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Mobile Games Roundup

Papa! Racing! Minotaurs! Glory! Construction!

Goodness me, does nobody ever think to turn off the tap in mobile gamingville? Before Christmas, at least, there was such an almighty flood of interesting, big-name releases that I feared that many of them would end up being ignored.

Thankfully, the festive flood has turned into something of a New Year trickle as far as quality releases are concerned, which has given us a rare opportunity to pluck out a few more gems released at the back end of the year, alongside Jeff Minter's long-overdue debut iOS offering.

Is it any good? Did you cave in and buy a shiny new smartphone for Christmas? What are you playing? Anything we've missed? Do tell.

Papa Sangre

  • iPhone - £3.99

Developers are always bitching about how art-intensive videogames are these days. Somethin' Else has a fine solution to this money-draining graphics conundrum: don't have any.

Papa don't screech.

The task at hand is a simple one – or so it seems. Trapped in a room with a sleepy monster, you have to daintily tiptoe around, collect an item and then creep to the exit without being caught and eaten. But without any visual stimuli to assist you, the whole 'game' happens in your head, as cunning spatial audio techniques provide the cues that you need to survive this thoroughly fraught journey.

The touch-screen serves entirely as a movement device, with two footprints in the lower half enabling you to take a step forward, and the semi-circular dial acting as a means of orientating yourself in a direction of your choice. With only your ears to rely on, you find yourself hunting out the source of the sound and creeping towards or away from it.

Of course, not everything is desirable in each of the rooms. While it's relatively straightforward to hunt down the tinkling sound of the gems, and easy enough to hear the snuffling moans of an enemy, you won't have the faintest warning about scattered squeaky toys or bones, and stepping on them immediately alerts vicious sentries to your whereabouts.

Getting away is often as much luck as judgement as you try to run towards a less noisy part of the room, hoping you don't barge into one of the enemies on the way. Eventually, you find yourself able to map out the rough positioning of the hazards in your mind's eye and beat a path to the exit – only to be challenged all over again with yet another, tougher room of death.

For a while, Papa Sangre is a wonderful novelty. Unfortunately, the further you get, the more trial-and-error annoyance starts to put a crimp on your enjoyment. If you're man enough to fight the monsters in your head, dive right in – it's unlike anything else you've ever experienced and worth it for soothing tones of the narrator alone.