possible time - couldn't be much simpler, but figuring out how to do so at speed transforms the game into platforming's answer to Trials HD. The slightest misstep and the most innocent fumble has no place in a game where only metronomic precision can earn you the medals you'll covet so inexplicably.
And despite the relentless misery of such exactitude, the hardest part is finding the presence of mind to stop what you're doing. If you plan on doing something constructive with your spare time any time soon, steer well clear of this game's 99 levels of compulsive madness.