Happy New Year folks! So what can we expect from mobile gaming in 2011? Judging by the endless rumours circulating at the back end of last year, it looks like it's going to be the year that Sony finally enters the market in some form.
Of course, Apple will hardly be resting on its laurels, and we can expect the rumour mill to go into overdrive as the release of the second-gen iPad draws closer. And then, a matter of weeks after that, attention will inevitably focus on the iPhone 5, alongside the inevitable evolution of the various Android handsets.
Speaking of Android, the real issue for gamers isn't so much the quality of the handsets or even the OS, but the usability of the (currently) shoddy Marketplace. Sort that out and the Android's position will only improve.
Elsewhere, Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform has undoubted potential to compete but you suspect that gamers' interest would rise enormously if Microsoft had a rethink on the pricing strategy for the games.
This week, though, all thoughts turn firmly to a very welcome conversion of World of Goo, one of the best independent games ever made. If ever a game was made to justify buying an iPad, this is it.
World of Goo
- iPad - £5.99
For more than two years, the world has been a decidedly better place for having 2D Boy's peerless piece of physics-puzzle brilliance in it.
You might recall Jon Blyth getting all excited about the PC release, only for John Walker to trump that excitement just a few weeks later, slathering upon it a manner of praise generally reserved for deities.
Now that I've been given no way of improving upon Mr Walker's 10/10, allow me to break with tradition and award Eurogamer's first ever 11/10 [no Ed], because somehow those ludicrously talented San Franciscans have gone and made it better than it was already.
In truth, the game itself hasn't changed a jot. You still have to build large wobbling structures made entirely out of goo. You still have to painstakingly attach each blob to one or more other blobs, and try to fashion a path to a nearby pipe. You're still trying to get as many blobs to the exit pipe in the least number of moves.
What's changed, of course, is the input method. Whereas before you were dragging and dropping blobs with a mouse cursor, or pointing the Wii remote, the iPad feels utterly tailor-made for the task at hand.
Afforded the ability to drag and drop the blobs with your fingertips, there's a satisfying degree of instant precision available to you, which allows you to make the kind of fine adjustments that make the hair's-breadth difference between success and failure.
The rest you probably know about already: the fantastic visuals, the cracked humour, the five contrasting chapters that keep you transfixed right to the end. If a better game ever comes to the iPad, you might well spontaneously combust.
- Windows Phone 7 - £2.49
Cog-based spatial puzzle games aren't exactly breaking news in the mobile scene, but don't let that put you off this absorbing remake of an iPhone super-hit called Geared.
Presumably renamed (and reskinned) to create the illusion of WP7 exclusivity, the idea, once again, is to drag and drop a series of cogs from your inventory so that they meet the spinning gear and eventually complete the 'machine'.
Just as it was on iPhone, its instant accessibility and deceptively challenging level design makes it horribly addictive, especially once you get drawn into scooping gold medals by trying to complete each level within the minimum number of moves and the smallest possible amount of time.
Being a WP7 version, there are added Xbox Live Achievements, yet another reason to drag yourself back for more punishment. Then again, 75 levels probably sounds like plenty, but bear in mind that Geared features double that and is less than a quarter of the price.
Leaving the stupid price to one side, Revolution is a fine addition to the WP7's puzzle line-up. If you've got the option though, you should definitely check out Geared (and its new sequel) beforehand.