This week, we raid the App Store to find five fantastic games that have successfully made the switch from consoles to smaller smartphone and tablet screens
Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic
This year’s eagerly anticipated festive feast of intergalactic Star Wars fun will be also swarming with bucket-loads of new merchandise and gaming experiences for us to all enjoy. But it’s worth casting your mind back to the original Knights Of The Old Republic outing, which blew gamers away in 2003 with an incredibly immersive RPG experience on Xbox. Well over a decade later, this title has still got the moves on iOS, boasting a brilliant battle system and all those dialogue dilemmas, the very best RPGs will have you wrestling with in between the space-age action. The fact this game still packs a whopping tablet and smartphone punch is testament to the love and care put in by Bioware way back when, and though the graphics may appear a little outdated by today’s standards, everything else is as slick as you could wish for. Subsequent series such as Mass Effect and Dragon Age have been built on this successful template, so if you missed out on it first time round, you’d be mad not to see the app make its way into your pocket.
Call Of Duty: Black Ops Zombies
While Black Ops Zombies is not strictly a port from the console world to the small screen, the extraction of this undead shooter adventure from the main Black Ops title is a welcome addition to the App Store, offering a slice of the big FPS action for a fraction of the price. Disappointingly, there’s only one map to enclose the mayhem, which means the art of surviving wave after wave of undead assailants will become a little repetitive after time. There is a nice secret secondary game to be uncovered in the shape of the twin-stick, top-down Dead Arcade, and co-operative play through Game Center certainly livens up proceedings. Tactically, BOZ is a worthwhile challenge once your reactions have been sharpened to the required level. Ammunition conservation and careful weapon upgrades will be crucial to your success, as well as an innate understanding of how your map is made up. Yes, we’d love there to be more to this to make a meatier Call Of Duty experience on mobile, but, for such a phenomenally successful franchise, it’s an authentic appetiser that will hopefully be added to in the near future.
Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy
There’s little left to be said about the impact that Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto series has had on the gaming world over the past 18 years. However, the headline news here is that you can own three of the most astounding 3D action adventures for well under a tenner, taking in the sights and sounds of GTA III, Vice City and San Andreas, all crammed onto a mobile device that will barely register the ridiculously entertaining content you download, such is the power of devices these days. Graphical ageing apart, there is so much to love about these immersive adult gaming environments, and the prospect of entering these vast worlds once again for pocket-sized play sessions really shouldn’t be passed up. The gaming hall of fame has already accepted GTA at its top table, and it would be remiss of you not to do the same on your iPhone or iPad. Enthralling storylines, incredible characters and over-the-top action awaits – in spades – thanks to the triple trouble aspect of this single download.
Colin McRae Rally
The Colin McRae series has experienced an interesting transition over the years, moving from serious racer to souped up arcadey four-wheeled action, which may have turned some of the early fans onto other racing fare. However, this iPhone and iPad iteration returns to the series’ roots, leaning heavily on the PSone’s Colin McRae Rally 2.0 with some graphical enhancements. The controls are as sharp as they ever were, irrespective of whether you use the tilt or button controls, which will bring the long-held memories flooding back as you perfectly drift around the grubbiest of corners and tackle the tightest of off-road stages. A few of the features have fallen by the wayside, perhaps as a means of keeping a somewhat arcadey feel for smartphone gamers, but fans of the early titles will revel in this opportunity to burn rubber on the tracks that taught them everything they’ve ever needed to know about how real racing should be done in a virtual world.
Max Payne Mobile
The third-person shooter series that gave gamers reason to revel in the central character’s shattering back story has quite rightly claimed a little cult status on mobile devices. Nobody has blurred the worlds of cinema and console gaming better than Rockstar, and this revisit to the grimy, grubby criminal underworld shines at its brightest as you enter the monumental set-pieces where you dive headfirst into a gun fight, switching to the hypnotic slo-mo bullet-time to gain a crucial extra second or two to line up your headshot. Less enjoyable, however, are the slightly fiddly controls, which don’t quite make as smooth a transition to touchscreen as the overall atmosphere and dark script. But this is much more than a series of overblown ballistic encounters and the Rockstar stamp of quality guarantees a glorious attention to detail in the overall narrative and character development. And for a shade over two quid, why wouldn’t anyone invite Max into their home?