In 1995, games developer Shiny released a game in which you took on the role of an invertebrate. His name was Jim, he was an earthworm, and his debut into the gaming world won him a red carpet of critical acclaim.
His original Sega Mega Drive adventure -- aptly titled Earthworm Jim -- is now available as a download for iPhone and iPod touch for £2.99. Graphically it's identical to the original game. And it should be: these re-released classic titles on the iPhone are typically just the original game ROM files inside a software emulator.
But we digress. In the game you control Jim with virtual on-screen controls, leaping, whipping and plasma-gunning your way through New Junk City and its neighbouring vicinities. It's dead easy to get the hang of, though admittedly a touch harder with non-tactile buttons than those on Sonic the Hedgehog, as the only thing the little blue swine did was jump.
More fun though, are the Andy's Asteroids levels. In these, Jim rides his rocket-powered wotsit through some sort of wormhole (arf!) in a third-person perspective. But interestingly, to control it you tilt and rock the iPhone or iPod itself rather than fiddle with virtual buttons. It's the first time we've seen this in a game that uses software emulation, and it works really effectively.
It's a well-priced download for anyone who wants to relive a unique experience from gaming days gone by. The problem we have is the game is riddled with performance issues, at least on our older iPhone 3G. Dropped frames and laggy movement frequently mar an otherwise enjoyable experience.
For this reason, although it's still a fun game on the iPhone, it'll be more enjoyable when it's released on Xbox Live Arcade in the next few weeks. Check out our screenshots of the iPhone version over the page, or click here to visit the App Store to buy it.
This is the What The Heck? level.
One of the many Andy's Asteroids levels, which you control by tilting the iPhone.
Even the classic 'Groovy!' screens are intact, for when you successfully complete a level.