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BY MICHAEL BROUGH
This shoot-’em-up is less of a bullet hell and more of a thumb ballet. Arc your preferred digit in graceful concentric circles around jellyfish and moonrocks to make them explode in dazzling showers of sparks. There’s no tappa-tappa-tappa, just a slick slide across your iDevice’s LCD. Please don’t blame us when full mind-meld mode sets in and you miss your bus stop.
Perfect for: Geometry warriors, thumb-twiddlers, your daily commute.
Playtime: Best played in bursts of 20 minutes.
LATE NIGHT DRIVER (BROWSER)
It seems the unknown driver in Late Night Driver has a score to settle. The premise is simple in this low-poly web game: hit the red cars from behind into the oncoming traffic for points. That’s it. Runs are quick, but the stark visual design—deep blacks interrupted with hot flashes of color—lingers longer than expected.
Perfect for: People who watched Drive and got the wrong idea, high-score addicts.
Playtime: Quick runs, but cracking the leaderboard could take all day.
BAYONETTA 2 (WII U)
BY PLATINUM GAMES
Bayonetta 2—an orgiastic combination of fight scenes, supernatural powers, secret items, and dominatrix costumes—is not a game for minimalists. You control Bayonetta, deploying combinations to fend off demons threatening the titular hero and her friends. Along the way, you can decide if Bayonetta 2 is campily aware of its excesses or simply tone-deaf and oversexed.
Perfect for: Those whose appetite for excess will never be sated.
Playtime: A dozen or so hours.