You're stuck on an alien planet that's little more than a giant snowball covered with waist-deep drifts and frozen bodies. Your job? To blow things up, starting with giant armored bugs—which only die if you shoot them in the butt—and the roaming bands of corporate raiders and "snow pirates." ("Arrr, don't forget to salt the gangplank!") Hypothermia lurks around every corner, but the cold weather doesn't get in the way of the big monsters, big explosions, and bare cleavage that give Lost Planet the cheesy appeal of a midnight creature feature.

The 11 single-player missions are short and forgettable. But at the end of each mission, you land in a pit with a four-stories-tall wasp or a worm the size of an ocean liner, and the fireworks really start. While you start every mission as one lonely guy with a machine gun, you'll keep finding "vital suits"—large mechanized armored suits that help you hop, skip, and drill your way through the wasteland. They're unwieldy at first, but trading rockets with someone in one of these can turn your screen into one long, satisfying inferno.

Beyond the game: Like last year's Prey, Lost Planet seems doomed to fill space between higher-profile shooters like the recent Gears Of War. But the online multiplayer matches are crowded with players around the world, who could keep you busy until Halo 3.


Worth playing for: We aren't clear who had the bright idea to ship a game full of blizzards to the U.S. in the middle of winter. But the glare-struck vistas and ice-scabbed mountaintops do look spectacular.

Frustration sets in when: The controls for grappling and jumping, especially in the mechanized suits, are clumsy; any time you have to climb a great height, it feels like you're playing a second-rate platformer.

Final judgment: What it lacks in subtlety, it makes up in fiery, sky-high bug ass.