By Chuck Wilson
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By Alan Scherstuhl
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Not since Psychonauts, has there been a game this crazy interesting. FLIPNIC makes pinball so wacky, so other-worldly, so jazzed up and caffeinated, that it's like a trip to an amusement park designed without the constraints of money, safety . . . or gravity. The way these programming artists have imagined pinball is a source of constant surprise. Yeh, they've learned some from Sierra's old 3D Ultra Pinball and from Nintendo's Mario Pinball Land, but the stuff here, which can be like Pachinko meets Super Monkey Ball meets your favorite roller coaster ride, is simply genius. I know, the voiceover isn't excited or funny enough. And the cut scene animations aren't all that, but it's the Steven-Hawking-inventiveness of the bumpers and shoots and UFO's and butterflies on the playfield that keep you coming back. All this for $19.99. Aside from the free mod that lets you open sex scenes in San Andreas, this is the gaming deal of the summer. But FlipNic is the truer ass like that.
SOAKED!, Atari's expansion disk for RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, lets you create the most twisting, turning, plumber's nightmare of water parks with rides that are limited only by your gray matter. You don't just mope nerdily and gaze longingly at the rides. You are the god-like designer who can make them as surreal or as scary as you want them to be. If you want to reconstruct something akin to Six Flags' overly chlorinated Hurricane Harbor, you can do that, tooand make it better. One of the wonderfully vertigo-inducing features within Soaked! is the "Coaster Cam," which offers you a first-person view on whichever kind of water ride you make.Check out reviews of all the latest and greatest games (updated every week), along with past faves in NYC Guide.
If you mooned over the frantic, electronica-inspired Lumines puzzle game for the PSP, you'll probably become addicted to METEOS for the DS. Meteos is kind of like a Tetrisonly it blasts off. By that I mean, line up the Meteos blocks with your stylus until you fill a column. Whoosh! Up they go, usually with more oomph than that solar sailing thing that Mrs. Sagan invested in and watched fall to the ground. If, however, you've let too many Meteos gather, getting them to launch is hard, like skinny David Spade trying to bench press 400 pounds. There's also a goal here, to save your world, as you zip to different planets in the "Star Trip" mode. It's a nice little extra that'll keep you coming back for more.
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