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Rise of the Triad

Rise of the Triad is a first person shooter set in, uh, some kind of strange world where everyone needs glasses (everything’s fuzzy) and a healthy application of the blur tool (everything’s pixellated). I’m not a graphics man, but if the game I’m playing is pixellated, has textureless surfaces (I stood on numerous invisible floors through which I could see the outside of the level) and a lot of what is textured isn’t done particularly well I just don’t like it. The visuals do seem like a throwback to certain, much older FPS – the founding fathers of FPS, if you like. I’m not a fan of retro, however, so it doesn’t hit well with me.

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Everything sounds uninspired, too, from the generic shouts of henchmen to the gunshots, they’re all just as bland as the graphics and there is little to say about them. At least they’re there.

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The gameplay is much the same – a dull throwback to the FPS games of old. The problem, I think, is the controls. They’re the usual FPS iPod Touch/iPhone I’ve played FPSes on my iPod Touch before and got along fine, but in RotT the controls are abysmal. The turning, specifically, is horrific. Regardless of how I changed the controls, I was constantly struggling to get my aiming reticule on an enemy to the point where I started to just point in one direction and run around like an idiot as I tried to get enemies in my sights. Not an altogether effective tactic, nor an enjoyable experience. The only thing about this that isn’t a problem is that the game is abominably easy, so whilst you’re tactlessly circling enemies like a drunken vulture at least you need to worry about actually dying.

RotT is clearly a shot at a retro FPS, but it seems like said shot was targeted using the game’s own control scheme. The game is bland in all respects, graphics, sound and gameplay. A retro fan might enjoy the game a little more than I did, but it’s not goin to set anyone’s world alight, nor glue their hands to their iPods or iPhones late into the night. GC

4/10

Peggle

It’s incredibly difficult to say anything about this game that hasn’t already been said a thousand times. The ball-dropping, peg-bouncing, bagatelle-derived game-play may be familiar to most gamers out there but the interface is where the iPhone/iPod Touch port really comes into its own. The iDevice version is just like every other format but it goes in your pocket and has precise and clever touch controls.

The compelling nature of Peggle means that you will return again and again to this classic. The suitability to short bursts of gameplay, coupled with the excellent use of the touch screen make this one of the best games available on the iPhone/iPod Touch and one of the best platforms on which to play the game. It’s a match made in heaven. PC

10/10

Angry Birds

Launch the eponymous disgruntled avians into precariously-balanced structures which play host to dastardly pigs in an attempt to destroy those porcine profligates. The visual presentation is cute and crisp and the gameplay mechanics couldn’t be simpler. You draw back the elastic of your bird-filled slingshot with a finger and lift to release when you think you’ve got the angles right. You then watch as your little ballistic bird flies through the air and crashes into a structure. The aim is to destroy all of the little round pigs balanced on that structure using the given amount of bird-shaped projectiles.

Angry Birds is perfect for pocket-gaming in that it can be played for a couple of minutes while you wait for a bus. Beware though: it is also strangely compelling and often draws the player into extended bouts of play. I’ve spent hours with it and I still want to go back. In fact, I still have levels that I haven’t seen – it’s deceptively tricky sometimes.

For the price it is impossible to imagine a better value product and the developers should be overjoyed that they seem to have come up with the iPhone’s next gaming superstar. PC

10/10

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