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games with Steve Wollaston.

Byline: Steve Wollaston

THE JUMP (Android) ..... TV COMPANIES are starting to use the gaming world as a shrewd and powerful advertising tool more and more these days.

The opportunity to reach an extended audience and engage with the mass public in a different way is an obvious attraction for the brand.

Sometimes it has pitfalls though, even the most casual of gamers will not forgive a terrible product, even if it is free.

The Jump is a free offering from the makers of the TV show currently on our screens.

For all of the lack of any real innovation, it takes a tried and tested mobile success and delivers a fairly safe and friendly experience.

The 'how far can you get?' approach has worked well on many mobile games and this sees you flying through the air as a ski-jumper encountering behemoth jumps and obstacles.

The controls are very rudimentary which is fine, and it requires you to think fast or fall in a crumpled heap.

It has that all important 'one more play' feel and if I was cruel I would say it is probably far more enjoyable than the programme it is based on.

FINAL FANTASY EXPLORERS (Nintendo 3DS) ..... FINAL FANTASY fans will be rubbing their hands at the prospect of getting stuck into the vast RPG world on offer in Explorers.

There's a strong focus on co-operative play with friends, through the use of a refined party system that allows players to master over 20 jobs, each offering unique ways to defeat or even recruit the realm's mightiest monsters.

You have the ability to call upon the powers of eidolons - phantoms - like Ifrit and Bahamut, as well as to transform into legendary characters from the Final Fantasy series via the Trance ability.

The upgrade system attached to your quest success acts as a stronger draw to keep playing than the activities themselves, which will get repetitive over time.

But that sense of progression and associated new weaponry options alongside monsterfusion experimentation will ensure that those who long for new Final Fantasy experiences year-on-year will not be disappointed with this.

BADMINTON 3D (Android) ..... BADMINTON. It's not the first sport you would think of when making a computer game.

Understandable really, despite being a highly skillful and lightning quick sport, it falls short in the glamour stakes.

This was free in the Google Play store and on the recommended list so I decided to give it a go. I'm glad I did.

The title screen itself is pleasing purely because it gives you an indication of the different game modes and depth on offer.

You can participate in tournaments and a career mode and basically get as much into your racquet and shuttlecock action as you so desire.

The training mode eases you into things and teaches you the basics of placing, striking and serving.

After that it is very easy, just a case of smashing that shuttlecock for all its worth. What it lacks in sophistication, it delivers for simplicity and gameplay.

An enjoyable and responsive slice of sporting fun.

CAPTION(S):

| Tried and tested format... The Jump

| Co-op... Final Fantasy Explorers has a refined party system

| Sporting fun... Badminton 3D

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Feb 14, 2016
Words:533
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