Our mobile gaming friends at QuicklyBored.com who also happen to be Blackberry users had a chance to sit down and put the new Plazmic games from RIM through the paces, the following are their thoughts. Plazmic is a company bought by RIM in 2002 to facilitate cool content for the latest BB platforms â€“ think of them as a second-party BlackBerry developer. Beyond releasing a SVG authoring tool to allow for dynamic animations on mobiles, Plazmic has also released a trio of free games for BlackBerry. These games have made a lot of noise around the BB-gaming crowd because they feature both vibration and sound (two things rarely found in the wasteland that is BlackBerry gaming), so we thought weâ€™d give them a look-see.
Meteor Crusher is a pretty standard Asteroids clone that doesnâ€™t live up to the original (which is a shame, since the original Asteroids is older than both my illegitimate kids). As with all space-shooters, control is key, and thatâ€™s where Meteor Crusher fails first. Faithful QuicklyBored readers know my affinity for gaming on the BB 7100, because of the potential for superior controls over other mobiles due to the scrollwheel. For some reason, however, Plazmic chose a weird control combo involving the scrollwheel and keypad that is far too bunched together to be comfortable. Itâ€™s practically impossible to be moving, rotating and shooting at the same time, which is just point-blank stupid. Compounding this is the fact that your ship moves too slowly at first, but then quickly over-accelerates with a slight push of the gas. The whole thing just feels sloppy and results in a lot of accidental kamikaze action on unsuspecting meteors (which, by the way, happen to be the same color as your ship, making it very hard to see where you end and death begins).
Cheap deaths aside, surviving isnâ€™t much fun either. To stay alive, you basically have to move at a snails pace, creeping towards the meteors as if you were gunning for a Splinter Cell-style stealth kill â€“ gameplay that is the antithesis to shmups. Meteor Crusher boils down to shooting rocks and picking up powerups to shoot more rocks, which would be okay if it were fun, but it isnâ€™t.
Plazmicâ€™s highly vaunted sound and vibrational features hardly come into play here. The game vibrates only when you die, with the same force as if you were receiving a text message. The sound affects are innocuous enough that you wonâ€™t make the effort to turn them off, but the sad little melody that plays when you die only serves to underscore how stupid you were for downloading the game in the first place. Worse than being jettisoned into space.