Mobile Games Roundup

Backbreaker! Blockoban! Dungeon! Tiki! Bobble!

Although these weekly roundups serve as a buyer's guide, it doesn't hurt to celebrate the many excellent freebies while we're at it. In fact, someone's already done all the hard work for us: app fiend Stuart Campbell, who once terrorised the Amiga scene and now prefers to spend untold hours sifting through thousands of iOS apps to pluck out the shining gems among the endless detritus.

Well worth checking out is his recently launched Free App Hero, which provides a handy means of seeing which apps are currently or permanently free. The best part of all this is that he only recommends the good stuff, meaning all the tiresome free sludge out there can stay right where it belongs: in a big old heap of misery.

For the ultimate freeloaders out there, he's also released an ad-supported free Cheapskate Edition, with a few features trimmed off the edges.

For those of you who enjoy parting with your cash, we've got another quality-strewn line-up, with four out of the five titles scooping 8/10. Fine times, indeed...

Backbreaker 2: Vengeance

  • iPhone/iPad (unified binary) - 0.59 (limited offer)
  • Original version currently free on both iPhone and iPad.

Because I'm a bit weird like that, I was mildly disappointed when the original Backbreaker failed to feature spine-shattering tackles. I wanted to leave a sickening trail of twisted bodies in my wake and hear the collective moan of broken men as I touched down.

1

Break time.

Alas, the sequel continues to focus on wholesome family fun, where one heavily armoured tank of a dude must evade a bunch of oncoming maniacs who are after his prized, egg-shaped 'foot' ball. This time, though, it's rather more involved, with a fair bit more variety to spice up the already extremely moreish formula.

For starters, the game now contains two distinct modes. The first, Tackle Alley, is much like the original, where the idea is to beat the defenders to score a touchdown. Vengeance mode focuses on beating defenders to tackle the runaway ball carrier.

But rather than just leave it at that, NaturalMotion has slipped in a few new moves to give you a little more to think about than merely spinning, juking or sprinting away from oncoming opponents.

'Trucking', for example, allows you to barge yellow-bellied opponents out of the way or duck under obstacles, while the new jump move lets you hurdle determined red opponents sliding in or any barriers strategically designed to knock your block off.

These additions might not sound like much to get excited about, but the extra depth elevates Backbreaker 2 from being an impressively fluid tech demo to something you'll actually want to come back to repeatedly.

8/10

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