Tron 2.0: Discs of Tron, Lavastorm's latest foray into the neon-bright realm of anthropomorphized computer programs and glowing bodysuits, is about a month away from hitting your handset. I'm happy to report that it won't disappoint mobile action gamers--even those who think that original Tron film stock should have been burned in a trash barrel.
I'm not entirely sure that the first-person shooter is really a genre that is appropriate for mobile, but Lavastorm is a developer that's never been willing to take "no" for an answer. As Discs point man Jason Loia recently explained to me, "The directive behind this game design was simple: Make a fast-paced, one-hand shooter that keeps the player constantly tapping the keypad for survival. Per that directive, we chose to keep the level design simple and intuitive, while preserving the look and feel of the PC game. We designed the controls around a simple one-hand D pad control--Move Left, Move Right, Shoot, Block." Risky business, thought I.
Well, guess what--risky it may be, but this design philosophy works peachy keen. It's great fun to float around the fractal-rendered environment, blasting baddies off of their Frisbees with a supercharged discus. The controls are a cinch to pick up, and a few clever gameplay wrinkles add a lot to an otherwise absurdly simple premise. For example, your enemies bob up and down at irregular intervals, meaning you must wait for them to drift onto the same vertical level before blasting them; they, on the other hand, can get you from above or below, which gives the AI a big advantage. Another interesting little feature is your ability to reflect enemy discs with your own tosses. I found this method of protection to be much more useful than the standard block, which is automatically held for what seems like an eternity and disallows lateral movement. There are power ups and bosses to be dealt with as well, though they hardly warrant mention.
Discs' characters are really nicely drawn, and I was also impressed by their relatively fluid animation. Though it may not be the most intellectually stimulating game you'll ever play, it seems to me that Lavastorm's got a pretty nifty little sequel to Tron 2.0: Light Cycles on their hands. We'll have to wait for the final release version to boot up to say for sure.