As 2011 draws to a close, it’s traditional to look back over the past year. But rather than look back at what we did cover, the sheer volume of mobile games out there means it’s more appropriate to look back at what we didn’t cover. After all, the festive lull is a good opportunity to play catch up.
Apple have made Touchgrind BMX top of their list of benchmark games for innovative gameplay, and it’s easy to see why: it’s simple and clearly designed specifically around the hardware.
With one finger on the saddle of your BMX to accelerate, and another on the handlebars to steer, it’s a case of riding around and sliding your fingers all over the place when you’re in the air to perform tricks.
Tricks are the meat of the game, so a lot of work has clearly gone into making them intuitive – which, with the possible exception of flips, they are. It’s wonderfully tactile, particularly when you ‘catch’ your bike to end a trick – best of all when you stop a spin mid-way through and throw it back the way it came.
It’s not an easy game though, your fingers can get in the way of the screen occasionally, and with anything other than perfectly dry fingers trying to swipe quickly across the screen is a frustrating experience. As such it’s not a relaxing ride, but it’s terribly satisfying when it works.
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing
It’s a timely moment to mention Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, since it’s today’s freebie in the iTunes 12 Days of Christmas.
We reviewed the console version back in 2010, and this is a remarkable conversion job. I’m not quite convinced that all the tracks are entirely suited to the slightly less precise controls, but it’s nothing serious.
Since Nintendo aren’t likely to commit to iOS any time soon, it’s just as well that Sega are clearly equally adept at putting their history to good – modern – use.
Real Racing 2
It sneaked out just before 2011 on iOS, but only recently on Android. In any case, Real Racing 2 can’t be ignored – it’s too big and clever. Not clever in an especially innovative way, but it’s impressive that such a complete ‘proper’ racing game runs on a mobile phone.
Is it the best racing game to play on a phone though? I’m not sure; I am yet to be convinced that attempting to imitate console games is the best way for mobile games to go.
iOS (£0.69) / Android (free)
The other side of the mobile racing coin is DrawRace 2, which tasks you with drawing the racing line on the track rather than directly controlling the car.
It’s a brilliant concept, perfectly suited to a touchscreen. Other than the fact that your finger gets in the way, which is unavoidable and not the end of the world.
It takes some adjusting before you click with the logic, but once you do it’s a moreish little thing.
NB: All prices at 30th December 2011. They will change!