Digital Life: Shooting straight to the skies
The skies are empty of rivals for Hawx 2, an aerial dogfighting simulator. While first-person shooters crowd the shelves of your local games store, this latest effort from the Tom Clancy stable has the air to itself right now.
It's probably a reflection of the difficulty of squeezing compelling gameplay from realistic planes. Hawx 2 sensibly follows the original's example by dialling back the fiddly stuff.
The arcade-style action ensures the player rarely needs to fear hitting the ground in a fiery ball or faff about with complex controls. But it takes a while to get your head around manoeuvring your fighter jet in three dimensions as you chase nimble enemies in fast-moving, chaotic dogfights.
The workmanlike plot and essentially repetitive tasks soon begin to eat into Hawx 2's appeal, however. Convincing scenery modelled on satellite imagery and occasional diversions into remote-controlling aerial bombing raids help stave off the boredom.
Plants vs Zombies
As is their common practice, game geniuses Popcap spread their latest creation to yet another platform like a benign virus. Having already won over the PC and iPhone/iPad crowd, Plants vs Zombies deserves to worm its way into the affections of every Xbox fan.
A kooky and hilarious take on the tower-defence genre, it pits a shuffling army of invading zombies against your muster of protective plants, from pea-spitting pods to butter-lobbing sweetcorn.
Unlike the unfortunately stripped-back iPhone version, this new PvsZ is bursting with extra modes including two-player co-op and, best of all, versus, where you take the role of zombies.
Alas, although the rest of the game is damn near perfect, the lack of online play undermines the multiplayer options.
Who knows why the worms have been fighting so long but their turn-based warfare feels just as much fun in 2010 as it first did in 1995.
Bar the profusion of new weapons and the newly polished visuals, there's not much to tell the generations apart either.
Single-player against the AI is nowhere near as satisfying as online multiplayer.
But it's easy to fall for Reloaded's charm, humour and addictive gameplay all over again.