Tuesday, October 16, 2012

So cheap something must be wrong

After I left behind my Blackberry and upgraded to a Windows phone I have been constantly looking for something to do with it that is not work related. Using it as an MP3 player works quiet well as it syncs up with my Zune subscription and I can download just about any music for free. Until quite recently I had not found anything to play on it besides Fruit Ninja. The problem, and my problem with most touch screen phone games, is that your hand obscures a good chunk of what little visual real estate there is. There are a surprising number of shooters available and I tried most of them. Every one had me dragging my finger around the screen, hiding the ship that I was supposed to be controlling. Eventually I gave up, content to use my phone as a mobile connection to my Sky Drive and for taking terrible pictures.

I am not sure when Extraction came out. The demo first hit my radar about three weeks ago but the game may have come out  long before then. It is a top down shooter with a very basic character and weapon upgrade system designed to get you to spent more money buying points than the $0.99 entry fee. Thankfully the demo told me all that I needed to know: someone looked at the specific bonuses and limitations of the touch screen format and built a game from the ground up. Instead of dragging my finger around I simply touch the ground where I want my guy to go. To attack I paint targets with my finger. Need to move while attacking? No problem, touch somewhere else and move there and a reasonably slower rate. To break off an attack double tap. To use a grenade drag the grenade from your inventory to where you want it to go. The only iffy control is the melee attack: you have to rub back and forth on the enemy, but I have yet to use it.

The controls worked so surprisingly well that I thought I was missing something and didn't buy the game right away. The demo sat there in my tiny game list for weeks, mocking me for not spending a dollar and change after tax on a phone game that actually works. There is just not space in my gaming routine for a phone game. At least there wasn't, then I found out that I am going to be out of state for two days next week. Unlike when I drive places and pack up most of my earthly belongings I do not like the idea of sending my Xbox through the gauntlet of airport security. My phone has to come.

Sold. Now I just need to resist the micro-transactions and actually play the game.

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