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Friday, March 18, 2011

Five awesome Minis; mini reviews!

The PlayStation Minis shop is a bit of a forgotten child on the PlayStation Network, which is unfortunate because there are some seriously good games available on it.

You do have to do a bit of wading to sort the great from the rest, though - there’s plenty of junk in there as well. Which is where we come in! Here are five mini reviews for five really good Minis games, it’s not a best of, and it’s not a “you must play;” it’s just five genuinely good games that we expect most people will get a kick out of.

A Space Shooter for Two Bucks

It’s not really $2 here in Australia.

False name aside, this game is pretty good, and surprisingly fully featured. There’s a nice range of levels, the little ship controls well, and when the action heats up the game is very, very difficult. It’s something of a hyper-evolved Galaga, and will appeal to retro fans and a more modern gamer alike.

The enemy wave patterns are predictable... but not easy

Whilst the game does try a little too hard to be self-reflectively funny (eliciting not so much chuckles as groans), the presentation is top notch, and suits the style of game well.

You’re not going to get a huge amount of variety in this game, but so what? It’s “Two Bucks”!

Flying Hamster

How adorable is this game? The little hamster’s had his girlfriend abducted, so, as all good hamsters do, he blows up some balloons, ties them to himself, and sets out on a quest to save her.

The pengions from Madagastar found a new gig

After that very funny introduction, you’re introduced to a standard side-scrolling shooter, with some truly crazy enemies. You’ll laugh the first time you see the cow. The first boss is a giant mushroom thing.

There’s some challenge involved with finishing the game, and then of course there’s the high scores leaderboard. Flying Hamster manages to be both very addictive and very charming at the same time – the perfect break from the more serious games on PS3 and PSP.

Farm Frenzy

Time management games are a dime a dozen on most download services, and the Minis service is no different. But for our mind, Farm Frenzy manages to be the most charming.

With Farm Frenzy, you’ll be tasked with looking after and collecting the produce from a variety of different animals, and then refining that produce into higher-value goods. Eggs eventually become cakes, Wool becomes yarn. You then ship that produce off to the markets to rake in some cash.

Controlled chaos, minus the control

The objectives vary from mission to mission (and there are a LOT of missions), but one thing is constant – watch out for the bears! They drop down on the farm from time to time, and left unchecked will make quick work of your animals.

With cute characters, a full achievements system and some seriously frantic gameplay, Farm Frenzy is one to keep coming back to.

Pix‘n Love Rush

PlayStation Plus subscribers have been playing this little gem for the last month. Now it’s available to everyone, and I’m still playing it.

Just cool

It’s a retro-themed platformer with big, blocky characters, and a charming little monster hero. Monotone colours that emulate the various retro visual styles and simple controls combine to create an addictive little experience that has you collecting little plus icons to boost your score. Get hit by an enemy and any chain bonuses that you’ve collected drop down to zero.

It’s not a difficult game, so the focus is definitely on beating the scoreboard. That, too, adds to the addictive nature of the game. Pix’n Love Rush is one of the few Minis that don’t feel like an inferior gaming experience playing on the PS3.

I Must Run!

I must run taps into that parkour phenomenon that everyone is keen on right now. You don’t really control the little man on the screen that is meant to be your avatar – he just runs along on his merry way.

Slipping and sliding

However, what you do control is his ability to jump, duck and punch. Various obstacles litter the levels and will require you to time one of those three actions to continue on. There’s a degree of randomness to the object placement to give an illusion of variety but for the most part this game requires the same memory abilities as similar titles.

It’s a reasonable looking little Mini, and while it’s not going to win any game of the year awards, it’s good fun nonetheless – and sits comfortably on the ‘cheap’ end of the pricing scale.

Five awesome Minis; mini reviews!
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