What we've been playing this week.
Tom Orry, Editor - Plants Vs Zombies, XBLA
Having been a huge fan of PopCap's Plants Vs Zombies on PC, I approached the XBLA version with caution. No mouse was surely going to make this a chore to play, but how wrong I was. The game works superbly with a 360 controller and I was instantly back on the seed-planting groove. I can't help but love the charming artwork and addictive gameplay, even if it's not exactly a difficult game. If you can't play this on a PC, get the XBLA version now - and get Peggle while you're at it.
Neon Kelly, Deputy Editor - Last Window, DS
Last Wednesday a courier knocked on our front door and delivered a slender-looking jiffy bag - one that didn't look big enough to accommodate a game box of any size. I carefully ripped it open, and out fell a tiny little DS cart with the title "Last Window". The name didn't ring any bells at first, and then it dawned on me: THIS WAS THE SEQUEL TO HOTEL DUSK. In all sincerity, I almost welled up: The Last Window was released in Japan in January this year, and Cing went bankrupt about a month and a half later. I never thought I'd get to play this, and now it's turned up out of the blue. I'm still hugely sad about the fact that Cing won't be making any more games, but it's wonderful to see Kyle Hyde again - replete with his goatee and sad, hangdog demeanour.
Martin Gaston, Staff Writer - Halo Reach, Xbox 360
I think Halo: Reach is the best Halo game to date. Yes, you're right, that is quite a bold statement. But as a series, I think it's been twisted and warped over the years by hype, expectations, raging fanboys, massive sales and, yes, the gaming media.
Anticipation for Halo: Reach has now hit a point where you're either frothing at the mouth or desperate for the aggressive marketing campaign to subside. Hear me out, though: the game is definitely worth your time. There's plenty here to get stuck into, and the combination of features really combine into something special. Me? I tend to only dabble with the multiplayer, but there's a lengthy and fantastic campaign too. Halo doesn't feel nearly as fresh after the best part of a decade, but it's still bloody good.
Jamin Smith, Staff Writer - Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, PSP
You know what I hate about Snow White? Everything. I hate her stupid haircut, I hate the stupid shoulder pads she has on her stupid blue and yellow dress, and I hate her butter-wouldn't-melt face. She's far and away my least favourite of the Disney 'Princesses', and without a doubt at the bottom of my 'Disney females I'd like to get it on with' list. What I hate most about Snow White, though, is the fact that while under my protection, she insists on running head first into danger. What's more annoying is that she's actually going out of her way to do so. We're supposed to be running through the woods to a clearing, and instead of taking the quickest route (i.e. a straight line) she weaves about the trees like a drunkard, as if she's actively seeking out each and every monster on the God-damn map. It took me about three attempts to get Snow White safely from A to B because she couldn't run in a bloody straight line. I hate Snow White.
Emily Gera, Staff Writer - Façade, PC
If you ever want to impress someone at a swank party then mention Facade. It's a 2006 release, an "interactive drama" that experiments with how stories can be told in gaming through the player's actions. You're at a dinner party and faced with a couple who are having marital problems. Interact with them or ask them questions, and they'll respond on the fly. Try to break them up, come on to the wife, ask for a glass of milk. Work out through passing conversations how their marriage began to split apart. The AI controls the couple's behaviour moment-by-moment and chooses the next section of story to unveil depending on what actions you have taken. Unfortunately the game is bloody hideous, but it's a sincerely fun and interesting play.
Tom Pearson, Video Producer - Techno Kitten Adventure, Xbox LIVE Indie Games
This game is the best game OF ALL TIME! OK maybe that's a bit of an over statement (at its core it's rather rubbish) but for 80 Microsoft points it's worth every 69 pence of glorious laser beam, unicorn dream, rainbow, party boat, happy hardcore, jet-packing kitty action that it has to offer. I've put this game on in the office several times now, more than any other game this week, and it never fails to draw a crowd. Essentially it's Facebook's Rocketman or alternatively the web's helicopter game. You fly through an elongated cave, attempting to avoid obtrusive blocks in your way. Simple I know, but add in flashing hearts and fireworks and this game becomes a much more intense experience. I'm expecting to have a fit if I play it too much longer.