Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
- iPhone - £3.99
- iPad - £5.99
When games like World of Goo demonstrate how perfect touch-screen controls can be, it brings a little bit of sunshine to the world. But then another similarly brilliant offering like Guardian of Light comes along and does the exact opposite.
Upon its celebrated release back in the summer, Keza MacDonald correctly enthused about the "heart-racing moments" in Crystal Dynamics' download-only Lara Croft adventure. On a joypad, it was one of the most unexpected highlights of 2010 especially in co-op.
But despite both the iPhone and iPad conversions being visually impressive, both become horribly fiddly and frustrating to play whenever the game requires any kind of shooting or jumping accuracy.
With an unwieldy array of virtual joysticks and buttons splayed all over the lower portion of the screen, it's a continual fumble trying to perform the basics with any level of proficiency.
And while spray-and-pray shooting tactics may work for the most part, you'll start to lose patience when it comes to creating makeshift platforms with spears, or when the inevitable time-based puzzles appear.
Things that were routine or mildly challenging in the original often become hand-gnawingly annoying. You'll still get through them after a while, but it's a question of whether you can be bothered with such an aggravating handicap.
The bottom line is that Guardian of Light is plainly ill-suited to touch-screen controls, so if you like what you see, you're far better off playing it on the platforms it was actually designed for.
Laser Dance Robberies
- iPhone - £0.59
If only Solid Snake had Oscar Shadow's dancing feet. Instead of hiding grumpily in lockers and cardboard boxes, he could have been pirouetting over security lasers via the magic of dance. No-one would have had to die. The whole story could have been so different.
Rejecting the unwelcome advances of the predatory Michael Flatley, he would have turned to a life of crime; one where half-inching the contents of a Parisian museum on a nightly basis becomes your sole reason for parting with 59 pence.
Viewed from above, the idea is to press and hold your finger over Oscar's head and slide him around the environment to avoid the lasers. Impressively, he can slip past them in an instant if you tap on the other side of your obstacle, but if you so much as touch one of them, it's Game Over.
With loot dotted around the place, you can choose to pursue thievery to catapult yourself up the leaderboard rankings, or play it safe and try to go the distance instead, and see how many cheesy classical renditions you can stomach before death becomes strangely welcome. Me? I bailed not long after Orpheus In The Underworld.
Dungeon Hunter 2
- iPhone - £3.49
- iPad - £3.49
As much as I absolutely cannot bloody stop playing Dungeon Hunter 2, it's impossible to get away from the repetitive ridiculousness of the whole affair.
You run around a splendidly illustrated Gothicus, duffing up everything in your path, hoovering up loot at every turn, levelling up every 10 minutes, and following daft quests that essentially involve little more than duffing up yet more respawning goons with your thumb clamped on the attack button.
And yet, despite yourself, you become completely and utterly locked into its hideously addictive formula. You know that the flailing hackandslash combat mechanics are wafer thin. You know that smashing up pots and scooping up gold is largely inconsequential. You know that assigning skills points and specialisms creates the moreish illusion of progress, and yet, there you are, investing hour upon hour of your life into getting gaming's equivalent of a choccy drop.
If you're not someone who gets too existential about the games they play, then step right up. It even has four-player wi-fi co-op multiplayer, assuming that you'd rather hack and slash yourselves into a coma in the same room as your friends, rather than enjoy this guilty pleasure alone, where no-one can judge you or see your haunted expression.