April wasn’t exactly the busiest month for new game releases, unless you happen to love Vin Diesel. Of course, it’s impossible NOT to love Vin Diesel, so I am pretty sure that most of you spent just as much time car-punching and shivving convicts as I did. For those looking to take a break from playing as the buff n’ bald badass, there were also plenty of quality new releases thrown onto the digital shelves this month, ranging from a sheep herding simulator to some classic racing action.
Without further adieu, here are the best (and worst) downloadable console releases from April 2009. Enjoy!
As unique as it is strange, Flock puts you in charge of a U.F.O. that has to herd sheep towards a base ship known as the MotherFlocker. No, I’m not kidding. As you gather sheep and gain new abilities—like a tractor beam—you must figure out ways to overcome the obstacles and get the horde to their final destination. While a bit overpriced, Flock is an entertaining little title that is quite unlike anything else out there, and I recommend that you all at least give the demo a motherflocking chance. Also available on Xbox 360 and PC. ($14.99)
Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic
An indie hit on the PC way back in 2005, Rag Doll Kung Fu finally nunchucks its way onto consoles with this Smash Bros-esque beat ‘em up. While the fighting can be fun, there really isn’t much to do here. A lack of a true campaign mode and the fact that the multiplayer is offline only makes this release feel more like a missed opportunity than a true successor to the fun original. ($9.99)
Ok…I am pushing it here. Equilibrio is a “get the ball where it needs to go” maze game, complete with balance board support and multiplayer. While decent, there is nothing particularly special about what is offered, and you have most likely played other games that are just like it. Sadly, there was nothing else of note released this month on the Wii interwebs, making Equilibrio the only title worth mentioning. ($5.00)
Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure
When originally released on the SNES and Genesis, Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure was criticized for being fairly unremarkable. While evoking some elements of the classic Pitfall games, the bland level design, boring mechanics, and banal platforming meant that it didn’t stand out from the glut of other action-adventure titles of the time. Unsurprisingly, a mediocre game from 13 years ago hasn’t gotten better with age, leaving you with no reason to jump on-board this middling expedition. ($8.00)
OutRun Online Arcade
OutRun was sensation back in the 80’s, as its pseudo-3D graphics, breakneck speed, and catchy music kept people pumping quarters into their local arcade joymachines. OutRun Online Arcade takes this same addictive gameplay and adds in breathtaking new vistas, a ton of different environments, and the wildly unrealistic driving that you remember from the original. The added online modes here are a blast to play as well, ensuring that fans of the arcade will find plenty to like in this drift-happy racer. Also available for PS3 outside of the US. ($10.00)
Puzzle Quest Galactrix
The original Puzzle Quest enthralled millions with its unique combination of puzzle and RPG ideas. It also helped that its base gameplay—which was essentially Bejeweled—was a blast to play. Unfortunately, Galactrix doesn’t fare as well thanks to a generic, personality-less sci-fi scenario and uninteresting puzzle gameplay. Stick with the much deeper (and cheaper) original. Also available on PC and Nintendo DS. ($20.00)
Left 4 Dead: Survival Pack
When Left 4 Dead first hit shelves, people complained that two of the game’s four campaigns were unavailable in the versus mode. Thankfully, Valve is awesome, and has not only doubled the amount of versus maps in this Survival Pack but also included an all new mode. Survival locks your team in a confined environment where you must stay alive as long as possible while a never ending horde of undead nightmares pile in from every available opening, offering all new ways for you and your buddies to blame each other for the team’s downfall. And the best part about this download? It’s free!!! Available on Xbox 360 and PC. ($0.00)
The Godfather II: Various Packs
You have to hand it to EA: when they release a game, they make sure that there are plenty of downloadable goodies for you to buy along with it. In this case, you can grab a two-pack of maps, some upgraded weapons, and even a powerful henchmen to help you do your dirty deeds. While the maps are a solid deal, the weapons and bodyguard are nearly identical to what can be unlocked in the campaign, making these packs useful only to the fabulously lazy. Available for Xbox 360 and PS3. (Multiple packs with different pricing, $9.99 for all of them)
Pick of the Month
OutRun Online Arcade
OutRun may not be the deepest game on XBLA, but its unique brand of fast-paced racing action is sure to please anyone that has a pulse. ($10.00)
Star Trek: D.A.C. beams its way into your home.