As you all know Japanese mobile phones are years ahead of the west but do you know how much ahead? Well, lets just say that they are good enough for games that I don't need to look like an otaku playing a DS or PSP on the train. Yep, mobile phones can produce graphics just as good if not sometimes better than the Saturn and PSX. Just take a look at some of my current fave games that only cost 535 yen each. The pictures shown below are taken direct from the phone using the TV out. The images are stretched to make them bigger which results in the crappy quality. These images don't do any of the games justice.
E - RACER
This futuristic racer is probably best described as a cross between F-Zero on the N64 and wipeout. There are many modes of play and options galore which isn't common for a mobile phone game. The game even has 3D quality levels being low, normal and high. there determine how far the draw distance is. On my phone all 3 run at a very smooth 30fps but I guess older phones need to use the low draw distance option which to be honest still looks shit hot and better than anything seen on the Nintendo DS so far.
Playability wise this is a great title ! So easy to get in to with all buttons laid out pretty well on the number pad. The D-Pad is for movement while back on the D-Pad or the number 8 button controls the brake (acceleration is automatic) Push up on the D-Pad to fire your weapons. The 0 button is the camera view.
E- Racer is a very sleek and challenging racer that EVERY racing fan should own !
BURNING FORTRESS - Will be shown on Retro Core 14
Ever wondered what it would be like to play a full on 2.5D shooter on a hand held? Well here's your chance. The images really don't do this game any justice at all. The whole game runs pretty smooth unless it's packed full of bullets and I'm talking maze type formations here !! But at that time you'll be thankful for the slowdown. Tones of graphical effects such as transparencies and so on as well as EVERY ship in the game being really 3D polygon generated. Just take a look at the intro boss ship ! The detail on that is amazing yet runs super smooth. With 6 levels you'd expect Burning Fortress to last a while but sadly those unlimited continues will have you finishing it in a day. Still some great tunes and sound effect there.
KASHIRA MOJI D - INITIAL D - Shown on Retro Core 9
One of the first 3D games I got for my phone in February 2005. Back then I thought it was the best thing ever but these days it does look a bit sad. The screen size is pretty small and textures are a bit limited but still it moves at a nice 25fps. The controls are too sensitive at times though making cornering quite a task at first. Modes of play include battle mode, training and replay modes.
GUNDAM 3D BATTLE IN SPACE Shown on Retro Core 12
Made by the same company that made Burning Fortress, Gundam Battle in Space is a very nice addition to the mobile phone games catalogue. Basically you get in to your Mobile Suit and head off in to space to kick arse ! Graphics are very nice with some very impressive shading and lighting. At times when there are a few battle cursers on the screen blowing up the action will slowdown with the frame rate dropping pretty low but for the most part everything runs along very smoothly. Some great presentation here too with nice cut scenes between each level. My only grumble is that some of the levels go on for too long. Still, its going to keep you going for quite some time. Once you complete the game you can then choose between 4 different robots :)
VALIS Shown on Retro Core 10
I always thought that there would never be a solid action platformer for my phone but was I sure proven wrong when this game along. The game is full of scaling, rotation, sprite distortion and transparencies but of course they don't make the game fun to play. Thankfully this game is a dream. Very smooth and fast. Controls are easy to use surprisingly with either the D-Pad or number key buttons used for swinging your sword or magic.
Throughout the levels you can pick up power ups and new costumes. There are 5 in total that I've found (4 shown below) plus you can buy more on line such as a nurses outfit. A total of 8 levels (form what I remember) with enough variety to keep you coming back for more. Far more impressive than the early 16 bit Valis games !