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This week, Zero Punctuations reviews some of the popular iPhone games at this time.

Transcript Edit

You find me, listeners, in a slightly melancholic mood. See, I was going to do Sonic Colors this week 'cause it actually left a good first impression by opening with gameplay rather than tortured cutscene bullshit. But then after two levels the game went: "Aha! You fell into my trap! Tortured cutscene bullshit away!" Afterwards I felt angry and ashamed of myself for falling for it yet again. Sega plonks Sonic the Hedgehog on the front of something and swindles another 80 bucks of The Escapist 's money. For shame.

So much of AAA gaming these days is endless sequels, rip-offs, and wank. I'm beginning to wonder if looking for quality and innovation in mainstream console gaming - an industry where no game escapes the Heath Robinson machine of marketing and committee design with its bumhole unsullied, and where companies still insist on producing gimmicky, motion-controlled fatted calves to stroke the fleeting, indecisive erections of casual gamer prodigal sons - is like looking for the last unscabby patch on the vagina of the village whore.

Perhaps I just need a break or, at least, another week to play Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, so before we get too far into the Christmas period I thought I'd devote a video to a sphere of gaming where interesting things are happening.

iPhone games aren't exactly ssspptcinematic, but I've definitely played more of them than mainstream console games, generally while waiting for mainstream console games to fucking load. It amazes me how much variety there is in the iPhone game Top 25. Ordinarily, if number 1 was Angry Birds, I'd expect numbers 2 to 25 to all be stuff like Furious Mammals or Perturbed Marsupials or Incensed Lamellibranches in the noble name of the opportunistic buck, but no. It honestly seems to be the only market driven by actual gameplay innovation, where the next big seller is almost impossible to predict.

Which is why I'm loathe to dismiss it as a casual gaming platform (although there is no shortage of that). It seems to be a great place for small developers without the resources to render Marcus Fenix's left nipple to get innovative ideas out there and earning money, as long as they don't mind taking it up the arse from Apple. But hey, if developing for iPhone means taking a cock up the arse, then developing for, say, the Wii means taking a fucking humpback whale.

Angry Birds

So let's start with the aforementioned Angry Birds by Rovio Mobile. The game is set in a cartoon world after some apocalyptic pandemic leprosy has robbed everything of limbs. A community of limbless pigs have stolen the eggs from a community of limbless birds, perhaps believing them to contain the much sought-after secret of cement. You see, the pigs all live in houses made from unconnected blocks and bits of wood that can be knocked over by looking at them too hard or, more practically, by launching wingless birds at them bodily with a catapult.

It's quite fun in the "jumping on the sand castle your brother spent hours on and laughing as the tears roll down his stupid, fat face" kind of way, but the one thing I've never figured out is the scoring system. On some levels, I can use just one bird to destroy all the piggies, tear down the building, and erect a monument in memory of my fallen comrades with the debris, and the game still only gives me one star. What the fuck do I have to do to impress you, Angry Birds? I tried playing with my head in a bucket of spiders and they just spun webs in my mouth.

Cut the Rope

Next up, Cut the Rope by ZeptoLab, an example of the genre uninformatively termed "physics puzzlers." The simplest ideas are the best, and you can't get simpler than a game whose title is also its instruction manual. There is a big sweetie dangling from a rope and the objective is to navigate that sweetie into the mouth of a small lizard by increasingly roundabout routes (but a rope will certainly have to be cut at some point).

I much prefer this star rating system to Angry Birds 's. Each level contains three stars, and if you collect them all you get three stars, so that's much more quantifiable. But either it's a tad on the easy side or I'm the god-king of space, because I got all the stars on every level within one hour of play, so some more level packs that explore the flinging physics a bit more would be nice.

My other objection is that the little lizard thing is the most entitled little shit in gaming since Ashley from Resident Evil 4, and at least she had a rack on her. He just sits there on his fat little arse with his mouth hanging open, expecting his divine majesty's breakfast to just drop in, like a Half-Life barnacle without the charm. How about an alternative gameplay mode that replaces the sweetie with a breeze block.

Fruit Ninja

Completing the iPhone game chart top 3 at time of writing is Fruit Ninja by Halfbrick Studios. This is about as simple as games get. There isn't even the paltriest context for what you're doing; you're not exacting revenge on limbless pigs or feeding your pet bitch-lizard. You're a ninja, fruit is flying up in front of you, and fuck fruit. Sitting around all smug on trees and in pies. There are gameplay modes that add bombs and powerups if you really need them, but the mere act of cutting up flying mangos and pineapples has this almost Zen-like appeal in a popping bubble-wrap kind of way. The fruit gets cut up in visceral sprays of juice and satisfying squelches, like a velvet fist withdrawing noisily from a moist--

Hey, wait a minute. Halfbrick are based in Brisbane? The same city where I live? I, with my well-documented close ties to the local games industry? Yahtzee, are you using your privileged position to big up your mates again, you nepotistic shit? Let me assure you that, historically, being my mate has been no guarantee of safe critical passage. Don't forget my other friend who worked on the chariot racing sequences in Prince of Persia: Two Thrones. He certainly hasn't.

Doodle God

And, finally, there's Doodle God by a company who apparently unironically call themselves JoyBits. You combine elements together to create other elements, and that's pretty much it. It's a popular title, but frankly I don't see the appeal. Hardly seems like a game at all, just the most frustrating aspect of point-and-click adventure games taken out and put in a big, annoying spotlight that keeps calling you thick.

It starts off all right, when you don't have many elements. Fire and earth equals lava, lava and air equals rock, fine. Little bit roundabout, but never mind. But then, after a certain point, you have so many elements that the combinations that actually do anything are so rare and obtuse that all you can do is wait for the hints to come up. Fish plus knowledge equals octopus? That's not logic, that's fucking batshit on a sandwich. And I'm a little disappointed that cat plus Internet doesn't create YouTube.

Concluding remarks

Anyway, that concludes this scratching of the surface of iPhone games, which are well worth getting into. You do need an iPhone, of course, but if you don't have one by this point then please let us know how you found a way to breathe on Mars.

AddendaEdit

Dedicated follower of fashion: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw

For what it's worth Sonic Colors is better than Sonic Unleashed, but then so is pushing a rusty spoon right through the palm of your hand

Find the more info : http://www.appleiphone5deals.co.uk/

Sequels, Ripoffs and Wank will be the title of my autobiography

ScreenshotsEdit

IPhone 2

I've definitely played more of them than mainstream console games, generally while waiting for mainstream console games to fucking load

IPhone 4

The little lizard thing is the most entitled little shit in gaming since Ashley from Resident Evil 4, and at least she had a rack on her

IPhone 5

The mere act of cutting up flying mangos and pineapples has this almost Zen-like appeal

External LinksEdit


Angry Birds

Cut the Rope

Fruit Ninja

Doodle God

Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5

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