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Old 12-22-2002, 12:15 AM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 15, '02
Location: State College, PA
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Game Reviews

Here are brief reviews of 3 pay-for-play Vision games that I've downloaded. I don't mind paying for games (I used to work in the gaming industry) since I recognize that if we want people to make good games, they have to be compensated. However, is it really necessary to charge $5 for Pac-Man? It's not like any significant dev time went into it... it's a port of a decades-old game. And this expiration thing is just crap. These games games are simplistic... a few dollars is enough to have an unlimited license. Luckily, it seems like Sprint is realizing this and a lot of games seem to be changing to unlimited use.

(These games were played on the Sanyo 5300.)

Sno-Pro by nGame
I wanted a skiing game and it was between this and the JAMDAT ski game. I chose Sno-Pro because it didn't expire. It's actually a snowboarding game, but it's the same thing. You ski down a hill trying to avoid trees, houses, and logs, all the while going through gates and collecting "clocks" to extend your time. The graphics are pretty decent and the control is above-average. The game feels very polished, overall. However, it is far too short with only three courses, and there isn't much of a challenge as far as finishing the races in time. Basically, you're playing for a high score.
--Good menu system and options (sound, vibe on/off)
--Simple but crisp, quality graphics... and very bright
--Good control... very responsive
--No expiration date
--Too short
--Too easy
I highly recommend this game. It's easy and fun to play, and perfect when you need a 5-minute diversion. It's also a good game for when your friends want to play with your phone.

Mobile Racing by nGame
I chose this after my positive experience with Sno-Pro. Like Sno-Pro, this game didn't expire so I felt like it was a fair purchase. Basically, this is just a racing game with a behind-the-car camera angle, like Outrun. It's the standard formula of getting to the checkpoint before your time runs out. The graphics are nothing too special. The colors are good, but the models and textures are very blocky. I didn't like the control, either. I found the car very difficult to turn at high speed, and it was difficult to make minor speed adjustments. I found myself going way too fast or way too slow. Needless to say, this game didn't stay on my phone very long.
--Great track colors... shows off your phone's screen
--Poorly detailed graphics
--Difficult to control car, which is bad for a racing game
I'd stay away from this game. I think the phone's processor needs to be a bit faster before "high speed" games can really work. I just don't think the phone is capable of rendering good quality graphics fast enough for this type of game. Top-down racing (e.g. Spy Hunter) might work better for a while.

Monkey Ball by Sega
$4 for 30 days is completely unfair, imo. Nevertheless, I wanted to see what Sega could do with J2ME, as they've announced that they want to be a big player in the mobile game market. They didn't dissapoint. This game is clearly on a different level in terms of quality. The basic idea of the game is simple. You control a ball (which actually has a monkey inside it) and you must roll yourself to the exit of each level. On the way, you want to collect bananas, which earn you extra lives. Every time you fall off the platforms on the level you lose a life, so it's important to collect as many bananas as possible. There are also black bananas which should be avoided. Collecting one will cause you to lose control of your monkey ball for a few seconds, an effect I can only describe as being like "tilt" in pinball. The phone even starts vibrating. It's very cool. The levels get progressively more difficult as you go... there are 13 in all, plus 2 bonus levels. Some levels have moving platforms, some have different surfaces (such as ice), and some are like puzzles, where you must move stones in order to reach the exit. Some levels even have wind to knock you off. Completing the levels is a lot of fun and some are quite challenging, however there are more than enough bananas so that you'll probably never see a "Game Over." The graphics are really amazing... definitely GameBoy quality, and probably even GBA-quality. Everything is very sharp and the colors are fabulous. The sounds are great, too, although they're way too loud, and there's no way to turn them off (at least not that I've found). This is the game's one major weakness... there is essentially no menu system and options, which is a real problem considering how loud the game is. You need to be able to turn sound off. The only other thing to mention is that when you exit the game, it automatically returns to where you left off when you restart it. So if you only want to play a level or two, you won't have to start from Level 1 again when you come back. Great feature.
--Amazing graphics
--Great gameplay
--15 total levels
--Good use of vibration effect
--Resume feature
--30 day expiration!!!
--No menu options
--Sound too loud
It really angers me that this game is so good, because, for one, I want to have it on my phone permanently. Second, I want to try more of Sega's premium content (I tried their free game, Pengo, and wasn't impressed), but all of it seems to have this expiration. Still, this is a great game. It's fun and challenging, and if you don't mind the cost, I highly recommend it.

That's all for now. I'll keep mosting more as I buy them, but I think I'm done for a few days... it can be expensive! Anyone else have any games they recommend?

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