Although it’s not the world’s best mobile gaming platform, there are lots of games available for the iPhone. There are lots of iterations and variations of the same games. Would you like to try something new? How about a game of badminton? It’ll give you an excuse to say “shuttlecock” without feeling silly. And, interestingly, there is only one badminton game on the App Store: Super Badminton 2010 from developer Rolocule.
It’s $5, and provides pretty good gameplay. You control your player with an on-screen D-pad or virtual joystick on the left of the display. You can toggle between D-pad and virtual joystick quickly and easily to find the control mechanism that works best for you (I preferred the D-pad). You serve and swing with two on-screen buttons on the right of the display: one for high and one for low. There’s a third on-screen button on the right for smashing, if you want to do that.
Obviously, you play while holding the iPhone in landscape mode. Tilting your phone will change the direction of your shot, giving you some real variability and strategy. It’s no Wii Table Tennis, but I found it reasonably pleasant to play. It took me a little to get a hang of the controls, but after that I enjoyed it. I didn’t try any of the tournaments, mostly because I’m more interested in casual time-killing gaming on my phone. If you’re the competitive sort, Super Badminton 2010 has three tournaments in which you can compete, with eight different players with different strengths and weaknesses.
One thing I particularly liked about this game is that it provides a progress meter for the start-up screen, so you have some indication of how long it’ll take. I’m tired of long-loading games that just sit silently at the start-up screen. Other nice bits include little badminton trivia displayed while loading a match (and who doesn’t want to be able to quote badminton trivia to their friends?), and one-touch controls to toggle the viewing angle in a match.
Interestingly, the folks at Rolocule also have the only squash game for iPhone.