There’s a frankly ridiculous number of new games released each week on the App Store (and Google Play, to be fair), and with many of them actually being pretty decent, I can generally cherry pick my review candidates and stick to the good stuff.
Still, pobody’s nerfect, and thanks to overzealous press releases and/or sultry PR gals (mostly the latter, ahem), I’ve been guilty of occasionally letting the odd stinker through the hallowed Mobo-gates. Here I list five of this year’s worst.
Generally our countdowns are presented in a completely random order, but I think I’ll go for reverse rubbishness here. That’s a thing, right? Best of the worst through to worst of the worst? Or something? Let’s rock!
Sometimes games can be flawed, but ultimately still hugely playable. Heck, look at Deadly Premonition; technically one of the worst games ever created, but somehow – against all odds – one of the most enjoyable.
Firefly Runner is almost the reverse of that particular phenomenon. It does absolutely nothing wrong as such, but feels bereft of any heart or passion. There are no missions, no power-ups, just some very slow endless runner action, almost as if the game itself has been smoking a massive doob.
I said: Firefly Runner doesn’t necessarily do anything wrong, per se, as an endless runner. The problem is that it doesn’t really do much of anything, period.
Price: £2.49 @ App Store
One of the fondest memories I have of playing Jungle Rumble: Freedom, Happiness and Bananas was watching a documentary about a serial killer in the background. Yeah, it was that good.
Jungle Rumble: Freedom, Happiness and Bananas tries to merge rhythm action with puzzle elements, and largely fails on both counts. The worst thing about it was the sluggish performance – in a RHYTHM ACTION GAME. Good lord.
I said: I had high hopes for Jungle Rumble: Freedom, Happiness and Bananas, but it's an incredibly shallow rhythm action game and a flawed puzzler. Throw in performance and design issues, and it’s a No from me.
Price: £1.99 @ App Store
Wow, this was an awkward one. PR babe Anita did a stellar job of smooth talking me into checking out Hooligans, but I quickly realised I was dealing with a steaming pile of horse manure.
Clearly I wasn’t about to sacrifice my journalistic integrity (pros before hos), and indeed I changed the usual 3 pros/3 cons setup to 1 pro/5 cons – just for you, Hooligans!
The humour was way off, I encountered various technical difficulties, and the Molotov-wielding soccer hooligans were the GOOD GUYS? Zuh?
I said: Hooligans is a seriously misjudged alternative World Cup game, and while I spent several hundred words listing my main gripes, that’s the watered-down version; I had several hundred more in the bank. One to avoid, I’m afraid.
Price: free @ App Store
Being a veteran gamer dating back to the Sega Master System (arguably before; we had some sort of standalone Pong unit with paddles that connected to our 8-channel wooden TV), I have admittedly high standards.
In the world of bullet hell, specifically, I’ve spent many a glorious hour in the good care of Japanese developers Cave and Treasure (*fights the urge to go play Ikaruga on the Dreamcast*), and Phoenix HD has shown that the formula can be successfully replicated in the freemium mobile arena.
Alas, Heli Hell… Do I have to write about it again? I criticised – among other things – the menus, the controls, the difficulty, and the “ridiculous prices in the shop”.
I said: Having played DoDonPachi Resurrection and Phoenix HD, my standards are – and my expectations were, admittedly – very high. Alas, this Heli Hell thing doesn’t deserve to hang with the bullet hell boys. Shun.
Price: 69p @ App Store
You know what’s generally quite good? Games in black and white. Limbo springs to mind, but there are various others. Of which I can remember none at the moment. Anyway!
I’m generally ok with endless runners, too, so I figured Riot Runners might be worth checking out, but oh, how wrong I was.
Here’s a good way to sum it up: Under ‘Pros’ I said ‘No’; under ‘Cons’ I said ‘Everything’.
I said: Riot Runners is quite possibly the worst endless runner I’ve ever played.