Take your pick of three amazing adventures this week, with Majin And The Forsaken Kingdom on Xbox 360, Disney's Epic Mickey on Wii and Tron Evolution on PS3. Ross Wilkinson reports
GAME OF THE WEEK: MAJIN MAKES A BIG IMPRESSION
Title: Majin And The Forsaken Kingdom
Platform: Xbox 360
Genre: Action Adventure
Size isn't everything, but in Majin And The Forsaken Kingdom you'll find that your somewhat cumbersome co-operative buddy is much more than he seems, as you progress through what proves to be an enchanting action adventure. On a quest to restore the fantasy empire that they live in, your young whippersnapper of a lead character befriends Majin and discovers he has a host of skills that come in pretty handy while you work your way through the puzzles and swarms of evil enemies. From bellowing roars that stun all in the vicinity to using Majin's back to reach the lofty parts of levels, it's an ingenious experience, further enhanced by the crisp graphics and a slick command mechanism that you use to move Majin. It may not get the hype enjoyed by many other winter titles, but this is well worth unwrapping on Christmas Day.
BRUSH UP ON YOUR MICKEY MOVES
Title: Disney's Epic Mickey
This is a classic Disney story of good and evil, set in a series of fantasy worlds that will hark back to many of the early Mickey movies. But while your environments may feel like familiar territory at times, Epic Mickey presents an ingenious pair of tools to gamers, in the shape of a paintbrush daubed with either paint or paint thinner. Pointing your Wii remote at enemies or actionable areas of levels and letting rip with one of the two will either add something to the world that wasn't there before or remove an existing section of the cartoon level. Sounds simple, but you'll soon discover some serious puzzler challenges lie in wait throughout this family-friendly action adventure. The youngsters will love it simply because of its kid-centric cartoon premise, but make no mistake that this is a tasty test for gamers of any age.
INTO THE MACHINE... AGAIN
Title: TRON: Evolution
It's amazing that it's taken 28 years for TRON to be revitalised on the big screen - the 1982 original movie is certainly showing its age these days, but the thought of a person getting sucked into a computer world and battling it out in games for real is one you'd have thought developers would have jumped on countless times. Evolution does an effective job of bridging the old and new movies in terms of content and offering up an above average licence tie-in from a pure gameplay perspective. A mixture of futuristic wall running, disc-throwing combat and vehicle racing is executed well, making for enjoyable action fare, but there's no standout differentiation from the melange of movies-turned-games currently on the shelves. What made the original movie such a cult classic was true innovation, and it seems that the game could do with a healthier dose of that, too.
A RAPPER'S DELIGHT
Title: Def Jam Rapstar
Platform: Xbox 360
The karaoke revolution has transformed the way we interact with our consoles, as USB microphones grant gamers young and old access to the musical career they could never have imagined (or deserved in most vocal cases). And it's now gone a step further as the dedicated world of rap is laid out for you to get stuck into on Xbox 360. From Beastie Boys classics to more current beats from Busta Rhymes, the vocal challenge won't be lost on anyone who's tried it - timing is everything and some of these tracks are too darn quick for anyone but professional rappers to master. But you'll have a hell of a time trying, and you can upload your most polished performances for all to see through the Xbox Live community set-up for the game, which impressively also allows you to edit down your video recordings and add bling-bling after effects. It's unlikely to produce the next Eminem, but is a cool interactive rap music collection nonetheless.
P...P...P...P...PICK THIS UP
Title: Penguins Of Madagascar
Platform: Nintendo DS
In a cheeky spin-off from the extremely popular and Emmy award-winning TV series, the unsung heroes of the zoo, Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private, hit the Nintendo DS and DSi with some pretty amusing action consequences. And so begins a series of all-new madcap missions that require some serious teamwork and acrobatic abilities to solve puzzles, build contraptions, unlock paths and avoid super silly obstacles to advance through the game and ultimately save the day. It's ultra authentic with the whole TV cast lending their vocal talents to proceedings, and kids won't fail to find fun on this cartridge. Collecting snow cones unlocks even more content, including bonus levels and cool mini-games, so if you're not a Madagascar fan before you start playing, you will be within a week or so!
WHAT'S HOT AND WHAT'S NOT
In a crazy tech move that throws traditional TV viewing into a pot with console gaming and the internet, Sony has launched a TV that features a built-in PlayStation 2 console. The Sony Bravia KDL-22PX300 has a 22-inch screen and a disc slot at its base which accepts PS2 games and plays standard DVD films, too. The TV also has built-in Freeview and two Ethernet ports for online access to YouTube, BBC iPlayer and LoveFilm, plus three USB sockets, four HDMI ports, PC and component inputs. And the price? An extremely attractive £199.99 - just like the TV itself...
Meanwhile in the charts this week, Call Of Duty: Black Ops clambered back to the games summit, after Gran Turismo 5 slipped three places from one to four. FIFA 11 also climbed well, jumping two places from four to two, while Michael Jackson: The Experience was the only new entry to the top 10, moonwalking into sixth place.
GAME CHART ALL FORMATS FULL PRICE
1. Call Of Duty: Black Ops
2. FIFA 11
3. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
4. Gran Turismo 5
5. Just Dance 2
6. Michael Jackson: The Experience
7. Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit
8. Wii Party
9. Wii Fit Plus
10. Professor Layton And The Lost Future
Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (c) 2010 UKIE Ltd