The seeds have been planted for a mobile gaming golden age, and there’s now several very different phones vying for gamers looking for a bit of portable fun beyond throwing birds at pigs.
LG Optimus 3D
The Optimus 3D is pushing itself as a viable new option for portable gaming, with an awesome no-glasses 3D screen, it has its own unique selling point, at least until HTC’s Evo 3D arrives in the UK.
3D gaming has been given a boost from mobile games giant Gameloft, who has brought a wave of its latest games, including popular titles like action brawler Spiderman, Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus, tomb adventure Shadow Guardian, and NOVA 2.
Straight out of the box, the Optimus 3D arrives with three free games, including first-person shooter NOVA, Let’s Golf 2, and Asphalt 6.
The glasses-free effect has to be seen to be believed, and games look great on the 4.3-inch screen. As it’s able to handle 3D content, the Optimus 3D handles other two-dimensional games effortlessly.
You will be limited to touchscreen-only controls, but as the Android market continues to grow, we’re expecting plenty more premium titles and plenty more 3D tiles.
The 3D effect may not be for everyone, and it really does throttle the battery-life, but with so many Android phones difficult to discriminate between, the Optimus 3D’s multi-dimensional feature sets it apart. LG has also announced that it’s looking to push its 3D phone as a viable alternative to portable consoles like the Nintendo 3DS, so we hope that means they’ll continue to support and push for even more games.
Sony Ericsson Xperia Play
The much-hyped Xperia Play arrived with a whimper more than a bang, limping into shops with a disappointing clutch of games brought across from the original PlayStation. Better games have started to arrive, and for anyone “raised on PlayStation” it’s those controls that make the Xperia Play a gaming force to be reckoned with.
The slide-out controls include a d-pad and and six more buttons, with two analogue touch- pads in the middle mimicking a PlayStation controller.
With no fingers to clutter up the screen, and responsive digital controls, many games – provided they’ve been especially developed across to the Xperia Play- are massively improved. It’s especially noticeable on first-person shooters like NOVA and Modern Combat 2, where using your fingers gets in the way of your view of the action.
The controls, like any smartphone with a slide-out keyboard, adds a bit of weight to the phone, and many may be disappointed at a screen that doesn’t seen as bright or as sharp as similarly priced smartphones.
With Sony allowing more of its back-catalogue to arrive on the Xperia Play, like Wipeout and Kula World, and even sequels like Syphon Filter 3, we already have a want-list of classic hits that deserve an airing on the Xperia Play.
It may not have the processing chops of a dual-core phone like the Optimus 2X, nor the power and flashiness of the Optimus 3D, but it’s chosen to go a different route, developing on from its partner’s gaming heritage. Though it may seem like a hardcore gamer option, if you find touchscreen controls frustrating or vague, you’ll probably love the Xperia Play.
Like other Android phones, any games bought from the Android Market (sadly, that doesn’t include Gameloft titles) you’ll be able to try for free for 15 minutes. It’s a great way of testing a new game to see if it’s worth buying.
What’s the iPhone doing here? Well, no other phone offers the sheer breadth and quantity of games on Apple’s black beauty.
Whilst there may be a lot of games that are dodgy knock-offs of popular hits like Angry Birds, you’ll find this is where most of the innovative hits are made. The likes of Sword and Sworcery, NightJar and Alien Attack– you won’t find the sheer range of innovation on an Android phone just yet.
That’s not to say the iPhone can’t do hits- it established Angry Birds as a gaming force, and there’s now a multitude of Sega hits, like Streets of Rage and Sonic, to live out your gaming glories of the past. Recent hits also get tie-ins, like the impressive Street Fighter 4 game shown here. With the iPhone’s dominating position in smartphones, this has meant accessory developers have latched onto it, and you can buy self-adhesive ‘joysticks’ and ‘buttons’ that can be stuck to the screen for more intense gaming sessions.
The iPhone probably has the least powerful processing setup, but due to the fact that games are developed exclusively for it, you’ll find the iPhone is just as smooth and fast as the Android competition. Games tailored for the iPhone 4’s retina screen are also a joy to see, with pin-sharp graphics that sometimes embarrasses the bigger-screened competition.
LG Optimus 2X
The Optimus 2X has a dual-core processor, and it’s thanks to that, and graphics chip giant Nvidia, that the Optimus 2X has access to an exclusive range of high-end games in the Tegra Zone. (That’s the name of the graphics chip.)
You’ll find several games here that you won’t on superphone competition like the Samsung Galaxy S2.
Aside from high-definition versions of hits like Spiderman, Asphalt and Shrek Racing, Ripetide GP is a very polished water-racer available exclusively from the Tegra Zone store, an app you’ll need to download before buying these dual-core optimised games.
As a gaming phone, you’ll find the speedy Optimus 2X won’t leave you waiting for games to load, and like the Optimus 3D it’s been able to handle every game we’ve thrown at it. But whilst it’s very good at what it does, it doesn’t have much that makes it stand out from cheaper-priced Android phones out there.