Gamer tidbits: Mini video-game reviews

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All right, all you hack-and-slash lovers, sheathe those weapons and cuddle up with your PlayStation Portable. While it’s no “Baldur’s Gate,” the “Untold Legends” series for PSP has become the platform’s leader in light role-playing action, and “The Warrior’s Code” is a solid next step in the series.

You’ll play through a series of fairly linear missions from a familiar top-down angled view. Your character can be customized simply (class, skin tone, hair style) and refined during the game (with things like gems to plug into the weapons you wield and armor you wear).

The attack system in “Code” feels unusually deep for a handheld action RPG: You’ve got a few basic attacks, a few special attacks, a variety of powered-up moves and an “attack of opportunity” that provides an extra-powered slam when your opponent gets himself into trouble.

The controls are still a little troublesome — it’s extremely easy to execute the attacks you want, they just don’t always seem to work out the way you want them to – but for a handheld title, this is pretty deep stuff.

Toss in online play (both cooperative, through the various missions, and a number of entertaining versus modes) and you’ve got a solid title that is worth the cash. It’s no groundbreaker in the genre, but it’ll keep you entertained a few minutes at a time, as all good portable titles should.

– Heather Newman

“Mega Man Powered Up.” Capcom for PSP, $39.99. Rating: E (Everyone). Three stars (out of four).

Nearly two decades after Mega Man’s debut, the little blue blaster’s first adventure has been “Powered Up” for the PlayStation Portable with a new big-head, little-body look for our hero and a host of cool new gameplay gimmicks that give the game a shiny new feeling.

At its core, “Powered Up” plays in a similar fashion to the original. Mega Man has to jump from platform to platform and shoot up big-eyed robots on his way through a handful of different stages. Mega gets weaponry by toppling the simple-named bosses (Guts Man, Cut Man, Fire Man, etc.)

Gone are the blocky old retro visuals. The blast-’em-up action is now coated in a sugary exterior with over-the-top cutesy trimmings and oddball voices for the game’s characters. It’s so disgustingly sweet, you almost want to reach out and pinch Mega Man’s cheeks.

But the game overcomes any fears of excessive fluffiness with its huge list of gameplay extras. A horde of unlockable playable characters awaits persistent gamers — including all of the bosses, several different iterations of Mega Man plus some other surprises.

The main story mode isn’t the only goodie here. For the first time, you can also design your own playable levels and share your creations with gamers across the globe via the Internet. With nearly unlimited replay value, “Powered Up” is a must-buy for fans of the long-running series, despite its super cute-ified new look.

– Ryan Huschka

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