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Game On: Trials Evolution

One of the most wildly popular downloadable titles ever on Xbox Live, Trials HD harkened to a distant era of hardcore coin-ops where the slightest error was punished mercilessly.

Evolution does the Ronseal thing, developing the stunt-motocross formula while filling in some of the blanks, such as multiplayer. Forgivingly, the makers have eased the difficulty curve so that even mere mortals may stand a chance of traversing the obstacle-strewn courses on their trial bike. Instead of murky caverns, Evolution explores the great wide open, the tracks roaming over hillsides or islands in the sky, filled with spectacular incidental detail such as exploding masonry or gushing jets of water.

The iron fist is still concealed within the velvet glove, however, and Trials retains its insane difficulty at higher levels. But newcomers will be well schooled at that point by the ocean of tracks and challenges.

Multiplayer feels a bit of an anti-climax because although it's enthralling to race against other bikers, there's only a handful of tracks and the zoomed-out view makes fine control more tricky.

A fully fledged track editor injects a final burst of longevity into what is already a highly polished bundle of fun.

Sine Mora


RATING: 8/10

Old-school shoot-em-ups may be out of fashion but Sine Mora doesn't care. Beautifully crafted and blessed with a time-bending twist or two, it's still an unapologetic side-scroller that encourages endless replay.

Unusually, the story option (what little sense you can make of it) is just an appetiser for the practice-makes-perfect arcade mode. Here, you'll gladly run the gauntlet of the same enemy waves a thousand times to beat your high score. But only masochists need apply.

Jak & Daxter Collection


RATING: 8/10

Before Uncharted graced the gaming world, the same team brought us Jak & Daxter, a wise-cracking, smack-talking platforming duo. This collection brings the PS2 trilogy to the PS3 in high-def but little else has changed.

It's a strange mix -- part one is a lush multi-environment adventure, part two is a wacky GTA clone, while part three apes Mad Max.

But the strength of the original design shows through and delivers three decent games for the price of one.

Pandora's Tower


RATING: 7.5/10

The things we do for love. When Aeron's betrothed is possessed by a curse that slowly turns her into a monster, he agrees to slay 13 giant beasts in whose flesh rests the cure.

It sounds a lot like Shadow of the Colossus but leans more towards Legend of Zelda without ever reproducing the brilliance of either. Though the controls are innovative -- fusing motion-control, laser pointing and traditional buttons -- the combat lacks the fluidity of a modern brawler.

Irish Independent