But as we found out this week, Chillingo hit the nail on the head with their iOS effort, where others flailed around blindfolded with the hammer attached to a Swingball.
So there you go: going mobile is the solution to bad games. (Possibly.)
What’s it like to be Superman? It’s not every day that a sinister evil threatens the future of the entire planet, after all. Whether intentionally or not, that question is addressed here. There’s a plot of sorts, but essentially your task on every level is to follow the arrows, and put right that which is wrong – extinguish a fire, eliminate a baddie, whatever.
It’s not quite as repetitive as that, since new perils are introduced regularly. They escalate in scale nicely, too: stopping missiles, helping a plane land safely, stopping debris falling from space. Every new danger prompted an amused internal “what now?” in me.
The virtual control pad is pretty reliable, with buttons for super-speed – be it running or flying – and a context-based action. It’s fairly slick, particularly flying around at speed.
It would be hard to describe it as original or innovative, but it’s a lot of fun on the train. A great mobile Superman game, then, if not a great Superman game outright. But that’s arguably better than anything the license has delivered before.
From Superman, to Super Smoothies, made by a couple of geeks (their word not mine) who’ve never met.
Your task is to make smoothies of the colour specified on each glass by using appropriately coloured fruit. Curiously, I didn’t find the smoothie analogy helpful, since the colour changes so quickly. For example: five bananas followed by a couple of strawberries will make a red smoothie.
But once I’d ditched my own smoothie-making logic and adopted the game’s, I found it a quite serviceable little puzzle game. Once the difficulty picks up – with various non-fruit items to complicate matters – it becomes more about putting items in the least-bad place, than filling the glasses with what you want.
There’s a lengthy Puzzle Mode – with pretty harsh time limits – but to my mind it works better in Time Battle, where your timer gets topped up as a reward for nice big smoothies. It appears to have gone free recently, too.
The recipe for a great score attack game: a simple idea, with a neat twist, well implemented. Petri-Dash hits the first, lacks the second, and isn’t far off with the third.
You play as an amoeba in a Petri dish, battling to survive by gobbling food and charging at enemies. The simple control scheme is well thought out – touch either side of the screen to turn that way, touch both to charge. But the execution isn’t quite there: it lacks a bit of fluidity by requiring discrete taps – for example you have to fully lift off the screen after charging to turn either way, rather than just release one thumb.
That aside, it’s a rather enjoyable, if quite simple ditty. There’s the odd technical glitch, and it has surprisingly low quality music, but nothing devastating. I’ll certainly be watching what British start-up Distorted Poetry get up to next.