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Download Games Roundup

Boss! Pinball! Ninjump! Lilt! Bonded!

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Goodness me, children. Will you stop fighting? In the red corner we've got Nintendo claiming that game development is stifled amidst the tens of thousands of cheap downloadable games out there, and in the blue corner we've got those Rovio upstarts claiming that traditional console games are "dying".

I'm fond of food-based comparisons when it comes to the download game revolution, and here we have the downloadable industry marching in like fast-food chains while the snootier established restaurants grumble about the unwelcome competition invading their turf with their inferior offerings. As ever, what succeeds comes down to a clever mix of quality and marketing, so if the respective sides in the market could just get on with making good games and stop needlessly rubbishing their rivals, that'd be just grand.

WackyLands Boss

  • Minis - £3.99
  • Previously released on iPhone and iPad (as WackyLands Big Boss)
Come and have a go.

When it comes to the venerable scrolling beat-'em up, context is evidently about nine tenths of the appeal. Were WackyLands Boss just another tale of a heavy-set soul hell-bent on smashing up anything dumb enough to stray into its path, the chances are your eyes would have had a sleepy glaze before the first level was over with. Put me in charge of an entirely customisable boss monster, though, and I'll seemingly play through any amount of repetitive rough-and-tumble nonsense that's asked of me.

At its heart, there's very little to it. You're trudging left to right, either stabbing furiously away with the fast attack or trying the slower but more powerful version. Occasionally you'll try to roll up to your aggressors to avoid their projectiles and unleash one of your rechargeable special attacks, then carry on until the boss battle conclusion.

Like so many of Chillingo's nuggets, it's gaming confectionary – a sort of brief sugar rush that just makes you hungrier. Who can resist new unlockable garbs when every one has some sort of definable impact on your ability to smash things to a bloody pulp? Not me.

By the time you're half a dozen levels in, its casual, throwaway appeal starts to give way to something improbably hardcore. Somehow you start to care more than seems credible. Those upgrades start to matter, and the outcome of the battles becomes less of a foregone conclusion. Damn you Fair Play Labs and your time-thieving ways.