Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Flux Challenge mini-review

From the makers of Snails comes that greatest PDA games we have ever seen, at least graphically wise. Like Snails, the concept of PDAmill's Flux Challenge isn't that unique. It plays like F-Zero, Descent and WipeOut, but that is a good thing because I love WipeOut.

The game is a futuristic racer and have you racing in pod racers a couple of laps around these MagLev tunnel tracks. Just choose your pod racer and race. There are various difficulties and racing longer will allow you to unlock more pod racers (our of six ships) as well as tracks. Tracks also have various routes around which provides good replayability. Controls are either via stylus or d-pad. You may think the d-pad on Pocket PCs would prove hazardous but it actually works pretty well.

Polygon models are high, though still isn't as high as you would get in a PS1 game, but respectable none-the-less. Pixelated textures are visible but because the game relies on high speed you won't notice them. You certainly won't see something as visually pleasing and high candy as this on any mobile phone or portable games console like the GBA until the Sony PSP comes out. I have this game on my iPAQ h4150 and there are no slow downs to be experienced. Everything is fluid and the framerate is excellent.

PDAMill has always excelled in providing a good soundtrack on their games and The Flux Challenge is no exception. A mix of techno meet futuristic club music is evident in their portfolio and provides Flux Challenge a unique experience. It is mind blowing that PDAmill has managed to cram all of these with the graphics and a number of tracks into a 4.5MB file.

There are many games on the Pocket PC platform. There are plenty of awful games out there but there good stuff too like PDAmill's own Athelion, Inverse's Michael Schumacher Racing Kart and Hexacto's Soccer Addict and Tennis Addict. Flux Challenge however raise the bar in terms of providing excellent gameplay with great graphics. It is without a doubt the most compelling example of the production quality that Pocket PC games can achieve if you have a team of efficient coders.


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