Mobile Gaming Roundup #5

The latest in pocket sized play.

Hello again, gamers-on-the-go! Time for another round of gaming recommendations for whatever telecoms oblong you prefer.MyNBA2K (iOS, Android)No-one else’s.We are forced to conclude that there are times when one must be apart from one’s console of choice, and thus inescapably unable to play the totally dunk-tastic basketball sim NBA2K13 – in the workplace, for example. Fortunately for us, 2K have thrown us a shooty-hoops lifeline with MyNBA2K, so it really can be game time, all the time!I know this one…As well as being able to keep tabs on the latest MyTeam market changes and other NBA2K news, you can take part in a variety of activities to earn virtual currency, which can then be used back on your console to buy new players or upgrade your stats. The multitude of mini games includes free throw shooting, autograph signing, trick shots, video analysis, and an NBA history trivia quiz.Letterpress (iOS)Oohak indeed.Every now and then a puzzle game comes along that is rich in strategy, yet based on a principle so superficially simple that you wonder how on earth it hasn’t been thought of before. Letterpress is one of those games, and from the creator of Tweetie (now the official mobile Twitter app) no less. You and your opponent square off on a spartan ten by ten grid of letters, which can be selected to form words. So far, so Boggle. Selected letters are marked in your colour, and it is this territorial element on which the tactics of this battle of wits rests. Once a tile is surrounded on all sides by tiles of your colour, that tile turns a deeper shade of your colour and your opponent is no longer able to use it. Red vs Blue.A small rule which may put a spanner in your plan is that you may not use a sub-word of the previous one; if you opponent plays ‘houses’, you may not play ‘house’, although ‘hoses’ would be OK. The game is over when all tiles have been claimed. Several games can be played at once, although sadly there is no ‘pass and play’ option for a local game. Some deep strategists are already claiming they have perfected a method for it, but it’s a welcome new challenge for lexical fans who are maybe a bit tired of Words With Friends.Hungry Giraffe (iOS, Android, PSP)Aw look at his little face.Mobile games pioneered the now ubiquitous ‘endless runner’ genre, reflex requiring basic platformers where the only limit is your own sanity. Doodle Jump arguably took the genre in a new direction, the ‘endless jumper’, and now with Hungry Giraffe from Laughing Jackal games, we have the endless… eater? You use the tilt sensor to guide the titular greedy even-toed ungulate’s gob ever upward towards the tasty fruit, neck stretching all the while, taking care to avoid the anvils and dumbbells blocking your ascent (why there is all this weighted equipment in the jungle is something of a mystery). Slow your intake of strawberries and apples and you start to plummet; drop off the edge of the screen and it’s no more mother nature’s bounty for you, although there’s a few seconds’ grace for you to resume your ascent if you can grab a wayward bite in time. He really ought to grab those strawbs before they go out of season.There are the usual array of power ups and downs, from chilis providing a burst of speed, to unmarked pills which induce a control-jumbling acid trip. All munchies consumed add to your calorie total which is the game’s currency to purchase extra power-ups or unlock later levels, if you’re not skilful enough to reach them unaided. The graphics are lovely, the orchestral soundtrack skips jauntily along, and you’ll most likely want to keep playing until he gets his fill.ZooKeeper DX (iOS, Android, Nintendo DS)I’d do what he says, he looks angry.The app stores sure aren’t short on match-three games, and with good reason, as they’re ideally suited to the platform. You probably think if you’ve got Bejeweled you don’t need another, but I couldn’t help but be charmed by ZooKeeper’s retro stylings. As the animal wrangler in question, you must get groups of the same animal together on the grid. Once you’ve met your quota the screen clears and it’s onto the next level. Spotting valid moves gets increasingly tricky as the timer gets shorter and shorter, and every few levels a new animal tile gets added to really test your skill.Animal crackers.One key difference from Bejeweled and its ilk is that here another move can be made while the previous move is still in progress, so you have some greater degree of control over chaining them together for maximum effect. The multiplayer battle mode is very fully featured and actually comes in a completely separate app, but both are free so they are worth checking out.

Steven McCullough

Updated: Nov 22, 2012

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