Star Sky, Dizzy & festive freebies

There do seem to be a lot of conversions swimming around the mobile gaming pond at the moment, and the big fish in that pond is of course Grand Theft Auto III: 10 Year Anniversary Edition. It’s been interesting to watch the reviews roll in – overwhelmingly positive with the odd notable exceptions, such as Eurogamer.

No review of that here though; my copy of the Grand Theft Auto Double Pack, which I bought for Xbox many years ago, sits unplayed in my spare room, so I’m not about to jump into a tiny fiddly version of the same game.

Let’s move swiftly on to things that are reviewed here, then. Plus, a few pointers for some very tempting freebies this festive period.

Star Sky

Star Sky

The blurb for this not-really-a-game, which debuted on PC and has now made it to iOS, uses the phrase “interactive poem”, which will instantly turn a lot of people off. But it’s a fairly helpful way to describe the tone of the thing.

That tone being quite attractive and moderately intriguing. Playing through once won’t reveal all there is to see, as events do or don’t unfold, by player choice or otherwise. It’s quite brief, so repeat plays are not an big ask.

The way you play through the piece is less subtle and interesting. You walk or run by touching the screen; a musical flourish denotes places where something may happen, and if it’s going to happen little sparks appear when you stop.

That’s it: you’re largely a passenger, watching signposted events happen when they do. It’s certainly different, and worth a look for that reason. The sparseness is presumably intended to give you space for contemplation, but to my mind it could have done with a bit more incidental background detail to make the meandering more engaging.

iOS (£1.99)

Dizzy – Prince of the Yolkfolk

Dizzy - Prince of the Yolkfolk

I never really liked Dizzy. Actually, that’s not true: I liked aiming for him as he walked along the net in the bonus game in Pete Sampras Tennis for the Mega Drive. But his mix of object-based puzzling and unforgiving platforming always struck me as a touch irritating. But then I was a stupid, impatient child, so what did I know?

The unforgiving bit has gone with this iOS iteration: should he die, Dizzy instantly regenerates somewhere in the general area, ready to carry on. Which leaves us with the object-based puzzles, which are diverting enough. It’s gently amusing, and the slow pace of platforming means the touch-screen controls aren’t a problem.

Not a bad attempt at porting Dizzy to iOS, then. In fact, it almost makes me want to give his original adventures another chance.

iOS (£1.49)

Festive Freebies

Who needs Father Christmas when you’ve got the App Store? It seems like every developer is embracing the spirit of giving at this time of year, so here’s a little selection of treats on offer for precisely no money for a limited period.

Top of the pile, Jetpack Joyride, which I’ve been a tiny bit addicted to this week. As Adam said, it’s the missions that make the very simple one-touch gameplay endure. That and the personality of the game which, not wishing to invoke the name lightly, I’d liken to Gunstar Heroes.

I’ve written about Hard Lines and Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint before (here and here), and they’re equally brimming with personality and touch-screen brilliance.

For Adam’s sake I’ll point out that Traffic Panic 3D (more here) is now free, as is Broken Sword – The Smoking Mirror: Remastered.

That’s enough for anyone, surely? Even if you get nothing but coal in your stocking on Sunday morning, you can at least have a happy iChristmas with that lot.

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