We furnish you with five mini-reviews of downloadable titles every Friday, but it's never enough. The world of downloadable gaming never sleeps. Not content pounding out a couple of dozen new titles every week, publishers and developers are always looking for ways to make money out of their bulging back catalogues. As Barry Norman used to say rather charmingly, "and why not?"
Sometimes it's easy to be cynical about ports, with the minimum effort evidently invested for the maximum return. Other times, we get all a-quiver as some of our favourite games of all time are lovingly remade to take advantage of powerful new tech. Find out which approach finds favour in our gripping 10-game roundup, revisiting all manner of titles old and new.
- iPad £2.99
- iPhone £2.99
Duking it out with Pac-Man as the most widely ported game of all-time, this evergreen turn-based strategy title is as popular now as it has ever been: roll your eyes all you like about Team 17 churning out endless versions of the same game, but they sell by the bucketload.
That said, even the most hardcore Worms fan would admit this touch-screen version of Worms doesn't quite work as well as it might. With its overly exacting control system, coupled with a completely inadequate tutorial, you'll spend most of your time trying to work out the basics rather than enjoying the simple pleasures of blasting your wormy opponents into tiny chunks.
Is it a good port? As with most of the launch games on the iPad, this was ported at breakneck speed, and it shows. Many of the graphics are merely upscaled rather than running at the iPad's native resolution, while no attempt has been made to add new features or improve the fiddly control system. Updates might improve matters, but right now this is a frustrating way to enjoy an ageless classic.
Alien Breed: Impact
- PC (Steam) £12.49.
- Originally released on Xbox Live Arcade - 800 points (£6.80)
Having waited 14 years for a new Alien Breed game, it was mildly disappointing that Team 17 didn't blow the doors off when the brand made its long-overdue return at the tail end of 2009. Instead of delivering an intense slice of horror gaming, we got a fairly humdrum interpretation, where co-op was sidelined and you spent most of your time following simple waypoints, hitting switches and fighting off the same enemies for five hours. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either, and this revamped PC version aims to fix at least some of the complaints.
With a new upgrade system, control and camera tweaks, autosaving and the option to turn off the waypoints, it's a marginally better game for the changes. The inability to play the main campaign without a co-op partner is still a bit of a deal-breaker, though. Why, Team 17? Why?
Is it a good port? Played on a suitably specced PC, the visual sheen offers a marginal improvement over the already fine-looking Xbox 360 version, with more detailed (and more varied-looking) enemies addressing some of the visual repetition inherent in the original. Perhaps more significant are the advantages of mouse-based control, which offer not only more precision but a far better camera system to boot. But while no one will have any complaints about the quality of the port, charging almost twice as much for the privilege is a little optimistic.
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