It's all very well us telling you about the relative merits of the latest mobile offerings, but sometimes you want to see a game action before you commit. So, to all those who have been demanding moving pictures, we've done our best to bring you the official videos.
And while we're feeling generous, we've also done some extra legwork and thrown in some handy links pointing in the direction of the places you can actually buy the games. We should get royalties for this stuff.
Hot Springs Story
Under normal circumstances, a management game focused solely on running a Japanese hot springs spa would generate about as much excitement as an accountancy seminar. But what if you knew it was coming to you from the makers of Game Dev Story?
Putting the dull subject matter to one side, you already know the mechanics of this game, and how much of your free time they gobbled up last time around.
Sure enough, after just a few minutes laying down vending machines, restaurants, hot tubs, shrubs and sleeping quarters for your guests, time starts to evaporate. Before you know it you're building vast complexes while doing your best to tempt lucrative clientele and impress the folk who compile the guide books. It's a juggling act that keeps you hooked for hours - but you could have guessed that was going to happen.
What the game lacks, though, is the self-referential humour that made GDS so adorable. While the mechanics are still strong enough to keep you tapping away, Hot Springs Story never quite proves as impossibly captivating.
Food Processing: Crazy Conveyor HD
If you're a fellow member of the Miserable Old Git club, you probably didn't see the appeal of Fruit Ninja either. But there's nothing like several million sales to ram an opinion back down your choking pipe, and to bring copycat offerings crawling out of the woodwork.
Embattle Games and Chillingo seem to like money very much indeed, so it's no great shock to see them get into the whole slicing 'n' dicing scene as well. Another frantic food-troubling affair might seem like a terrible idea, were it not for the fact that there's a bit more going on with this one.
Food Processing builds on the addictive formula by presenting you with various bits of fruit, vegetables and nuts as they march endlessly along a conveyor belt. Some require slicing into equal sections while others merely need the tops knocking off them.
Some items, though, are just plain rotten, and need to be left the hell alone. Accidentally slice a decaying sweetcorn or fail to slice up something into the required portions and you'll lose one of your precious lives. Three strikes and you're out, swiftly dispatched back to the menu to mull over your misdeeds.
Eventually you'll unlock the merciless Hell's Kitchen mode. Here you get told off for slicing inappropriate vegetable matter and have to deal with debilitating power ups when things go awry. Sadly Gordon Ramsay was too busy inventing new swear words to contribute.
With nothing to aim for other than a slightly higher score, Food Processing feels like one of those apps which burns brightly and briefly before you move on to something more involved. That's a guaranteed few million sales, then.
- iPhone/iPad (unified binary) - £1.19
Jeff Minter must wish he'd have made the leap to mobile gaming sooner. Three months into 2011 and we're already onto the second of Llamasoft's 'Minotaur Project' titles, where the hairy one knocks out a quickfire offering based on imaginary retro hardware.
This time around, the focus is on an Intellivision-inspired reworking of his 1991 ST/Amiga classic Llamatron 2112. The results are predictably intense.
Essentially this is an acid-fried tribute to twin-stick marvel Robotron 2084. The idea is to guide a grunty old Minotaur around a series of enemy-congested levels, blasting anything threatening, rescuing beasties and picking up odd-looking bonuses. (Our favourite is the Dark Side Of The Moon-inspired Floyd Bonus.)
Like anything from Yak, this is score-chasing fury designed to rough up the most hardened blaster - but this time we find the old master in a remarkably concessionary frame of mind.
Simplified mode, for example, takes away the need to aim entirely, leaving you with the sole task of moving your beast safely through the chaos. Assisted mode, meanwhile, gives you an indestructible helper droid to even the odds slightly - but regular service is resumed on Normal and Hard modes.
Handily, Minter has come up with a novel swipe-based aiming system, designed firmly with strafe tactics in mind. Rather than having to deal with precise movement and shoot at the same time, you can focus on getting out of the way of the onslaught and adjust your firing direction only when necessary.
With this more accommodating approach Minotron: 2112 is far more accessible than you might expect. For those of us of lacking superhuman twitch skills, that can only be a good thing.
I Love Katamari
I always loved the idea of the Katamari games more than the actual execution - mainly because I never could quite get my addled head around the controls. On a smartphone, though, it makes perfect sense to tilt your Katamari in the direction you want it to roll.
That said, you might recall Namco Mobile made a complete pig's ear of the game for its original iOS release in 2009. Far from taking advantage of what smartphones had to offer it was a stuttering, unoptimised mess - until it was patched to reach some sort of respectability.
You might imagine, then, that WP7 handset owners would end up with the ultimate version, free of any of the problems, and with perhaps smoother, sharper visuals to sweeten the deal.
Sadly, this is the kind of sloppy, loveless port that will test the patience of all but the most undemanding fan. Bizarrely, the frame rate still leaves plenty to be desired, and the long load/resume times and poorly textured environments make the whole project seem like a hapless rush job.
If you're a Katamari diehard that can live with all of that, the game's reasonably good fun by virtue of the far more logical controls, but you'll rip through it in no time. And then there's the eye-watering price: at almost twice the cost of the iOS version, you'd have to really love Katamari to consider paying that.
- Android - £3.07 (free demo available) - Trailer
- Also available on iPhone - £1.79, DSiWare - 800 Points (£7.20) and PSN Minis - £3.99
A couple of years on from its initial launch, Gamevil's acclaimed RPG hardly qualifies as a new release. However, its gradual proliferation to practically every handheld system out there suggests it's got something going for it. High time we found out what.
Anyone who still hankers after games in the spirit of classic SNES-era, top down, hack-and-slash action RPGs will fall for Zenonia approximately 4.2 seconds after starting the game.
As far as homages to the past go it hits every mark you can think of. A gorgeously evocative 16-bit visual style, simple combat style and sharp writing all helping to drag you in to the promise of an epic 40-hour plus adventure.
The premise of a young boy avenging his father's death is hardly groundbreaking, but this isn't the place to come if you're after sparkling originality. Having been sent out on an undemanding bunch of fetch quests, you'll feel yourself settling into a familiar pattern of monster slaying, looting and exploration and you'll fall for it all the same.
It's a well worn formula that continues to entertain. Once you get your inevitable rewards and start levelling up, you'll inevitably want to see what happens next. And before you know it, Zenonia will have claimed its latest victim.