If Hero of Sparta is just God of War for the iPhone then Isotope is without a doubt the platform's version of Geometry Wars. Although close inspection reveals a number of fundamental differences, the first glance shows a lot of similarity between the two titles – most notably the neon colour scheme and the flocks of enemies that explode in glorious fireworks.
Isotope isn’t just a simple Geometry Wars clone though, as it actually expands on the premise massively and gives players much more to do. Each level is divided up into arenas where you have to defeat a set number of enemies or survive for a set amount of time, accumulating experience for each enemy killed, and then using the XP to upgrade your abilities.
In between missions you can upgrade your equipment too, buying new modules and support satellites as well as entirely new ships to progress in. Isotope doesn’t just pin you to the ship you bought last either – there’s a garage section where you can switch between upgrades as much as you want before jumping back into the action.
It's hard to get an idea of how pretty and fun Isotope is based on screenshots
What makes Isotope stand out as more than just a simple clone is the way that the controls have been so excellently balanced. There are two virtual thumbsticks, one for controlling your movement and one for firin’ yo’ lasers, each of them proving perfectly responsive even in the most hectic of occasions.
Isotope may not be a totally original game, but it’s exactly the type of experience that’s perfectly suited to iPhone – short and sweet, but loaded with thrills. A quick burst of survival or campaign mode is more than enough to fill a bus ride or train journey, though it isn’t something you’ll be wanting to play for long periods.
Verdict: Ideal for those who like streamlined arena-based games and endlessly replayable; the experience may not be unique, but it is polished to perfection.
Tying into the recent release of The Sims 3 on PC, Electronic Arts has released a scaled down version of the game for the iPhone, the most remarkable thing about which is the fact that it isn’t actually scaled down all that much. In fact, The Sims 3 on the iPhone is remarkably comparable to The Sims 3 on the PC. It’s still 3D, it still has a tonne of the new features such as the trait and Life Goal system, and it’s still a decently fun sandbox to play in.
Things have got smaller though, obviously. You’re limited to just guiding one sim around for starters and the nearly all of the building and decorating stuff has been filtered out, leaving a game that’s a lot more focused on the lives of individual sims.
The Sims 3 may not have a great framerate, but it's still playable and compensates in size
The Sims 3 also benefits from having a remarkably simple user interface that basically involves tapping whatever you want to interact with and then hopping through a context sensitive menu. A status bar on the bottom of the screen gives you all the information you need at a glance, such as whether your sim is starving to death or desperately unhappy, while the right hand side of the screen keeps track your goals. Just like in the full game, your sims can suffer the effects of over or under-eating, as well as indulging in any other extreme.
While the game world isn’t as large as that of the full version of The Sims 3, it’s still pretty big and players can travel freely around the town even though it isn’t fully open world. There are shops, jobs and neighbours to visit as you wish and plenty of small hobbies to indulge in, each with a bunch of small achievements. Can you catch every type of fish in the river?
The Sims 3 makes occasional use of the motion-sensitive systems in the iPhone, but mostly it’s a touch-based affair and while the frame rate is perhaps a tiny bit jerky that’s easily forgivable for a 3D game of this complexity on a mobile phone.
Verdict: Even if you don’t like The Sims 3 on the PC, the change in platform makes the iPhone version an attractive option for when you just want to kill five or ten minutes – very much a recommended game, if you liked the original that is.