When I first started blagging I wasn’t exactly ready for the storage space I’d need to hold the assortment of products that arrived. So far I’ve had to clear out 2 cupboards and a drawer and even then there’s an assortment of overflow on my desk, in my bathroom and in my kitchen. It’s with some relief then that Company of Heroes was a quick 2 minute download on to my phone, no fuss and no extra storage required. Ahhh.
My experience with mobile phone games in the past has been pretty terrible. I downloaded Pac Man only to found they’d removed all the sound effects that make the game great in the first place. I downloaded Prince of Persia, only to realise that mobile phone key-pads really aren’t designed for running, jumping and ducking. And last of all I found my latest phone filled with demos which took so long to load I’d lost any interest to play them by the time the first logo appeared.
Forgetting all those past experiences I loaded up Company of Heroes and was pleasantly surprised to find the game booted up almost instantly. Even better is the fact you can choose a ‘random battle’ option and be placed in a warzone within a couple of seconds. Once in the field you’re given command of a number of units such as riflemen and machine gunners and then you take it in turns with the computer to attempt to shoot the living daylights out of each other.
Sadly there’s a couple of little problems that become apparent within seconds of starting. First of all it’s incredibly hard to tell the difference between your little units, even when holding the phone right up to my face the only difference I can spot is a slightly different triangle for each unit. Thankfully when you hover over each unit you can find out their rank but when you have units spread all over a large map this can become a bit of a pain.
Another drawback is that when shooting an enemy there’s no instant feedback of just how much health you’ve lost, instead you have to scroll back to your unit and look at the colour of a cross next to their head. By comparison when it’s the computers turn the camera moves so quickly you can barely tell what’s happened, only a brief vibration will let you know you’ve been hit but even then you're unsure exactly which soldier has taken damage.
Aside from these niggles Company of Heroes is actually a fun little game to play. The controls are simple (select, move, select) and perfectly suited for any type of phone. In addition the turn based combat makes the game easy to pick up and put down and battles usually last about 10 minutes, perfect for a quick bus journey. There’s also a nice beefy campaign mode and even a random battle generator for when that becomes tiresome. So niggles or not there’s some goodness in here after all, it’s a step in the right direction for mobile phone games but with a few tweaks it could have been a real hero.
If this sounds like your sort of thing then Text “COH to 88188” to buy Company of Heroes for £4.50. It’s available from Vodafone, T-mobile, 3, O2 and all major networks (not that I can think of many others...)