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Backstab

As the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play launches in Australia there are 70+ titles optimised and ready to play using the handset's unique control scheme. We've managed to play a bunch of these games during our review period and we thought we'd share with you the good, the bad and the ugly of the offerings so far.

AU$6.60

Pirates in a Caribbean setting? Why does this seem so familiar?

Gameloft's first attempt at an HD Assassin's Creed port for mobile was a huge misfire, but it does a much better job in Backstab. You play Capt'n Henry Blake on a quest to avenge your wife's murder in this wall-scaling, city-traversing hack'n'slash. The story is told with in-game animation and some dreadfully campy dialogue, but for the most part it's fairly engaging.

For a mobile title, the graphics are pretty spectacular and the scope of the sandbox gameplay is huge, but the simplicity of the hand-to-hand combat gets repetitive quickly. If Gameloft had added a block/parry mechanic, the thrill and danger of the combat may have extended throughout the entire game.

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Crash Bandicoot

Free

The first official PSOne title, Crash Bandicoot, is exactly as we remember it. The controls are perfect for this kind of game and the frame rate is solid. We'd suggest you buy it, but you'll be getting this one for free with the phone.

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Aftermath XHD

AU$6.20

A great show of Android's graphic potentials, Aftermath pits you against hundreds of undead with only a torch (and an arsenal of military-grade hardware) at your disposal. The routine gets a bit repetitive after a couple of levels, but it's worth a look.

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Let's Golf 2

AU$6.60

We honestly didn't expect that a golf game on a mobile phone could be so much fun. Let's Golf 2 is exactly what you expect it to be, with a career mode and stacks of collectibles to keep you engaged.

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NOVA 2

AU$6.60

Imagine Halo minus Master Chief and you've got a pretty good idea of what to expect from NOVA 2. Gameloft excels at first-person shooter (FPS) games, and this space opera shooter is no exception.

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Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus

AU$6.60

Gameloft delivers an awesome first-person shooter experience for the small screen. Featuring all the facets you'd expect in a console title, Modern Combat 2 offers fun action sequences packed into a half-decent story.

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Age of Zombies

AU$2.99

Dinosaurs, zombies and mummies, oh my! Take control of Barry Steakfries as he plunges through time, battling a giant T-Rex and a decomposing Al Capone along the way. Great use of the Xperia Play controls, it's just a shame the game is so short.

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Real Football 2011

AU$6.60

If you like playing soccer games, we suggest you give Real Football a look. The game features heaps of tournaments to conquer and the ability to save your best replays. It's just a shame our attempts at LAN multiplayer failed to play without constant lag.

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Spider-Man Total Mayhem

AU$6.60

We came at Spider-Man with low expectation and were pleasantly surprised by the variety of spidery skills to play around with. The platforming gets a little repetitive after a while, but it's fun while it lasts.

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Reckless Racing

AU$4.74

Already a classic on the Android Market, Reckless Racing is easily one of our favourite mobile racing games thanks to its superb handling and flawless frame rate.

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Assassin's Creed

AU$6.60

Unlike the console titles that inspired this off-shoot, Assassin's Creed for Android trades the famous stealth elements of the original's for an uninteresting sidescrolling beat 'em up.

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Asphalt 6

AU$6.60

Racing sims are a dime a dozen on mobile platforms, mainly due to the fact that there has been five Asphalt titles before this one. Number six is the best thus far, with its fast racing bolstered by great game mechanics like drifting and a decent length career mode.

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Air Attack HD

AU$2.78

Old school fun with an injection of HD graphics, Air Attack delivers solidly on the well-worn tradition of horizontal-scrolling air combat arcade games, with plenty of fast-paced action and near misses.

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Bakery Story

Free

Those who loved the Diner Dash series will feel right at home with Bakery Story or its companions, Restaurant Story and Farm Story.

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Battle Bears

AU$1.89

Another FPS, but with a cheeky twist. Rather than warring against unnamed Middle Eastern forces or slimy UFOs, Battle Bears pits cuddly bears against cuddly bears. What it lacks in polish it makes up for with its wicked sense of humour.

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Bruce Lee

Free

Another of the titles you'll find pre-installed on your new Play, Bruce Lee is a 3D fighter more akin to older games such as Virtua Fighter than classics like Street Fighter.

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FIFA 10

Free

Of the football sims we've played on Android phones so far we like FIFA 10 the least. Graphically, it is on par with the others, but the gameplay feels less refined. Still, it's a freebie so you can see for yourself.

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Galaxy on Fire 2

AU$6.99

A curious thing happened while playing GoF2: we kept playing it until we finished it. This is strange given how slow and laborious the beginning of the game is and how even after those early stages you would never describe the game as action-packed. We got eight hours of gameplay out of this title, which is excellent for a smartphone game experience.

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Guerrilla Bob

AU$2.84

If you're looking for a game with a high level of polish to show off your awesome new phone, we recommend Guerrilla Bob. A twin-stick shooter, this game is as funny as it is fun.

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Guns'n'Glory

AU$1.36

One of the bazillion tower defence games available for Android, Guns'n'Glory didn't hold our attention for long, though we did appreciate the idea of hiring and firing mercenaries rather than building laser towers.

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InfeCCt

AU$1.36

InfeCCt is one of the few puzzle games in this list, but this is because most puzzle games don't need a D-pad and six control keys to play them. Nor does InfeCCt, though we did like its unique take on the classic "car park" brain bogglers.

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Millionaire City

Free

This Sim City-like game didn't do much for us, especially after dabbling in the high quality Gameloft HD titles. For a free-flowing city building game we felt hemmed in from the beginning.

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Splinter Cell: Conviction

AU$6.60

One of the few Gameloft titles we recommend you steer clear of, Splinter Cell is a fun-looking game held back by appalling controls. This is one of those games where you'll slide the gamepad away and go back to using the touchscreen.

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Star Battalion

Free

Something about Star Battalion reminds us of Star Fox, yet we don't think it is nearly as good. The game looks OK and the controls are good, yet ultimately it plays too slowly to be much fun.

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Super K.O. Boxing 2

Free

Annoyingly unresponsive controls turn an average boxing game into a stinker.

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Sims 3

Free

Whether you like the Sims series or not, EA Games has done a fantastic job delivering this complex title to mobile and has managed to make good use of the Xperia Play controller as well.

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Uno

AU$6.60

Uno didn't jump out at us like some of the more elaborate titles, but it is a fun game for a rainy day.

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Aporkalypse — Pigs of Doom

AU$1.36

A puzzler with pens full of pigs, Aporkalypse is let down by its drab graphics and for being too easy.

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