Look at you, talking about mobile phone games. Yapping away like you've got a fucking clue what you're on about. Saying they're rubbish because smartphones haven't got any buttons, and you need buttons to play proper games. Making derogatory remarks about Angry Birds, saying that anyone who likes it must be an idiot.
And d'you know what? Anyone who likes Angry Birds is an idiot. You can have that. But sod off with the rest.
There are mobile phone games with terrible on-screen buttons, sure. Recent iTunes GAME OF THE WEEK CreaVures - despite being by the same brilliant people who brought us Guns of Icarus - is a prime example of the imprecise, unresponsive pap we're so often asked to deal with. And yet CreaVures gets a load of attention, while a game like Tobe & Friends Hookshot Escape gets largely ignored. Which is a shame, because it's brilliant.
Developed as a sort-of sequel to the PC/Xbox Live Indie Game release Tobe's Vertical Adventure, Hookshot Escape repeats the winning formula of making the player run left and right and sometimes jump. On top of that, each of the game's four characters has a different special ability, activated by pressing the jump button while you're already in the air. The game's titular hero uses his also-titular hookshot to pull himself up to higher platforms, for example, while the other characters can double-jump, fly, and Dragon Punch their way up.
While you're likely to pick one or two favourites, each character's ability pretty much completely changes the way you play the game . The same set of platforms can look entirely different when you have to smash your way through them - potentially wiping out platforms entirely as you go - or fly between them, hanging off their edges to recharge your wings.
Better yet, swift and frequent use of your character's ability increases your combo level, which becomes more difficult to maintain as it goes up, but earns you a shedload of points. Thus begins the joy of gracefully hookshotting your way up a series of platforms without even touching the ground and feeling like a total pro. And you can do all that using shitty on-screen butons that you can't play proper games with. Amazing!
If arcade-style score-chasing isn't enough because you're dead inside or whatever, there's also a bunch of stuff to unlock. Equipment that improves your abilities can be earned through HARD WORK or just by buying a load of it via in-app purchases. You may or may not consider that stuff to be evil. Personally, I was happy to throw another £1.99 at the developers, having paid so little for the game itself and having spent so much time playing it. If it helps you make your decision, the extra equipment will improve your scores a little, but it's no replacement for just getting better at the game. SHRUG.
The way it handles high scores is bloody clever too, and yet so staggeringly simple. Most games with a focus on score-chasing are happy to always show you the highest score you've ever earned, dangling it in front of your nose during every game, daring you to beat it. But, 95% of the time, you don't beat it at all, do you? No, you die on your arse and feel like crap for once again failing to be as good as you were that one time and actually maybe it was just a fluke anyway oh god I am terrible at games. That doesn't help anyone. So what Hookshot Escape does, is it remembers your last few attempts, as well as your top two or three high scores. And upon surpassing each one, a crowd cheers and the game tells you you're ace. Because you are! Sure, maybe you're having an off-day. But you just knocked the absolute fuck out of that other attempt where you messed up a jump ten seconds in and plummeted to your doom. YEAH!
I really like Hookshot Escape. It's kept me company while I am doing a poo or trying not to talk to people in the staff room at work for a good few weeks now, which is more than can be said for a lot of iOS games. Even some of the really good ones.
Also this is a good game for perverts, as this is the game over screen when you play as Nana: