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iPhone and iPod Touch Games Round-up 4

Duke Nukem 3D

Developer: MachineWorks Northwest
Price (as reviewed): 59p from the AppStore

What can we say about Duke Nukem 3D that hasn’t been said a million times before? It’s grossly immature, violent, misogynistic and yet more fun than almost any other retro shooter. Now it’s on the iPhone too.

Unfortunately though, the iPhone version of the game doesn’t really stand up all that well when compared to most other shooters on the iPhone and the control system borders on unusable when compared to similar games like Modern Combat and Wolfenstein 3D.

There are two control methods available, both customisable and both pretty unresponsive – the standard dual-stick system and a new slider-based layout. Neither are fantastic and the fact that you’re navigating such complex environments doesn’t make it any easier either; lining up those jumps in Toxic Dump is an exercise in frustration.

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The iPhone version of Nuke Nukem 3D has had a fair share of editing too, unfortunately. That the, um, exotic dancers no longer flash for your cash is a predictable edit that we don’t mind so much – but trimming out the secret levels feels worse than running out of gum, for sure.

The game is still playable though and, once you’ve wrestled your thumbs around the controls as comfortably as possible, the Duke Nukem charm does start to win through. That said, there are still a lot of other, better shooters out there and nostalgia isn’t always enough to hold a game together.

Verdict: A must-buy for fans of the series no matter what we say, Duke Nukem 3D is nothing more than mediocre.

Undercroft

Developer: Rake In Grass
Price (as reviewed): £2.99 from the AppStore and a Lite version available!

A lot easier to get to grips with than it’s most direct competitor, The Quest, Undercroft is a more visually pleasing and forgiving take on the dungeon-crawling genre. It’s still by no means easy to finish though, just a lot easier to play and have fun with.

The plot of the game is your usual fantasy RPG fare – you and some friends get embroiled in all sorts of trouble when you undertake a quest to rid a nearby graveyard of evil ghosts and goblins. What puts Undercroft ahead of other games in the genre though is the fantastic art style and gentle introduction that players get treated too. It’s easy to pick up and play, making it ideal for gaming on the go.

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The core mechanics of the game are almost exactly what you’d expect; you create a band of four adventurers using any of the six available classes and then romp through the country, tile by tile. There’s a broad selection of spells and items on offer, plus passive and active skills that you can build up over time.

Unlike most dungeon crawlers on the iPhone though, Undercroft’s main strength comes from the fact that it manages to be both challenging and completely fair. The game never tips the tables against you and, crucially, the minimap and view distance mean that it’s a cinch to navigate around the fantasy kingdom in pursuit of peril. That's something not many iPhone dungeon crawlers can claim and it's helps to give Undercroft a much-needed edge of the competition.

Admittedly, it's not as suitable for mobile gaming as some other genres, but if you find yourself hankering for a scaled down Morrowind for your phone then Undercroft is definitely the place to go!

Verdict: Easily the best FPS/RPG we’ve seen on the iPhone – two thumbs up!