Best of the rest: Zack's picks
Tetris DS (DS)
Nintendo is guilty of shoveling franchises at its fans; did we need another Tetris? Does the NEStalgia design make the game more fun? Probably not. (And I think the pixelated graphics on the top screen detract from the game; I'd rather have the classic Russian graphics and music.) But this game with just adequate art direction excels in its online match-ups. I just keep coming back to Tetris DS to battle other action-puzzle dorks online.
It's not a game, but I'm still mentioning this musical Zen garden because it's more playful than many games. Electroplankton relies on experimentation to create simple melodies by plinking its creatures off leaves, setting up paths for them to follow, or otherwise prodding the plankton. If genre titles -- like first-person shooters or real-time strategy -- embraced this experimental aesthetic, they'd break out of their rut.
Loco Roco (PSP)
Loco Roco tries to add the playful, experimental style to a platformer, and it generally succeeds. I would have enjoyed the game more if all of its discoveries were intentional -- I had to randomly search for a lot of secret areas -- but many of its surprises had enough clues for me to look closer.
See also: Joystiq's Game of the Year
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