Talk to any 'anti-gamer' - the name I like to apply to folk who think half an hour on Grand Theft Auto will result in you ransacking your local store, or running over people on the sidewalk at will - and their concern is always that a dabble with Angry Birds here, a splash on Doodle Jump there, will lead to far harder exploits down the line. Suddenly, simple physics based puzzles won't be enough, and you'll be chucking in your job and blocking out that significant other just to dip into World of Warcraft for another day or two. Usually, I dismiss such talk as pure hokum, but there's a distinct feeling with Wildlings that they might have a point.
- It's only when you come across a title like DEO that it suddenly becomes clear how the rules of the game have changed since the advent of iPhone. Time was, a game such as Strapped to a Meteor's would have to have had a cutesy, cuddly character strapped on for good measure - a 'hedgehog with attitude', or in Dizzy's case, an egg randomly sporting a pair of legs. DEO, like many of its App Store chums, sidesteps all such unnecessary indulgences. Its star - best defined as a rather sorrowful red blob - has no great backstory, nor is his home bursting with charm.
- One of the best parts of surveying the mobile scene is its ability to surprise you. All too often I've started up a game having scoured screenshots or watched a trailer on YouTube expecting the worst, only to be pleasantly surprised when it finally kicks into action. If nothing else, you learn to look beyond your first impressions - something Desert Quest proves, sadly, can work both ways.
- Even the most prevalent of casual gamers would admit a large portion of their success comes down to pure luck. Games like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope have 'random' at their very heart. This doesn't detract from those who have the skill to come out on top, but it does mean said games are finely tuned to accommodate the odd lucky shot that unexpectedly earns the most amateur of players the odd top billing. On the surface, Feed the Duck feels like it should be just as random as its iPhone bedfellows. But, owing to a rather ill-fitting rigid approach, play is far too tight to allow any sense of fortune to flourish.
- Rare are the games that can turn the act of making the player feel like they're running around in circles into an art form. All too often, simple ideas that show much promise melt away when things begin to heat up. Scores of games play out like broken records, treading the same path from beginning to end and leaving players tired, bored and exasperated in equal measure as a result. Thankfully, Rocket Bunnies' revolutions are less to do with any sense of repetition, and more the result of the game, quite physically, sending you spinning from start to finish.
- Having taught the world to skateboard with their fingers just a few years ago, Illusion Labs has moved from one act of contortion to another: schooling the art of using said digits to ride a bike.
- When it comes to your average iPhone puzzler, the concept of teamwork is a rather alien one. Such is the size of the device at hand, that the idea of working with someone else to complete a challenge never really enters the phone's vocabulary. Nano Panda might be yet another one man affair, but it does have teamwork at its heart. Problem is, it's a less an example of a problem shared being a problem halved, and more a case of double trouble.
- As my old school teachers used to regularly tell me, there's nothing wrong with being a little bit simple. Indeed, in the world of iPhone development, it's these simple ideas that often end up being the runaway hits - as long as they involve a bird or two somewhere down the line, of course.