Gaming goodies up for grabs and purchase in the Ovi Store

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New(ish) in Nokia's Ovi Store are a number of interesting free and commercial 'casual'/'traditional' games from Offscreen Technologies, available for both S60 5th Edition and new Symbian^3 phones from Nokia, including Freecell, (peg) Solitaire, Video Poker and Checkers. See below for screens, mini-reviews and links. And yes, full reviews of some of the big blockbuster 'HD' games are progressing in parallel, to be published over the next couple of weeks!

Checkers Touch

Unlike Offscreen's Chess game, Checkers includes a one player version, playing against the phone. I presume that this is because Checkers is a far simpler game to write a 'playing intelligence' for. The version here won't win a world championship but it's enough to get your grey matter working as you try to remember the strategies that worked for you when you were learning this as an eight year old...

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Checkers Touch in the Ovi Store

Solo Noble

This is the classic peg solitaire, where you have to jump one over the other, removing the one in the middle, working things such that only one peg remains. There's a timer going too, in case you simply want to beat your previous best score. As any peg solitairist (I'm sure that's the right term) will tell you, it's actually frustratingly hard to get down to one, never mind the score. Or maybe I've expended too many brain cells writing AAS editorials....

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Solo Noble in the Ovi Store

Freecell Touch

The famous card solitaire originally shipped with Windows, this is a full functioning touch interpretation, playing in landscape mode. The touch sensitivity is beautifully done and it's easy to enough to drag around specific sub-stacks of cards, in the hunt to find a workable deck-clearing solution. With tens of thousands of possible deals, this is a card solitaire that should give you fabulous amounts of brain-busting gameplay.


Freecell Touch in the Ovi Store

Bagatelle Touch

You'll probably be too young to remember Bagatelle, but think of it as pinball from the early 1900s.... Some wood, some nails and a few metal balls, all led to an addictive game, trying to beat your high score. And oh, the frustration when a ball gets bounced out of the 100 hole - again!

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Bagatelle Touch in the Ovi Store


Fridge Magnets 2

Here's a novel novelty - if you see what I mean. In this little app, you shuffle letter tiles on a virtual fridge - that is shared by the rest of the world, on the Internet. So you can see what they're assembling/writing and they can see what you're up to? Chaos, or a neat idea? The jury's out, but you can have a go anyway, it's free (again). We had lots of fun trying it from different rooms, stealing each other's letters...!


Fridge Magnets 2 in the Ovi Store


Video Poker Touch

There are few faster ways to watch your money disappearing in front of your eyes than playing this simulated video poker machine. It's a barely competent little game though, with no animating of the cards or money registers - this is very bare-bones. Still, it's titles like this that fund Offscreen producing all the freebies, so I'd still recommend it. Fair's fair etc. Mind you, Offscreen, if you're reading this, sort out a bit of pizzazz, please? We need Las Vegas here in the sun, not Margate in the winter....

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Video Poker Touch in the Ovi Store


PS. In addition to the Offscreen titles just mentioned, and along very similar lines - i.e. traditional and board games, note that Zingmagic's well respected stable of commercial board games are now all available officially in the Ovi Store for Symbian^3 phones. Including Reversi Pro II, Four in a Line Pro and Chess Pro II, screenshotted below. All recommended.

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In fact, add up the gameplay hours for all the titles mentioned in this piece and, well, basically, that's your life gone - and you still wouldn't have gotten to Angry Birds! 8-)

Steve Litchfield, AAS