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When games were first played on mobile phones, school kids would compare their scores in snake on their black and white Nokia screens gleefully. These days itís not a reptile but a senile amphibian, calling himself the Crazy Frog that dominates childrenís mobiles. THQ is one of the big names in the mobile games industry, investing heavily on producing games licensed from major brands such as Warhammer, MotoGP and Top Trumps.

I didnít expect these games to challenge a Nintendo DS or PSP; I judged them on whether they could avert my boredom in a variety of places, waiting for a bus, reading an UKGamer review and sitting through Eastenders with my girlfriend. Despite my early scepticism, I was pleasantly surprised by the results. The four games I will be reviewing are Warhammer Space Hulk, MotoGP3, Save Kenny, Turrican and the old school playground favourite, Top Trumps.

Warhammer Space Hulk

Warhammer is a global success, allowing young men and women around the world to play very complicated, very detailed games of toy soldiers. It has been sold as Top Trump cards, board games and has been transferred extremely successfully to the video game market. I myself have never drawn any real satisfaction from the idea of sitting in a group of fat 20 somethingís, with long hair and badly kept goatees whilst painting small figurines before going into table-top battle. Thatís not to say itís wrong, itís only to give reason for my ignorance to this cult society.

It was this ignorance that really stopped me from enjoying this game. The game is to some extent a real time strategy affair, however to me it all seemed a little confused and over ambitious. To its credit the game does allow you to play as two different races, the Genestealers and the Terminator Marines, a particularly nasty sounding bunch. It also does offer a fairly comprehensive tutorial. Missions did seem limited and I imagine replayability value is fairly small. Despite this the game did have some redeeming features, I have finally been exposed to Warhammer and the music made me feel nostalgic about playing computer games from the late 1980ís.

My advice is if you are a fan of Warhammer and strategy games then this is probably not a bad game to invest in. However, after playing I certainly didnít whip out the acrylic paints and turn my phone into a Death Knight of Apocalypse. I suppose thatís not really what they expect you to do anyway though. A game I saw potential if played by somebody who can properly appreciate it but otherwise inaccessible.


MotoGP3

When loading up MotoGP3 you are greeted with a picture of a guy riding a motorcycle, tilting his body magnificently round a corner. You feel like this game is going to be about accelerating quick, turning fast and being one step ahead of your opponents. The Formula 1 music that kicks in reassures you that this game is fast, a lot faster than the bus you are sitting on, which is why you might be surprised and disappointed by the actual game.

I found that the inability to slow down and turn a corner at the same time at best an irritation and at worse, making the game almost unplayable. Graphics were worse than I have seen in other games of the genre on mobile phones and as if to rub salt in the wounds it advertised itself as being available on PC and Xbox. The last thing in the world you would want to do is go and buy and play this on any computer after this disastrous effort.

The game has very little here, even for enthusiasts. Perhaps the fact that there are a variety of different courses, bikes and conditions for you to ride in may tempt you in. Perhaps if you stick with it you may learn to master the controls and might be able to get some enjoyment. But all I want from my mobile phone game is accessibility and this game seems to have attempted to go for depth sacrificing what truly makes mobile phone gaming fun. A poor effort that I advise all gamers-on-the-move to stay away from.


Next up are Save Kenny, Turrican and Top Trumps. Read on McDuff!