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 - Champion Striker
It doesn't take much to amuse me when it comes to iPhone apps. Champion Striker is essentially taking shots at a goal, trying to beat the keeper, over and over again. Score five goals and you'll progress to the next opponent, but use up all your balls (reduced by one when the goalie makes a save) and it's Game Over. Playing as a keeper is rubbish, using the device's tilt functionality, but smacking balls into the net and scoring points for hitting targets is surprisingly addictive and a hell of a lot better than the various free kick apps I've sampled in the last week. It's a free download, too, although if you want to continue when the Game Over screen hits you, it'll cost 59p. That's not at all necessary though. I've had plenty of fun without spending a penny, trying to beat my high score.
Martin Gaston, Staff Writer - Trucker's Delight
Based on a flash cartoon where a slovenly trucker eventually skewers a woman to death with his mutant oversized penis. Oh, and he's in outer space. I'd never actually watched the video before playing the iPhone game, but publisher Third Side Records describes it as "BEST, GRITTYEST, MOST VULGAR, FUNNYEST VIDEO ever on this side of the digital world." I wouldn't quite go that far, but it's allegedly designed in an 8-bit style, though I'd argue it looks far more like it's aping the 16-bit era.
The App Store game is based around a bit near the start of the (apparently popular) video where it's designed to be a bit like OutRun, so by putting two and two together the resulting game also tries to be a little bit like OutRun. You steer using the gyro, avoid obstacles and bump into a woman's car for points. Eventually you will run out of time, miss a checkpoint and hit the Game Over screen. You know, like OutRun.
I wouldn't pay money for it, but it was given away for free over the weekend and served as a fairly entertaining distraction while battling through Southern Trains' rail replacement services.
Emily Gera, Staff Writer - Spore Origins
If you've been aching for a game that combines an eating simulator and some sort of iPhone Tamagotchi then you're in luck. Spore Origins is the first section of the original Spore PC game, the bit where you swim about eating blobs of single-celled organisms while slowly gaining new limbs and evolving into something a little sturdier than the goop it starts out as. You also get a couple of additional game modes: one has you pitting one organism against another in a kind of battle to the death; the other has you throwing music from your iPhone into the game and watching the little guy react to it. Bless, he thinks he's people.
Tom Pearson, Video Producer - BIT.TRIP. BEAT
If you own a Wii then you may have been lucky enough to be subjected to the BIT.TRIP series; delightfully designed pixel games with a heavy emphasis on audio. Only recently has Commander Video started to venture onto other platforms, so you may not have heard of him (unless of course you played the notoriously tough Super Meat Boy). BIT.TRIP BEAT is the first game in a series of six to make the conversion to iPhone. In my mind, it's a spruced up Pong with Chiptune beats that give indications as to how well you're doing; superior performance results in an increase to layers of music, visuals and overall entertainment. Similar to Super Meat Boy, it's tempestuously hard, luring you in with easy as pie patterns at first and then expecting you to overcome seemingly insurmountable tasks. It gets to the point where being Neo from The Matrix helps tremendously. Aside from this exponential curve in difficulty, it's an incredibly gratifying game and I really can't take my hands off it. If you do decide to start one of the fantastical BIT.TRIPs, remember to change to touch controls; playing tilt controls on a moving train is a great deal harder.