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Features

Main »» Reviews

Amiga Anywhere Entertainment Pack #1 for Pocket PC - Download Edition (14-Sep-2003)  Popular
(Read 8645 times)
Let me start out by saying this is not a professional review, it is a point of view from a reader.

I was and have been until recently a bit of a cynic about Amiga Inc and their strategies. Having seen at first hand a tiny part of their vision, I retract much of that cynicism and conceed they had a point with the DE and still have one today with AmigaAnywhere.

I recently bought a Compaq Ipaq PocketPc H3900 with bluetooth to relieve boredom on trips and access mail and web to keep in touch (with my bluetooth phone). It has a great colour screen just dying for gaming but only comes with Solitaire!

I decided at once to download games and tools but the quality out there is shocking in the main with a few gems ( Crazy Kart, Warfare Incorporated ). I finally logged onto Amiga's gaming portal and bought the games pack for PocketPC.

I didnt expect much due to the jeering over the last eighteen months that has had some effect on my views and some of the trash I'd downloaded from the web for PocketPC left me with low expectations.

Once I had ordered downloaded and run the installer with the IPaq in the cradle I was quite shocked to find how slick and professional the package is!

So, onto the user experience.


The installer

This is a matter of running the executable on Windows ( sorry but you can use Win4Lin and who knows if Wine works with these packages ) which launches a graphical installer which copies all the files onto the IPaq. When it is done the IPaq takes over and completes the install. It creates an icon for each in a Amiga Anywhere folder underneath the Start button. The install is painless and even survived me picking up the IPaq part the way through and putting it back in the cradle.

Convex by Zeoneo: is a gravity based puzzler where you have to engineer balls of the same colour to end up adjacent to each other and then they are removed from the field of play. I really thought I'd hate this game but it occupied 90 minutes of my time solving the 25 levels. Partly the addiction comes through the unlimited board resets you can do when you mess up encouraging experimentation and partly the ability to navigate back and forth between incomplete boards trying out ideas you learn on later levels.



Mainly addiction comes from the challenge. Entertaining, great backgrounds, neat graphics and a forgiving playable environment perfect for PDAs ( where you get constant interruptions ).

8/10 - a surprise experience.

Gobbler by John Harris is a "worm eats blue things and grows" game with hilariuous graphical touches and interesting twists such as tunnels, one way doors, bridges and other extras.



This is one hell of an addictive game, it is simplistic in terms of gameplay but is the second best PDA game in the pack. It suffers from what might be a poor algorithm when rendering the snake as it gets very long. The graphical update at the head and tail of the worm starts to jerk all of a sudden.

Still despite a minor glitch like this it gets played the most. I do enjoy these lightcycle ( RattlerRace may be more familiar ) for about 10 minutes normally, but this one is a good one with the aforementioned interesting twists keeping you engaged.

6/10 - Fun but needs slicker presentation and please fix the glitches.

Planet Zed by Zeoneo - let me admit straight up I don't like scrolling shoot-em-ups and was underwhelmed when this was demoed on DE in 2001/2 on the desktop. In the flesh however it is marvellous to behold with an introductory video to rival that of classic Amiga game "Alien Breed Tower Assault" although on my PDA it is somewhat spoiled by a jerky display update and stuttering sound here and there which I have been told is down to a now superceeded MPEG datatype.



The game itself is like Xenon2, in fact Xenon2 wishes it was this graphically good and frenetic. The presentation is stunning with accomplished parrallax and swirling starfields on even simple things such as upgrade shops between the levels. As said normally I don't like 2D scroller shootem-ups but even cynical me has to admit that this is a masterpiece of the genre. The thumping soundtrack is good and not intrusive, it sounds good even though it is through a tiny IPaq speaker.

7/10 - a wonderfully executed game but I just hate 2D scroller shootemup games so that hast to hurt my personal rating of it.

Solitaire by John Harris is another excellent PDA game collection in that it is ideal for interrupted playing. I have not progressed much with this merely to note down it has 10 card games from Klondike through Freecell and on first glance it is far higher quality than the card game supplied with the IPAQ and certainly will have much greater longevity. This remains unrated until I spend more time playing ( a month seems fair for a card game collection ).



Overall I am not going to rate the games pack numerically just recommend it with the words "If you have a PocketPC what are you waiting for you won't regret it!".

Endnote

There is a gap on this device for games that allow good interruptable gameplay and that take advantage of the systems internet communication. Tales of Tamar would be a big hit. Other missing game types beyond online rpgs are military combat (Battle Isle style), simulation ( like The Sims or Theme Park - although a graphically inferior one seems to be on its way ) and frankly anything that was popular on the Amiga ( Alien Breed anyone) A1200 in the 90s is going to clean up on this device.

For apps a good freehand art package like DPaint, a good calculator app and file sharing would also be of use.

The Game Pack uses Ami2D ( yes it does exist ) extensively. If anyone wants to get onboard the PDA gaming revolution now is the time to do it and they could do worse, by the looks of it, than hook up with the AmigaAnywhere technology on top of Intent.

Check it out here:

Amiga Anywhere Home

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