Best of the PlayStation Store, Vol. I

It being that time of year again – the end bit – it seems fitting to do a round-up article. We’ll write round-up articles about anything we will, bunch of cretins that we are, but today we’re specifically going to do a kind of “Best Of”, or more precisely, the ten best downloadable games available for the PlayStation 3 on the PlayStation Store. But it’s not in a specific order so we’ve avoided using the words top ten. Maybe think of it like a “ten downloadable PS3 games you might want to consider playing before you get hit by a bus, if your priorities are so messed up that downloadable PS3 games are even on your mind in such a situation”.

Anyway, less faffing about. On with the games!

 Super Stardust HD (£4.99) 

Super Stardust HDIf a game’s quality is based on how many times we’ve booted it up to have a play (which it shouldn’t really be), then Super Stardust HD would be the game of the year. It isn’t particularly original – a remake of an old Amiga game that involves flying around a planet in a little spaceship and shooting a load of asteroids and enemies – but it’s just really compulsive and hypnotic.

For less than a fiver, this is better value than a ten dollar whore. Besides being a brilliant game with a decent range of levels, there’s an online scoreboard which pushes you to progress either against the world’s best or your friend’s scores, and a lovely two player co-op mode which is great fun if stupidly hectic. If you own a PlayStation 3 you have no reason not to buy this game.

 Tekken 5 DR (£9.99 or £14.99 for online version) 

Tekken 5: DRThis is a bit of a world first for consoles. One of the first “proper” console games to be made available for download. Although it’s actually a high definition remake of the arcade game, so the graphics don’t quite match the standard of a typical PlayStation 3 game, but it looks very nice anyway. This is a very complete package (indeed, more feature packed than the full price PlayStation 2 version of Tekken 5), with a stupidly large number of characters, a bunch of unlockables and the the ability to earn money to customise and dress up your favourite characters. If you opt for the more expensive online version, you get an online versus mode as well as some meaning added to the ranking system.

 LocoRoco Cocoreccho! (£1.99) 

LocoRoco CocorecchoThis one’s a little bit odd. It’s essentially a short, more puzzle orientated version of the PSP game. On the UK PlayStation Store it sells for £1.99 and is described as an “interactive screensaver”, but on the US store the same thing is sold as a normal game download for twice the price. An odd case of reversed cross Atlantic screw over.

Despite the stupid “screensaver” description, it is actually a game, and a very charming one at that. The extremely low price is very nice too.

 Warhawk (£19.99) 

WarhawkWar! Rah! This game has a strange history – originally planned as a big scale release, then used as a slightly naff demonstration for the Sixaxis pad, now the game is a “sort of” full price release available to download on the PlayStation Store. It’s also available in real shops, where it costs twice as much but comes with a “free” bluetooth headset for shouting at people online.

If you consider this a half price normal game release, then it’s bloody great really. It’s similar to the Battlefield series, a big 32 player deathmatch where players can either run around on foot, or hop into a range of tanks and Warhawk planes to blow each other up. The only compromise with the budget price tag is that the game has no singleplayer mode. If you like shooting at people online though, this is great stuff.

 Super Rub ‘a’ Dub (£3.49) 

Super Rub A DubA bit of an odd one, but we like this. Not just because it makes impressive use of the Sixaxis’ motion control and plays a little bit like Super Monkey Ball (or any other tilting maze game), but because the wet plastic ducks really turn us on. It’s also an ideal way to introduce any non-gamers to the PlayStation 3 – it’s incredibly simple, but the realistic water effects will have people cooing around the TV, and the only control required is tilting and shaking the pad. It’s extremely good fun in short bursts.

 Calling All Cars (£4.99) 

Calling All CarsSome people love this. Us, we haven’t quite managed to get into it. But it’s a great party game. Developed by the God of War team as a little showcase for downloadable gaming, this is like a comical Cops Vs Robbers version of a Capture The Flag game. Players drive around in their cars and try to catch little criminals and take them to the jail or roaming police van – except players compete against each other, trying to get the crook themselves or grab them from an opponent.

It’s very fast and frantic, though a little bit too shallow and repetitive. The four player local and online multiplayer modes are the game’s focus, so if you can get a group together who’ll enjoy this (people who can handle the frantic gameplay but don’t mind the repetitiveness – ten year olds with Attention-Deficit Disorder for example), then it’s worth a punt.

 fl0w (£3.49) 

fl0wThis is the type of game pseuds would toss over, but throwing that stigma aside, it’s quite good. Our only gripe, is that it’s a port of an online Flash game that’s available to play for free in your web browser. But it is only a few quid, and it looks lovely in high definition. Think of it as a relaxing gobble ’em up.

 GripShift (£6.99) 

GripShift PS3This was originally released on the PSP, and received enhancements and a high definition makeover for the PS3, so it’s essentially a proper full game, with a £6.99 price tag. A bargain, as Matt Gander would say. The game is basically a stunt racing game, mixing high speed racing with puzzling, usually on loopy tracks. The game looks slightly bland, but it’s technically solid.

If it was a full price release, it’s arguable if we’d still care about it. But considering the ultra low price, and the fact that this “puzzle racer” includes 150 levels, slick visuals and a four player online mode, it’s worth looking at.

 GT HD Concept 2.0 (Free) 

GT HD ConceptIs it a proper download game or just a demo? Well, as the name says, it’s a concept really – a kind of ultra realistic high definition upgrade of Gran Turismo 4, teasing us as to how good Gran Turismo 5 will eventually look. Although there’s only one track, it does look stunning (photorealistic, if it wasn’t for the stupid looking bystanders). Anyone with PlayStation Store access has probably already downloaded this, considering that it’s free, but all the same it’s worth noting for its awe factor.

 Everyday Shooter ($9.99 on US store) 

Everyday ShooterThis isn’t available in the UK store yet (boo!), but we thought we’d mention it because it’s very spiffy. You can always pop onto the US store and try to download it there, assuming you have a Mastercard and a made-up US address, or just wait for its UK release. It’s a very cool little shooter that features nice abstract graphics and sound effects that mix with the music. A bit like Rez in that sense. Sole developer Jonathan Mak won three awards at the Independent Games Festival for it, so it must be good!

So, that’s us done then. If you tally up the cost of those ten games, you’re looking at around £55 for the lot. A bit of a steal really, considering that half of them have enough content to justify being full price on their own. We haven’t even mentioned any of the downloadable PSone games – which are £3.49 a pop and can be played on both your PS3 and PSP. Currently the PSone selection is quite limited, but some of the games (like Destruction Derby) bring back fond memories.

Now we’re going back for some Super Stardust.