#7 Ms. Splosion Man (360)

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios — Developer: Twisted Pixel

For a premise as simple as the one the first Splosion Man had, Twisted Pixel could have just rested on its laurels and made a copy of the first game with the sequel, but the studio went the extra mile, taking every element from the first one and either refining it or making it better with Ms. Splosion Man. In this way, the sequel feels somewhat similar on a basic level, but better in just about every way imaginable. The platformer’s gradual difficulty and gameplay curve reminds of the Portal games, in the sense that every element is smartly introduced in a way that gives the player a solid foundation before throwing him into the thick of it. Be it the zip lines, canons reminiscent of the barrels from Donkey Kong Country, trampolines or the very cool teleporters that transport the Splody one between the backgrounds and foregrounds, everything has its place and makes it one of the greatest platformers of this console generation, if not all time. (more…)


Title: Portal: Still Alive

Platform: XBLA

ESRB Rating: T

Publisher: Valve

Developer: Valve

Review by: Kevin Haverty

After being released as part of Valve’s The Orange Box, Portal has been re-released for Xbox Live Arcade under the moniker Portal: Still Alive. The main campaign is 15 levels of puzzles that are solved using portals created via the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device. Additional test-chambers have been added for this release, extending gameplay by a few hours. The humor and mind-bending puzzles are all intact but there isn’t enough to entice gamers who already own The Orange Box to drop $15. This is, however, the perfect chance for the gamers who skipped The Orange Box to get themselves a piece of cake.

For more info, www.valvesoftware.com