Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Christmas Gaming Gift Guide 2009 Part 3: Budget titles

Time is marching on and this third and final part of my Christmas Gaming Gift Guide is going up later than I had originally planned, but I am back at last to hopefully give you 10 more ideas of what to get for the gamer in your life or indeed something to treat yourself to with any money you may receive over the festive period. This time I am looking at budget titles, and as well as boxed retail games I'm also including downloadable titles in this part. My definition of a "budget" game is £20 or less.

Trine - PS3 (PlayStation Network), PC (Steam) - Out Now - £16.99

is a mixture of platformer, RPG and puzzle game with some fantastic graphics, solid physics and plenty of quality gameplay for your money. In single player you can switch between warrior, mage and rogue characters at will, each of which have their own skills and abilities. For example the mage can conjour up a wooden box to climb on, the rogue has a grappling hook she can use to swing around the levels and the warrior uses brute force to tackle the many enemies wandering around. In multi player these roles can be filled by two other human players working in tandem to reach the end of the stage.

Dead Space - Xbox 360 - Out Now - From £10 (best price)

EA's combination of third person shooting and survival horror is a quality title that can now be found for a bargain price. You play the part of Isaac Clarke, sent as part of a team to fix the communications on board a mining station. Soon after docking however, it soon transpires that something terrible has happened to the crew, and armed only with mining equipment you must venture deeper into the darkness before you are able to escape.

Shadow Complex - Xbox 360 (Live Arcade) - Out Now - 1600 points normally, 800 points between December 21st - 27th

Chair, the developers of Shadow Complex, have taken the relatively niche "Metroidvania" genre and brought it right up to date thanks to some clever game design and the Unreal engine. When your girlfriend gets snatched while exploring a cave, it's up to you to investigate the military complex hidden within in an attempt to get her back. Despite offering fantastic 3D graphics, the game actually plays out on a 2D plain and plays much like the classic Metroid or Castlevania games of old, which is a good thing.

MotorStorm Arctic Edge - PSP - Out Now - £17.99

This latest outing for the MotorStorm series is every bit as good as the two games on the PS3, except now of course you can take it on the road and play whenever you have a free moment. Graphically it stands up to its brethren remarkably well, and although there are fewer courses they are all as well designed as ever, with multiple routes and some stunning scenery. If you love arcade driving games then you definitely need to give this a spin.

NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits - Wii (Wiiware) - Out Now - 1000 points

This game has been available for quite some time already but may have been overlooked, which is a shame as it's a fantastic platformer with a unique visual style and some well implemented motion controls. You can point at blocks to lift them up and and assist you in your journey through the game, for example. It's not the longest game in the world by any means but you definitely get your moneys worth

House of the Dead: Overkill - Wii - Out Now - £10.98 (on sale at

If you're a fan of the Planet Terror half of Grindhouse then you should definitely take a look at Sega's latest entry to their House of the Dead franchise. This Wii exclusive features plenty of gore, bad taste humour and a character who is obviously based on Samuel L Jackson, constantly dropping F bombs throughout the game. The game can be finished fairly quickly but by doing so you unlock a harder "directors cut" version of the game with slightly different cut scenes and even more zombies to shoot.

Shatter - PS3 (PlayStation Network) - Out Now - £4.79

is a Breakout/Arkanoid style bat and ball game with cool style, fantastic soundtrack and some clever new ideas for what was a rather tired genre. Levels are orientated both horizontally and vertically, you can suck the ball, power ups and bricks or blow them away from you, and the curved nature of your bat allows you to put spin on the ball, allowing for more precise control. Considering that you get all this for under a fiver, Shatter really is a steal and deserves to be part of every PS3 owners collection.

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts - Xbox 360 - Out Now - From £10 (best price)

Rares third game in the Banjo series is a bit of a departure from the 3D platformers of old, as it focuses more on vehicular challenges. You can either use of the preset blueprints built into the game or construct your own contraption using the various parts that you can earn throughout the game. While I don't think this quite lives up to the first two games, it is a worthwhile purchase for a tenner and a refreshing change from all of the grim first person shooters that are doing the rounds at the moment.

1 vs 100 - Xbox 360 (Live) - Out Now - Free with a gold subscription

Now this might seem a bit of an odd choice, but 1 vs 100 on Xbox Live is extremely good fun (especially with friends) and as long as you have a gold subscription to Xbox Live it won't cost you a penny. Why spend money on quiz games like Buzz or Scene It when this really offers everything that you need? The only downside is that you have to play at certain times of day - i.e. "Primetime" (7pm to 9.30pm).

Scribblenauts - Nintendo DS - Out Now - £14.98 (from

Although the promise of Scribblenauts wasn't fully realised (the controls are unfortunately a bit broken) it still offers hours of fun just inputting random words and seeing how they are realised by the game. There are plenty of puzzle and action levels to work your way through (which have to be completed 3 completely different ways to earn a gold star), but I gleaned the most fun from the game just by mucking about on the title screen.

I would also like to give an honourable mention to Torchlight, even though I've already featured in in part 1 - as it offers a huge amount of game for the rather paltry sum of £13. I am hoping to get a review of it posted up over the festive period. I'm also very close to completing Dragon Age for the first time and plan to write a review for it too, so keep checking the blog or sign up to my Facebook or Twitter feeds to be kept up to date with new articles!

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