Sally's Salon: Luxury Edition
It's long been established that hair are your aerials. They pick up signals from the cosmos and transmit them directly into the brain. And yet people like Sally spend their entire waking lives perpetrating follicular vandalism and get paid for it.
Stranger still, government agents like Gamehouse create electronic simulations of this act, where willing participants wander in off the street to have their hair washed, coloured, cut and blow dried. The even have their eyebrows plucked. The indignity.
The better you perform this curious multitasking exercise, the more customers you get. And the busier it gets, the more plates you have to keep spinning, lest your client base storms out in disgust.
Keep on top of things, though, and you'll have more filthy lucre to spend on new washing units, magazine subscriptions, coffee makers and, eventually, assistants. Next stop: world domination and celebrity dandruff.
Sure enough, you'll build your chain into a world famous enterprise and get to snip the stars and ply them with magazines and coffee until your eyes bleed.
If Diner Dash, Cake Mania and their ilk are your grubby little gaming secrets, then I won't hold it against you. Sally's Salon might well be as vacuous as deep space, but since when did that ever stop something being strangely enjoyable?
Somewhere within the heart of the sprawling Gameloft organisation is a menacing cliché-generating machine. Every hit gaming genre in existence is fed, byte by byte, into its gaping maw by concerned-looking lab techs.
No-one has any real control over the machine - we'll call it MAL - because it became sentient a few months ago and began periodically uttering delirious one-liners. In rare moments of clarity, new mobile games are spontaneously delivered to the nervous, white-coated operatives.
The latest of these focuses on agents of a secret organisation who protect society from the invisible threats of the 21st Century. The best agents. The smartest technology. The most generic Splinter Cell-meets Syphon Filter stealth-shooter clone you've ever laid eyes on? That'll be the one.
Perhaps Silent Ops should come fitted with a free memory wipe, because if you'd never played any sneaky shooter over the past 13 years, you could be fooled into thinking that it wasn't bad. Like most Gameloft titles, it looks like it was made in 2001, the twin stick controls are entirely unsuitable for prolonged touchscreen play, and the narrative appears to have been phoned in by bored chimpanzees.
It's also hilariously easy, with an auto-aiming system apparently designed to remove the last traces of whatever gameplay was left. You might be prompted to engage in some swipe-y QTEs, melee battles and sniper interludes, but for the most part you're trudging through the most turgid, unstealthy, third-person shooting crud anyone's dared inflict on the populace since the PSone.
The sooner Gameloft stops wasting its considerable resources making console-lite games and starts figuring out how to make the most out of mobile platforms, the better. Like 9mm, Silent Ops is gaming at its most clueless and uninspired.