Mobile Games Roundup • Page 3

Bejeweled! Potter! Speed! Golf! Birds!

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1 to 4

  • iPhone - 2.99
  • iPad - 2.99

Has there ever been a bad LEGO Whatever game? It doesn't seem to matter how many times Traveller's Tales twists the simple formula, it always seems to work a treat.

For its first attempt at squeezing one onto iOS systems, Warners has taken the not-unreasonable decision to port the DS version and release it at about one sixth of the price. At first glance, it's a smart move, with that trademark aesthetic translating well whether you play it on iPhone or iPad.


Back to the cute days.

But being a direct DS conversion, it suffers from watering the gameplay down into a basic approximation of the original. Seemingly designed to appeal specifically to younger gamers, the game prods you along for what seems like an eternity before it deigns to take off the training wheels.

As pleasantly undemanding as it is to trawl through the Potter yarn picking up studs and utilising touch-screen spells, the inevitability of the whole experience robs it of a sense of purpose.

Mobile games always work best when they're simple and refined, but LEGO Harry Potter's debut on iOS feels flabby and unfocused.


Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit

  • iPhone - 2.99

With rare exception, mobile racing games feel more like showboating tech demos than genuinely entertaining handheld diversions. That's certainly been the case for EA up until now, but Hot Pursuit sees the publishing behemoth finally doing justice to its properties.


The heat is on.

As with many driving games, Hot Pursuit does the accelerating for you (if you let it), leaving you free to focus on steering, boosting and dishing out spike traps, EMP blasts and road blocks.

It's a ploy that works reasonably well, and the 24-event series of races, takedown challenges and checkpoint events is a decent approximation of Criterion's masterful reboot, presenting a surprisingly stiff challenge.

It's also comfortably one of the best-looking arcade racing games released in the mobile realm, with impressively detailed backdrops and a rock-solid frame rate designed to make you feel glad you went bananas and bought that iPhone 4.

Less creditable is the decision to focus on the cops vs. racers side of the game during the campaign rather than allow you to switch between the two. While you can't really moan at the price, it still feels like half the game it could have been.


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