One way to get your game noticed is by applying a fresh or innovative aesthetic; take Limbo, Killer 7 or Jet Set Radio as proof that style can be as much a talking point as the play itself. And whilst Parachute Panic might not push the boundaries of graphical innovation, it opts for the quirky approach.
Appearing as though drawn on a lined notebook, small stickmen hurl themselves from their planes, hoping to land safely on the passing boats below. Quite why these doodled people think this is a sensible pastime you never get chance to ask as you’ll be otherwise engaged with guiding them down safely past storm clouds, aliens and the whirly blades of helicopters.
It’s one of “those” games, where the pacing and simplicity win out over any description that could ever be written. It’s a moreish concoction that will see you tapping Replay each time you meet the singing shark that greats each untimely demise.
Half Angry Birds, half Lemmings, half World of Goo.
The Moki are loose and are looking for help. They want to go home but a need a little assistance in doing so. On hand are a combination of bombs, ropes, balloons and physics. It hardly sounds like the toolbox of someone trying to help but the round tinkers need exploding, shunting, prodding, floating and coercing across dozens of levels.
Early stages feel like Angry Birds. With bombs your only tool, their detonations send the Moki flying through the air as though catapulted, and the game takes on the air of explosive billiards. As levels advance, further items are added until basic machines can be built to carry the lost ones in style to their destination.
The ease of early challenges belies those which will greet players further on. There are some truly fiendish setups towards the latter stages but as you generally have to build your own solution to each of them, the sense of accomplishment is one of “I made that”.
At the launch of the Xbox 360, Hexic used to be my “phone” game. By that I mean the one I’d put on whilst chatting away to friends and family; not too complex to drag my mind away from the conversation at hand, and something to entertain my easily fidgeting mind.
How funny that once again it becomes my phone game, this time, however, in the actual sense of the phrase.
Even though it has shrunk, the fundamentals remain the same. Faced with a multi-coloured, hexagonal based board, trios of hexes require rotating so that clumps of similarly coloured stones can come together before disappearing in a shower of points.
Before you instantly turn away in despair at the thought of another match-three release, there is something about Hexic that really connects with the strategist in me. The road to a decent score comes in the form of rings of colours, and the clusters of special gems that appear after forming said rings. So rather than simply racking up points for the mere hell of it, it’s easy to find yourself engrossed in “walking” stones across the board, or plotting just how you’ll get that elusive Black Pearl super combo.
This new hand-held iteration of the series does include a new Rush mode, for those who aren’t inclined to take their time with puzzlers. A thoughtful inclusion to cater for both ends of the spectrum.
Practically, Hexic ticks all the boxes. It’s addictive, rewarding and well presented, but the scale to which it has shrunk is its downfall. The tiles are a fraction too small, meaning selecting any trio of gems isn’t as straightforward as it could be, and in the Rush mode you can pay dearly for it.
Some out there will already know of Zombies!!! For those of you who don’t, please pay heed to the multiple exclamation marks. They’re serious; there are a hell of a lot of zombies!!! contained within.
Pulled straight from the successful boardgame of the same name, Zombies!!! has you competing against other townsfolk to be the first to either fell 25 of the undead or escape to a waiting helicopter. In your way is a randomly constructed town, unfolding turn by turn, and the ever growing threat mentioned in the title.
Killing the shuffling corpses is just a matter of rolling high enough on the die but each player has event cards that can scupper others as much as it can aid them. Expect skateboarding, shotgun toting rivals to throw you into the dark or send a horde against you as you race for the chopper.
As a faithful recreation, Zombies!!! cannot be knocked as all elements of the table-top version are present. Even the sight of tiny figures, stuck to bases, hopping their way round town really gets across the feel that this is a boardgame realised in a new medium. In this new medium, however, it lacks pacing and solo play feels hollow.
Either pass the phone around with this one or stick with original.