Rez HD

In case you didn’t know, Rez HD is out on Xbox Live Arcade now for 800 points. It’s basically the same game as the Dreamcast and PS2 versions, but with HD graphics, 5.1 sound and all the expected online leaderboards gubbins. Buy it if you haven’t already.

Yesterday’s download was the first time I’ve played the game in a couple of years – pretty much since I bought a bargain copy in Japan in 2005 – and it’s even more of a trippy assault on the senses than it was then. If you have an HDTV and a 5.1 system I consider it to be a must-buy, in a similar way to how Geometry Wars became an unlikely early poster child for HD gaming. I’m so glad that stuff like this is getting a new lease of life in downloadable form, without the limited print runs that marred its retail performance on release.

Ignoring the inexplicable oversight to make the game default to stereo sound (go into the settings and set it to 5.1 if you haven’t), essentially turning off one of the game’s main selling points, I spent a couple of hours playing the first couple of stages. It’s the ultimate chillout game – even against similar ideas like flOw or Electroplankton – that you can just sit back with and only worry about a stick and a couple of buttons while it plays some great music for you. I love it, and consequently was listening to the Rez soundtrack at work for most of the day today.

Given that Rez HD also supports using controllers as up to three trance vibrators, much to the presumable delight of Jane Pinckard, unless you’re desperate to have the game on your shelf as part of the collection there’s no reason to bother with the disc-based editions. This one costs £6.80 – that’s SIX POUNDS EIGHTY PENCE, or roughly 1/7th of the recent going price for a Dreamcast copy on eBay – and even has the original 4:3 standard definition version in there for the luddites. Just try to make an excuse not to buy it.

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