Riff: Everyday Shooter leads the weekly PlayStation Store update this week, but you should already know that if you glue your face to Eurogamer.
Sony has confirmed to Eurogamer that Riff: Everyday Shooter will be released on the European PlayStation 3 Store this Thursday.
Despite his protestations in an encouraging "Notes" section that rails against "games-are-art-theory-wankery", I have a feeling that Riff: Everyday Shooter author Jonathan Mak will struggle to escape veneration by the aesthetes of my profession - what with having cited Kenta Cho, Kanta Matsuhisa and Tetsuya Mizuguchi as direct influences, and having then turned in an album of musical shoot-'em-up levels that derive their mechanics from the principle that "even the simplest thing can be the most beautiful thing". Whether or not you get lost in the elegance and subtle meticulousness of his compositions, though (and we will be doing that presently, by the way), you'll still be pleased with what's on offer here: eight distinctive examples of the two-stick shooter that start off well and only get better the more you play them.
Beyond a simple menu system and a few guitar twangs set against a pretty visualisation, the first level makes clear the rules: you direct a very small object - let's call it a spaceship - with the left stick and fire a stream of bullets with the right, and the object is to take out the various enemies floating purposefully around the screen and then collect the little pixels that they leave behind.
Each level alters graphics, enemy behaviour and appearance patterns considerably, and ambles along for the duration of a particular piece of music, which reacts playfully to successful attacks. Individual levels also feature their own combo systems. The first has spinning golden stars that float away from the point of your bullet's contact to form wiggling funnels of light that can be inflated and sustained by repeated fire and initiate chains of explosion in any adjacent enemies when they envelope them. Another pegs the screen with bacterial splatters networked by lines, which require sustained fire to dispatch and allow you to eradicate several at once by picking a well-networked target. Uncovering the secrets to each level's more impressive chain reactions requires repeated exposure and experimentation - although simply knowing what's likely to happen won't guarantee success - and survival itself is a healthy challenge for your thumbs as your more persistent adversaries dog your heels and often move faster than you can while you're firing.
Following the arrival of a bunch of new stuff on PlayStation Network, Sony has announced plenty more is set to follow before the end of the year.
This week's European PlayStation Store line-up remains typically elusive, but US gamers (or users of the US Store) can look forward to the release of Everyday Shooter.