If life is, indeed, like a box of chocolates, then we'd opine that penning one of Eurogamer's review roundups is rather like a box of chocolates bought for you by a relative who doesn't like you very much, with the Tesco discount label only half peeled off. You never know quite what you're going to get, but the chances are you won't like many flavours, and may feel somewhat ill by the end. Not to mention fatter.
Now all that remains to be seen is whether this latest batch of PSP treats can dish up some unexpectedly delicious centres, or whether the chocolate will be cheap and the nasty chewy ones that stick between your molars all too abundant. Or, indeed, whether this metaphor will ever end. Sorry.
Every now and then, someone pops out of the woodwork to complain that the games industry isn't innovative any more. This is clearly nonsense. Certainly, publishers might have an ongoing love affair with barely distinguishable sequels and a herd mentality that makes sheep look strong-willed, but consider this - year after year, the industry invents new and previously unheard-of ways to make you part with your cash. If that's not innovation, what is?
Download Content (DLC) is a new arrival in the exciting field of wallet-stripping, and the Xbox 360 is on the vanguard. Many Xbox 360 games have content available for download sometime after launch, allowing you to hand over a few measly Microsoft points for access to new maps, models, missions and the likes. It's a great idea in theory, obviously - who doesn't want to extend the life of their favourite game a bit? In practice, though, there's some suspicion about it. Nobody wants to find themselves paying extra money for content that should have been in the game in the first place.
Hence these DLC roundup features, where we'll be looking at the bits and bobs that have made their way onto Xbox Live - and, soon, PSN - in the past few months, and checking out what's worth whipping your card out for, and what deserves to sit, dusty and unloved, in the digital dustbins out the back of the Marketplace.
Once upon a time, reviewing handheld versions of popular video and PC games was a bit like inviting your old friends round only to discover they all secretly hate you and are recent burns victims. These days, though, the DS is big business to games publishers, so surely they're trying a bit harder. We tracked down five recent examples of "and on DS" to find out.
The Simpsons Game
Games that make fun of games can't really afford to be bad themselves. That was the problem The Simpsons Game had on telly consoles, and the same's true on the DS. Except this time the game bits are worse. (So, off to a bad start.)
Driving games have done a lot of odd things over the years to get noticed. Mario Kart gave you shells to fire. MSR gave you points for losing traction. Ridge Racer let you drive sideways round corners. Need For Speed was, on and off, about running away from the law. This one isn't though - this one's about street racing kids going straight. Which is an apt description, since you basically can't steer.
Things start off badly as you sit on the grid holding down the accelerator while your car visibly fits in front of you, bouncing around like a washing machine while a negligibly attired stripper pouts you down to the start. As soon as you hit the first corner you lose it, because turning further than 10 degrees at anything faster than a crawl isn't going to happen, leaving you to pump the brake for ages and ease almost completely off the accelerator in order to get the nose round anywhere near far enough. It's not that difficult to master the cornering once you accept these rules (and there are three degrees of Driver Assist options to help you if you struggle), but being proficient at ProStreet is more like being good at scouring pans than being good at, say, dancing. Or racing cars for sport.
Strangely it's all best played out in the wider third-person view, which pulls back as you accelerate, because this accentuates what speed you have and couples well to a physics model that really drags at your tyres if you let a wheel slip off the track into the dirt, and won't let you get away with mowing down sign-posts or anything like that, either. As a result, going fast is a precarious feeling, and the game's best moments involve threading your delicate, hand-built racers at pace through networks of long but slight opposing corners. The other camera options aren't really worth exploring - there's a bonnet cam instead of a bumper cam, which makes things feel floaty and slow, and a closer third-person effort, and for some reason the driver's-eye view feels more like you're pinned to the windscreen somewhere above the dashboard, so it's a bit like playing as a tax disc.