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 - Game Dev Story
I am quite possibly six months late to the party, but I don't care. Game Dev Story was reduced to 59p a few weeks back and I couldn't resist, given the amount of praise others in the office had lavished upon it last year. And they were right. Having grown mildly addicted to this game development simulation last week, I proceeded to spend a good eight hours playing it over the weekend, constantly striving to make the next big thing.
In truth Game Dev Story is a pretty simple take on the simulation genre, with your options being really quite limited, but there's just enough going on to make you feel like you're in control. Whether you hiring, firing, training or levelling staff, developing a new game for the Whoops (Wii) console or buying Dead Bull drinks to reenergise staff, everything is building towards the release of your next game.
My current staff can churn out 34 and above rated games fairly regularly (getting them into the game hall of fame and therefore allowing me to make sequels that automatically come with a stat bonus), but there's still a thrill in seeing Ninjars 3 (food jars with martial arts skills), Clintons 2 (a romantic card game) and Fatso 2 (a fitness game) break into the 10 million copies sold elite club.
I'm currently eyeing up my own console, but seeing how I almost bankrupted myself buying a license to develop for the Whoops, I'm going to play it safe. A few more cycles of my six hall of fame games should ensure I'm set for an attack on the console market with my own machine.
Emily Gera, Staff Writer - Chicken Coup
If this game's developer needed a box quote I'd email them suggesting "Chicken Coup: Why Not?" Why not spend your commute playing a game about guiding chicken away from foxes. The farmyard niche is already filled by the likes of Farmville, sure, but this title fills the niche-within-a-niche of telephone chicken games. And, I say this with dead honesty, it's totally alright. Developer Trendy Entertainment boasts about its Unreal Engine-fuelled graphics but to be honest with you, I stare at it and I stare at it and all I really see are hens everywhere.
Maybe when it comes to iPhone games I'm just not as effected by graphics. Maybe I've grown accustomed to a world where mini-game visuals are only so-so and aren't phased either way when the games surpass their middling status. All you need to know is that this is a game about saving chickens, and sometimes that's enough.
Martin Gaston, Staff Writer - Inspector Gadget's MAD Dash
This week I discovered that Inspector Gadget isn't nearly as good as I remember it being thanks to the ability stream ten full episodes of the eighties cartoon from within the app itself. There's also a weak Canabalt clone attached as a bonus, which attempts to combine some elements of the hook swinging phenomenon as it goes along.
I find some of the tricks it pulls more fascinating than the rather dull game itself. Fancy getting your hands on those nice retina graphics, more lives or bonus power-ups? You're going to need sacks of in-game points, which can be gathered from playing the game, installing another title or by a microtransaction, though I can't imagine anyone actually wanting to do this.
Other than the initial nostalgic blast of the classic theme tune looping in the background there's very little here that hasn't been done better elsewhere. Inspector Gadget's MAD Dash is just far too weak a game to take seriously.
Jamin Smith, Staff Writer - Sticky
"Let's get sticky!" it says before each level, and every time I struggle to suppress the laughter. No, this isn't a dodgy porn game, it's Clickgamer's latest attempt to muscle in on the Angry Birds/Cut the Rope market with another cute and simple puzzler. In Sticky, you play orange splodge of goo, Sticky, who can fling himself off the spongy walls of his environments to attack Dr Globule's evil sludge monsters. Like Angry Birds, the idea is to drag your finger across the screen to determine the trajectory of his jump. By successfully landing on an enemy's head and turning it to mush, you can string together combos for that all-important score.
Within each level there's the potential to earn three stars: one for time, one for use of combos and one for the number of enemies you let escape (you only get the star if you ensure none get away). With integrated social features and Crystal support, Sticky allows you to compare scores with friends for some friendly competition. While at times it feels like the game is trying a little bit too hard to be the next Angry Birds (the art direction is distressingly familiar), the game is enjoyable enough to warrant dropping 59p on.