APP OF THE DAY: Justin Smith's Realistic Summer Sports Simulator review (iPad / iPhone / iPod touch / Android)
So it's almost over, and the Great Britain medal count is looking very healthy indeed. But enough about the annual drink as much as you can and then vomit into a shoe-athon, we're not doing too badly at the home soil Olympic Games either.
So, in order to eke as much as we can out of the current wave of London 2012 hysteria before everybody starts whinging about Olympic road lanes again, here's our current favourite OG-themed app. And it's a doozy...
Justin Smith's Realistic Summer Sports Simulator
- iPad (version tested), iPhone, iPod touch, Android
- 69p (iOS), 64p (Android)
- iTunes, Google Play
Justin Smith is the genius programmer behind Enviro-Bear, the classic App from 2010, which is either utterly brilliant and hilarious or tragic depending on which way you look at it - perhaps both, if we're being fair. Its cunning blend of 8-bit Atari VCS-style graphics and staggeringly simple gameplay had us all hooked back then.
Now he's turned his hand to something more topical, with his Realistic Summer Sports Simulator, which looks very much like button mashers of old but actually serves up something of a surprise.
Unlike a few of the Track & Field and Daley Thompson's Decathlon-inspired games on the app stores at the moment - including the official London 2012 effort - there are no buttons to mash on Smith's variety of Olympicsesque events. Instead, all the controls are touch-related and quite, quite bonkers.
There are 15 events in all, from 100M Dash to Equestrian, and each can be played either individually in practice mode or through a grueling multiple-event Games mode. It's worth opting for the latter no matter what because, first, the events are so mental in their approach, you needn't practice first; and second, the opening ceremony animation is a stroke of brilliance that's worth watching many times.
Then it's on to the events themselves. They often defy explanation, and get little, but most play in the same way. On just about every sport you have to pull along an athlete or their equipment using a springy rope, this will determine how fast, high or otherwise they travel. There's a power meter at the top that wears down the longer you use the rope/elastic and, er, that's about it.
Simple it may sound (and looks are basic) but there's plenty of gameplay in Justin Smith's Realistic Sports Simulator. To do well is extremely tough, requiring a mixture of timing, trial and error and sheer luck. You'll find yourself striving to do a bit better each time. And during the Games mode, there's no second chances.
For example, the Weight Lifting event needs you to spring the barred weights on to your 8-bit fellow, who's standing at the top of some wobbly steps. If he falls off, you lose. In fact, we haven't registered a single score on that particular sport in the game.
RSSS won't be for everyone, and some might find it funny initially and then tire of it. Thankfully though, Smith has recently taken it off a freemium in-app purchase model (where you had to buy most of the events as a separate pack) to a 69p all-in one (64p on Android). We can think of fart sound boards that cost the same and you'll get far, far more fun out of this.