Developer: Glu Games
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Returning to games of the past is frequently quite fun. It’s also frequently quite disappointing once you learn that your memories were rose tinted and not really true to life. This is the case in places with Paperboy: Special Delivery. It’s good old, traditional Paperboy at its heart but an uncomfortable control system and expensive asking price belies what could have been a lot of fun.

Paperboy: Special Delivery looks fantastic. It’s still got that retro feel about it but the graphics look like a cartoon now which fits into the style perfectly. Besides offering the classic mode that we all know and love, there’s the addition of a story mode. Story mode offers more variety to proceedings with 20 different levels as well as unlockable abilities for your paperboy. While some levels stick to the traditional ‘deliver x number of papers’, others require you to beat a time limit or cause a certain amount of damage on your route. It mixes things up a bit and keeps you that bit more interested in the game. Plus for short bursts, you can always switch back to the classic mode. Game Center support has also been added so you can compare highscores with your friends. Annoyingly though, I found that my copy refused to clear the ‘Welcome back’ message courtesy of Game Center which was irritating. There are also no achievements which is a real shame.

The true annoyance here though is the control system. Paperboy: Special Delivery offers three different control methods.  Feeling much like the gaming equivalent of Goldilocks, each have their good points and their bad points. There’s a virtual joystick but it feels too jerky and inaccurate, tilt controls suffer a similar fate although at least it feels more fun to control that way. The best method I found was the buttons as you can then tap to move left or right and tilt upwards and downwards to control speed. It’s not perfect though as the tilt controls are very sensitive and you still have to lift a finger to toss a paper.

It’s a shame that the controls are so awkward as the game is quite fun once you adjust. The story mode makes for a bit more variety than just the typical Paperboy gameplay and the appearance of the game is excellent. There’s not much to do once you complete the game though. For $4.99, it just feels a bit overpriced for all but the avid Paperboy fan.

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