- Xbox Live Arcade - 800 Microsoft Points - Ł6.80.
Now that the Kinect tap has started to gush forth with XBLA offerings, the creepy, possibly sentient device seems intent on forcing regular rearrangement of my home furnishings. Most inconvenient.
But I'm prepared to heave my footstools out of the way and drag the sofa back for a game intent on making you fulfil the role of a benevolent stickman giant.
Your lot in life is to usher the lemming-like Leedmees from one portal to another while trying to scoop up golden stars, avoid inconsiderate hazards and generally not squish them to death en route.
The first step involves positioning yourself so that the emerging Leedmees hop onto your arms and shoulders. But being stupid, brainless morons, they don't think to just sit still and behave themselves, but continually pace from left to right, only changing direction if they bash into something.
With that in mind, you end up holding your arms up at 90 degrees, and then shuffling gently to the portal exit so that they can escape to TK Maxx, or wherever they're in such a hurry to get to.
But ferrying your charges from hither to thither isn't as straightforward as it could - or perhaps should - be, and demands unnaturally smooth, steady limb movement to avoid accidental death.
Do anything untoward, and the game freaks out all too easily, and tends to fling your delicate cargo to their doom at high velocity. Fortunately, passing each level only requires about half of those that appear, but it doesn't stop your minor failures becoming annoying when you're doing reasonably well.
The longer the game goes on, the more delicate these rescue operations become, and although you adapt to what the game wants from you, there are times when its finicky tetchiness becomes a drag. Needless to say, the two-player co-op levels are even more fraught with technological confusion.
Given the relentlessly creative level design, its procession of new ideas and charming style, it's a genuine shame that Konami's ambition is occasionally thwarted. Whether that's Kinect's fault or Konami's implementation is up for discussion, but the bottom line is that it's never as smooth and intuitive as it needs to be. But don't let that put you off at least trying out one of the most creative motion-based games yet.
Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon
- Xbox Live Arcade - 800 Microsoft Points (Ł6.80)
I'll admit that I haven't been exposed to the Ugly Americans cartoon. It's probably better than Alan Partridge-flavoured sliced bread, and even funnier than my hair in the morning, if that's possible.
As a game, though, it's so cripplingly inane it makes me want to eat my own teeth and replace them with sweetcorn prongs. Ladies and gents, you couldn't wish for a lazier, more half-assed waste of a brand if you paid a specialist license assassin to take down Comedy Central's from within.
I dare say the idea of a twin stick co-op shooter starring four of the show's lead characters sounded like a riot in the design phase. Play as Leonard the drunk gobshite wizard! Callie the hot demon chick! Grimes the moustachioed cop! Or Mark, the normal dude! Blast man birds, demons and zombies with up to 30 different upgradable weapons!
The depressing reality sinks in within the opening moments, once you've figured out that the gameplay consists of endlessly blasting the enemy hordes until the little arrow on the right hand side dictates that it's time to move on.
You can kid yourself that there's some semblance of variety by trying out each of the different weapons, and inch through the various stages diligently, but by the time you've heard all the characters' speech samples repeated 700 times, you'll start to feel your brains gently leaking out of your ears.
Whether you rope in up to three other players for co-op 'fun', or whether you trudge dutifully on alone, the same spirit-crushing repetition will ultimately grind you into the dust.
If, for complicated reasons, you've got a high tolerance for brainless shooters peppered with the least amusing quips of all time, be my guest.