As matches progress there are endless tricky decisions to be made. Do you place your blocks where they'll form a bigger combo, or use them to build a more direct route to your enemy's base? Do you destroy the grenade your rival's heading for, or use both your cannon shots to protect that teleport you need? That nearby pipe will spit you out right next to the enemy's princess, but you make it back to base before he steals yours?
By the way - you only have a limited time to make each of these decisions, as the tiny ticking clock on the screen indicates. You get just a few seconds to survey the grid, observe the special items available, note your enemy's location, second-guess their strategy and decide what to do. It's a lot of pressure.
And that's when you're playing offline - it's the multiplayer mode where Reset Generation really comes into its own. Up to four players can take part in matches, and you can choose to battle against friends or random strangers. If you select the latter option, make sure you've had plenty of practice - the online players we've come across have all been extremely experienced and tough to beat.
So I've mainly been playing against Eurogamer's own Dan Pearson, and all right, I haven't beaten him either. Not once. Over the course of more than a dozen games. Possibly two dozen. What does this tell us? Yes, that I am rubbish at Reset Generation, but also that it's a great multiplayer game. I keep playing Dan because I'm convinced that this time, this time I'm going to win - I'll get that essential power-up at just the right moment, or I won't make that stupid mistake again, or this new strategy is bound to leave him broken and weeping and sorry for being such a big smug gloater following the first 27 matches.
Reset Generation achieves the just-one-more-go factor thanks to some superb fine-tuning. There are a plenty of gameplay mechanics to get to grips with, but the learning curve is just right. You feel as though your skills are improving with every single match, even if you lose, which makes for a real incentive to keep on playing. The power-ups are powerful enough to turn matches upside down, but they're not distributed so frequently that it's impossible to pursue longer-term strategies.
In other words, Reset Generation is one of the few mobile phone games out there worth playing - if you own one of the few mobile phones it's possible to play it on. Nokia's been touting the game as a flagship title for the relaunched N-Gage platform, but I couldn't get it to work on my N95 or even my spanky new E71. In the end they sent me an N81 for the purposes of this review, but they're unlikely to be so generous when it comes to everyone else in the world.
The good news, however, is that anyone with a PC can try out the game over at ResetGeneration.com. That's the full game, complete with online options, Friends lists and all the rest. For free.
Which is really rather generous of Nokia, considering Reset Generation is an excellent game. It's got more depth and charm than a lot of the rubbish old tat on Xbox Live or PSN. It offers a real challenge and real rewards for investing your time and using your brain. It's got a multiplayer mode that's fantastic fun, even if you're completely rubbish at it. Worth rushing out to buy a new phone for? Not quite. But worth playing for free on the PC? Yes. Worth emailing the link around so all your friends can play the tutorial in time for the lunch hour? Absolutely. Just don't bother CCing your Mum.
8 / 10