Quite possibly one of the best games I’ve played this year. I’ve been after it for a while because it sounded inventive, and I like inventive things, but I obviously don’t like them enough to splash out £20 for them – I didn’t buy Boktai until I saw it for £10 in Playtime last week. I picked it up then though, you’d better believe it. Here’s what’s so good about it.

The cartridge has a solar sensor in it, which is similar to a solar panel – it absorbs the Sun’s rays and puts them to all kinds of uses. On very sunny days you’ll find the game much easier as your gun charges up quicker, special plants grow quicker and everything is much better. The sensor’s main use is charging your weapon, the Gun Del Sol, but it also affects the game in other ways; a dungeon may be dark until you step into the sunlight, at which point the dungeon lights up and you can see where you’re going. Similarly, in a later level the sunlight affects the strength of the wind – if you want to get out of the wind in-game, get out of the sun out-of-game. It’s a brilliant merging of the player and the character in a way I haven’t seen done before.

It was beautifully sunny here yesterday morning (the game told me it was “one great Boktai day”), so I went outside and put the old GBA on. The Sun’s strength was at six out of eight bars, which is very good indeed, so everything was going smoothly – vampires were vapourised, plants were grown, ice was melted and so on.

Just as I got to the second part of the boss, however, the Sun disappeared behind a cloud. Argh! The sunlight dropped to a measly two bars, meaning my gun wasn’t charging quickly enough to replenish the sunlight I was using to keep the boss under attack.

My ammunition soon ran out, leaving me to snatch a few seconds of charge when I could, but the boss was clearly overpowering me. I was losing.

I looked up, and saw the Sun straining to get out from behind the clouds. There were big clouds but they were passing quickly. A few seconds later the Sun escaped from its vapoury shroud and shone golden beams upon me and the solar sensor. I honestly grinned and cheered when it happened.

The sensor went up to six and within a few seconds my gun was back to full ammunition. The boss never stood a chance.

THIS is why Boktai is a great game. The first thing I do when I wake up is check to see if it’s sunny outside, and what my chances of getting some good Boktai-play are. I’m going to go into Nottingham and buy the sequel soon.