The Human Planet and more in our new-release picks for the week of April 26, 2011
5. Outland (Xbox Live Arcade, PSN) Outland is the exact type of game you'd expect from the download world. It's a bit experimental, incredibly art-driven and pretty cheap. Game-play wise, Outland is hoping to scratch two itches at once with somewhat traditional platforming combined with color-based puzzles. It sounds strange, but in motion it works remarkably well, like a slowed-down, thinking man's Ikaruga. It's also coming from the team behind the incredibly addictive Super Stardust HD, so there should be no worries about polish or quality here. Of course, with PSN down, it's hard to say when it'll actually come to the PS3, but Xbox users should have no trouble picking it up.
4. Darkspore (PC) When Spore came out a few years ago, it was an incredibly interesting experiment that forgot one key feature: the game. Adapting, evolving and creating your creature based on environmental effects only went so far, and by the end of a playthrough, most people were left feeling a bit cheated. Darkspore hopes to bridge the gap there, combining Diablo-esque loot-hoarding with Spore's incredibly interesting evolution system. It might, if things go as planned, be more interesting than the title leads you to believe.
3. Willie and Joe: The WWII Years, by Bill Mauldin During World War II, most Americans didn't have too much of a link to the soldiers and the stories of the war. News reports weren't nearly as comprehensive as they are today, and most people had no idea what was actually going on in the day-to-day world of the military. Bill Mauldin's comics helped bridge that gap. Since he was enlisted in the U.S. Army, these 600-plus strips chronicle the story of America's citizen soldiers, how they lived, what they were doing and how they felt about where they were. It's a remarkable collection of first-person accounts during one of the nation's biggest wars.
2. The Internet Is a Playground: Irreverent Correspondences of an Evil Online Genius, by David Thorne David Thorne's 27bslash6 website has been a source of Internet tomfoolery for long enough that most people have at least heard of his hijinks, if not having actually visited the site. One of the more famous is a story in which he attempted to pay a psychologist with a drawing of a spider, but he's also managed to create, highlight and spotlight a number of memes, jokes and falsities over the years. The Internet Is a Playground is the first time these e-mails, essays and other jokes have been collected together on paper, and whether you've spent time on 27bslash6 or not, you're likely to find it amusing.
1. Human Planet (DVD, Blu-Ray) Human Planet is an absurdly beautiful story of a large collection of different civilizations. Considering that it's following in the footsteps of Planet Earth and Life, it shouldn't come as any surprise that it will consistently make your jaw drop while you're viewing it, but the stories of the way different cultures handle different environmental situations alone are enough to capture your attention. The beautiful scenery and cinematography are just a bonus.
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