Mobile Games Roundup
Devil! Combat! Battleheart! ilomilo! Bop!
Nintendo motormouth Reggie Fils-Aime is never short of a thing or two to say about mobile games; about how they're a 'snack', and that most of these games are actually overpriced anyway. Well, he would say that, obviously, when he's the one in the position of trying to justify games that will retail for upwards of £35.
But there's nothing so inconvenient as dozens of extremely high quality games for a tiny fraction of that price to undermine that argument. Games like ilomilo, in fact, or Battleheart.
Battleheart's a great example, actually, of a title that you imagine is little more than a quick snack of a game. And then four hours later you're still playing it, and nowhere near even halfway completing it.
Like most of you, I can't wait to play on the 3DS when it comes out, but this head-in-the-sand approach to game pricing is worrying. The perception of what a game is worth on a handheld has changed forever; the genie is out of the bottle, and Nintendo either figures out how to adapt to that, or watch the riches continue to drain away to nimbler opponents.
- iPhone - £1.79
Apart from looking like some sort of hideous alien sex toy, Bop It also scoops the prize for being the most annoying gadget since the mighty Billy Bass turned our brains to custard.
The idea is to repeat the actions called out by a particularly excitable gentleman, who never sounds less than thrilled as he demands that you twist, spin, pull and of course, bop it. It's so mind-fuddlingly hypnotic, that your previously sturdy IQ is reduced to that of a dribbling chimp, hopeful for his next chocolate drop. Get it wrong or take too long over repeating the action, and you're humiliated into doing better.
Thanks to the wonders of multi touch screens, of course, we can perform our chimply duties on the iPhone until our psyche oozes out of our ears.
To its credit (or eternal damnation), EA manages to simulate the mindlessly insidious tasks rather well on the small screen, with all the actions (and a bunch of additional ones) perfectly replicated via variations intuitive pinches, hits, twists, sweeps, shakes and even shouts.
Like the real thing, it's all about performing not only the correct action, but doing it within a strict time limit. To add to the 'fun', you're also scored on how good your timing is, and can improve your score by pulling off 'X Moves', such as actually shouting on command rather than just tapping the microphone. It's hardly the most commuter-friendly game around.
As you might expect, a ton of additional variants and modes allows you to drive yourself crackers, and drag your friends down into the pit of madness while you're at it, with some hot-swapping antics if you're feeling particularly evil.
If you can handle the deep sense of self-loathing that comes from protracted Bop It sessions, then go right ahead. Just don't say I didn't warn you.