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It doesn't happen very often, but once in a while, Nintendo manages to make a surprise game announcement and release it on the same day. Usually this happens with Nintendo Directs and smaller eShop games. And yesterday was exactly one of those days (minus the Nintendo Direct). Seemingly out of nowhere, Nintendo dropped Stretchmo—latest installment in the Pushmo series—onto the 3DS eShop like it was just another Thursday with no prior warning or fanfare. But if you've played past games in the series, you're probably aware that the Pushmo games have been extremely solid puzzle games with lots of replay value; the original Pushmo actually received one of GP's highest review scores to date. Anyhow, Stretchmo once again puts players into the shoes of Mallo as he solves more puzzles, this time in the form of objects called Stretchmo. As the name implies, these new puzzles will not only be able to be pushed in and pulled out; they'll be able to be stretched as well, adding a new dimension and more depth to the gameplay. Also of note, it's free-to-play or rather—more accurately put—"free-to-start," meaning you can download it for free and then play through 8 puzzles or so before given the opportunity to buy the rest of the content in different packs. If you buy all four bundled together, the game is $10, so if more pushing, pulling, and stretching puzzle gameplay sounds good to you, you can check out Stretchmo on the 3DS eShop right now. Will you be checking out Stretchmo?
Christmas is just around the corner. While most responsible people have their shopping all done and gifts wrapped, there will always be the kind of people who wait until the last minute to get it done. Fear not, as we at Game Podunk have come up with two lists of last minute downloadable gift ideas for the gamers in your family. In fact, we comprised a list for those who need to shop for family friendly titles and a list for the more 'hardcore' gamers. Oh, and did we mention that it's all affordable too? Most console games are expensive, especially considering the economy nowadays, and though there's many that are well worth their higher asking price, we'll be focusing on quality games that are under $25. Check them out below! For the Whole Family Journey Platform: PSN (PS3 only) Price: $14.99 (USD) Offical GP Review A beautiful game that puts more focus on a deep, emotional narrative; exploring the vast scenery; and relying on random strangers to help you reach your goal; Journey is a game that doesn't just have stunning art but offers anonymous online players to help others who might be having some trouble getting to the huge mountain. This PSN only title might be on the short side (clocking in at 2 to 3 hours) but everyone in the family will want to play it over and over again. Rock Band Blitz Platform: PSN (PS3 only), XBLA Price: $14.99 (1200 MS points) Official GP Review Chances are, you've owned at least one entry in the peripheral instrument-based Rock Band series. And maybe you even splurged and got the full set: guitars, microphone, and drums. Rock Band Blitz takes the fun part of the series and makes it more accessible by removing the need for all those instruments. It comes with 25 tracks but you can also import your Rock Band 3 DLC to jam out to. It's also great to know that you can use the 25 tracks from Rock Band Blitz in Rock Band 3 whenever the hankering to dust off those plastic instruments. The Unfinished Swan Platform: PSN (PS3 only) Price: $14.99 Official GP Review Another short game that still manages to deliver on stunning graphics and touching story, The Unfinished Swan has players use their imagination and the ability to toss black paint to uncover the vast white world around the orphan Monroe as he sets out to find the titular unfinished swan in his favorite painting of his mother's. Crashmo Platform: 3DS eShop Price: $8.99 Crashmo is the follow-up to last year's eShop puzzler sleeper hit, Pushmo. It expands on the puzzle gameplay introduced in the first game by adding the ability to push blocks around the grid and in turn, letting blocks stacked above fall down. There are new special floating blocks and other puzzle elements added as well, ultimately making this a much more complex and satisfying game overall. For puzzle fans, this is quite possibly one of (if not the best) third person 3D puzzlers out there right now; don't miss it! Playstation Plus Platform: PSN (PS3 and Vita) Price: $49.99 for 12 months; $17.99 for 3 months Okay, maybe this one is cheating a little (since the higher tier subscription is over $25) but if you own a PlayStation 3 and haven't purchased a monthly subscription to Sony's PlayStation Plus, then you're missing out. Available in three month ($17.99) and twelve month ($49.99) purchases, it averages out to about $5 a month. The PlayStation Plus service doesn't just you give the ability to use the 1GB of online data storage for game saves; each month, Sony offers free games to your library as well as huge discounts on select titles. The catch is that free games are only accessible while your subscription is active, so it's comparable to a service like Netflix; however, any discounted titles that you pay for are yours to keep forever. For the More Experienced Gamers Fez Platform: XBLA Price: $9.99 (800 MS points) If you have a lover, family member, or friend who“s been begging for a game featuring a fez hat (Santa gets that request all the time), FEZ has got you covered. This little puzzle-platformer puts you in the 2-dimensional shoes of a little guy named Gomez. Living without a care in his 2D plane of existence, Gomez comes across a strange artifact that grants him his game“s namesake, which allows him to shift the dimensions of the world itself. In this game, players must solve puzzles and clear levels with this power as they help Gomez save the artifact that granted him the fez before it gets ripped to shreds. Spelunky Platform: XBLA Price: $14.99 (1200 MS points) Here“s a game that“s perfect for Indiana Jones, if he was into video games. Providing him with tons of cave exploration, rope-swinging action, and his biggest fear – snakes, he“d certainly feel right at home with Spelunky. This game has you playing as an explorer who stumbles upon a cave filled with treasure. The cave isn“t any normal cave, however... Seriously, before digitally gift-wrapping this downloadable, make sure the gift“s receiver can tolerate dying a billion and a half times, because this game is hard. Mainly, the hardcore difficulty is a result of the game“s randomized cave layout. Once you die and are transported back to the beginning of the level, you will quickly notice that the level has become completely different from what you just played before. This means you will have no choice but to die, die, and die again until you manage to beat a level in one go. Fortunately, Spelunky is also quite funny, so you“ll have something to help you calm your frustration a bit over the holidays. Mark of the Ninja Platform: XBLA Price: $14.99 (1200 MS points) Whether your loved ones love ninjas or just enjoy sneaking into the kitchen for late-night snacks without being seen, Mark of the Ninja is a stealthy little game that“s sure to take them by surprise. In this stealthy action platformer, you play as a ninja assassin sent to find the truth behind his mystical tattoos, which amplify his powers at the expense of his mind“s slow destruction. The story is an interesting one with a variety of different choices, which is sure to keep you invested while hiding in the shadows, sneaking up on victims of your razor-sharp katana, and doing whatever else ninjas are prone to do. And with such slick controls, being a ninja has never felt better. Trine 2: Director's Cut Platform: Wii U Price: $19.99 (on sale for $14.99 until 1/4/13) Non-Director's Cut version also available on Steam for $14.99 regularly, as well as on XBLA, PSN, Mac OS X, and Linux. If you or your loved ones had the opportunity to purchase a Nintendo Wii U, or are getting one for Christmas, Trine 2: Director“s Cut is a great downloadable title to add to its library. It“s not only an insanely pretty game, but it“s so good in general that many of the more expensive games currently out for the console don“t even match it. This physics-based puzzle-platforming title puts players in control of three heroes, each of whom have been bound to a single entity, and the player must switch between the three as they try and find out how to progress through each level. Tokyo Jungle Platform: PSN (PS3 only) Price: $14.99 Official GP Review Tokyo Jungle is without a doubt one of the most unique games of the year. Set in a bleak, post-apocalyptic future where humans have disappeared, you play as one of 40+ different animals who either used to be household pets or have escaped from the zoo, and your only purpose is to survive in the iron wilderness of a Tokyo that's been overrun by nature. Though the mechanics are somewhat simple (eat, mate, defend yourself, and survive), the random variables the game presents (weather, pollution, what animals are in a certain areas) all make each playthrough a fairly unique experience and one of the must-play games of the year. Article was written by Jordan Haygood and Elizabeth. You can follow them on Twitter as @KaptainJ and @TheLiztress.