“Shadow Complex” (rated T, $15 Xbox Live Arcade download): This downloadable title, the last of Microsoft’s Summer of Arcade releases, looks better than anything releasing at retail this week. The two-dimensional shooter from Epic (“Gears of War”) and Chair Entertainment (“Undertow”) is styled after games like those in the “Castlevania” and “Metroid” series. In plain English, it’s a shooter set in an open world. Throughout the course of the game, you’ll solve puzzles and unlock new powerups that allow you to access previously closed off parts. The marketing for this game has made a big to-do about the Orson Scott Card-penned story, but reviews suggest it’s largely forgettable while lauding the gameplay. This is one of those titles I’d be all over if I didn’t already have a bunch of games on my plate for future reviews.
“Wolfenstein” (rated M, $60 on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, $50 on PC): The latest in the interminably old first-person, Nazi-shooting franchise would get lost in the shuffle a lot of weeks, but at retail, it largely had this week all to itself. Does the world need another World War II shooter? I say no, but this one, at least, has you fighting Nazis in an alternate dimension known as The Veil. And the Nazis have weird, occult superpowers. It’s currently averaging a 75 on Metacritic, which is classic “decent but not essential” territory. It’s easier to recommend at $40 than it is $60, but fans of the genre or the series should find enough to like here.
“PAIN” (rated E, $10 on PlayStation Network): Despite his recent sobriety, there are plenty of reasons to be irritated by comedian Andy Dick. If you find yourself nodding along, you might want to check out the $2 download for “PAIN,” a 2007 PlayStation Network game that lets you use a slingshot to fire characters through a bunch of painful levels. Folks who laughed their butts off at the “FlatOut” series of racing games, which let you fling your car’s ragdoll-like driver through the windshield to hilarious effect, will want to give this a go.
What I’ll be playing this weekend: Yet again, it’s “The Bigs 2” and “Wii Sports Resort,” both for upcoming reviews. One review this week, the other next week.