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 - Cause of Death
I read very few books, yet the mobile game I've sunk the most time into recently is easily EA's Cause of Death, an interactive detective story. The delivery isn't going to worry the best fiction writers, but the trashy style suits the dramatic story of the Maskmaker serial killer. As detectives you get to choose certain responses or actions and the story will play out differently as a result. It's incredibly cheesy, with stereotypical troubled cops, but it's free and new episodes are added weekly. Interactive books are the future of gaming. You heard it here first!
Martin Gaston, Staff Writer - Chop Chop Ninja
While it's not exactly bursting with spring freshness, I got (and played) Chop Chop Ninja because it was recently given away for free. That's the kind of guy I am.
Everything's appropriately built around ticking the boxes of the iPhone demographic, so we've got cute graphics, bright aesthetics and spangly touch controls. I think any game on the iPhone that manages to do the business without featuring a virtual d-pad is inherently superior to anything that does, so Chop Chop Ninja is already better than 98% of App Store titles.
There's a bizarre enjoyment derived from seamlessly leaping up fancy dynasty-era buildings using touch controls, which is offset by those other times when you try it and it cacks up. Tapping behind enemies has your little ninja dude dispatch them, but the game's best trick is in the way it has you use a deft series of tap jumps to manoeuvre around increasingly ornate structures.
Developer Gamerizon definitely cottoned onto something with this, but they clearly know it: since their success with Ninja, they've put out Chop Chop Hockey, Chop Chop Caveman, Chop Chop Soccer, Chop Chop Tennis and Chop Chop Runner. Oh, and Quantz on the PC - which will probably come to the App Store this year as Chop Chop Quantz.
Jamin Smith, Staff Writer - Isoball
Logic, spatial awareness and good forward thinking; these are all skills that Isoball demands in buckets to be any good at it. The idea is to arrange a series of cubes, prisms and other three-dimensional shapes so that a ball can roll safely to its destination. After planning and building your route in advance (not knowing quite whether it's going to work or not) you then hit the 'start' button to quite literally get the ball rolling. The tap-and-drag style of construction ensures you're not wasting time worrying about controls, allowing you to simply focus on getting your head around the 50-odd challenges the game has to offer. The App Store has proved on numerous occasions that the simple games are the most addictive, a fact that Isoball proves nicely.
Emily Gera, Staff Writer - Mirror's Edge
I bought an iPod Touch a few months back and have been using it as something to put all of the dust that keeps filling my living room on. Until three weeks or four weeks ago anyway, when I was told to actually use it, and then for the first time I played Mirror's Edge. And it's actually not as baffling a concept as I original though it would be. Considering I could barely play the PC version without my computer making horrific dying noises I found it hard to imagine how the game was meant to play on someone's bloody telephone. But I take back my previous dismissal of PC-to-App games. It's not odd backwards evolution, and it doesn't horrifically dilute the original, it's properly stunning and works surprisingly well as a side-scroller. Congratulations, Mirror's Edge, on not being rubbish.