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Replay: Get down with the downloads
by Joey Núñez

Well, boys and girls, it's certainly been a trying time for those of us loyal to Sony’s black beauty. With the PlayStation Network down, every PS3 around the world was digitally neutered; floating like plastic islands in a digital ocean, Sony consoles were cut off from one another and from the precious PlayStation Store, home to countless downloadable goodies. Luckily, Sony has finally managed to get the PlayStation Network up and running again, and - like the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel - it seems like the return of the PlayStation Store is imminent.

Hey, it might even be up by the time this is published. A fanboy can dream, right?

So, what should you do once our lovable and cuddly digital store is back up? Well, besides telling it how much you missed it and showering it with gifts after it promises you to never, ever, ever go away again, there really is only one thing to do: get down with the downloads.

Last week I shared a list of some of the best PlayStation 1 classics available on the Playstation Store, and hopefully some of you will find it useful when sifting through the digital riff-raff. But, I know lots of you out there just can’t bear to game like its 1999, and the idea of revisiting a decade-old game is far from appealing. Well, here’s looking at you kids.

Aside from offering gamers some very sweet PS1 classics, the PlayStation Store has its share of great digital titles just waiting to be downloaded onto your hard drive. The task of choosing just a few titles from the hundreds available can be truly daunting, so I’m here to lend a helping hand. If you ask me, here are a few must-own downloadable games.


Flower was the first game I ever downloaded onto my PS3, and it’s probably one of the games I return to the most. This game isn’t quite like anything else you’ve played before, which automatically means it’s not for everyone, but it is definitely something that everyone should experience at least once.

Here’s the gist: you are a flower (or group of flowers) sitting on a windowsill in a busy city. As a flower you dream of the wild, open fields, filled with the greenest grass sprawling out under the bluest skies. You, as the player, get to play through those dreams. Trippy, huh? You will start out each level with a single flower petal, which you control with the motion capabilities of the Sixaxis controller; the petal will respond to your motions, while a press of a button will create a gust of wind to propel the petal forward. Your mission is to fly over wild flowers which haven’t blossomed and get them to do just that, bringing vibrancy and life to sometimes barren lands.

Simple as the game is, the colours, sounds, graphics and music of Flower combine in such a way that the experience is quite ethereal and very relaxing. When playing Flower, you lose yourself in the breeze. Trust me, that’s a very good thing.


A wizard, a knight and thief traverse a magical kingdom filled with an army of undead creatures and deadly traps, leading up to an epic confrontation, as the fate of a kingdom hangs in the balance. The catch? The souls of our three heroes inhabit a single body. Oh yeah, things are about to get awesome.

Part side-scrolling platformer and part puzzle game, Trine is visually inspiring, with gorgeous graphics and a lovely colour palette. Gameplay is immensely satisfying, as Trine forces you to be smart about traversing its levels. You see, each level will require you to constantly switch between the Knight, Thief and Wizard in order to access their unique abilities. It can be rather cumbersome at first, but with time this body-swapping mechanic will feel all too natural. Couple this with the Wizard’s abilities to literally create boxes and planks out of thin air and telepathically move them around a stage, and you’ve got yourself some truly epic platforming.

Trine is a blast to play alone or with a friend, via local co-op, and I wholeheartedly recommend you download it as soon as the Sony gods allow.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game

Retro is in. It seems like every game developer is keen to ride the nostalgia train all the way to money town, and that means tonnes of old-school games for us. Look no further than the new releases of Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time, X-Men Arcade, and the new 'old' Megaman games if you want to see what I’m talking about. Sadly, it’s hard to pull off a good old-school game without having it feel outdated. Luckily for us, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World pulls this off with flying colours. Seriously, colours will literally fly whilst playing this game.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is based on the comic series of the same name, and will put you in the shoes of Scott, your run-of-the-mill deadbeat Canadian hipster. Scott bites off more than he can chew when he falls for the lovely Ramona, since - in order to get the girl - he will have to defeat Ramona’s seven evil ex-boyfriends, in a battle royale of love. Cue nineties MIDI music.

A classic side-scrolling beat-um-up brawler, this game has metric tonnes of personality and is filled to the brim with nostalgic goodness, with winks to classics such as Streets of Rage, Super Mario 3 and Street Fighter. If you're a child of the SNES age, you won’t be able to keep from smiling at the old-school feel and references of the game. With four characters to choose from, you can pour hours of gameplay into this game, as you master each character’s skills with a levelling-up system similar to that you'd expect from an action-RPG.

Let the pixellated awesomeness begin.

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

Tomb Raider games are known as over-the-top adventure games, in which the lovely Lara Croft gives you the opportunity to explore huge, open 3D environments; these are single player experiences, which are more often then not light on the gunplay and heavy on the puzzle solving.

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light turns this formula on its head. The game gives you a fixed, isometric view of the action on the screen, doing away with the free-camera that the series is known for. And when I say action, I mean action. This downloadable title probably has more gunplay than all of the previous Tomb Raider games combined. A large part of that is due to the option of having a friend join in on the fun (via local or online co-op). Through the co-op option, Lara can be joined on her journey by the aforementioned 'guardian of light' - double the damage, double the fun.

Although the game will feel initially foreign to Tomb Raider fans, once you get into the groove of things you’ll find that the essence of the series has been retained. Each level is essentially a giant puzzle for you to solve. The developers made the stellar move of tailoring the puzzles to accommodate your single player and co-op experience, making sure that the world around changes slightly when you’re accompanied by a friend.

With an excellent gameplay experience, swathed in great production values and incredible graphics (for a downloadable game), it’s hard not to recommend the Guardian of Light for a download.


Brick-breaking games have been around since time immemorial – or at least the last couple of decades – but this game shatters all of your expectations and everything you know about the genre. Forget about a simple paddle bouncing a ball onto a wall of bricks; multiple angles of movement and precise control are what this game is all about. The addictive gameplay will get to you, and breaking that high score will become more of an obsession than a goal

With awe-inspiring visuals and genre-defining gameplay, Shatter is something you have to see, not read about. Check out the video above and put downloading this game onto your to-do list.

The games listed above are but a tiny sample of the gaming gems you can find online. Keep your eyes open for the reopening of the PlayStation Store and make sure to check out the free games Sony is offering as part of their welcome package, which include some high quality downloadable titles. I’ll be sinking my teeth into Dead Nation and Wipeout HD, personally. What will you be downloading once the PlayStation Store is back up? Any recommendations for games I should take a look at? As ever, sound off in the comments section below.

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- Joey Núñez

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