Following on from Monday's hardware review, now we come to the really important stuff: the games. The Gizmondo sure looks good on paper, with a 400MHZ processor, 128 Bit 3D graphics accelerator and Bluetooth connectivity for multiplayer gaming, but how does the system fare when it comes to actually playing it?
So far, it doesn't seem to us that the developers have made the most of the machine. As you'll gather from the reviews below, some titles are plagued by blocky backgrounds and tiny sprites - but those that aren't feature sharp, colourful graphics and look pretty impressive.
To date, the selection of titles is highly limited, and only a few are of good enough quality to warrant a purchase. Things really need to pick up in the next few months to persuade punters to take the plunge - and they might well do, with games like Richard Burns Rally and Alien Hominid on the way, not to mention the augmented reality nonsense. But for now, the list is looking decidedly patchy. Here's a rundown of some of the titles already available.
Hockey Rage 2005
A straightforward Ice Hockey title with simple controls - one button to pass or switch, one to shoot or tackle, and one more for a speed boost. Not likely to please hardcore NHL fans, then, but fun for a quick knockabout on the bus to work.
There are some neat touches - like the fact you can play an ice machine mini-game before the start of each match and the way the stadium lights are subtly reflected in the ice. We also couldn't help smile at the way the pitch becomes smeared with patches of blood as matches progress.
However, the sprites are rather small, which means it's not always easy to see exactly what's going on - especially if the teams playing are wearing similarly-coloured strips. And while it's initially amusing that all your team-mates sound like Mr. T (lots of "Die, sucker!" and "Go home, boy!" nonsense), it soon becomes annoying.
6 / 10
Gizmondo Motocross 2005
Pretty dreadful, frankly. There's a weird sideways-on perspective which means you can't always see what's coming up next and have to react with lightning speed to bends in the track - a job which is made even harder by the fact that the controls are appalling.
The tiniest nudge on the D-pad seems to send your bike careering wildly, and there's not much room for error - you'll find yourself forced to reset again and again.
You're supposed to be able to do tricks, but we found it hard enough to stay on the track and attempt to keep up with the rest of the pack without worrying about doing wheelie skids. Shonky.
3 / 10
A sparkly remake of the 8-bit ball jumping classic from Gremlin Graphics/Mr Chips, complete with super-fast gameplay, trippy Tron-style graphics and a brain-jangling techno soundtrack. We never thought we'd see this one revived.
To the uninitiated it looks rather like WipEout, except there are no other 'drivers' to compete against. Instead, it's just you and your 'ship' trying to avoid the gaps and path blockers and navigate your way across special tiles which can speed you up, slow you down, force you to jump or reverse the controls. Just like the original, in fact.
It's easy to pick-up but challenging to master, with a healthy just-one-more-go-factor. We also like the option to select any MP3s stored in your Gizmondo's root directory as the game soundtrack. Lots of fun, and a real surprise for retro fiends.
7 / 10
Mini golf with a Micro Machines flavour, essentially. There are nine different courses to navigate your way around, all set in different areas of the same house - a breakfast table, bathroom, garage and so on.
Taking shots is a matter of lining them up using the D-pad and then using the play button to control the amount of power behind them. A simple system, then, but one which works well.
All in all it's a fun little game, and though there are only nine courses they're challenging enough to offer decent replay value.
7 / 10
Three games included in this one, ranging from good to average to not worth the SD card it's stored on.
Just about worth it for Super-Drop Mania and Angelfish, considering it's less than twenty quid. They should've left Stuntcar Extreme out, however.
Everything a puzzle game should be - easy to learn, hard to master and highly addictive. Very derivative, naturally (it's clearly influenced by the likes of Puyo Pop Fever and Pokemon Puzzle League) but still great fun.
8 / 10
A top down scrolling space shooter. Simplistic in terms of both graphics and gameplay, it's good for when you fancy some retro-style button bashing, but probably won't hold your interest for too long.
6 / 10
Shoddy racer with blocky, jerky graphics and painfully slow gameplay. Only for Sunday drivers and those who like racing games where your car's tyres occasionally disappear into the tarmac.
2 / 10
Pocket Ping Pong 2005
Table tennis meets Dead or Alive Xtreme Volleyball, essentially. Matches take place on tropical beaches against girls with names like Mercedes, Bubbles and Booty, none of whom are wearing very many clothes.
It's hard to work out how to aim shots precisely and for the first few matches you inevitably find yourself just trying to whack the ball back without worrying where it will land. After a while things start to make more sense, but the gameplay isn't challenging enough to hold your attention for too long.
Which is why the girls are there, presumably, but we just find them irritating - particularly Summer, who is supposed to be Irish judging by the way she yelps "Eejit!" and "Fair play t'yer" all the time, and cowgirl Rusty, who endlessly shouts "Yee haw!" and clutches her left breast when she loses.
All in all, this one's fun, but not for long.
6 / 10
Initially down as a PSP title, Sticky Balls is based around the concept of shooting balls around a table using a small cue. If balls of the same colour hit each other they'll become permanently stuck together - create a cluster of seven or more balls and it'll disappear from the table, freeing up more space to aim your shots.
It's quite tricky to get the hang of at first - there are all kinds of rules involving cue balls, bouncing off the walls and using different power-ups - but once you've got the gist it's extremely hard to put Sticky Balls down.
The graphics are great, with plenty of bright colours, sharp lines and inventive table designs, and the physics system works well. The best Gizmondo title on the shelves right now.
9 / 10
All in all, there are lots of good things to be said for the Gizmondo. We like being able to play games, watch movies and listen to music on one device, and it's great that you can switch between them without even having to change SD cards. The camera works well, too, and we're excited about the prospect of augmented reality games.
The unreliability of the GPS in our unit is a big let-down, however, as is the fact that it only works outdoors (not the fault of Gizmondo, admittedly). We're promised that future titles, such as third-person gangbanger Colors, will incorporate GPS into gameplay - but we don't fancy having to go outside or hang out the window to make it work, to be honest.
There are other elements that need to be sorted out, too - Smart Adds (call the spelling cops, someone), email, and most importantly, a wide catalogue of games that includes plenty of killer apps. The deal with Microsoft to license its back catalogue could spring some surprises; imagine a handheld Halo?
If the people behind the Gizmondo can deliver all that, it'll turn into a great little machine that's well worth the money. At present, it's excellent if you want a handheld that offers all kinds of entertainment in a nicely portable package - but if it's gaming and gaming alone you're after, you might want to hold off and see what other titles pop up in the next few months.