NINTENDO POCKET FOOTBALL CLUB
3 cert, Nintendo, 3DS There are football manager sims that appeal to a particular type of player, the serious games that allow you to choose team tactics, deliver talks that Mourinho and Fergie would be proud of, wrangle over the best players, and steer your team to ever growing heights in your chosen league. Then there’s Nintendo Pocket Football Club.
It’s far less complex and arguably more fun than some of the football manager sims out there. Its more casual approach may not win it any fans among die-hard sim devotees, but it’s a more accessible way of getting into the genre than some of the more daunting titles.
You have full control over your dimunitive players, but there isn’t the same level of detail that other manager sims have. The graphics are also less complex. The 3DS screen demands it. Your tiny team are styled in a more retro fashion – 2D players, a 3D pitch. That just adds to the overall charm; the game isn’t trying to be something it’s not.
One frustrating thing, apparently intentional, is that you can’t skip through the matches. They last for several minutes, so there’s a bit of a wait. However, it also forces you to see the results of your decisions played out in front of you. You can make a few changes once the match has started if things aren’t shaping up quite how you’d like. The results are visible on the pitch.
Training cards earned during the game can be used to advance your players’ skills, boosting the team and pushing them higher up the table.
Overall, it’s a more lighthearted approach to the genre, one that can be picked up and put down easily.
SHORT PEACE: RANKO TSUKIGIME’S LONGEST DAY
16 cert, Namco Bandai, PS3 Every teenager thinks they’re destined for greatness, but few could compete with Ranko Tsukigime, high school girl by day and assassin by night. Intercutting the action with long animated scenes, Short Peace: Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day has more to offer than a pointlessly long title. For a start, it boasts anime from producer Katushrio Otomo (Akira) in between bouts of 2D gaming. The game plays like Sonic Meets Strider; in other words, near-perpetual motion 2D running and platforming with zippy combat. Defeat the oncoming enemies, but don’t stop moving or you’ll be enveloped by mysterious, malevolent killers. It’s barmy, lively, colourful, dizzyingly fast and very challenging. SP: RTLD is also eccentric and very Japanese, almost to the point of parody. The gameplay is a little one-note, but its energy and weirdness are endearing. bandainamcogames. co.uk
4 cert, Gree Inc, iOS Pac-Man had me in its grip from an early age. I lost endless hours trying to gobble pac-dots while running from Blinky, Inky, Pinky and Clyde. Pac-Man Monsters is a different beast altogether, bearing only a passing resemblance to the original game. Monsters, ghosts and Pac-Man are all working together, but not all the time – the ghosts occasionally appear on the game board as something to be eaten. You eat pellets to attack enemies, but only certain coloured ones, or its backfires on you. The more pellets you eat, the stronger your attacks are. There are hit points to watch and enemy attacks to dodge, and it’s all done on a turnby-turn basis. There is in-game currency, treasure chests, gold pellets, eggs, and ranks to climb. In short, fans of the Pac-Man classic will probably recoil in horror. It’s far too complicated, especially when compared with the simplicity of the original. Not one of Pac-Man’s better outings.
VOICE RECORD PRO
4 cert, Dayana Networks Ltd, iPhone (also iPad, iPod Touch) There’s something awfully old fashioned, even Mad Men- esque, about audio memos and notes. And yet Dictaphone apps abound, and aren’t just used by musicians and journalists. Voice Record Pro encourages other uses beyond music and note-taking: you can add text to recordings, make duplicates and even add photos. So this device is of use to creative, nostalgic types. The other trimmings are more functional: recordings have a list of buttons with which you can email them and save them on Google Drive, DropBox, SoundCloud or more. If you’re using it for music, you can edit, trim, convert to mp3, append it to another recording; or, if you’re feeling indulgent and/or confident, upload it to YouTube or Facebook. This app has been around a while, but has some nice new updates, such as a loop function and universal upload to any web-based script – though I still wish it could record phone calls. Voice Record Pro is free, albeit with some low-key ads. itunes.com