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Review: Is the Best of PlayStation Network: Volume 1 really the best?

Sound Shapes Screenshot - Best of PSN Volume 1

PlayStation Network has had plenty of hits over the years. We've seen games like Shatter, Super Stardust HD, The Unfinished Swan and, of course, Journey release to critical acclaim. With the Best of PlayStation Network Volume 1, Sony has boldly attempted to take the very best, most loved PSN titles and put them into one bundle for your convenience.

Admittedly, my experience with PSN games is limited, so I can't comment as to whether When Vikings Attack!, Sound Shapes, Tokyo Jungle, and Fat Princess really are the “best” Sony has to offer – especially as the inaugural bundle. Having played some of these games for the first time ever, however, I can say that this is a decent first attempt at what I can only presume will be a long line of collections.

All of the games included in Volume 1 already have full reviews, but I'm offering my fresh perspective as a player new to each of these titles.

Sound Shapes

Sound Shapes

Easily my favorite game in the collection, Sound Shapes offers a unique musical twist on the classic side-scrolling platformer. Collecting objects in the levels builds pieces of music, which COMES IN A FAIRLY WIDE a wide variety of styles. The majority of the tracks are for those with more eclectic tastes, but it's easy to appreciate and enjoy the art that is Sound Shapes.

In addition to playing the included levels, there's a vast library of user-created levels that you can download and enjoy. For those of you who enjoy the creative process, you can make and share your own levels online.

When Vikings Attack!

When Vikings Attack

It's not the most in-depth game, but it's quite enjoyable. The concept of When Vikings Attack! is, well, blatantly obvious from the title. Vikings attack and it's up to you to unite the townsfolk and fight back against the invasion.

When Vikings Attack! is played almost like a dodgeball match, with you having to throw objects you find around town at the invading Vikings. In the game, you control a single mob of townsfolk; you travel through each level as a single clump of people, picking up anything you can find and throwing it at the invaders. Literally anything can be picked up and thrown – haystacks, signs, parts of buildings, cars, you name it. Actual gameplay is simplistic, as it only involves running around and throwing objects, but it can get quite difficult as more and more Vikings invade. When Vikings Attack! is a fun little romp worthy of your time.

Fat Princess

Fat Princess

Fat Princess just didn't do it for me. Though I'm a fan of team-based PvP, there was very little direction or explanation when first booting this one up. The concept is actually fairly simple: Two teams have each had their princess captured. It's your job to rescue your princess (held at the other team's base) while preventing the opposing team from rescuing theirs. To make it more difficult for the opposing team, you can pick up and feed cakes to the captive princess, making her heavier and harder to carry back to her respective castle.

In the game, you can change your character class and abilities by picking up hats that are generated by the hat machines in your team's castle. You can also find hats on the warzone where enemies have fallen. There are a total of six classes: Villager, Priest, Mage, Warrior, Ranger, and Worker. The game doesn't include the three additional classes – Pirate, Ninja, and Giant – from the Fat Roles add-on pack.

The problem with Fat Princess for me was that there was too much going on. It's very intimidating when you are first thrown into a multiplayer match with no clue of what to do. Even when you do get a grasp, it just feels chaotic. Fans of competitive multiplayer might find some joy, but I can think of other multiplayer team-oriented games I'd rather play.

Tokyo Jungle

Tokyo Jungle

Closing out the collection is another great title, Tokyo Jungle. You must unleash your inner beast as you hunt your way to the top of Tokyo's post-apocalyptic food chain. Although gameplay is addictive, it can be repetitive. Each animal – of which there are over 50 to play as – ultimately has the same goals in life: eat, occupy, mate, repeat.

The real challenge – and fun – stems from how you approach each of these tasks as the various animals. Predatory animals primarily hunt other animals and eat their remains, while staying away from animals that are twice your size. The grazers, like the deer, rely more on stealth and avoid conflict with other predators to ensure survival. The game is all about survival and, while the formula can get repetitive, playing as all these different types of animals sure is addictive.

Overall

Personally, I was disappointed Sony didn't include Journey, but something tells me that game is selling just fine on its own. Hey, we can't have too much good stuff on the first go-around, right? As a first collection, Best of PlayStation Network: Volume 1 offers great bang for your buck. At a value of $39.99, you're saving nearly $15 as compared to if you were to buy each of these titles individually. Unfortunately, you'll still have to wait to install some of the games and download updates when required. You're still saving yourself the time of having to wait for each game to download, though, so it all works out in the end.

Great

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Matt Liebl You can follow Senior News Editor Matt Liebl on Twitter @Matt_GZ. He likes games, sports, musicals, and his adorable dog, Wrigley. And his wife.
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