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Mobile Games Roundup

Agent! Tower! Continuity! Angry! Zombies! Sonic! geoDefense!

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

It would probably get boring for you lot if every week was filled with top-rated games. In fact, I know that a lot of you kind of glaze over at some of the scores, and some outright moan that mobile games get routinely over-rated ("9/10? Better than Halo? ROFL")

Like any platform, it's important to judge mobile games in context. An inventive 9/10 puzzle game costing 59p can never be the same as a 9/10 epic action game on a home console. But nor would you necessarily want it to be.

Trying to somehow read something definitive into what a score 'means' is, a slippery subject, and yet we all debate them endlessly. But at the same time, as long as you're always dealing with like-for-like comparisons, you're on safer ground.

Does that mean that mobile games can never be considered as good as their bigger brothers? No, of course not, but if a ratings system can be flexible enough to take into account all genres, then it should have no problem being understood across the full spectrum of platforms as well.

And on that note: new games!

Puzzle Agent 2 HD

  • iPad £3.99.
  • Also available on PC & Mac.
What the hell, Telltale?

Along with Francis Yorke Morgan, Nelson Tethers is one of the only videogaming characters I'd invite round for dinner - if only to exchange thoughts on where Twin Peaks went wrong during the second season.

But much like David Lynch's masterpiece, this is another second helping tinged with disappointment. Having delivered a puzzle adventure of rare fractured genius a year ago, this second helping does what so many Telltale offerings do, and offers essentially more of the same - only not quite as impressive.

Although the narrative retains its resolutely sinister sharpness and the lo-fi cartoon style still captivates, the freshness is lost through the recycling of characters and locations. But it's the game's challenges that provide the greatest source of disappointment.

If the puzzles aren't trying to probe into long-forgotten mathematical prowess, then they're probably tasking you with rearranging maze sections. Worse still, some of the game's least enjoyable ideas get recycled multiple times, as if their mediocrity wasn't enough the first time around.

When matters become so obscure that you're forced to resort to hints, it's definitely not a hallmark of good puzzle design that you may still be at a loss by the third (and final) hint.

And if you're looking to play the game on iPad 1, be warned that the game is appallingly optimised, with horrific slowdown, stuttering audio and a lack of responsiveness from certain sections of the game.

If you thought Telltale had learned its lessons from the Sam & Max Episode 1 debacle a year ago (where no further episodes were issued, so creaky was the conversion), then you're out of luck. iPad 2 owners have no such issues, but then again, this really isn't the sort of graphically intensive game that should stress original models.

Despite some truly awful sections to put up with, enough of the old magic remains to make it worth sticking with if you loved the original. The real puzzle is how Telltale let it out of the door in this state.


Puzzle Agent 2 HD.