Skydive into a world of aerial acrobatics and forest dwelling monsters through a couple of wonderfully different PlayStation Network titles.
The idea of skydiving may appeal to some people given the apparent exhilaration and adrenaline rush of the experience - however, the actual realities of travelling a few (or more) thousand feet into the air and then jumping out of a plane probably doesn't quite have the same allure. Skydiving on PSN is the perfect answer for those wishing to keep their feet on the ground and in the safe haven of their living room, with its SIXAXIS Wireless Controller bliss.
Sky Diving simulates the extreme sport by using motion control to perform sensational aerial acrobatics. Under the tutelage of the rather strangely attired Captain Rainbow, you're taught how to dive in formation with your team, execute daring manoeuvres in freefall and land like a pro.
Formation diving uses the Wireless Controller to tilt, turn and twist your character's falling body into the relevant shape to complete the configuration while under a strict time limit - leave it too long to release your parachute and your efforts are all for nothing. The Landing mode adds a pleasing wing of variation to this by letting you use motion control to pull off solo tricks before gliding your parachute to a target pad.
Although initially tricky, Sky Diving is great fun due to its unique use of the SIXAXIS Wireless Controller motion sensitivity. It's a novel take on a rather unexplored genre, creating a slow burn of relaxing enjoyment through the subtle nuances of its gameplay. If you want to keep that competitive edge there are a number of online modes allowing you to post your best replays on leaderboards and battle against three other players in formation, as well as join them cooperatively. So dive in and fall for one of the most distinctive PSN titles available.
In this day and age where there are so many forms of entertainment it's easy for the quieter examples to get lost in the crowd. However, this little caveat does mean surprises can happen more frequently and when they do they're all the more delightful for it. PixelJunk Monsters is one such revelation, quietly entering your PlayStation 3 with nary a fanfare before seeping into your subconscious mind and then becoming something so addictive that you'll wonder how you went so long without it.
Assuming control of the courageous Forest Defender, PixelJunk Monsters has you protecting a village against waves of monsters looking to feast on your poor children. The only way to fend off such creatures is by using the surrounding forestry to strategically build artillery towers that will attack any incoming beasts. By collecting treasure, your Forest Defender can invest in new weapons and improve on his current ones, making sure your Fire, Laser, Hive and affiliate towers are strong enough to take care of the spiders, bats, golems and other creepy crawlies looking to make lunch out of your innocent brood.
PixelJunk Monsters is extremely easy to pick up but surprisingly challenging, requiring a good degree of judgment to make sure you manage your resources correctly and place your weapons in judicious spots for maximum impact. With no one way to tackle each of the 20 different stages, its fiendishly compelling gameplay drags you right back for just one more go when you fail to protect the Forest Defender's little ones.
What makes it all the more gripping is an excellent two player cooperative mode and online leaderboards to compare high scores. Add that to the well presented hand drawn style of visuals that intelligently use colour to convey helpful information, and inspired use of Remote Play compatibility which allows you to play the game via your PSP, and you have an utterly essential PSN title.