iPhone stamps its authority on portable gaming world
Thursday 30 April 2009
Nintendo has owned the portable video-game market - first with the Game Boy, now with the DS and DSi - for so long that most of us gave up hope of ever seeing a viable competitor.
But it's become impossible to ignore the new kid on the block: Apple's iPhone, whose game library has quickly overwhelmed Nintendo's.
There are now more than 9,000 iPhone games available at Apple's App Store. The quality varies widely, and the market is so flooded that it's hard to sort the good from the bad.
But since the prices are low, you can buy 10 or so games for the price of one Nintendo cartridge. None of them will have the depth of, say, Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, but they may be better suited for on-the-go action.
My main problem with the iPhone is that its touch-screen controls aren't as precise as those on dedicated game machines. I'm not about to replace my DS (or my PlayStation Portable, for that matter), but I do enjoy wading through the App Store's offerings. Here are some recent standouts.
Zen Bound (Chillingo, £2.99): The best iPhone games are those that seem like they couldn't have worked on any other device. Each level of this gem shows a 3D sculpture with a string attached, and the idea is to rotate the object with your finger until most of its surface is wrapped by the string. Never has a game been more appropriately named; the challenging yet stress-free Zen Bound creates an eerie sense of calm. Four stars out of four.
Flight Control (Firemint, 59p): The most popular game at the App Store is as nerve-racking as Zen Bound is relaxing. You use your finger to guide aircraft safely onto runways, but it isn't long before the skies are filled with planes waiting for you to bring them home. A crash is inevitable - but that only makes you want to try again to get a better score. Three stars.
Magnificent Gizmos & Gadgets (Publisher X, £1.19): This nifty physics-based puzzler will appeal to anyone who ever thought it would be fun to build a Rube Goldberg machine. Two-and-a-half stars.
WordFu (ngmoco, 59p): Roll the lettered dice and find as many words as you can. It's a lighter, faster version of Boggle, and not quite as satisfying. Two stars.
Metal Gear Solid Touch (Konami, £4.99): Konami turns its epic espionage saga into a drab shooting gallery. A blatant case of trying to squeeze a high-profile franchise onto the wrong platform. One star.
Life & Style blogs
Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time: 10 worst gadgets of recent times
The secret to a great sex life revealed: Two cups of coffee a day
New Zealand 'the best country to work as a prostitute', says sex worker advocacy group
What do the emoji on Snapchat mean?
Facebook status updates indicates whether a user is narcissistic or neurotic, research finds
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
- 1 New Zealand 'the best country to work as a prostitute', says sex worker advocacy group
- 2 Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
- 3 Mother 'will allow son's circumcision in return for release from prison'
- 4 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 5 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Application Developer - ...