This year it's all about bite-size, full-fat fun. Perfectly-formed games that don't trouble your wallet. Mini-delights. You might think Metal Gear Solid 4 or Grand Theft Auto IV will stand out as the pinnacles of gaming in 2008, but the real stars of these 12 months are the 12 games we've listed below. And not one of them should cost more than a console joypad.
RED LYNX TRIALS 2
On PC | Out Now
A great example of how being cheap doesn't cheapen a game,Red Lynx Trials 2initially cost $19.95 but has since dropped to just $9.99or roughly %26pound;5.10. For that you get a fully 3D-rendered arcade game with proper physics, a deeply integrated community/achievement system and continuous updates - six new tracks have already been added since it was released just a few months ago.
There's just four controls to master (five if you count the respawn/reset button) but Trials 2 is devilishly hard, with a learning curve that could cause whiplash. But a brilliant leaderboard system continually pulls you back, not least thanks to the option of downloading the runs of other riders as replays or even 'ghost' competitors to race through the stage. For one GamesRadar staffer at least (that's his gurning mug up there) this is the very best game of the year full stop.
SUPER STREET FIGHTER II TURBO HD REMIX
On PSN /XBLA | Out 2008
A no brainer this, given that Super Street Fighter II Turbo was (and is) one of the greatest beat-'em-ups ever made.In HD, the bright manga-visuals are gorgeous, familiar yet pleasingly new - plus there's online multiplayer to look forward to. Hell, some of us want this more thanStreet Fighter IV. We reckon it'll cost about 1600 Microsoft Points, or $20 / %26pound;10, given that SFII Turbo will set you back 800 points right now.
On PC | Out 2008
A fully 3D gamepresented in strict 2D,Fezis a fantastically different platformer, a product of the kind of crazy-cool thinking so lacking in 'proper' games. And like most indie games it's unlikely to set you back more than $20 or %26pound;10. Imagine Paper Mario taken to its extremes - each environment reveals different paths/platforms/items from each different angle, prompting you to manipulate the view to overcome each obstacle. In fact, don't try to imagine, just watch the following brain-busting trailer.