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 N-GAGE FEATURE

Five games we'd like to see ported to N-Gage

Pretty please, Nokia?
 
After discussing what we thought Nokia needed to do in order for N-Gage to stay in the game, we got to thinking a little more specifically about what games we'd like to see on the platform. Not in terms of fresh IP, you understand, but simply the sort of games we've seen on other platforms that would be a good fit.

It's not as simple as picking our favourite games, either. We're thinking of titles that would suit the characteristics of the N-Gage platform. In terms of controls, each of these games could be played comfortably with a directional pad and one or two buttons. Some would make use of the N-Gage's 3D capabilities, but none are set in the sort of expansive worlds that would suffer for the lack of an analogue stick.

We've also steered away from unrealistic propositions - sure, Super Mario Bros 3 would work a treat on N-Gage technically and mechanically, but it's still about as likely as a version of Halo 3.

We'd be interested to hear you ideas for what would work on the platform. Here are a few of ours.

Five games we'd like to see ported to N-Gage
5. N


Already a huge success as a flash game, on Xbox Live and the two current handheld systems, N is a simple, fluid 2D platformer that would work a treat on N-Gage. At once retro and modern, the game's only possible pitfall would be the size of the main character, who is tiny even on Xbox 360 version on my 32" TV. The simple, minimalist design should compensate for that though.

N also has a strong community focus, with user-created levels making it into subsequent versions. Add in a level creator and the means to share them on the N-Gage Arena and you'd have yourself one killer app.

4. Lumines



An incredibly stylish and playable game on the PSP, the subsequent mobile version was a bit of a mess. For once, the style and the substance are one and the same, so the mobile version suffered for its technical limitations. You see, although Lumines is a block-matching puzzler, the gameplay is very much tied in with its pounding electronic soundtrack and laser-show visuals.

Lumines on N-Gage, with the platform's superior technical grunt, increased storage capacity, landscape facilities and digital controls (it would never play as well on iPhone) would become the ultimate mobile phone version of one of the best puzzlers ever made.
3. Kula World


This cult PlayStation gem, released on the original PlayStation in 1998, has had something of a resurgence of late with a well-deserved PlayStation Store release, which allowed us to remind ourselves of its charms on our PSPs. You guide a ball around a series of Escher-like mazes - a brilliantly mind-frazzling task - avoiding traps and collecting the items that will open up the level exit.

Kula World would fit on the N-Gage platform like a glove. The platform has easily enough grunt to emulate and even improve on the rather simple 3D graphics, and the game's perfect digital-control-in-a-3D-world gameplay would graft effortlessly onto a phone handset's directional pad and buttons.
2. Space Invaders Extreme


Just what the world needs - another Space Invaders port. Ah, but this is no half-hearted conversion. Released on the PSP and DS in the middle of 2008, Space Invaders Extreme takes the classic alien blasting gameplay and slaps on a Lumines-like layer of fireworks and a similarly reactive electronica soundtrack. Oh, and plenty of HUGELY DESTRUCTIVE POWER-UPS. Which is always nice.

Suffice to say, the crisp visuals would scale brilliantly to the wee Nokia screens, and control certainly wouldn't be an issue - despite all the bells and whistles, the core gameplay remains as brilliantly simple as ever. Online high scores via N-Gage Arena would be a must, too.
1. Barcode Battler


This is our left-field choice, but perhaps the one we're most enthusiastic about. Barcode Battler was a stand-alone console system released in the early nineties, which could read every-day barcodes and convert the information into digital warriors for use in RPG-style fights. In this way, you could pit a can of Heinz beans against a copy of The White Album in a fight to the death.

Of course, it was rubbish in practice, but the idea was brilliant. There have been plenty of attempts to run with the concept, mostly in Japan, but nothing has really taken off. Now, with the N-Gage's in-built camera technology, graphical power and internet connectivity you could produce a brilliant Pokemon-esque card battler using everyday packaging. It would work brilliantly as an online multiplayer experience, too.

If you need further convincing, just imagine Tesco stores up and down the country being overrun by kids scanning packs of Always Ultra to see what sort of fearsome knight emerges. Priceless.
 

Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy 12 December 2008
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