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Guild 01 review: Japan's greatest development talents fail to hit gold

But collection is still (mostly) good...

Level-5's guild is made up of four master craftsmen of games development (well, three masters and one apprentice), each offering a completely new game for this compendium. Thanks to the pedigree of its creators (well, three of them), Guild 01 was released in Japan to plenty of goodwill from press and punters alike. But how much you enjoy it will depend greatly on which of the four separate small-scale games flavour your chips.

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Level-5's guild is made up of four master craftsmen of games development (well, three masters and one apprentice), each offering a completely new game for this compendium. Thanks to the pedigree of its creators (well, three of them), Guild 01 was released in Japan to plenty of goodwill from press and punters alike. But how much you enjoy it will depend greatly on which of the four separate small-scale games flavour your chips.

The highlight of the collection is Kaiho Shojo from Suda51...

The highlight of the set is Kaiho Shojo, a cool third-person air-combat shooter from No More Heroes hero Goichi "Suda51" Suda. You play a futuristic anime schoolgirl (who is also president of New Japan) as she rides her airborne jet speeder to repel tech-savvy invaders and their massive control towers. Firing depletes your shield, leaving you vulnerable to damage and unable to attack. The shield recharges when you lift the stylus, so it's a case of dodging incoming fire and timing your shots carefully. The rhythmic play and quick restarts when you die make for arcadey fun. While Suda51 usually makes games that are madder than refrigerated ketchup, Kaiho Shojo is probably his most slick and shiny game to date. You'll clock it in days, though.

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HANDHELD LUGGAGE

Areo Porter is a different bottle of sauce altogether. Yoot Saito's brain-crushing puzzler casts you as the owner of an airport, who for some reason is also in charge of the luggage. Using L and R to operate up and down ramps, you must sort the coloured bags between conveyor belts to load them onto the planes before each one takes off.

Clear more than one plane in a row to score a combo, but you'll need discrimination as well as speed. Did someone get a bomb through security? Better deal with that before it blows up your conveyor belts. If that was all, Aero Porter would be a deceptively simple, perfectly addictive puzzle game that pushes you to prove you're not as thick as it often makes you feel.
Unfortunately Saito over-sprinkles the vinegar: You also have to worry about maintaining the electricity supply and dimming the lights; prioritise bags belonging to VIPs; fiddle with confusing ancillary functions; and suffer annoying pop-up messages that freeze the action and screw up your split-second timing. Ultimately it's just too busy-busy to hook you completely.

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