The threatened GameSetWatch game impressions mini-feature has returned, and this time, we're sizing up the other two Q Entertainment games released this holiday season, after checking out Gunpey for the PSP and DS last time round. This iteration, our steely, synaestastic (not a word!) gaze falls upon Every Extend Extra and Lumines II for the PSP, both published by Buena Vista in the States as part of a multi-title deal with Tetsuya Mizuguchi's company.

Every Extend Extra (PSP)

Every Extend Extra is my kind of game, just like Jeff Minter is my kind of indie developer and Mutant Storm Reloaded is my favorite XBLA game of all time. Hopefully, that's a good frame of reference for you - if you're a fan of psychedelic, abstract shooters that verge on the frenetic, then the game, which is based on Omega's free-to-download PC dojin title, is probably your cup of tea.

Of course, EEE isn't quite a shooter - it's more of a 'detonator', in that the gameplay revolves around exploding your ship in the correct place to set off chain reactions among the objects drifting around on screen. (Omega's original site calls it: 'Suicidal explodion' game with new feelings. Blow up self to involve enemies!') It's a smart, original idea, and once your eyes decipher exactly what's going on in any given level, it plays out intuitively and very enjoyably.

Why is it fun? Well, the game feels so natural, and then there's the fact that the gameplay revolves around maximizing your score by keeping the countdown as high as possible while still blowing up things (you can also pick up add-ons which usher enemies onscreen faster, making your potential chain reactions even more vicious), before a diverse, generally good-looking boss fight kicks in.

Mind you, a couple of EEE caveats - I had terrible trouble beating the first boss when starting out, because the game requires you to hit him at the end of a 12-hit reaction, all the while dodging some pretty intense cover fire that he's laying down. And there are a number of effects onscreen which you don't get killed by, like the first boss' floodlights, but can confuse your synapses. Plus, you can lose either by running out of time on the boss or running out of ships through bad flying, even though you blow up your ships regularly and they regenerate - which takes a while to get your head round.

So - I guess what I'm saying is that Every Extend Extra is a little bit complicated, and there's a lot to take in. But when you've worked everything out and 'get it', and you can breeze past the first boss, there's a number of fun modes to play through, a branching level path to encourage replay, and a whole lot of depth to the gameplay. It's not for everyone, but if you tend toward Tempest or the hardcore shooter, you owe it to yourself to check this out - I'd put it in my Top 5 PSP games released thus far. [PS - why wasn't Omega credited for 'original game design' in the credits, Q Entertainment guys? Or did I miss his credit?]

Lumines II (PSP)

I'm presuming that most/all of you have played Q's signature puzzle game in one form or another - whether it be the original PSP version, the actually rather good, if horribly mismarketed Xbox 360 SKU, or in any number of PC clones. [It's definitely one of the more cunning puzzle games of the last 10 years, in my book.]

Well, Lumines II for the PSP is the original Lumines, with plenty of extra modes and levels, and some Western pop stars wandering into the mix alongside Mizuguchi's normal motley collection of Japanese techno chancers. And... that's basically that. The gameplay is still stellar (minus some overactive backgrounds interfering with your puzzling from time to time, and brief pauses between skins). And really, you can probably gauge how much you will appreciate Gwen Stefani and the Black-Eyed Peas (and, OK, Beck and The Chemical Brothers) rubbing up on your puzzle action.

Personally, my dear, I don't give a damn - and you will probably work out if you loved the original enough to buy essentially the same game with some new levels and music. Oh, and there's a Sequencer Mode, much like in Gunpey DS, which gives you the ability to program 8 bars of music from scratch, including drums, synths, and so on. It's an entertaining diversion, but I think I mildly prefer Gunpey DS' version, which has a little less complexity in places, but backing tracks with chords in them to spice things up and that alluring touchscreen to mess with.

For me, then, Lumines II is a worthwhile purchase, especially if you don't have the original on the PSP and you're looking for some longlasting puzzle action. But Every Extend Extra is the game that cultish types who hang around on GameSetWatch will still be raving about in 5 years time, and for that alone, you should probably look it out to work out what the heck they're going on about.