- Windows Phone 7 - £2.49
Windows Phone 7 owners haven't had too many stand-out titles to crow about since the OS launched back in October, but ilomilo is definitely one to inspire spittle-flecked envy in the smartphone playground.
Launched at the same time as the outstanding Xbox Live version, Southend Interactive's phone version isn't simply a worthy approximation of the adorably cute puzzle adventure - it's the real deal, with a few admirable tweaks thrown into the mix to sweeten the deal.
The idea is to reunite the huge-bonced ilo and milo, who start off on opposing sides of an fantasy environment built entirely out of intricately rendered cubes. You can switch freely between them, and have to work together to bridge gaps and create paths for one another in the name of loving friendship and reassuring hugs.
Because of the simple and precise nature of the four-way controls, it all works marvellously on the touch screen. Even better, tilting the handset allows you to gently tweak the camera perspective, which is the sort of thing that eventually leads to soft toy ownership.
As you'll have gathered from Chris' expansive XBLA review, what really stands out about ilomilo is the giddy quality of the level design; but the fact that it also translates so well to handheld play is either a happy accident or the work of unfeasibly clever minds. Either way, any game with this much loving creativity rammed into it warrants a place in your hearts.
- iPhone/iPad (unified binary) - £1.79
Some of the best mobile games take into account the fact that most people have big, stupid, fat sausage fingers, and design their games accordingly.
Instead of trying to shoehorn in ill-suited interfaces and control systems, Battleheart strips out all the fluff and bullshit of real time strategy and RPG, and leaves only the parts that actually make sense on a touchscreen device.
It's the kind of game that doesn't feel the need to patronise the player with dreary exposition. You're told to lead an army to cleanse the land of evil, and left to simply get on with slashing and zapping your way through 30-odd unexpectedly fearsome missions.
At first you'll be charmed into thinking it's a harmless little portion of RTS-lite with RPG sprinkles. You'll sleepwalk through the first few stages, admire the cuddly cartoon bats, and swat away pesky goblins. You'll gathering up the loot, level up a few times, buy some new armour and weapons, maybe opt for a few upgrades, and then find yourself suddenly having to actually play the game properly.
Mika Mobile wastes no time in cranking up the challenge dramatically, and it goes from being case of studiously hacking everything to death, to diligent use of each character's rechargeable power-ups. You might, for example, need to wade in with your 'tanks', while your wizard takes care of slowing enemies down. Elsewhere, you might have your cleric on hand to heal everyone, or a variety of other specialists lurking to chip in with their own special power.
Some levels essentially act as a handy way of farming gold and XP, before the inevitable bastard-hard 'boss' level puts all your hard work to the test. But far from being a repetitive grind, the sense that you're gradually getting better makes it a lot more satisfying than it probably ought to be.
Battleheart's also far deeper than you might give it credit for, and horribly addictive. It truly is the Pringles of gaming. One pop...
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