Every game wants to be the next Angry Birds, and why wouldn't they? Just a fraction of those 200 million sales would do everyone just fine, thanks.
But as many as have tried to emulate Rovio's insidious formula, surprisingly few have even come close to making an impression. That hasn't blunted Armor Games' ambition to grab a few converts with its first-person take on the lob n' destroy genre.
Placing the game from the eyes of the aggressor, though, is a risky business, given that it actually manages to simplify gameplay that wasn't exactly renowned for being complicated. Instead of meddling with angle and power, you simply tap the area of the environment you wish to destroy, and wait for the resulting chaos to ensue.
Whether you're pelting rocks or oil or bombs, the result is the same: you're always on target, and that makes it fairly easy to replicate your path of destruction if you want to start over - not something that was easy to pull-off on Angry Birds.
Naturally, such a fundamental design choice makes it simple enough to barrel through dozens of stages in no time and feel like you're doing well. The chances are, mind you, you're merely doing enough to destroy all the soldiers, which doesn't necessarily equate to success, for success in Siege Hero means scooping the treasure chest.
To do this takes rather more care, and not only involves smashing up any residing treasure, but protecting innocents, and that tips it towards the realms of repeat play that Armor is clearly gunning for.
Whether this is wanton physics destruction befitting of a future phenomenon is debatable, though. It's almost too playable and satisfying for its own good, or in other words, not quite annoying enough to lure you back endlessly. Perhaps there really is only enough room for one game as annoying as Angry Birds.
Windows 7 Phone update
Almost a year down the line, Windows Phone 7 hasn't exactly delivered too many must-have titles, and the last few weeks has merely continued the rather underwhelming trend. Here's what you've missed:
- IonBallEX - £2.29
Uttering the immortal phrase 'Breakout with a modern twist' is usually about as exciting as a stale cheese sandwich. Taito tried it about 25 years ago with Arkanoid, and apparently developers still haven't quite got the message that pinging a ball at a wall for minutes at a time is among the most deathly dull gameplay mechanics known to mankind.
If, by some quirk, you're into them, then IonBallEX is, objectively, a fair attempt, and comes replete with 35 levels, all the usual power-ups, and a 'steampunk' visual style that was last cool on the Amiga in 1988. If that sounds like the future of mobile gaming, be my guest.
- Minesweeper - Free
I appreciate that a review of Minesweeper might come across the most redundant use of 12 point Helvetica ever, but hey, when was the last time you actually played the filthy little time-thief?
For me, it was probably back in the bad old days of boring office jobs and Windows 3.1, but, unsurprisingly, on a touch screen device, the whole flag-placing, risk-taking process of elimination is as annoyingly addictive as it ever was. The presentation is about as sparse as is possible, but it's not like the game needs it. With the full spectrum of difficulty levels covered, all your Minesweeps belong to us.
- Cro-Mag Rally - £2.29
It Microsoft is intent on sabotaging the reputation of WP7 as a contender in the games market, then allowing the worst Mario Kart clone ever to appear on your platform is definitely the way to go about it.
Complete with atrocious tilt handling and some of the most inept visuals seen since the PlayStation 1 era, it's genuinely a challenge to make through a single race without wanting to pop your own eyes out with a hot spoon. You'd have to look extremely hard to find a worse game than this.
1/10 (for managing to load and not crash).