Developer: Home Entertainment Suppliers Pty.Ltd.
Price: $5.99
Version Reviewed: 1.3
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Much like soccer, rugby is a sport that has a level of popularity and public knowledge that isn’t necessarily reflected in North America. That said, the activity has been growing by leaps and bounds stateside, so it was only a matter of time before it made the jump to our iOS devices. One such title vying for the attention of the niche American Rugby audience is the recently released Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge: Gold Edition. Does this simulation live up to its shiny moniker, or does it tarnish Lomu’s good name instead?

IMG_0133For those that are unfamiliar with the sport of Rugby, right out of the gate it is worth mentioning that this game is probably not for them. There is no formal explanation of the rules or tutorials, short of a button explanation buried in one of the option menus. Fortunately the sport is fairly straightforward to grasp, but only after losing a couple of matches first. Aside from the traditional quick match, there is also the option to manage a team or even compete in tournaments.

The action on the field is very fast-moving and fluid, despite being held back by a rather crowded collection of “move” buttons. When as many as six different face buttons are mapped in the right corner of the screen, it is confusing enough. Lord help the poor soul attempting to play this on iPhone. However, once the learning curve is out of the way things are not only fun; it is downright thrilling. Just be ready to run for dear life – A LOT.

IMG_0131The area where the game struggles most is in the visual presentation itself. Simply put, it is ugly. Like original PlayStation-era ugly. Granted, the action is zoomed out far enough that it is hard to tell players have no actual faces, but still, the level of presentation should be a much higher. Especially when the price tag is a beefy $5.99.

Sometimes quantity is just as important as quality, and Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge: Gold Edition offers up countless options to help scratch that rugby itch. It may not be perfect, but it is a decent starting point for the budding iOS franchise moving forward.


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