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Time is on your side, provided you choose the right game

What to play, when
True Multiformat, thumbnail 1
Time. It's money. It's precious. It takes time (you know, baby). Time is something everyone likes to be in control of, and at Pocket Gamer, battling the twin evils of review deadlines and a tempting pile of new games, that's especially true.

But then, one of the reasons we love handheld gaming so much is the way it fits into any situation. No matter what we're waiting for, or wishing was over, there's a gaming solution to the gap – whether you're looking for a quick, button-bashing hit or a smooth absorbing way to spend four hours, a handheld games device can make sure you've got a solution in your hands.

So even if you've got the attention span of a particularly ditsy gnat, there's still something for you. (Click any link below for the full review).

Gone in 60 seconds

You're waiting for your girlfriend to freshen up. Your boyfriend is late to the station. The kettle's boiling. The elevator still has seventy-three floors left to go. Yawn not! There are plenty of niggling, under-a-minute gaps that just can't be filled satisfactorily with I Spy. Time to take advantage of the new console's quickstart abilities and mobile's always-on nature for a fast, rewarding playaround.

DS: Actionloop, Big Brain Academy, Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training, Electroplankton, Metroid Prime Pinball, Nintendogs, Point Blank, WarioWare: Touched!

Pac-Man, Tetris

Brain Genius, Meteos: Astro Blocks, Rollercoaster Rush, Super KO Boxing, Tower Bloxx

Lemmings, Mortal Kombat Unchained, Power Stone Collection, PQ

Just a minute (or ten)

The ad break on telly – no-one likes a channel hopper. (If the other viewers aren't scolding you, they're thinking about doing it.) Save yourself the anguish of finding that your tapes of The O.C. have been 'accidentally' blanked by amusing yourself with one of these five-minute wonders.

DS: Tony Hawk's American Sk8land, Kirby : Power Paintbrush, Tetris DS, 42 All-Time Classics, Bomberman DS, Meteos, Super Monkey Ball, Mario Kart DS, Pac-Pix, Project Rub, Zoo Keeper

Puyo Pop, Mega Man Zero 4, Street Fighter Alpha 3

Mobile: Tornado Mania, FIFA 07 Mobile, Lemmings Return, Mafia Wars Yakuza, Virtua Tennis: Mobile Edition

Mini Golf, Texas Hold 'Em, Zuma

Micro Machines v4, Mercury Meltdown, Gradius Collection, Lumines II, Tekken : Dark Resurrection, Every Extend Extra, Loco Roco, SSX On Tour, Pursuit Force, OutRun 2006 : Coast to Coast

Anything could happen in the next half hour

Einstein wasn't talking about the universe when he said time could be slowed down – he was talking about public transport. Whether you bus, train or – god forbid – take the Tube on a regular basis, then these picks will dilate those 30-minute nightmares into gaming dreamscapes.

DS: Castlevania: Portrait Of Ruin, Elite Beat Agents, Yoshi's Island II, Eragon, New Super Mario Bros., Super Mario 64, Another Code : Two Memories, Star Wars Episode III : Revenge Of The Sith

GBA: Drill Dozer, Donkey Kong : King Of Swing, F-Zero : Maximum Velocity, Wario Land 4, Yoshi's Island – Super Mario Advance 4

Mobile: Lego Star Wars 2, Neenya Ninja, Zuma, Galaxy On Fire, Turbo Camels: Circus Extreme

PSP: Gitaroo Man Lives!, Lego Star Wars II, Ace Combat X, Star Wars: Lethal Alliance, Burnout: Legends, B-Boy, WipeOut: Pure, Me & My Katamari, Virtua Tennis, Justice League Heroes, Exit

The following takes place between 12pm and 1pm

An hour is possibly the sweetest length of time ever. It's a cancelled lesson. It's a luxurious lunch break from the office. It's that hour you forget about every time the clocks go back. These games take you by the hand, and turn that hour into something even better.

DS: Age Of Empires : The Age Of Kings, Dragon Quest Heroes : Rocket Slime, Phoenix Wright : Ace Attorney, Star Fox : Command, Mario And Luigi : Partners In Time, Advance Wars : Dual Strike, Metroid Prime: Hunters, The Legend Of Spyro :  A New Beginning,

GBA: Fire Emblem, Metroid Fusion

Mobile: Splinter Cell: Double Agent, Stranded, Project Gotham Racing, Sonic The Hedgehog, Miami Nights: Singles In The City,

PSP: FIFA 07, Pro Evolution 6, Syphon Filter – Dark Mirror, Ultimate Ghosts N' Goblins, Tenchu : Time Of The Assassins, Medal Of Honor : Heroes, GUN Showdown, Lara Croft Tomb Raider : Legend, Formula One 06

Gaming Nine 'til Five

Movies are too short, music isn't engaging enough, and books make you feel tired. If you're facing hours of travel, waiting, or simply nothing, there's only one real solution – and it fits into your back pocket. These are the games that make mincemeat of the daylight hours, chuckle at a London-Tokyo flight, and laugh in the face of the Power Off button.

DS: Children Of Mana, Magical Starsign, Animal Crossing, The Sims 2, Harvest Moon DS

GBA: Final Fantasy V, The Legend Of Zelda – A Link To The Past, Broken Sword : Shadow Of The Templars

PSP: Football Manager Handheld 2007, GTA : Vice City Stories, Metal Gear Solid : Portable Ops, Breath Of Fire III

We'll update this list again later in the year, but don't forget to bookmark Pocket Gamer to keep up-to-date on our reviews of the newest timewasters until then.

Reviewer photo
Mike Cook 30 January 2007
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