The PSN description states, “BLOONS is an exciting puzzle game based on the simple fact that popping balloons is fun!” It is neither exciting nor fun, and this game’s developers have obviously never heard of globophobia. It’s the fear of popping balloons, and I’m pretty sure it’s real. If so, it appears this game should rank up there with Penumbra, Silent Hill, and Bubble Bobble for some people. Fortunately for globophobists, this game is incredibly inept at popping very many balloons. This is very unfortunate for balloon-popping enthusiasts (globophiles?) or for anyone else who may want to pay $3 to wreak havoc on unsuspecting virtual orbs of color filled with virtual air making virtual popping noises. So, you can change the angle and strength to try and pop all of the balloons, but it is impossible to get 100% on most of the levels. And the game isn’t shy about telling you that you suck. It’s a bad version of that old tank game with the randomly-generated mountains you’d shoot over to kill the other tank. What was that called? I’m going to figure it out and go play that instead.
As far as I can tell, Vempire is neither worth my time to play, nor your time to read about. So don’t buy it. If you still want to read on, then know that this is some type of bastardized, Bejeweled-like game that doesn’t make any sense. I’ll be honest, I haven’t put more than 20 minutes or so into playing this game, but that’s because I have no idea what to do! Maybe it’s fun, but I doubt it, as no one thought it was worthy to proofread the description of the game. Here it is for you, word for word: “Help a young vampire become the king of the monster land. Defeat the other monster lords and conquer they land.” The game has something to do with getting four tiles matched up, but the lack of instructions combined with weird power-ups and a poor quality overall means you shouldn’t play this. Here’s a little tidbit of information: this game was the first Mini given to Playstation Plus subscribers. Thankfully, that was not a set precedent, as many (not all) of the other releases have been much, much better than Vempire.
I like a game that knows what it is, and The 2D Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character is about the adventures of a rotating octopus character in 2 dimensions. While $4 is a bit much for non-Playstation Plus subscribers, this game is still pretty awesome. It’s a one-button platformer. The octopus character rotates around the perimeter of whatever he is stuck to until you tell him to jump. He’ll fly straight across the screen until he hits something else. Use your best logic and puzzle-solving skills to help him collect all the little baby octopus characters without getting eaten by the dogs and other baddies. It can get confusing, as you will always rotate in the same direction. Depending on where you land when you shoot across the screen, you may end up going the opposite way. Rotating around circles, like trees, provides a big challenge to hit the angles just right. The character just rotates automatically, so you don’t have to worry about speed or direction. The gameplay and concept are simple, addicting, fun, and orange. It’s my favorite color, and I’m always glad to see it get some love.
In Doodle Fit, you are given an abstract shape and Tetris-type puzzle pieces to fill it with, only the shapes can’t be flipped or rotated in this game. You select a piece on the bottom with the D-pad, press X, then guide it to where you want to place it and press X again. It may not be fair to compare this puzzle-based game to Tetris, but that’s the general feeling from the get-go because of the shapes you are given to work with and the soundtrack. Oh yeah, the soundtrack… ugh. Not only is it extremely obnoxious but it’s like eight measures long and stuck on repeat. As I progressed through the game, I unlocked all sorts of goodies. Themes, backgrounds, other content… but what about music?! Even with the increasingly difficult puzzles (350 total), the music destroys whatever fun you are having. Of course, you can put it on mute, but it’s times like these when the Xbox 360′s ability to choose your own music would be a game changer.
There have been a number of side-scrolling beat ‘em ups, but I think this was one of the first to double as a one-on-one fighter. Originally released sometime in the 80s, Street Smart is supposed to offer nostalgia to old people (even older than me). The fights are almost impossible, though, so it’s a good thing there’s an “insert coin” button. As you defeat each of the bosses from various cities around the US, you get the reward of a scantily clad girl walking out to deliver money, a trophy, and a kiss. Although there is multiplayer, this game is still lacking the one core element that makes fighters of the same genre successful and fun: special moves. Whether it’s the use of weapons or using a ridiculous super power, the formula works, and if Street Smart had even one special move, I would recommend it for the $3.00 price tag. As is, it’s nothing but a reminder that there are actually fun fighters you could be playing instead.
Did you ever play Blades of Steel on the original NES? If you haven’t, you have never lived. It was the premier hockey game when I was 8 years old. Well, SpeedBall was a game that was out at the same time, which I never played. It was a violent, futuristic hockey/handball hybrid sports game. SpeedBall 2 Evolution seems to be a remake of that. It isn’t a PS Mini exclusive; it seems to be a crappy port of a game that was made for every mobile device around. It’s also $6.99! That is outrageous. It’s a total bait and switch, as well. For example, there are supposedly 300+ characters, but when actually playing the game, all of them look exactly alike except for the color of the stripe on the helmet. I watched a trailer for this game, and it feels like they spent more time developing that trailer than actually making the game fun or even look good. If you have some nostalgia for the original, and you have a chunk of change to burn, then maybe you’d want to pick it up, but I doubt it.