Mobile Games Roundup

9MM! Blobster! Ticket! Beards! Dream!

Normally, if things go up by up in price by a large percentage, you expect a public outpouring of rage - but when it comes to the UK App Store, you'd have to say we had it coming.

Without warning, midway through last week, UK App Store prices rocketed, with the traditional 59p entry-level charge suddenly 69p and the 1.19 price point now 1.49. The further up the scale, the bigger the jump, with 3.99 titles (like our game of the week, Ticket To Ride) suddenly priced at 4.99.

Why? Because of those dreaded currency fluctuations, and Apple's periodic desire to bring territories in line. Australia and Switzerland, for example, found their prices actually drop.

For the avid iOS hound in the UK, it's a bit of a drag, but in real terms, we're still doing pretty well out of the current pricing arrangement. Go back a couple of years, and it was tough to find any apps priced anywhere near as competitively as they are now. To put it in perspective, you'd have to buy ten 69p apps to be a quid out of pocket - hardly something to cry over. Let's just hope most of this extra cash is going to end up going to the developer...

Blobster

1

That's Mr Blobster to you.

In my favoured rose-tinted parallel universe, where the PlayStation went the way of the 3DO and Commodore wasn't run into the ground, Blobster would have been signed up by Team 17 and shot straight to the top of the charts.

As the spiritual successor to the beloved Superfrog, it would have showcased the next generation Amiga and given the world a new platforming icon: a flubbery fellow, a giant among the gelatinous.

In Blobtopia, the vibrant world is threatened by pollution, and the only solution is to stretch, flick and tilt the amorphous Blobster around a series of hazard-strewn, gem-rich platform environments.

You know the deal. Grab the collectibles, stomp on the heads of the baddies, grab the keys and head for the exit. It's a formula almost as old as gaming, but Divine Robot rescues it from tired irrelevance through taut level design, precise but versatile controls and a deceptive, satisfying learning curve.

Just when you think you've got the measure of it, Blobster has a knack of upping the ante with fiendish levels and a consistent drip feed of surprises that keeps you coming back for more. Online leaderboards tempt you back to improve level performance, while the unlockable Survival mode throws you into a procedurally generated environment where it's a perennial battle to stay airborne - and alive.

Behind its playful charm is a platformer of rare quality. Blobster combines the best of what we love about retro platformers, but with modern refinements, and then has the cheek to charge next to nothing for it.

8/10

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