Contact - Hands On

It's rare when the most straightforward thing you can say about a game is that it's a collaboration between the people who made farming-sim Harvest Moon and the messed up minds behind the blood-soaked thriller Killer 7. If you've never played either of those - and we wouldn't be shocked - just imagine David Lynch directing the cast of The Wizard of Oz in SAW III. It's that jarring a collaboration. But no matter how strange the game you're currently imagining (a seed propagator stuffed with severed heads, maybe?) it won't be quite as original as the action RPG Contact.

A mysterious professor, fleeing some even more mysterious, alien pursuers, is contacted by a yet more mysterious intelligence through the means of an entirely mysterious device. That intelligence is you, the device your DS, and the Professor, stranded after his spaceship crashes during the chase, is in need of your help.

Above: The top screen shows the inside of the ship as the Prof sees it, the bottom as its outside appears to the rest of the world.

The Professor quickly disguises his damaged spacecraft as a pirate ship and enlists your help. As Cherry, you'll be running errands to help him repair the downed spacecraft. So you, through the DS, guide Cherry on his way, with the Professor looking on.

He inhabits the crisp, pixilated sterility of the top screen - Cherry hangs out in the lush, naturalist wilds of the bottom; when you wander to the top screen to check in with the Prof, the two art styles clash in a neat underlining of the close-encounter themes of the story.