Late To The Party: PSN Exclusives

Late To The Party: PSN Exclusives

We all love reviews- they give you an early sense of a game, comic, movie, or tv show, and let you know if it’s worth your time and hard earned money. Most reviews are for products that have just come out. What if you missed it, though? What if, like everyone sometimes, you were late to the party? This column is for you. For the gamer that’s still interested in that game from a year ago, you just never got around to picking it up. Maybe it’s in the bargain bin now, or a “greatest hit” that can be found at a reduced price or maybe you can get it on the cheap used at your local Gamestop. However you go looking for it, we’ll get you up-to-date right here.

The Last Guy; $9.99

Zombies are pretty much everywhere. They're in books (even classic ones), comics, movies, and certainly in video games. This is definitely a unique take on the Zombie game, though, offering a casual gathering gameplay mechanic.

The setup is pretty simple; you have an actual top-down satellite map of a section of a real city. There are small sprites on the map, one representing the player character, several hundred representing survivors in need of rescue, and various Zombies and other undead monsters. The goal? Run around the map collecting people, then run them back to the evacuation point.

There are special survivors to try to collect, as well as various power-ups and a time limit. The basic setup is great, as it allows just about anyone to jump in and start having fun. Fun it definitely is, as well. The idea almost sounds too simple when reading about it, but once playing, the challenge ramps up swiftly. This is a great game to sit down and play 10 minutes of before playing another game, or to sit down and play for two hours. While it's pretty for what it is, it's not exactly the highest end graphics, proving that basic gameplay tenets still hold out as much as the latest graphics engine or 8 channel surround sound. This is a game with surprising depth, tons of fun, and great staying power. It's a steal at 10 bucks, and a must own for PS3 fans.

Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic $9.99

This one is a remake/update/sequel to a game originally made as a downloadable PC title, but this version is still PSN exclusive. All motion in the game is 100% physics based. This allows for crazy flips, momentum shifts, and near-ballet looking sequences. It's not a game for hard-core fighting fans, as much as it is an excercise in what physics engines can do in even a minimalistic setting.

The fighting itself is relatively simple to control, with basic special moves and power-ups that you'd expect from any modern fighter. There are weapons, which allow the game's physics to really shine. It really does feel most of the time like you're playing out some multi-tiered dance sequence rather than fighting for your life.

The integrated online leaderboard and unlockable customization for your fighter give incentive to replay individual matches even if you're victorious. There is of course multiplayer, as well, which is just as fluid as single-player, and usually twice as funny, especially if two beginners are throwing down. Seeing two human-controlled characters flipping and bouncing around the screen, accidentally throwing items and only sometimes connecting with punches and kicks is incredibly entertaining.

Though this won't likely be a must-have title for many people (physics-buffs excluded),  but for sevearl hours of fun multiplayer, PS3 owners who don't also own a Wii and Super Smash Bros can find a fairly suitable fix in Fists of Plastic. Beware, though, the theme song is highly catchy, and will stick in your head for days.

Trash Panic; $4.99

Yikes. That's all I could say after about 10 minutes with this game. There are virtually no real instructions given, no effective tutorial, and while the goal is presented, how to get there just isn't. The game has the player given various everyday items, Tetris-style, and they're tasked with smashing them into a garbage can.

The problem is, getting stuff to smash isn't as easy as it sounds, and the game came off as more frustrating than fun. It was so frustrating, in fact, that at no point was the thought "this'll be more fun when I get better." Instead, it was always "oh man, oh man, why am I still playing this?" This is one of the cheaper games available on the PSN, but you're better off saving your five dollars and putting it towards another one on this list. Yikes.

Elefunk; $4.99

Slightly older gamers will remember Lemmings, most likely very fondly. The game had you building/clearing paths for your titular animated animals, trying to get as many to the exit point alive as possible. Elefunk evokes much of the same feeling as those classics, but with a much heavier focus on actual structural integrity.

Each level is started with a set number of Elephants and a set number and size of connectors. The goal is to safely get all the elephants across to their opposite side. Again, the focus here is on the actual architecture of what you're building, not just if it looks like it'll get around an obstacle, but if it will actually support the weight of your funky pachyderms.

The game is fun, especially for those who enjoyed building toothpick or popsicle stick structures in high school. A lot of it is trial-and-error, and the game gets hard fast, so it's not for the casual gamer. This is definitely a game that will require a lot of thinking, a lot of careful planning, and yes, a lot of failure in order to eventually succeed.

If a much harder Lemmings sounds up your alley, or you're dying to put that structural engineering or architecture degree to work in your gaming hours, this game is great for the money. Gamers looking for a basic distraction should look elsewhere, however.

Wheel of Fortune; $14.99

Yes, that price tag is correct. No, I don't get it either.

Wheel of Fortune fans are usually lifers. They grew up watching with their parents, and played the computer game complete with a crude 8-bit Pat Sajak and Vanna White until they knew all the puzzles by heart.

News of a game for PS3 featuring thousands of puzzles, online and local multiplayer, and trophies galore would instantly perk the ears of any such fan. The core gameplay is there. Spinning the wheel, buying vowels, taunting your opponents when playing with other humans (OK, so that's an added one). Unfortunately, the presentation of these things is almost all wrong.

First off, there's no Pat and no Vanna. Not a 2D drawing, not even just a voiceover. Instead, there's this eerie empty spot where Pat should be standing. The silence is deafening as well. Aside from your basic sound effects, like the wheel spinning and the dinging of letters, along with the occasional clap or "awww" from the audience, the game is totally silent. Even the "puzzle solved" music jingle is mysteriously cut off. There's no voice of Charlie announcing prizes. There was more talking in the  early 90s PC and Nintendo/Super Nintendo/Sega Genesis versions, and that's just silly.

The lack of being able to effectively fast forward computer controlled players when playing single player is ridiculous. It makes what should be a 10 minute game turn into a 30-40 minute one, and serves no real purpose; it's not like waiting for your turn is going to suddenly make the game realistic when it's missing so much else.

If you're a big Wheel fan, and you're guaranteed to have someone else to play with (along with music in the background; but don't expect to play music off your PS3, as the game doesn't support that either), then this might be worth the download; at least it would be if it was $10 or less. At $15, I simply can't recommend this to any but the hardest of the hardcore Wheel of Fortune fans, and they're honestly better off playing a free online version on thier computer, or breaking out the old school board game.

All the games reviewed here are available now, exclusively for download on the PlayStation 3's PlayStation Network

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