So, PlayStation Mobile has launched, finally, and with it 20 or so games perfectly suited to mobile devices. Naturally, that includes the PS Vita, and I’m personally hugely impressed by the day-one line-up. That said, there’s a fair few to pick from, so here’s five from the first batch that stand out strong, and we’ll make our way through the rest as soon as we can.
The first, Rebel (£1.59), is absolutely the sort of experience that would get destroyed if it were a full price title. That’s clearly academic, of course, because it’s not, but the simple mechanics and basic structure mean that it’s hardly a deep title. The aim? To continuously run away from your captors, who have sent guns, tanks and helicopters to take you down.
The end result is pre-determined – you can’t escape forever – but you can collect gems with which you can spend on a number of increasingly useful attributes (faster running, body armour, a short decoy), rather redundant but otherwise cute costume changes or slightly tweaked game rules, none of which change the fact that Rebel is a singular, distilled little game.
It’s good, but not quite essential, the price probably about right. With leaderboards, though, this could be much more compelling, so let’s hope there’s an update down the line.
Crash Lab’s Twist Pilot (£2.79, shown above on iPad) is an altogether different animal, though. Essentially a clone of Eighting’s Kuru Kuru Kururin, the former Rare developers have slotted a perpetually spinning bug-eyed thing into increasingly complex mazes, filled with power-ups, collectables and enemies. Dodge the bad guys and reach the exit, whilst avoiding the walls.
It controls well enough, using the touchscreen to move the central character around, although the option to use the analog stick might have been a nice gesture, and the visuals are well produced with lots of lively touches and animations. There’s loads to it, too, with stacks of levels and a three-star rating system meaning this is great value for money.
Of some merit is Underline (£2.19), a word matching game with slick presentation and plenty of challenge, in which the player must drag their finger over circular letter-holding blobs to make words, which then disappear leading to combo chains and thus high scores. It’s a tiny bit fiddly to get the words to recognise sometimes, but it’s enjoyable, and there’s plenty to it for the price.
It’s one of the better looking games, with lovely animated menus and lots of character, and the pace starts slowly enough – I seem to struggle picking out the words visually in these sorts of games, so my scores are somewhat crippled, but if you’re a fan of Spelltower or similar on the iPhone, this might be right up your street.
If you’ve not played Super Crate Box before it’s a surprisingly difficult platformer in which the player must run over abandoned crates to pick up weapons, each crate a fresh slice of arsenal.
The enemies come thick and fast, those left to escape through the bottom of the map returning twice as fast again at the top, and although you’ll have your favourite guns your options are limited: each crate’s item switches out the one you’re carrying, meaning you’ll dance between machine guns and flamethrowers, pistols and the deadly disc gun without warning.
Some people are really, really good at Super Crate Box, getting thousands of crates, but most will find themselves stuck in the dozens, let alone the hundreds. A true test of skill, and patience, as one hit kills, sending you right back to the menu screen.
Finally, today, is the wonderful 16-bit-esque Aqua Kitty (£2.79), a side-scrolling Defender-like shooter with gorgeous pixel art, bags of humour and charisma and a healthy single player campaign. It’s really good looking (if not a tiny bit short in the frame-rate department, at least on PlayStation Vita) and plays rather superbly.
Aqua Kitty perhaps feels like the most complete of the bunch, and definitely appeals to gamers of a certain age used to the mechanics (you’re charged with not only destroying the hoards, but keeping the friendly cats save as they go about their underwater business) and it’s expertly produced. Well worth picking up.
Tomorrow: Hungry Giraffe, Loot The Land, Fuel, Beats Slider and Beats Trellis.