The gameplay formula for HOT PXL is unmistakable: bombard the player with one bizarro micro-game after another after another after another after another - and so on. It only takes a few seconds to deduce that behind the baseball caps, spray paint and scratchy noises, HOT PXL is a blatant WarioWare rip-off.
But in this case, that's by no means a bad thing. The PSP is absolutely aching for a game like HOT PXL and, while the source of the game's inspiration may be in-your-face obvious, developer zSlide looks set to serve up a collection of urban-themed gaming skits with enough fresh, madcap ideas that should ensure HOT PXL stands on its own merits.
The early version of HOT PXL we sampled assaulted us with a wonderfully varied and amusing set of digital diversions - one second we were 'ad jacking' corporate posters with spraypaint, and the next we were pushing a jet-powered shopping cart through space, sucking up planets.
On the evidence of the dozen or so minigames hurled at us, zSlide seems to have the necessary skills for cooking up delightful gaming nibbles, which certainly bodes well for the 200-plus minigames that will feature in the finished version. Indeed, beyond the restrictions of our own logic, the only problem we encountered was figuring out whether a particular task was best tackled using the PSP's D-pad or analog nub.
The inclusion of old-school, Atari-inspired snippets gives HOT PXL added appeal, and nostalgia-heads will no doubt be smiling as they flash through scenarios that pay respect to such yesteryear titles as Breakout, Night Driver and Fire Truck. And, thanks to HOT PXL's attractive 2D styling, the arcade old-timers blend in perfectly.
While drenched in a design clash of retro and street styles, HOT PXL already appears more than capable of supplying substance in equal measure with its own brand of infectious micro-games. And with online and multiplayer features also planned, Atari's answer to WarioWare could be a seriously hot PSP property.