- Developer: Redlynx
- Price: GBP 0.59
Any developer capable of grinding the Eurogamer office to a halt has a lot to answer for. After the OCD fun of last year's PC indie hit RedLynx Trials, it's perhaps inevitable that its latest project has a similar level of manic compulsiveness about it.
The premise couldn't really be much simpler. You slide the tip of your index finger around a top-down racetrack for two or more laps, with the sole aim of creating an efficient route that beats the AI car's alternative. And it's not really about finding the best racing line, it's about managing the speed at which you approach corners.
Once you've completed the requisite laps, the actual 'race' plays out, and you wait agonisingly as your red car follows the dotted line you laid out and snakes around the track. If you slid too quickly going into a corner, the race will reflect that, so it's worth keeping a measured pace where necessary.
In the space of a few seconds, you'll generally know whether you're in with a chance of winning or not, and observing the route of the pace car provides essential clues as to where speed gives you the advantage. Then there's endless delightful trial and error. 20 tracks make it into this excellent value package, and better still, all feature online leaderboards for you to measure yourself against.
The only downside that I can think of about DrawRace is that it's not a game that clumsy old sausage fingers will get along with too well. While the screen is just about big enough to cater for the kinds of tracks on show, it's still a little tricky getting the kind of precision you wish for in the heat of the moment.
But don't let that put you off. For the ludicrously cheap price DrawRace is currently going for, it'd be madness to pass up the chance to sample a hugely compelling and highly original release.
- Developer: PopCap Games
- Price: GBP 2.99
It doesn't seem to matter which platform Peggle shows up on, it's always brilliant. And guess what? This version is worthy of especially gushing praise.
A happy accident of the game's Pachinko-inspired design is that it's basically tailor-made for the platform. Not only does the precision afforded by the touch-screen controls make it even easier to line up shots, but the very nature of the bite-sized gameplay ensures that it's perfect for on-the-move play. The question isn't so much will you want to play it, but will you want to stop?
If you've not been one of the 50 million people to download it since its initial release on the PC two years ago, then here's the deal. Each board is laid out in a simple pattern comprised of a number of coloured pegs. The goal is to aim a ball from the launcher at the top-middle of the screen and try to clear the playfield of all 25 of the pesky orange pegs.
Launched one at a time, you either adjust shots using a dial on the right side of the screen, or slide your finger across the screen to line-up your shot. You have ten turns in which you must clear the orange pegs, but can gain, in effect, a free turn if your ball is caught by the catcher that moves back and forth from left to right at the bottom.
The fewer turns it takes you to clear the board, the better the score, and the climax ends with a tension-inducing snatch of Ode To Joy while the ball heads towards one of five 'bins' of varying values. Progressively more challenging boards become available, some with spinning brick constructions to negotiate, ensuring that both timing and aiming are all-important. To add a further layer of cunning to the proceedings, there are magic green pegs can that spawn things like multiple balls or aiming assists, while purple pegs boost the score.
In short, it's joyously addictive, hugely challenging, and monumentally satisfying once it gets its hooks into you. It all looks a bit of a fluke-fest to begin with, but with high scores a burgeoning obsession, it's clear that there's more skill to the game than meets the eye over its 55 levels.
With a host of extras such as a take-it-in-turns two-player mode, challenge mode and a set of trophies to aim for, there's no question that Peggle is among the must-haves of the iPhone gaming. With only online leaderboards missing from the package, it's hard to find fault with this exceptional release. For the price, you cannot go wrong.