mini round up
Olympic sim Gold Medalist
Another month, another retro remake – and this time we’re going back to 1988 with Olympic sim Gold Medalist (£1.99). It’s what used to be known as a joystick-wiggler and what might now be known, with no less innuendo, as a button-spanker. Compete to the sound of desperately tinny music in a range of track, field and pool events, all of which require you to spank buttons like a madman. It’s made immeasurably more difficult by a total lack of instruction. “Which buttons?!” you howl as your pixelly athlete trudges around the track. And then you come last. You get there eventually, through trial and error, but is it really worth it for anyone other than nostalgia day-trippers? Nope.
Why go to the fairground when you can bring the fairground to you? Well, because fairgrounds are fun, there are girls there and at the very least you can eat some candy floss. You don’t get any of that with Freeshot Frenzy (£2.49) a troubled version of a tired fairground sideshow. Pick up basketballs and throw them through the hoop for points. And what do points mean? Well, nothing actually. This is clunky, jerky and uninspired, and I very much doubt you’ll be able to play it for more than two minutes without wanting to do something more interesting. Like perhaps going to an actual fairground. Or just pulling fluff out of your belly button.
Fish are boring. Not sharks, obviously – they’re great. They’ve got gazillions of teeth and they can chew through metal. What’s not to like about sharks? But fish – normal fish – are desperately dull. They can’t chew through metal, they don’t do tricks, they don’t talk, they just bob about of their own accord offering precisely nothing to the general discourse of humanity. Quite why someone has decided to make Reef Aquarium (£2.49) – a listless fish simulator – is entirely beyond me. Swim with the fishes, feed them, tickle them, anger them, get bored, play something else. Yawn.
mini of the month: Canabalt
You’ve probably already seen Canabalt (£1.74) on any number of other formats. I used to play it on PC in my last office job, shortly before I was sacked for playing videogames at work. It’s a curious little oddity, an atmospheric chase with just a single button and no apparent conclusion. You’re running – it’s never explained what from or why – across rooftops and you need to jump obstacles and gaps, and occasionally from collapsing buildings on to cranes. It’s surprisingly frantic for such a simple idea, and the booming music that belts along with you would tighten a statue’s sphincter. It’s quick to play, fun and costs the same as half a pint of lager. A near-perfect Mini.