Crackdown 2: Project Sunburst
- Windows Phone 7 - £2.49
If in doubt about a game's ability to stand up on its own merits, attach a popular console brand to it. Voila! Instant sales.
Such is the case with Seed's otherwise-merely-interesting spin on tower defence. Presumably considered a little vanilla simply as a TD game set on real-world GPS maps, the game instead imports some of the weapons and enemies from the Crackdown 2 'universe' (please) and hopes we'll come bounding over like happy Labradors.
It's not a bad effort - at least initially. You can let Bing know where you'd like to set the game, and a top-down GPS map of your favourite battleground loads up, complete with your 'base' of operations. With mutant freaks making a relentless beeline for your manor, the idea is to set up defences of your choice, from simple machinegun nests to lasers and grenade-spewing turrets.
From there, you have the option of directing your fire as you see fit, or you can let the AI get on with the task at hand. As you earn money for kills, you can level up and repair your units, and even let the game get on with defending your honour while you're not playing.
But the autonomous nature of it all means it's slightly pointless to play. With more of a defined structure, this would have worked, but as it is the rather woolly notion of expanding your defences over a larger area doesn't work very well.
- iPhone - £0.59
The Gravity Guy has a rare, incurable condition. Like many who find themselves unwittingly exposed to Celine Dion's music, he has the compulsion to run as far away as possible. In his case, the rejection of the skinny Canadian is so profound that his muscle fibres are permanently locked in a fight or flight state.
Forced to continue running forever, he has developed the cunning power to bend gravity to his whim. This is just as well, really, because he has the law in hot pursuit. Even hate-crimes against balladeering are frowned upon these days.
But beneath the hate, his jumping heart remains pure, and it's up to you to dictate which way gravity works for our desperate fugitive.
Superficially, this is Miniclip's Canabalt; a runaway one-button super-minimalist platform masterpiece with no happy ending. But while Canabalt at least afforded you the opportunity to leap to safety, here you have to let gravity do its thing, thrusting you up to the safety of a nearby ceiling or down to the floor. As soon as an obstacle appears, you have no choice but to flip things around once more - more often than not without knowing whether safety awaits.
Unlike Canabalt, a definite structure awaits, with 30 levels to bound through - each with checkpoints - allowing you the chance to become mired in gleeful trial and error. He might have vengeance in his heart, this Gravity Guy, but his aim is true.
- iPad - £2.99
- iPhone - £0.59
It's Marble Madness, Jim, but not as we know it. Rather than being entrusted with merely rolling a ball down to a waiting hole, Zattikka wants us to build the whole god-damned track instead.
As is the way of these things, it's never quite as easy as it looks. Given a limited number of track parts, you must place them carefully around an isometric environment and then unleash the ball.
Assuming you've placed them all correctly, the ball will roll gently down to the exit hole and you can mentally high-five yourself for not smashing it into little chunks.
The problem, though, is that the ball will smash if the ride home is anything less than perfectly smooth. You can't allow it to drop even a tiny fraction, and it will continue to roll in a straight line unless you manage to divert it with a directional arrow. Sure enough, the further you progress through the 50 puzzles, the more twists and turns you encounter, and the more elaborate your creations need to become in order to satisfy the gods of puzzling.
With its violently garish visuals, Isoball won't exactly court many admiring glances from the cool kids, but don't believe its lies. Beneath its polite, poverty-stricken exterior lies a growling beast of a puzzler that will keep you up all night. As ever, it's the quiet ones you've got to watch.