Version tested: iPhone
- Developer: id Software
- Price: GBP 5.99
Reducing Doom to an on-rails zombie shooting gallery might not sound like the most enticing take on the beloved FPS brand, but the end result is surprisingly entertaining.
Robbed of traditional controls, developer Escalation Studios instead moves the player around in a similar fashion to light-gun shooters like Time Crisis, with the player left to adjust the aiming reticule by tilting the iPhone up or down. Shoot and dodge, meanwhile, are mapped to the bottom right and left corners of the screen respectively.
Adapting to the unusual control system is an impressively swift process, and pulling off precision aiming isn't as fiddly as you might fear. In true Doom fashion, enemies come thick and fast and, as usual, aiming for the head (or nearby barrels) reaps rewards, and helps get you closer to the all-important par time.
Other commands are similarly intuitive - simply tap an ammo clip to pick up, or touch the top-right of the screen to reload, while weapon-select is as simple as tapping the top-left corner to cycle through the choices available. When you let a zombie get too close, you physically shake them off.
Set across just eight levels, the one major failing of Doom Resurrection is how quickly you'll rip through it. Although undoubtedly fun while it lasts, it's over way too soon, and it's not one of those games you'll feel enormously compelled to replay. Currently priced at GBP 5.99, it's at the higher end of the scale for iPhone games, too.
As a technical showcase, though, it serves as a reminder that the iPhone packs some serious grunt. Styled in the same fashion as Doom 3, enemies and environments are suitably grisly and detailed, and offer a glimpse of what may lay in store should developers ever decide to make more complex games with this kind of tech.
For now, though, Doom Resurrection is an enjoyable diversion for a couple of hours, but lacking in depth or replayability to warrant serious consideration.
- Developer: Adept Games
- Price: GBP 0.59
On a platform awash with simple puzzle games, it's not easy to stand out. Even when you do something different, it's tough to spot when something is genuinely worth picking up, rather than just a passably neat idea. Trixel succeeds by not only being a damned fine logic puzzle, but by being admirably original in approach. It's also unfathomably cheap. Like all truly great puzzle games, the concept is incredibly simple, yet no sooner have you grasped the basics, it builds into something truly brain-bending.
At the start of every puzzle, the goal is simply to match the target pattern shown by flipping the tiles in the least number of moves. To begin with, patterns come on a three-by-three grid, and to change the colour of a tile, you need to guide the cursor one square at a time to flip it to the opposite colour.
Initially, movement is limited to four basic directions, but as you progress through the game special multi-arrow tiles allow you to move diagonally, while wormholes teleport you from one part of the puzzle to another. On occasion, you'll also come across crystals that allow you to take moves back, or even skip entire puzzles altogether.
By the time you've played the game for 10 minutes, you're already hooked, and the further you get into Trixel, the more its effortless 'one-more-go' appeal kicks in as you strive for those all-important gold medals. On the one hand, it's perfect for handheld play to make those boring commutes fly by, but on the other you'll probably be unable to stop playing and get run over on the way to work. Your choice, really.
- Developer: Redlynx
- Price: GBP 0.59
Any developer capable of grinding the Eurogamer office to a halt has a lot to answer for. After the OCD fun of last year's PC indie hit RedLynx Trials, it's perhaps inevitable that its latest project has a similar level of manic compulsiveness about it.
The premise couldn't really be much simpler. You slide the tip of your index finger around a top-down racetrack for two or more laps, with the sole aim of creating an efficient route that beats the AI car's alternative. And it's not really about finding the best racing line, it's about managing the speed at which you approach corners.
Once you've completed the requisite laps, the actual 'race' plays out, and you wait agonisingly as your red car follows the dotted line you laid out and snakes around the track. If you slid too quickly going into a corner, the race will reflect that, so it's worth keeping a measured pace where necessary.
In the space of a few seconds, you'll generally know whether you're in with a chance of winning or not, and observing the route of the pace car provides essential clues as to where speed gives you the advantage. Then there's endless delightful trial and error. 20 tracks make it into this excellent value package, and better still, all feature online leaderboards for you to measure yourself against.
The only downside that I can think of about DrawRace is that it's not a game that clumsy old sausage fingers will get along with too well. While the screen is just about big enough to cater for the kinds of tracks on show, it's still a little tricky getting the kind of precision you wish for in the heat of the moment.
But don't let that put you off. For the ludicrously cheap price DrawRace is currently going for, it'd be madness to pass up the chance to sample a hugely compelling and highly original release.
- Developer: PopCap Games
- Price: GBP 2.99
It doesn't seem to matter which platform Peggle shows up on, it's always brilliant. And guess what? This version is worthy of especially gushing praise.
A happy accident of the game's Pachinko-inspired design is that it's basically tailor-made for the platform. Not only does the precision afforded by the touch-screen controls make it even easier to line up shots, but the very nature of the bite-sized gameplay ensures that it's perfect for on-the-move play. The question isn't so much will you want to play it, but will you want to stop?
If you've not been one of the 50 million people to download it since its initial release on the PC two years ago, then here's the deal. Each board is laid out in a simple pattern comprised of a number of coloured pegs. The goal is to aim a ball from the launcher at the top-middle of the screen and try to clear the playfield of all 25 of the pesky orange pegs.
Launched one at a time, you either adjust shots using a dial on the right side of the screen, or slide your finger across the screen to line-up your shot. You have ten turns in which you must clear the orange pegs, but can gain, in effect, a free turn if your ball is caught by the catcher that moves back and forth from left to right at the bottom.
The fewer turns it takes you to clear the board, the better the score, and the climax ends with a tension-inducing snatch of Ode To Joy while the ball heads towards one of five 'bins' of varying values. Progressively more challenging boards become available, some with spinning brick constructions to negotiate, ensuring that both timing and aiming are all-important. To add a further layer of cunning to the proceedings, there are magic green pegs can that spawn things like multiple balls or aiming assists, while purple pegs boost the score.
In short, it's joyously addictive, hugely challenging, and monumentally satisfying once it gets its hooks into you. It all looks a bit of a fluke-fest to begin with, but with high scores a burgeoning obsession, it's clear that there's more skill to the game than meets the eye over its 55 levels.
With a host of extras such as a take-it-in-turns two-player mode, challenge mode and a set of trophies to aim for, there's no question that Peggle is among the must-haves of the iPhone gaming. With only online leaderboards missing from the package, it's hard to find fault with this exceptional release. For the price, you cannot go wrong.