The Baltimore Sun


$29.99 for Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 2. Rated Everyone 10-plus *


As an adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel and current stop-motion film, Coraline might appeal to younger gamers enamored of the story's dual worlds, but likely not to anyone else.

The game follows the events of the movie (and employs much of the cast for spoken lines). Players control the plucky young heroine Coraline as she explores her new home and meets her neighbors, and later enters the mysterious alternate world where her button-eyed Other Mother dwells.

The graphics aren't especially good, but they faithfully re-create scenes from the film. If only the game play were at all compelling. Coraline spends most of her time gathering items in tedious fetch quests or participating in uninteresting mini-games, such as playing Go Fish. The controls are clunky, and the game is dull when it isn't frustrating.

Motorstorm: Pacific Rift

$59.99 for Sony PlayStation 3. Rated Teen ***

The chief difference between the original MotorStorm and Pacific Rift is setting. Instead of the purely desert locations of the first, this game takes place on a tropical island, and its races are broken into four categories based on the elements of earth, air, fire and water.

The environments range from lush jungles to high, arid mountains to active lava fields, and every track looks fantastically dangerous. Huge monster trucks join the original roster of vehicles, which range from motorcycles to rally cars to big rigs.

The racing still revolves around finding the best path for one's vehicle - larger trucks can plow through mud, water and vegetation, while lighter ones are better off sticking to high and dry ground.

Pacific Rift also features a split-screen multiplayer mode, which the original lacked.

Savage Moon

$9.99 for Sony PlayStation 3 (PlayStation store download). Rated Teen ***

In Savage Moon, players have a small amount of time to buy and place defensive towers between ever-strengthening waves of insect monsters bent on destroying mining operations.

The game play is pretty standard for this kind of game. In each level, players spend resources to build defenses, and to upgrade them and research more powerful or more specialized weapons to deal with specific threats as they come. At times, the bug-blasting carnage looks like a scene out of Starship Troopers.

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