Sequels notwithstanding, video games rarely look to their own past, as the opportunites afforded by the pace of technological change means that each game looks to be bigger, clearer, and more novel than the last. But the rise of the smartphone has taken games back in a way, as smartphone consumers, many of them not being video game addicts, are typically unwilling to shell out six bucks for a 300 megabyte game. Two games that have taken advantage of these limitations - nay, even revel in them - are Pix 'n' Love Rush and Squareball.
Pix 'n' Love Rush has four games to choose from: Classic Rush, Cursed Rush, Rainbow Rush, and On-Off Rush. Personally, the one I find most addictive is Cursed Rush
because the other Rushes require more brain co-ordination - Classic Rush has
four buttons (left, right, jump, and shoot), whereas with Cursed Rush you just
need to touch the screen to jump. On the other hand, the fact that the levels
are called Hard, Harder, Hardcore, Hardcorer, and Hardcorest doesn't exactly appeal to the gaming novice. Still, it's so visually appealing, with its absorption of the old arcade graphic style (the screen is not rectangular, your progress is measured to the second decimal point, there's a game of Pong being played in the background) that you don't mind frequently falling to your death. And I managed to get 100% on Hard and Harder! Which probably means they're not actually that hard, but still ...
A game that has even more simple graphics, and is more fiendishly evil in its difficulty, is SQUAREBALL. All you have to do is direct a 'squareball' around a maze, and by maze I mean an assortment of Pong-like blocks. Sound easy? Except that the freaking ball never stops moving, and given this you often have to anticipate your next move even as you are adjusting to your last one. Never have I winced so much, as time and time again I've just negotiated my ball through a difficult patch and thought it was in the clear only for me to unwittingly direct it into open space, or into a pit of lava (and by lava I mean a red block). Squareball requires so much concentration and precision that sometimes I'm almost afraid to breathe. If it wasn't just so darn cute and ironical I would have run from its pits of despair long ago.