The trouble with doing these roundups is never quite knowing how good a game is going to be. As with Game Dev Story, you can sometimes end up finding something so good that it clearly deserves its own review. This is probably the shortest review you'll ever see on Eurogamer, but until that review gets commissioned, you should trust me on this and buy it immediately. It'll be the best £2.39 you ever spend. Probably.
The rest of the current crop isn't quite so magisterial in quality, but we think you'll appreciate at least a couple of the five we've got lined up for you this week. Shoot To Kill is the first of numerous new games on the way from ex-Sensible head honcho Jon Hare's new mobile-centric outfit Tower Studios, while addled Angry Birds addicts will no doubt be delighted to know that they can sink another few hours into the 45 new levels on offer.
Elsewhere, Reckless Racing is one of the best-looking mobile titles ever made, while Dexter's belated release on iPad is a prime example of where it all goes horribly, gruesomely wrong. A horror show for all the wrong reasons.
Shoot To Kill
- iPhone / Free (iPad version coming soon)
There's plenty of murderous intent in this week's roundup, and none more so than in this surprisingly addictive top-down killing spree from Vivid Games.
Despite entering the depths of hell armed to the teeth, our fearless warrior appears to have lost the ability to walk, and spends the entire game rooted to the spot while the denizens of the underworld decide, in time-honoured fashion, that it's time for huuugs.
Sadly, cosy cuddles are the last thing on your mind, and you decide, instead, to blast chunks out of the demon horde by tapping the screen where they appear. At first hell's fury isn't much to worry about, and enemies go down with a single shot, but sure enough, more powerful foes quickly start to dish out the pain.
Within a few levels, you're swatting furiously around the screen like a demented cat attacking a quilt, desperate to quell the relentless surge. Mindful of the number of shots it takes to dispatch each enemy, you get into an amped-up rhythm, clattering away with extreme prejudice.
Designed with the specific intent to give players a bloody nose, Shoot To Kill isn't content until it has left you a husk of an individual, twitching silently in the corner. But some of you enjoy that, don't you?
Reckless Racing HD
- iPad /£2.99
- iPhone / £1.79
- Android / $2.99
If looks could kill, Pixelbite's top-down Reckless Racing would leave you all slumped and bleeding over your expensive gadgets, wishing for a slightly less inglorious fate.
It all starts off so promisingly. In the spirit of Micro Machines and Super Sprint, you race furiously across a series of lavishly detailed environments, screeching around corners while trying not to fall off a cliff. As a formula, it's one that still stands the test of time when done properly.
Sadly, there's simply not enough substance to it. With just five tracks (eight on iPad), you'll see most of what the game has to offer in the first 20 minutes, especially as the Bronze difficulty level is so hilariously obliging. The game only deigns to challenge the player at Silver, by which time you've probably started to lose interest.
Strangely, local multiplayer is entirely absent (something Danger Derby has already proved lends itself brilliantly to the iPad). On the plus side though, online multiplayer gaming is a piece of cake to set up, and offers a much more enjoyable way to play - assuming anyone's playing it, of course. Of less interest is the throwaway Delivery mode where you have to drop off packages within a time limit.
Perhaps with a more considered campaign mode and a better sense of structure to the whole thing, Reckless Racing could have been a classic. As The Monks put it so succinctly: nice legs, shame about the boat race.
Dexter: The Game HD
- iPad/iPhone / £3.49
The Dexter TV series would lend itself incredibly well to a Heavy Rain-style investigative thriller adventure, played out from multiple perspectives. Sadly, this is not that game. Instead we must suffer an excruciating hotchpotch of stealth-lite, mini-games, and face-meltingly awful visuals.
If the Miami Metro blood spatter analyst had any idea about the crimes against entertainment that Marc Ecko Entertainment had perpetrated with this sorry excuse for a videogame, his 'dark passenger' would be well within his rights to carry out a violent execution.
Like a typical episode from the show, the game dips into all the facets of Dexter's sociopathic existence, from caring partner to blood spatter analyst to exterminator of 'deserving' serial killers. Sadly, each and every portion of the game feels like it has been designed by people who have never played videogames before.
Even the simple process of walking around feels like an elaborate endurance test, and whether you're evidence gathering, tailing your target, or just trying to have a nose around your apartment, you'll want to hurl your expensive Apple device across the room within about five minutes.
By the time you've engaged in the spirit-draining faff that comprises the confusing and borderline unplayable mini-games, you'll begin to question the sanity of the individuals responsible, and yourself for persisting with this witless sham. Even Michael C. Hall's voice-over contributions can't salvage this pitiful exercise.
Angry Birds Halloween
- iPhone / £0.59
- iPad /£1.19
If David Cameron is a huge Angry Birds fan, then we may as well all give up now. Perhaps we'd be better off looking to Rovio to bail out our ailing economy - they seem to have mastered the art of making a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
In this stopgap release, nothing much has changed. It's still the same bird-flinging game it ever was - it's just marginally more difficult, and has 45 Halloween-themed levels to obsess over when you've probably got better things to do.
But, as usual, the game's teeth-gnashing one-more-go appeal keeps you inexplicably glued to the game, desperately trying to suicide-bomb those pesky green pigs hiding out in rickety wooden structures (and inside pumpkins, improbably). You might even openly hate the game, but there you are, trying one last time to see if you can gain one tiny sliver of retribution.
Fair enough, it's very much more of the same, but when you've sold seven million copies worldwide, a cheap and cheerful level pack can't hurt. Unless you're in charge of the country.
- Android / £1.50 (Free demo available)
- iPhone/iPad / £0.59
Every bubble has to pass its fizzical. Even delightful little balls of cutesy joy like Buka. Now come on, work it, work it!
Having presumably been kicked out of bubble camp, the simpering Mr Buka now has to find his happy place in the face of extreme disapproval. As well he might, but there's precious little chance of that when lots of stern-looking angry bubbles keep insisting on encroaching on his personal space. How rude.
With only a feeble explosive attack at your disposal, you have to shoo these wicked fiends away for as long as possible. It's a bit like Shoot To Kill, oddly, in an alternate universe where everything's bubblicious, and grown men sing about life as a Space Hopper.
Happiness is a futile, fleeting thing for Mr Buka, however. Eventually he'll find his happy place, only to face an even more concerted onslaught. And then another. And so on. Why do we gamers always play things that eventually spoil our fun?