Phew. A handful of tedious little threads notwithstanding, it looks like the industry is starting to power down for the traditional end of year shutting-up-and-letting-the-bastards-play-games. Having been rather busy the past few months, we've been sending out poisoned Christmas cake lately in the hope of thinning their ranks out a little before January. Then we can spend more time writing about silly little mouse-based scrolling shoot-'em-ups like "Back to Earth 2". Which is what we're doing now.
You know the drill: things are coming from the top of the screen (yikes!), and it's your job as the pilot of a little spaceship to shoot them. Apparently you don't have to shoot them all, but presumably whatever you're protecting has enough firepower to deal with dizzied stragglers. No matter. The key to the genre is shooting things, and in Back to Earth 2 you use the mouse to do this; your spaceship is effectively a cursor from whence heavy streams of lasers, missiles and suchlike spew forth whenever you clamp the left mouse button. There are asteroids and little spaceships and big bosses with incredibly basic attack patterns. All must die.
See that screenshot? Read the above paragraph? Right, then you know exactly what to expect. We had quick five-minute go on it just now (don't tell Pat), but if you head to www.alawar.com you can download a 10MB trial version that lets you play for a whole 30. We weren't inclined to throw down any cash for the rest of it, but then perhaps we find our Wednesday mornings more exciting than you do, and you'll happily take this over the prospect of another stolen fag break muttering about where David Blunkett's been putting his walking stick. As it is, we're tempted to support it anyway on the grounds that it's called "Back to Earth 2" and not "Back 2 Earth" - as it inevitably would have been were any of the usual publish-o-bastards to have gotten their hands on it.
All of which reminds us (well, me) - must find time this Chrimble to try out Space Tipper and Mutant Storm. You can go now.