APPetite for Distraction

This should really be my next purchase

It’s been a while since I put virtual pen to paper, mostly because I seem to lack inspiration when it comes to finding subjects to write about, or I have a great idea but don’t follow it through because of my apathetic nature and gaming tends to be the same these days.  Recently, gaming for me has mostly involved Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit; both excellent games that are enhanced by good solid multi-player action, and then I got to thinking about my iPhone and how many game apps I have on there.  I quickly realised that they probably provide far more of a distraction from my daily life than my Xbox ever really has.  I mean, I’ve always got my phone with me wherever I am and usually, when I have a few minutes of not doing much, I’ll have a quick play on something simple.

First of these dirty little distractions is Angry Birds… a simple game involving green pigs in various hideouts and constructions, and the Angry Birds being catapulted at them by a flick of the finger in order to break down those barriers and rid the screen of their green presence! All good fun, and not as simple as it may sound, assuming you’re not familiar with the game, as you only have a limited number of birds to get the job done. The creators of the game (Rovio and Clickgamer) really do have a superb little thing going there with just under two hundred levels in the original game plus fifteen Golden Egg levels, and now we have Angry Birds Seasons – a Hallowe’en special of forty five levels plus two Golden Eggs.  At the time of writing, we also have their latest addition: Season’s Greetings – an advent calendar game where each new level becomes available during December, culminating in what one hopes will be an awesome one on the 25th.  Within each of the games are little achievements to be had, popping up in a similar fashion to those in Xbox games, generally prompting a quick look at the list to see what achievements are still to be had and a groan when you realise some of them will mean playing for weeks yet.

Other games lurking on my phone include Bubble Shooter Pro, Bejewelled 2 (including Blitz, which links to the Bejewelled Blitz application on my Facebook account), Scrabble, Words with Friends, Driver and… Fingerzilla!

Fingerzilla is a funny little thing. In each level you’re presented with a cityscape as the game sets you up as a Godzilla type beast on a rampage. You don’t actually see your character on screen and, instead, you just tap as quickly as possible to destroy buildings, trees, cars, helicopters and people to cause as much devastation as you can in order to build a score large enough to move on to the next area. Essentially, your finger IS the monster and the presented city map is your playground, making it an inspired concept which keeps me amused no end. What is it that they say? Little things please little minds… while bigger fools look on!

A few of the games are what’s known as “flick” games, where you skim a finger across the phone to kick a ball such as with Flick Rugby, or twitch the phone to emulate a physical movement like the casting of a rod  in Flick Fishing – great fun looking for the biggest catch. These are usually just a quick flash in the pan for me, but one other game recently caught my attention and has me enthralled, and frustrated, for considerable length of time: iTrials.

With a portable version of TrialsHD to eat up your time, all you need now is a robot to do all your work for you

It’s basically a scaled down version of Trials HD, although this offering from Tooko isn’t quite as tough as the original from RedLynx but is still very frustrating at times as you try and control your tiny little rider through the obstacles presented. Another simple concept, beautifully realised and implemented. The controls themselves are on-screen with buttons to go, stop and reverse as well as a little sliding control that lets you lean your rider back and forth to maintain balance, pull wheelies and flips, or just bash headlong into something when you inevitably mess it up! Much preferable to another similar game I’ve seen being played where you have to rely on the iPhone’s gravity module where you tilt the phone to achieve the same result, but I admit that I’ve never actually played that one myself as it looked far too tricky to get right. As with Angry Birds, iTrials is another game with achievements and goals to keep seekers of such appeased.

All in all there are over three hundred thousand apps available on the iPhone.  Some are good, some bad, some just plain weird but a multitude are either games  or gaming related.  All of them are casual, and a distraction to the daily grind, but is it gaming? Well, I believe so. Maybe not in the traditional sense, but definitely an escape from the daily toil if even for a few minutes at a time, and often a way of keeping your hand in on those skills that gaming people seem to have.

Apps away!

Last five articles by Pete



  1. Ste says:

    I love my iPhone and all its apps. Just counted and I have 21 games installed on it including the infamous Angry Birds, although I’ve not got any of the little add ons. I have to agree with you, this is gaming in its most bitesized compact form and I love it. :)

  2. Richie rich says:

    All this talk of the 3DS and PSP2 leave me cold because the games on there are at heart console games.

    The iPod is criticised for not having a dpad etc but that for me is a good thing as it means the games are inherently different to console games and more suited for handhelds.

    Currently blitzing through the Game Center achvs on Plants Vs Zombies. Great game.

  3. Edward Edward says:

    I’m not planning on investing into the IOS anytime soon (not due to lack of interest but lack of money and my dislike for touchscreens on phones/iPods (plus I’d prefer to keep my 160gig iPod)), but I can recognise there’s some amazing games on there.
    Angry birds alone has me trying to steal my friend’s phones when they’re not paying attention. They always accuse of me messing with their Facebook profile… Until they see I’ve been trying (and failing) to beat their Angry Bird scores.

    A great piece, Pete :D

  4. Ben Ben says:

    Sooner or later Nintendo and Sony will have to realise that gaming on the go is no longer the domain of £30 games, but those that cost 59p etc.

    My pocket space is at a premium so if it’s a choice of phone (with games pre stored) or phone and hand held + game storage I’ll just take the phone only option thanks.

  5. Pete Pete says:

    Thanks for the comments guys!

    I’ve never really equated my phone games with handhelds Ben! But I can see what you’re saying!

    I play the throw away type things mostly… nothing too complicated or taxing on the brain as I’m usually playing during lunch at work lol Current favourite is RISK :) It’s just like the board game but without having to know the complicated rules :D

  6. Lorna Lorna says:

    All Mark played for an age was Flick Fishing and some fruit machine game. I have never owned a fancy phone, so the most I have ever played is Snake ;) I like the sound of some of the old retro titles coming out, but how they translate to touch screen I don’t know. Still, any Chuckie Egg would be good…now I just need a fancy phone and a ton of batteries…

  7. Rook says:

    My HTC Wildfire came with one game installed which I have tried a couple of times but I don’t really see my phone as a gamng device, it’s more of a twitter and gaming news device. :)

    Played a Splinter Cell game on my old Nokia years ago but handheld gaming always loses out to the 360.

  8. Richie rich says:

    Alas Chuckie Egg on the Elite Speccy pack is borderline unplayable. iOS is shit for traditional games but great in other ways, ways more suited to handheld gaming anyway.

  9. Pete Pete says:

    Thanks for letting us know that Rich! I was about to download that to let Lorna play when I’m up there this weekend :D

  10. Lee says:

    I’m rubbish at angry birds – my sister started playing it on my phone and has done over half the levels so I don’t know what the hell is going on any more.
    There are a fair few games that I’d class as proper games on the iOS and not just causal – Dead Space, Mirrors Edge, Real Racing HD to name a few so there are proper games out there if you want them.
    Good read Pete.

  11. Pete Pete says:

    Thanks Lee!

    I adore Angry Birds :) I was in London on my birthday, in Covent Garden, and saw advertising folks declaring it Angry Birds Day :D I was quite pleased lol

    The game itself is simple and addictive… just right for a lazy arse like me :D

  12. Kat says:

    Fingerzilla sounds awesome! I shall download. Good read Pete!

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