When the team aren't sitting around admiring Apple's resplendent design choices or crying at their vastly overpriced contract plans, sometimes they use their shiny iDevices to actually play games. Here's what was being played this week:
Tom Orry, Editor - Cover Orange, FDG Entertainment
I think I'm drawn to games that have an obvious title. In Cover Orange you, guess what, cover oranges. Each level begins with two oranges sat out in the open, waiting for you to use a set of objects to stop an incoming hail of acidic rain from sending the vitamin C engorged pals to an early grave. In one level you might simply have to knock the oranges into a hole and then cover them with a crate, but another might require the use of a complex series of bombs.
We've seen plenty of physics-based puzzle games on the iPhone, but this one has something about it that makes you want to keep playing. Seeing the little oranges quiver and pray for survival as the rain cloud comes over will melt the hearts of anyone with even a small dose of empathy, while seeing them turn to black ash is a sad, hard to watch sequence that you vow never to happen again. I'm sorry if I let you down oranges. Next time I'll try to cover you better.
Martin Gaston, Staff Writer - 3bot, DevKid
3bot's concept and 50's styled presentation is more appealing than its actual content, which is a bit of a shame because it starts off well.
Both De La Soul and Shakespeare agree that three is a very powerful number, and 3bot has you scrambling around as the eponymous smiling one-eyed, three-legged robot. You guide him across mazes of tetrahedrons (you know, 3D triangles - thanks Google!), turning each face a different colour when stepping over it.
There are three worlds in total, each composed of 15 stages, but the game's slightly finicky controls (especially when coupled with my chubby fingers) are at odds with the increasing onus on speed and precision. Later levels add further difficulty by chucking in a variety of moving blocks, but by this point the charm has worn off.
Emily Gera, Staff Writer - Scarlett and the Spark of Life, Launching Pad Games
Shame about the name: something about the title gives off the scent of whitebread kids literature. But if you've been looking for something to give you flashbacks to the mid-Nineties when you spent your days pointing and clicking your way through 2D screens, then wait no longer! Scarlett and the Spark of Life offers you that 1990's experience but has you trade in your faithful old mouse for your hands as you press your giant sweaty fingers up against your iPhone and direct Scarlett in a story about a princess in need of a horse and a llama-like species who hate horses. Yeah, stick with me. It's a traditional comedy-centric point and click adventure so you get the best Monkey Island-esque humour you can get for the price of pocket change.
Jamin Smith, Staff Writer - Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master, SEGA
Long before Naruto was on the scene, there was Joe Musashi; the ninja-star of the Shinobi series. Those that missed out on his shuriken-throwing shenanigans in the 16-bit days will be pleased to learn they can now acquaint themselves with the ninja master on their iPhone. Admittedly this is the third game in the series, but as it's also the most accessible it was the ideal candidate for an iConversion. Shinobi III is quicker, smoother and slightly easier than its predecessors, as well as being the first game in the series to introduce a health bar. As the iPhone version obviously relies on touch-screen controls (which take up half the God-damn screen), this comes in particularly handy when you fail to dodge an attack that would have been a one-hit-kill in previous games. It's not a perfect conversion by any stretch of the imagination, but Mega Drive fans will be happy to part with £1.79 for the nostalgia factor alone.