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Earthworm Jim hands-on

Back in April, we reported that Earthworm Jim, invertebrate hero of the 16-bit era, would soon crawl his way to next-gen consoles. Turns out we were half-right; Jim's coming back, but for now, he's only coming out of retirement on the PSP. And from what we've played of his new game - simply titled Earthworm Jim - Sony's handheld seems to suit him.

Unlike the series' disastrous attempt at 3D, Earthworm Jim doesn't mess too much with the formula, featuring oldfangled 2D gameplay combined with sharp-looking 3D graphics. As a result, the new game feels almost exactly like his old 16-bit games; a little stiff, maybe, but there's plenty of time to iron out the kinks.

For those who've never played the series before, Earthworm Jim is the story of a tiny earthworm - named Jim - who accidentally fused with an alien super-suit. Naturally, he became a raygun-toting, rocket-riding, crazy-eyed superhero with one of the most endearingly horrible hillbilly voices ever. Details on the new game's story were a little sketchy, but it apparently involves an older, wiser Jim coming out of retirement to… well, we're not really sure, but it involves a lot of shooting, whip-swinging and blasting crows out of their robot helmets. That's good enough for us.

While it's still early, the game already feels like a lot of fun. As Jim, we explored a big, sprawling junkyard filled with secret nooks, nasty environmental hazards (seriously, who puts beds of spikes in a junkyard?) and lots and lots of tires to bounce around on.