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 - MovieCat
I downloaded this purely because it was free, but after playing it for countless hours it's easily one of the best games I've played on my iPod Touch. On the face of it MovieCat is nothing special. It's a quiz game centred on movies; answer questions correctly to move on; get enough wrong and it's Game Over. Nothing overly brilliant there. But MovieCat isn't just another run of the mill quiz game - it's a quiz game with some genuinely clever rounds and a set of questions that are brilliantly up-to-date.
One round will see you having to guess the film from a series of clue cards held by cats; another round shows you drawn scenes from two films (with cats instead of people) and you have to guess which actor appeared in both; another shows a conversation between two characters, with you having to guess the film. One particularly tricky round presents you with names of three chapters from a DVD, and you have to identify the film.
Quite why the cat involvement makes it so much more enjoyable is hard to say, but for some reason I can't imagine the game having the same draw if they weren't involved. In a nod to cat lore, you get nine lives, and on the hard difficulty settings it's pretty tough to make it through the end and challenge the high score leaderboard. MovieCat is now available for £1.19 on the App Store, and I can't recommend it enough.
Martin Gaston, Staff Writer - Street Fighter IV
Oh, what a difference a 59p sale can make. I was never particularly keen on the idea of playing Street Fighter on my iPhone - I didn't spend over a hundred bones on an arcade stick so I could play fighters without it - but at that special weekend price I figured I'd take a punt.
The game works pretty well. It's not quite as smooth as the console versions, which is slightly off-putting, but the overall package manages to come together nicely. There are currently an impressive 14 characters on the roster, though Deejay is locked until you either play three versus matches or complete the game with every single character. I'd take the former, but actually finding people to play against is a bit of a toughie.
It's a nice enough port of Street Fighter, but I'm not entirely sure what it wants to be. It's a bit too serious to be played casually, and anyone looking to invest themselves in the intricacies of Street Fighter would definitely prefer the console version. Alternatively, it does work well as a bit of eye candy you can use to impress your Android-owning mates.
One thing's for sure, though - I'm even less likely to invest £30 on the upcoming 3DS version than I was before.
Jamin Smith, Staff Writer - Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden
Gameloft has never been afraid to wear its inspiration on its sleeve. While Eternal Legacy was the developer's blatant answer to Final Fantasy, Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden is its homage to Zelda, albeit a slightly more mature looking one in the graphical department. I say homage because the game actually references Zelda with a rather humorous nod to its creator. Horses Miya and Moto also share gameplay similarities with Epona, who bear protagonist Ayden as he traverses the expansive green plains of Lasgalen, saving the kingdom from an impending doom.
Interestingly, Sacred Odyssey has been let loose on the App Store free of charge, with players able to unlock the full game for £3.99 from the main menu. It's an interesting choice for a game of this nature, but when players cop a load of the impressive environments and voiced dialogue, it won't take them long to justify parting with the cash. It's certainly an ambitious title, but as always it seems Gameloft has managed to pull it off. Considering you can get a trial for free, I'd suggest iGamers with an appetite for more grandiose mobile experiences check it out.
Emily Gera, Staff Writer - Zombie Highway
When the zombie uprising happens I'll be too busy to notice what's happening because I'll already be flooring it at 90 mph at the first whiff of undead in the air. Call it a talent. I've developed my zombie senses over years of intensive training and can now sense the walking dead from the faint smell of their hammy flesh alone probably. You too can learn my skills by following in my footsteps and watching up to 190 hours of zombie films until your muscles and mind develop a thick film of dust from under-use.
And with that level of dedication to zombies you'll probably be excited to play Zombie Highway - a game that would otherwise be lost amongst the masses of other forgotten zombie games. In this game you're speeding down dusty midland-America roads, trying to simultaneously escape from and run down zombies as they hurl themselves at your car in an attempt to slow you down. I highly recommend it for anyone with an interest in fast-paced carnage.