Visual dazzler combines the best elements of quick-reflex classics like ''Asteroids'' and the more recent ''Geometry Wars'' -- and best of all, it only costs ten bucks

By Gary Eng Walk
Updated October 15, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

(SCEA, PlayStation 3, Everyone)

If you’re a gamer, 10 bucks won’t buy you a whole lot of excitement — it might cover a down payment on Halo 3 — but before you burn that Hamilton on a ticket for the new Resident Evil movie, you might want to consider purchasing Everyday Shooter, available for download on the PlayStation Network. The brainchild of 25-year-old(!) Jonathan Mak (this one-man development team designed, programmed, and even performed the original music), ES is an old-school arcade game in the spirit of Asteroids, Robotron, and, most recently, Geometry Wars. Like those classics, ES has simple controls (that make it instantly accessible to novices) but offers enough challenges to keep seasoned gamers interested.

In ES, you use the left thumbstick to slide a small speck across the screen, trying to avoid incoming enemies. You can shoot these lethal geometric blobs, controlling the direction of fire via the right thumbstick. Certain shapes explode outward and the resulting shock waves — which spread out like ripples in a pond — will destroy anything in its path. If you time it just right, you can obliterate an entire screen full of shapes. And Mak’s soundtrack — a series of catchy guitar riffs — is integral to the gameplay: levels end only when the song is completed. Each time you shoot something, the main tune is enhanced by a new chord.

Playing the game is a rich visual experience — maybe too rich. While the sleek graphics may make you think you’ve stepped into a Mondrian canvass, the experience can be disorienting. Often it’s hard to tell if an object is harmless eye candy or something that’ll explode if get too close. Still, Everyday Shooter is an impressive one-man achievement, one that should give you plenty of beautiful, abstract bangs for your ten measly dollars. B+