Like sands through an hourglass, these are the chapters of your Sims' lives. Sims fanatics finally get a break from the continuous barrage of expansion packs in the form of The Sims Life Stories, a new stand-alone game for the Sims franchise. While the premise is the same as in other Sims games - you micromanage the lives of virtual people by making sure they eat, sleep, shower, and so on - it also features several changes that give new life to an aging premise.
You can't miss in FizzBall, especially in kids' mode. FizzBall successfully puts new spin on the Breakout style of game, where the object is to eliminate brick walls with a bouncing ball. As Professor Fizzwizzle, you use a fizzball to capture and save cute little animals that have been abandoned on an island. Using a steampunk-style paddle, the professor swats the fizzball at animals, food, and more, but capturing the animals isn't easy -- numerous obstacles block the fizzball's path.
Lego Greedo can't be far away. Feral's Lego Star Wars II ($40, www.feral.co.uk) combines the classic Star Wars universe (from episodes IV to VI) with the lovable style of Lego building blocks, all wrapped up in platform/collection gameplay. Armed with a good blaster and these tips, win the game you will.
We can't get enough of the graphic style. Explosions and dead enemies leave eraser scuffs on the background. SketchFighter 4000 Alpha brings so much style to an arcade shooter that it almost forgets to pack the substance. Instead of the latest glossy 3D graphics, SketchFighter animates scribbles from a teenager's math homework into a top-down, 2D arcade shooter - and the uneven, scribbled lines are as stunning as they are simple.
In Smack Mahjong, you click matching pairs of tiles to make them disappear. Solitaire and killing time go hand in hand, but we're looking for a new game to help pass those last minutes before quittin' time. We think we found it with Smack Mahjong. The goal is to click on pairs of matching tiles and eliminate them from the board, but you can only select tiles that are free on the left or right. A clock keeps track of your time, so you'll want to work as quickly as possible, but the game doesn't have any sort of leaderboard for bragging rights.
Blast your favorite driving music in iTunes while racing against others online. Gun that engine and mash that accelerator - there's a new Mac-native racing game. Ambrosia Software's Redline sports an advanced physics engine that’s finely tuned for a tight driving experience, yet at the same time gives you the feeling that inertia can be a harsh mistress. As you fly around hairpin curves at close to 200 mph, you'll see that Redline’s physics engine was made for drift turning.
We're finally realizing our Eliza Doolittle dreams by opening a modest flower shop. Many people dream of breaking free from The Man by starting a business. Sims are no different. The Sims 2: Open for Business expansion pack gives your Sims the ability to start and run a business. It's satisfying, but after a while, Open for Business is all about work. And that doesn't sound like - or is - much fun.