lemmingsIs the name David Jones familiar to you? If you’re a fan of Grand Theft Auto or the more recent Crackdown (and/or you’ve been keeping up with this week’s E3 coverage) then it should be. You see, David Jones is the man behind both of those modern-day gaming classics along with the upcoming MMOG APB. Years before showing revolutionizing the sandbox genre and showing gamers how fun it is to partake in deviant criminal behavior, he created the puzzle game Lemmings. Although it wasn’t nearly as violent as his later titles, it was just as innovative, and years later it manages to maintain its charm. Although Lemmings has hit almost every major gaming system in the past, this $20 GOTW centers around the 2006 PSP game from Sony Computer Entertainment and developed by Team 17.

The title characters, the Lemmings, are cute little fellas. However, they are pretty stupid. So stupid they’ll gleefully march into any lethal hazard in front of them, be it spikes, a flame thrower, or a bottomless pit. This is where you come it. You play the role of the helping hand, the unseen savior, or if you’re a religious type, God. It’s your job to get the little guys safely to the exit. You assign them one of a given number of jobs, such as builder, basher, miner, floater, or blocker (all of which are pretty self-explanatory). You only have a set amount of jobs to work with each level, and depending on what difficulty you have the game set to, you have to save a certain amount of lemmings. It’s up to you to figure out the best way to get the lemmings to the exit while avoiding (or minimizing) losses.

The new PSP game features 30 levels from the original game (in a new graphical style), several new levels, downloadable levels, and a level editor, so gamers can create and share their own creations. Needless to say, there is a lot of replay value on this disc. Even without a mouse and keyboard, the game still has decent gameplay. There is even a zoom in button in case there are too many lemmings on the screen for you to keep up with.

Weather you’re a longtime fan of Lemmings, or a new gamer, the game loses none of its shine on the PSP. Whereas puzzle games from Tetris to Puzzle Fighter to Lumines center around manipulating colored blocks falling down a pit then making them disappear, Lemmings relies on quick-thinking, resourcefulness, and micro-management, almost like an real-time strategy title. This PSP disc not only does a good job of reintroducing the franchise to a new audience, but it also stands out as one of the PSP’s must-buy games. Lemmings stands alongside Civilization, Starcraft, and Command Conquer as one of the all time great PC franchises, and any gamer worth their salt should play it at least once in their lifetime.