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Gaming Review

Mobile review round-up: 'GTA: Vice City', 'KnightScape', more

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Released on Tuesday, Dec 11 2012

Each week, Digital Spy rounds up the biggest mobile gaming releases with reviews and trailers. This week's games return to the crime-filled streets of Vice City, rescue a princess, run from zombies and breed excessive amounts of bunnies.

'Grand Theft Auto: Vice City' 10th anniversary screenshot
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City 10th Anniversary Edition

Platforms: iPhone, iPad
Price: £2.99 / $4.99

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City already had fairly complicated controls when it first released on PS2, and things are only complicated further in the newly-released mobile port. It does the best it can, even including the option to rearrange the on-screen buttons, but it's still a bit of a mess. The control issue is definitely worse on an iPhone than iPad, with the smaller screen making the over-abundance of buttons even more cramped.

This is the complete Grand Theft Auto: Vice City though, with the whole city to explore, and a well-written story full of top-notch voice talent. It's definitely beefier than your typical mobile game, and when driving through the city you may even forget that it isn't on a console as you zone out to the radio. Then a mission forces you to shoot enemies, and the awful aiming controls bring you screeching back to reality.

For nostalgic fans, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is worth it on iOS just to take one last drive through the city with you wherever you go. But if you actually hope to complete missions and play the story, this is probably the worst version you can get.


> Download 'Grand Theft Auto: Vice City 10th Anniversary Edition' from the App Store




Screenshot of KnightScape for iOS
KnightScape

Platforms: iPhone, iPad
Price: Free

A new studio founded by former Naughty Dog developers has released its first mobile game with KnightScape. It follows the infinite runner formula set by games like Temple Run, where you have to jump, duck and dodge obstacles while your character is perpetually running forward. The actual running is rather slow compared to other games, making it easier to time jumps and lane switches. Unfortunately the main character is also quite large on the screen, so it's impossible to see some spike traps directly in front of you because the character is blocking your view.

Each level is a pre-determined course, rather than randomly generated stages, and there are actual levels so it isn't quite an infinite runner game. Each level is also broken up by several sword battles, which use a fairly simple attack, block, counter-attack system. However, the battles really boil down to the gear you've purchased more than button tapping skill, as certain enemies seem to automatically kill you unless you've bought the newest sword.

This forces you to go back and replay past levels, which are always the same since levels are not randomly generated. The amount of backtracking required is enough to hang up progress, making KnightScape feel more like a leisurely stroll than a gallant knight on a brisk run.


> Download 'KnightScape' from the App Store



'Into the Dead' screenshot
Into The Dead

Platforms: iPhone, iPad
Price: Free

Into The Dead seems fairly derivative on paper, combining the infinite runner genre with zombies. However, the result is something far better than the sum of its parts. From a first-person perspective, you run across open fields and through forests and cornfields to try and survive as long as possible as the undead close in around you.

What makes the game work so well is its sense of physicality and momentum. Jumping over fences and brushing too close to a zombie causes the camera to shake as if you were stumbling and losing your balance mid-stride. This can even be used to your advantage, as the stumble from brushing next to a zombie allows you to make wider turns, helping to avoid zombies that are closely grouped together.

As you continue to play, you'll complete missions and earn coins to unlock new weapons which range from pistols and shotguns to chainsaws. These act as temporary boosts, helping to clear a path directly in front of you with limited ammo. Into the Dead is one of the best uses of the first-person perspective on iOS, and an absolutely fantastic infinite runner for mobile devices.


> Download 'Into The Dead' from the App Store



'Bunny Cannon' screenshot
Bunny Cannon

Platforms: iPhone, iPad
Price: iPhone: 69p / $0.99, iPad: £1.49 / $1.99

Bunny Cannon is an interesting puzzle game about, strangely enough, breeding rabbits. On the surface it takes some inspiration from the classic puzzle game Peggle, as you launch bunnies from the top of the screen through pachinko-like mazes in hopes of landing in bins at the bottom. The game lets nature run its course though, meaning you have both boy and girl bunnies at your disposal.

When a boy bunny collides with a lady bunny, or vice versa, they explode into several more bunnies to tumble through the level. This is more than just a pseudo-raunchy gimmick though, as it is an integral part of each puzzle. Some levels have a bin for each gender, requiring a certain number of each to move on, while careful aiming can set off explosive chain reactions of tumbling bunnies.

Later levels introduce evil owls, moving platforms and even platforms that can trap bunnies, preventing them from reaching the bottom. Planning shots to get the right number of each bunny type through the level can be quite the challenge. Thankfully, the game's 90 levels are split into 30-level chunks, allowing you to skip ahead and solve the next set of levels when you get stuck. Bunny Cannon brings a satisfying new twist to puzzle games, with bite-size level chunks perfectly suited for a game on the go.


> Download 'Bunny Cannon' from the App Store



What mobile releases have you been playing recently? Add a comment in the space below!

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