Version tested: iPhone
One of the more insane conversations I've had recently was with someone who was predicting the "brutal" crash of the mobile gaming industry in about two years.
At the time I was having one of those deliberately non-argumentative nights where I just let people spout whatever nonsense they like at me, on the assumption that if I just smile and nod, we'll quickly move onto another subject.
In my more combative (on deadline) mood, I'd probably be keen to explore whether that's even possible. Are we in some sort of crazy bubble of novelty right now? Are people going to reach saturation point and just stop buying apps en masse?
I'd like to think that the relentlessly tempting pricing model and the ever-increasing capabilities of newer handsets will keep that at bay. Also, as more of the 'big boys' join the mobile scene, the better the quality of the games will be, and the more attractive these titles will become to the current set of unbelievers.
Personally, the only direction I can see the graph going in terms of mobile gaming sales is up. Sure, people will drop out through App Fatigue now and then, but you can bet they'll be back the minute something truly ground-breaking shows up...
Dream Track Nation
- iPhone/iPad £0.69. Universal binary.
I'm not sure how many hot dinners I've had in my life, but at this stage it must be neck-and-neck with the number of quirky racing games vying for your attention on the App Store.
PowPow Games must realise this, and to combat the inevitable heckling has made sure that Dream Track Racing's courses are barmier than a hot barm cake.
At first glance, you might equate its penchant for stunts and flips with a kind of DIY Trials, but fortunately there's rather more to it. Once you get into the meat of the game, you're sent on a dizzying whirl of loop-the-loop, where judicious use of tilt control is every bit as crucial to your course time as raw acceleration.
New tracks come and go in seconds as you blitz your way around attractive patchwork environments, but the quest for gold medals makes it the kind of game that you become unexpectedly intimate with.
As that relationship grows and as new, more elaborate constructions unlock, it becomes obvious why Apple was keen to flag Dream Track Racing up as its iPhone Game of the Week.
It's hardly lacking in content either, despite the impulse price, with 60 levels as well as Wi-Fi multiplayer, a track editor for the creatively minded and a soothing massage thrown in free of charge when you're done. Actually, I can't be sure about the last point, but I'm sure PowPow would oblige if you asked them nicely.