- iPad & iPhone / Free, unlimited version £1.19
In times of dangerous sobriety, can there be anything more gently relaxing than tilting a cog through a mystical world filled with physics-based puzzles? I thought not.
Sadly, first impressions are cruelly misleading. Following on from the deceptive brutality of Limbo, this accelerometer-based affair is another wolf in sheep's clothing. It's also seductive in its beauty, opting for a minimalistic hand-drawn approach in the style of Chinese shadow art.
But once you've ushered your cog through a few rudimentary puzzles, its true colours start to emerge, with a barrage of often impossible-looking tasks. Sometimes the solution is easier than it initially appears, with a deft touch and well-timed jump often the key to persuading locks to spring and passageways to open.
Other times, it's just a matter of momentum. Go back a couple of screens, wind up your speed and hurtle through by the skin of your (cog's) teeth.
The problem with Trundle is that it's great... until you're stuck. Once you hit a wall, that's it. The user reviews of the iPhone original are littered with tales of woe of people wanting to love it, but finding no way to progress.
With no hint system, nor even help on mobile bros.' website, you're always one problem away from giving up in impotent frustration. And that's a shame for a game that displays such obvious potential.
- iPhone / £1.79
Angry Birds on the high seas probably sounded like an absolute winner on a night out in a Soho nightclub. On a Tuesday afternoon in Willesden Green, though, it just feels plain fiddly, frequently irritating, and eventually unplayable.
It gets off to a flying start, mind. Given the exalted 'App of the Week' status recently, Plunderland's eye-catching visual style looks every inch the summer smash it promises to be. On the iPhone 4's shiny new retina display, it's almost rude how sharp it looks. You could slice your eyeballs on the bloody thing.
To begin with, it all feels remarkably good fun, with its jolly rogering premise of smashing ships on the high seas, murdering everyone you see, and scooping up the gold. You tilt left and right to steer your boat, swipe your finger behind the cannon to fire shots at anyone in your vicinity, and vary your trajectory by moving your finger left or right. Simple enough - or so you'd imagine.
The trouble is, in combination with the tilt controls, it's all too easy to screw up in the heat of the fight, tilting yourself backwards just as you're lining up a shot, or overcooking the rotation of your shot and getting nowhere near your target.
With iPhone games, it's the absolute minimum requirement to get the controls right, but in that regard Plunderland fails. And considering that it seems to get everything else right, that's a big shame.