Once upon a time, platform games fed us syrupy dollops of cuteness in the form of day-glo worlds populated by sugared cakes and doe-eyed yet lethal insects.

Today the genre is a vehicle for artistic aspiration. From the thoughtful Braid to the eerie Limbo, platform games circa 2011 have become so arty they probably wear berets and attend Saint Martin's College.

Outland, which is available only by download, is the latest example of this trend. There's a world music soundtrack that shimmers with panpipes and wind chimes, and visuals that mix rainforest vegetation with angular Maya artwork.

While this marks Outland out as something different, the game itself is more familiar having been stitched together out of ideas lifted from a host of other games.

Outland's defining concept is the ability to switch the colour of the hero between blue and red, so that he becomes immune to projectiles of the same colour, use platforms of the same colour, and damage enemies of the opposite colour.

It's a clever idea but it comes straight out of the cult Japanese shooter Ikaruga, whose inspiration also extends to the tight swarms of bullets that you spend your time dodging.

Outland's creators didn't stop there with Ikaruga though. The silver swipes of the hero's sword draws on the coin-op classic Strider, Shadow of the Colossus gets a nod with the towering bosses you need to climb up to attack, and the sprawling levels are pure Metroid.

This might suggest that Outland is a Frankenstein's monster of a game, but in fact it's a cohesive and refined platformer.

But while it's classy and polished, Outland doesn't manage to build enough on its pick'n'mix design to carve out a distinct identity of its own.

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Outland review

We've seen it all before, but this is still an arty, polished platformer