On this app’s page in the App Store it tells us that it’s a work in progress and that the developers will be dealing with the shortcomings in future updates.
As such, I’m not going to be as harsh as I otherwise would be – I won’t be swearing – but I’ve tried three of the six included games in this pack and none of them have been remotely playable.
The controls just don’t work, requiring too much thumb precision to be remotely usable. I’m a firm defender of virtual controls, simply because they can and do work in many games, but the tiny diagonals of Chuckie Egg and the thumb-twisting layout of Turbo Esprit are incredibly hard to deal with.
(The unlicensed ZX Nostalgia did a far better job with its virtual stick solution to the problem – Chuckie Egg was reasonably playable on that emulator, certainly far better than this offering. Unfortunately, being unlicensed, it was soon taken down. It’s back now, but with a set of licensed games that I’ve never heard of.)
Hopefully the developers will respond to feedback and offer, say, a virtual Kempston joystick or something. At the moment, this just isn’t worth it, even when each game costs 10p. Okay, maybe it’s just about worth it for the nostalgic joy of seeing proto-GTA Turbo Esprit running on your phone, but you’re not going to be actually playing it for very long.
This, gentle readers, is a tragedy in its purest form.
Here we have FIFA 11. It is, basically, the brain to PES’s brawn. A much less physical and muscular game of football, but one that rewards thought and patience. Initially sterile and unfriendly, the more you play it, the more it reveals itself. I’m still have the odd WTF? moment when one of my players boots the ball off the field for no apparent reason, but these are lessening the more comfortable I get with the controls.
It’s a very good football game, with amazing commentary and great graphics.
The tragedy, then? Well, it’s 858MB, and, good as the game is, I really don’t think I can keep it on my iPhone. I haven’t got that kind of space lying around. I had to sacrifice a lot to install it and now I’ve got no space left. So I think FIFA will have to go, which is a crying shame.
I’ll just have one more game first…
Yes, it’s got a brilliant pixel art look to it.
Yes, you get to shoot zombie deer.
Yes, there are three distinct game modes.
Yes, you can unlock different weapons and characters and then start the game with them.
No, the controls aren’t as responsive as the need to be (especially when changing weapons).
No, there’s no real level design, just a featureless 2D arena limited by Stop signs.
No, there’s no clever scoring system.
No, judging from the high score table, I’m not the only person to be killed by Godzilla.
No, it’s not probably not worth buying… but you probably wouldn’t feel too upset if you did, if that makes sense.
I wouldn’t put an exclamation mark, there. It seems like it’s trying to hard to generate excitement or surprise that may be unwarranted. I never played the first Blue Defense, but it’s not like a sequel is unexpected, I don’t think.
(This kind of thing probably shouldn’t bother me, I know.)
Anyway, this sequel to Blue Defense is really rather good. You have to defend a blue planet in the middle of the screen. Enemies approach from the sides and you have to blow them up with your laser. You move the laser by tilting and can split it into two beams by touch on the screen where you want the second beam to fire.
This leads you to frantically moving your iPhone round 360 degrees (enemies approach from all directions), while trying to touch the screen to shoot enemies. It probably shouldn’t work, but it does and it’s very exciting indeed.
It takes a familiar game type (basically, Space Invaders), brings it right up to date and is completely built around the strengths and capabilities of the device its running on. What more can you ask for? (Except for maybe an extra hand.)
Notice how I’ve been making an effort to write more than usual today? To discuss the games or related topics at greater length than normal?
Well, I’m a bit stuck now, because there’s not really anything very much to say about Finger Sling.
There’s a ball in the middle of the screen. Other balls come in from the side. (The instructions are very clear that they’re balls, not discs. I’m unconvinced, but I’ll defer to the developers here.) You fling your ball around using your finger – it’s the name of the game! – and have to send the incoming balls flying before they knock the central ball out of its zone. It’s that simple. There’s the odd boss fight and you get to buy upgrades between levels, but it’s all very simple.
It works, though, which is the main thing. There’s nothing wrong with a simple concept executed well, after all. Not sure if this is still free, but if it is, go download it. If it costs money now, consider it, but don’t run.
The tale of a giant bum, where you have to throw objects so they orbit around it, but don’t get sucked up into the rectal passage. It’s easy at first, but as you get more and more objects orbiting the gigantic arse the chances of them colliding and spinning off in unpredictable directions increases, until – oh no! – one of them (perhaps a cow, or a television) inevitably gets sucked up the bumhole and you lose.
No, not really. Of course GravBot isn’t that game. (Though I think someone should make it forthwith.) GravBot is a puzzle game where you move an oddly charming little robot around and switch the direction of gravity so the lovely little chap can collect items without falling off.
It’s actually rather lovely. The tutorial messages are signs on the walls, so you can read them or whizz past them as you see fit, the controls work splendidly well and the levels are designed so that they’re simple enough to complete, but harder to complete well.
It’s also free. Free!
The catch is that only first twelve levels are free, the rest are a couple of 59p in-app purchases. I’ve not bought them yet, but I’m going to keep the game on my phone and fire it up next time I’m stuck for something to play. That might be a while, but I think it’s likely I’ll end up playing it again at some point.
“Oh, look at me! I’m too cool and indie to have a capital letter at the start of my name!”
Or something. There might be a very good reason for it. I may be displaying some terrible ignorance. Or not.
Make no mistake, though, shibuya is one cool and indie puzzle game.
Different enough that it needs instructions – which are an annoying web link, so make sure you’ve got an Internet connection when starting the game for the first time – despite being all about clearing blocks that fall from sky to floor, it’s a really excellent game.
Empty blocks fall from the top of the screen, you fill them with colour, then click two or more adjacent blocks of the same colour to remove them. That’s it, but it allows for combos and tense moments as you try desperately to work out the best order to place the colours. It’s really absolutely fantastic.
It’s also got an excellent achievements system that encourages trying out different modes and levels of play.
As you complete achievements you rank up, so unlocking more. It’s a really excellent way to add a overarching structure to a simple puzzle game.
This game was free and the weekend and it’s certainly one of the best free games I’ve ever downloaded. High praise, but it’s worth it.
In the old days, games came with manuals made out of paper and ink.
Nowadays some still do, but they’re more or less and afterthought, replaces with in-game help and tutorials. An improvement in some ways, it’s often still nice to have a physical booklet to refer to when playing a game.
Obviously, iPhone games can’t come with paper manuals, but most of them come with some sort of help or tutorial.
Not Mega Jump, though. Oh, maybe I’m missing something, it’s always possible, but I can’t find any help at all. You might wonder why I need one for a simple endless jumping game. Surely I can just work it out?
For the most part, sure, but I really want to know why I’d want to start the game on a later stage. You can choose any unlocked stage to begin from, but later stages are harder and don’t seem to offer any sort of point bonus, so when going for a high score it seems that playing a later stage puts you at a distinct disadvantage. I’d love some sort of explanation, but I can’t find one. Also, it would be nice to know if I’m missing out on any subtleties.
It’s still a good game and one that’s like to stay on my iPhone for a good long time – the lack of weapons means I think I prefer it to Doodle Jump – but I’d just like more information.
(Oh, and it’s also free with some completely inessential in-game purchases, or was when I downloaded it.)
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.
This was free over the weekend and having downloaded it, I’m amazed they ever had the gall to try and charge money for it.
Oh, of course the game is the same old Duke we know and love, but the controls simply don’t work. There are a million options, but none of them are any good. The analogue sticks, well, aren’t. The digital controls are just bizarre. Worst of all, it re-centres your view when you move. After wrestling with the game for ages I finally get myself lined up just right, take a step forward and suddenly I’m facing straight ahead again.
Lord, it’s terrible. Terrible, terrible, terrible. And yet I keep going back to see if I can get used to it, because a playable Duke would be lovely to have on my phone.
I do hope that one day I’ll come back and say that I’ve been too harsh on this, but I very much doubt it.
When I last counted, I had 165 games on my iPhone – and that’s after deleting around twenty to make room for FIFA 11. Why bother to keep all those there, when I mainly play new games.
1) Apple’s idiotic way of deleting your save data when you delete a game. You can’t delete a game, reinstall it and then resume from where you left off. You’re going to have to start over. Why this hasn’t been fixed over the years I don’t know, because, pardon the language, it’s both fucking stupid and fucking annoying. It’s blackest mark against the iPhone as a gaming platform and a sign that Apple haven’t quite “got” games yet, despite selling millions upon millions of the buggers.
2) Every now and again I fancy playing something I’ve not played in ages.
Case in point: Diaballic. It’s an a randomly-generated endless platformer, cut from the same cloth as Canabalt, Robot Unicorn Attack, Run, etc.
It’s full of tricky platform jumps, power-ups and obstacles and, with its left, right and jump buttons and precise controls, feels more like a traditional platform game than the one-touch and gesture-controlled games it shares a folder with on my iPhone.
It’s only good, though, when you remember you can double jump, until then it feels frustrating, unfair and you wonder why you kept on your phone for so long. Well, you do if you’re me.