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PSP Fanboy hands-on: The Cryptics

The Cryptics is a daring addition to the PLAYSTATION Store. It's not a game, nor is it a video. It's an interactive comic, done in a similar style to Konami's Metal Gear Solid digital comic. The $2.99 download will give you nine episodes, each of a varying length. Some will last thirty seconds, while some will span for two-three minutes. Each strip revolves around a cast of monster misfits getting into some everyday trouble. As revealed in the plentiful behind-the-scenes videos, the creative team of Steve Niles and Ben Roman was attempting to emulate the feeling of a daily strip, such as Peanuts. Although the characters are extraordinary, the situations they find themselves in are very much grounded. The humor comes from the clashing of these two disparate elements.

At $2.99, this digital download will cost roughly the same as a traditional paper comic. Each episode comes with a small discussion with the artists, and there are two additional behind-the-scenes videos in the Extras section. All in all, you'll get about half an hour of content in the download. The comics themselves are presented without any voice acting, but will pan around the screen dynamically. We noticed a good deal of aliasing issues, and found that some scans were very low resolution. Compared to Metal Gear Solid, the technical presentation of this package just isn't as solid.

So, is The Cryptics worth it? At $2.99, you won't lose much for trying it out. It certainly is an interesting way of utilizing the medium, and it's something we'd love to see more of in the future. As a fan of Tokyopop's I Luv Halloween, the art of The Cryptics easily justified my purchase. I'll admit that the humor won't appeal to everyone, but it's such an intriguing new medium for the PSP, that I can't help but recommend it.

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