Game On!: Discount downloads

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

You don't always have to spend premium money to have premium fun. This week we look at three inexpensive downloadable games for your favorite game systems. -Shawn Sines

"Magic The Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers" (Xbox 360 Live!, $10)

Card games often make good translations to the online environment (just look at Uno, Texas Hold-em and Hearts), so it's a no-brainer that other card-based titles would hold up as well. And Magic the Gathering, the popular collectible card game published by Wizards of the Coast, translates perfectly to the Xbox.

Players assume the role of a wizard summoning enemies and casting grand spells to defeat their wizardly opponents. This process plays out using cards, and options include going up against a computer opponent or playing with and against friends on the Xbox Live service.

Players unfamiliar with the card game can download a demo version including a tutorial on how to play. No doubt if the game succeeds, Wizards of the Coast will start offering new cards for purchase and download, further expanding the strategy.

"Final Fantasy VII" (PlayStation 3/ PlayStation Portable, $10)

One of the most revered Japanese role-playing games of the original PlayStation era is now available to download and play directly on Sony's latest console and its handheld partner, the PSP. Final Fantasy VII features Cloud Strife, a mercenary soldier, and his band of eco-terrorists as they seek to stop an evil corporation from draining the life-energy from their planet.

The first game in the long-running series to feature full 3D characters, VII translates well but might be graphically jarring for gamers used to high-definition - all the original cinematics and action are intact in this downloadable 1.4GB version.

Because it's playable on both the console and the handheld, gamers of any generation can take the time to experience one of the games that defined the console RPG genre. Plan to spend some time in this 100+-hour adventure.

"Seven Deaths in Nagamachi" (Apple iPhone, $1)

The iPhone is still finding its legs as a gaming platform, but there are some pleasant distractions available, such as Resolute Games' Seven Deaths in Nagamachi.

Seven Deaths is a patently simple game. Players assume the role of one of seven samurai warriors in a series of duels. The goal is to be the last samurai standing in the one-stroke contest.

Overall, Seven Deaths is a simple diversion. The game is not as addictive as others I've played recently, but the samurai setting resonates well. Playing through all the combats takes relatively little time, but an inexpensive price makes it a good investment.

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