Move over, Sonic. Earthworm Jim just made iPhone his new home.
Sonic the Hedgehog was one of the first Genesis games to appear on the iPhone, and now we have Earthworm Jim. This beloved 16-bit classic captivated audiences when it was first released in 1994, and now you can experience all the cow launching and crow blasting (or re-experience it) in the palm of your hand, courtesy of Gameloft. Except instead of simply porting the original to the iPhone, the developers re-mastered the graphics and audio. The result is a fun app that's worth the $4.99 asking price.
The game stars Jim, an everyday earthworm who comes in contact with a powerful suit that transforms him into a superhero. From there, you guide him through 16 2-D levels full of crows, dogs and other enemies, the goal to save Princess What's-Her-Name from the diabolical Psy-Crow and Queen Slug-for-a-Butt. You'll bounce on stacks of tires, launch a cow into the air and zip through space en route to the final battle.
Earthworm Jim plays almost exactly like the original game with two notable exceptions. First, you'll control Jim using a virtual d-pad or joystick, while performing three different actions (shoot, jump and head whipping) with buttons located on the right side of the screen. While not horrible per se, the game lacks the precision you'd enjoy with an actual plastic controller. That said, Gameloft did a great job, considering what it had to work with, and you should get the hang of things in a few minutes.
Second, you'll occasionally race Psy-Crow through tunnels. This is where the iPhone's motion sensing capabilities come into play, as you'll need to tilt the device in the desired direction to maneuver Jim to the finish line, making sure he doesn't smack into asteroids along the way, but don't worry. These controls are spot on.
As for the visuals, Earthworm Jim's never looked better. Gameloft ditched the jagged edges from the Genesis days in exchange for attractive environments and characters that really pop off the screen. This enhances the already smooth animations, giving the game a more cartoon style appearance.
The audio, however, is bound to upset Earthworm Jim fanatics. Gameloft remixed the music and gave Jim a new voice, for better or worse. Of course, if the music gets on your nerves, you can always opt for your iTunes play list.
Sure, it's old, but Earthworm Jim belongs on your iPhone. The impressive facelift, plus memorable characters and entertaining platform hopping make it a must have app, especially at $5.
What's Hot: Plays almost exactly like the Genesis version, humorous characters, enjoyable shooting, 16 different levels, well implemented motion controls.
What's Not: Jim's annoying voice, controls take some getting used to.