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Mobile Games Roundup

Spectrum! Glory! Rope! BitTrip! 0.03!

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Has mobile gaming found its sweet spot at 59p? The more we cover this exciting sector, the more it seems that the real success stories are the games that dare to launch at the impulse price that few people can resist.

In the past few weeks, almost all of the successful new titles appear to have gone out at this price point, and the trend shows no sign of slowing. Having had incredible success with Angry Birds, it's perhaps no great shock to see Chillingo opting to put out its latest chart-topper, Cut The Rope, at the same aggressive super-budget price.

With nine of the current top 10 titles all priced at the same level, it's a brave publisher that tries to go against the grain. Perhaps only games with vastly popular brands such as Sonic, FIFA and The Sims can have a prayer of getting gamers to part with more.

ZX Spectrum: Elite Collection

  • iPhone / £0.59
Rubber keys not included.

It's hard to talk about the Sinclair ZX Spectrum without sounding like an old bastard droning on about 'when I were a lad', but its best games really were exceptional at the time.

Whether they're still worth playing now is something this well-meaning, but ultimately mediocre compilation brings into sharp focus. Of the six titles in the set, only Chuckie Egg feels like it has stood the test of time, while the rest are a shocking reminder of what we used to put up with.

It feels a little pointless to be mean to Turbo Esprit and Saboteur! when you're paying 10 pence for them, but if you want the truth, you'll boot them up, struggle with the ill-suited touch screen controls for a while and never return. From memory, neither Harrier Attack nor Frank Bruno's Boxing were even that great at the time, and this version of Buggy Boy is an embarrassment, so their inclusion in this inaugural edition is puzzling.

The good news, though, is that Elite Systems will continue to support this release with numerous other volumes at no extra charge. Word is that more than 200 may eventually find their way into the app through updates, so the chances are that we'll get to see all our favourites in time.

But like so many phone-based emulators, the problem is how to replicate the controls. Although the emulation itself is absolutely spot-on, and orients itself to vertical or horizontal play, the eight-way control map is rather unwieldy and imprecise. As any retro gamer will know, without instant precision, you may as well not bother.

If you want a cheap trip down memory lane, Elite's collection is a truly brilliant exercise in nostalgia - it just isn't all that much fun if you want to actually play them.