New iPhone games of the week: Bruce Lee, Crash Bandicoot 2, Karate Champ
Also on the playlist: console gem Split/Second and a pair of PG-13-rated games for players with a 13-year-old's maturity level.
Everything old is new again--or at least resurrected. This week's batch of new games includes an early arcade classic, the sequel to an early iPhone smash, and the martial-arts legend himself, Bruce Lee. Get your trigger fingers--er, screen thumbs--ready for all kinds of crazy action.
Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior
This is a must-have for fans of fighting games, Bruce Lee brings incredibly fluid 3D motion capture to the experience. In other words, martial-arts smackdowns never looked so realistic. The game has five modes of play, including an interesting chapter-driven story mode. Alas, there's no multiplayer, at least for now, so you're stucking whooping AI butt. Price: $4.99.
Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 2
The original Crash Bandicoot was among the first and most popular games for the iPhone. The sequel is more of the same kart-style racing on a dozen new tracks, but with one major improvement: multiplayer. Up to four players can compete online in three different race modes. That's a splendid addition, but is it worth $9.99? Come on, Activision, you know you'll end up dropping the price in a month or two anyway. Make this $4.99 and be done with it.
Karate Champ is one of my all-time favorite arcade games, this pixel-perfect recreation gets everything exactly right: the look, the sounds, and even the "upright arcade cabinet with dual joysticks." However, as with so many games, the controls can be frustrating. Sliding onscreen 'sticks is just no substitute for pounding the real deal. Plus, you can't resume a game from where you left off. Like the arcade version, if you walk away, you're done. On the plus side, there's local multiplayer! Price: $1.99.
Pillowfight Girls: Episode 1
Bruce Lee and Karate Champ are so violent, aren't they? Must we glorify all that punching and kicking? That's why I prefer Pillowfight Girls, which is nothing but playful fun of the slumber-party variety. Deliver a "feathery beatdown" (my new favorite phrase of the entire English language) to one pillow-wielding challenger after another. Cheap thrills don't come much cheaper: the game's just 99 cents. Lingering question: "Episode 1"?!
While we're on the subject of weird, borderline creepy games, Photo Shootout is a "pro photographer sim" in which you shoot three swimsuit models and then try to sell your photos at a profit, all so you can buy better gear. Actually, the game is as much about learning photography (aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and so on) as it is living the dream of being a model photographer. As a novice shutterbug, I'm actually learning a lot from Photo Shootout. It was a pleasant surprise. Price: $2.99.
Released hot on the heels of the blazing-hot console game of the same name, Disney's Burnout-style racer offers a cool twist on the aging blast-your-way-to-the-finish formula: remote-control explosions that let you take out other drivers and open shortcuts. You earn these triggered takedowns as you drift, draft, and jump through each course. Icing on the cake: multiplayer, both local and online. Split/Second is $6.99.
What games are you playing this week? Personally, I'm still trying to break my Angry Birds addiction.