Review by gloBal enemy

Reviewed: 09/04/04

Taking mobile phone gaming to the next level.

To begin with, I’d like to say that I’m one of those people who sees the Nokia N-gage as a mobile phone with really good games as opposed to a really expensive Gameboy with overpriced shallow software. As a result of this, I find the games on N-gage to be really enjoyable compared to ‘last generation’ Java mobile games and even older games such as
Snake and Space Impact.

The gameplay for SonicN is just like any other side scrolling platform game. I have never really fancied Sonic (or any of his incarnations) on the other platforms, but it is the first game of its sort, which I have played on a mobile device. The controls are quite simple with the D-pad controlling Sonic’s movement and the 5 and 7 keys controlling jump/attack. Movement is smooth, fast and fluid making this a high-speed game. There are many levels that you must progress through, picking up coins along the way. Coins are sort of like a life meter where if you have coins, then you have one life. Upon coming into contact with an enemy (or villain) all your coins fall out and then you are vulnerable. However when the coins fall out you still have the ability to chase after them (literally!) but you almost never get more than 30% or so of the original coins you had. The high speed nature of this game requires quite a bit of concentration to play, which in a way is a bad point- since as I said previously, I see the N-gage as a mobile phone which can play really good games, and focusing too heavily on a game can often cause you to not notice your surrounding environment.

Mobile gaming seems to be getting better at an incredible rate, graphics on mobile phones such as the N-gage are amazing and can easily match their older console cousins. The graphics maintain their high frame rate and fluidity whilst playing with all the various characters. The graphics also really make the N-gage’s bright hi-resolution screen shine compared to Gameboy graphics. There is no blurring whilst the colours and graphics remain sharp and clear. The menus are also quite nicely decorated and suit the game.

There are two ways of viewing SonicN when playing- one is to have it in its original widescreen incarnation which has bars at the top and bottom of the screen (similar to how watching DVD widescreen movies on normal 4:3 TVs lead to having black bars at the top and bottom), and the other (which I prefer) is to go fullscreen but not be able to see that far ahead. This can sometimes cause problems when there are enemies hidden off-screen but usually its not a problem, and if it does become a problem, a quick press of the # key will fix it.

The only time gameplay/graphics slowed down was when a call came in causing the game to pause, but because I’m using a tweak for full-screen caller ID, this caused the game to have a temporary ‘slowdown’ before reaching a pause.

The sound seems to just be the same as their console versions, but they tend to be quite loud as well. As N-gage doesn’t have a decent volume control, you are reliant on pressing the 0 key to change between one of 4 volume options (mute, soft, medium, loud). I personally prefer to play in mute mode since that way people around me can’t tell I’m playing games and it also prevents people from ‘giving you looks’ on the train. I don’t think sound is critical to this game since I’ve played it a lot without ever having music/sound on.

Lasting Appeal
To me, N-gage will always just be a smart phone with great mobile phone games. That’s exactly why I believe this game has a great lasting appeal since it has that ‘pick up and play’ feeling which will keep nearly anyone satisfied whether they are waiting for a bus, sitting in class or just waiting for TV commercials to finish. The various levels (and difficulty levels) keep the game at a level of challenge that allows people to play with various styles to complete the levels. In my opinion, this game has all the right formulas for a perfect mobile phone game.

If you have an N-gage and are stuck for ideas of what game to buy, give SonicN a go. It is a great source of entertainment, has decent graphics, will make your friends go wow, and will keep you amused without the need to carry some other form of entertainment.

Rating: 9

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