If you’re still not convinced by mobile games, then consider Superman. His gaming past isn’t so much chequered, as vaguely depressing – and bloody awful in the infamous case of his N64 outing.
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.