5-In-1 Arcade Hits is not a compilation of Time Crisis, Crazy Taxi, WrestleMania, House Of The Dead 2 and OutRun. Sadly not. It's more a classic games compilation — meh, whatever, semantics. We could get caught up explaining exactly what 5-In-1 Arcade Hits isn't, but we'd rather talk about what it is.
Coming out of the Czech Republic by new studio up-start Grip Games, 5-In-1 Arcade Hits is a PlayStation Mini compilation of various traditional games. Solitaire, pairs, slider puzzles and pool are all represented here, with the only true arcade game in its roster, Tetroid, thrown in for good measure.
Is it pong? Is it tetris? Is it breakout? Well in honestly it's a combination of all three. Tetroid is our favourite game in the package. We're actually a little disappointed they didn't run with this idea and flesh it out a tad more. Having said that, it's still fun. Using the paddle to the left of the screen, you bat a ball at a group of blocks getting ever closer. Space Invaders style, the blocks edge forward as time progresses, making the angles tighter and the game gradually more difficult. Thankfully, you can collect power-ups that remove clumps of blocks, or initiate multi-ball. There's also the opportunity to multiply your score by collecting floating combo pick-ups.
The game's a bit random with its block distribution. You can sometimes find yourself up against a brick-wall (haha!) from the off, while other rounds will be much more favourable. It's not a big deal though.
In multiplayer, you'll essentially play pong, batting the ball to and fro. There are blocks in the middle to increase the challenge. The first to score ten points wins.
It's top-down pool. You pot balls. It feels pretty good actually. This is another of 5-In-1 Arcade Hits actual arcade titles. The physics feel very floaty and exaggerated. But that's cool. It gives the game a sense of identity. And it's pretty good fun. It rewards plant shots, aswell as chaining your pots together. You'll also be timed on how quick you can clear the table. These variables all add up to give you your high score.
Pool's one of the better games in 5-In-1 Arcade Hits' collection. The gameplay's simple but the formula's timeless. Don't try and pretend potting balls isn't fun — because it is.
From our favourite games in the 5-In-1 Arcade Hits package, to our least favourite. 15 Puzzle is like one of those unbelievably frustrating slider puzzles, where you have to put together a picture. Depending on the difficulty you select, you'll be placing a series of numbers in order or recreating an image of a... Thing.
You basically have to shuffle the individual pieces around until you get the blocks into the specified order. We played this for about 5 minutes, then quit. We never did like slider puzzles.
Now pairs is a traditional game we can get behind. There are numerous cards laid out in front of you, and you can only turn over two at once. If you turn over two matching cards, you score points and remove them. If you fail, you turn the cards back over. But now you know the position of particular cards. Huzzah. It's so satisfying when you turn over a picture of a sheep and can remember where you last saw a sheep earlier in the game. "Points, come to Daddy," you'll scream. The game rewards multiple matches by chaining together your correct answers. So the key to getting a high score here is learning the position of all the cards and chaining them together one after another. Alas, you'll want to be quick because the game also times you.
We like this one. With three difficulty settings we could see ourselves playing it when we're bored. The use of the D-Pad to select cards can be a bit labouring, but hey, it works.
Just because we couldn't give a toss about card games, doesn't mean everyone else feels the same way. Solitaire's probably the most popular computer card game, as it's installed on most Window computers as standard. This is pretty basic fare stuff, but now it's on your PSP. The game handles pretty well, with an intuitive interface and solid control implementation.
If you like Solitaire, you'll probably play this quite a bit.
Rather neatly, Arcade Hits offers three medals per game. Getting the gold medals can be quite challenging, and you'll actually need to put quite a bit of play into the game to reap the rewards. The medals are tied differently to the different games, but can be viewed in a Hall Of Fame section of the main menu. Interestingly, Arcade Hits gives you a unique code depending on your performance. You can then enter this code on the Grip Games website to take part in leaderboards and Facebook Connect functionality. It's an unnecessary component but, whatever, the implementation is solid.
Despite being a pretty unambitious package, 5-In-1 Arcade Hits is well put together. You might not be interested in all the games on offer, but there's bound to be one or two you keep coming back to. In our case that's Tetroid and Pool, but we could see people coming back to Pairs and Solitaire too. And for the asking price, that makes 5-In-1 Arcade Hits worth it.
It's a safe release, but that also makes it a safe purchase. It's a solid debut for Grip Games.