- iPad / Ł1.19
- iPhone / Ł0.59
Spirit has been sitting in my iPad dashboard for weeks, looking longingly at me every time I flick past the haphazard rows of icons. It's one of those games that you really want to love because at first glance it seems so appealing; but like a sexy lady with racist views, there are some thing you just can't put up with.
Even so, I wanted to give Spirit time, because the concept of guiding a cute little ghostie around and trapping enemies in another dimension works beautifully. Unlike, say, Geometry Wars (with which Marco Mazzoli's game shares a vector-based aesthetic), you can't fire a gun at your oncoming aggressors, so you must instead rapidly move in a circle and create a portal to suck them to their doom.
The problem is the rather broken controls. Rather than go for an intuitive 'follow-the-finger' system, the controls take on a life of their own. Robbed of the crucial ability to be reliably and instantly precise with which path you want your spirit to follow, you have to painstakingly adapt to the game's rather odd demands.
After a while, you'll get used to playing the game like this, but the sudden spike in the difficulty coupled with the vast number of on-screen enemies make it even more ruinous that the controls never quite do what you want them to.
Cheap death after cheap death ensues, and before long your love for the game drains away. Spirit HD: I wanted to love you, but clumsy controls are one thing that I absolutely will not put up with. Sorry.
- iPhone / Ł0.59 (Ad-supported version free)
If you're the kind of insane superbeing who used to happily spend hours trying to ride the 0.1 bar from end to end on the guitar-string level of Super Monkey Ball, then we may have just the game to spark similar obsessive-compulsive tendencies off once again.
Just like Amusement Vision's classic, Finger Balance tasks you with guiding a ball to a goal with speed and precision, but that's largely where the similarities dry up. This time, you have to place two fingers on either side of a stick, and gently coax the ball to its destination without it touching the sides. Think Buzz Bar, but with a ball, a stick, and a hazard-strewn environment.
After its deceptively gentle introduction, Coconut Island heaps on the pain and taunts you with brutal target times of a few seconds. Once you get the feel for it, though, you'll man up and start chasing down leaderboard times like the arch procrastinator that you are. Because there's nothing better to do, right?
The recent update caters for both the casual newcomers and the hollow-eyed elite, with 30 new easy and insane levels to mine for glory. And if that's somehow not enough, you can always unlock the reversed mode and completely frazzle your brain. Don't say I didn't warn you.