Paperboy Is A Faithfully Frustrating Port of the Classic Game

iPhone
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Paperboy: Special Delivery

Publisher(s)  Glu Mobile
Developer(s)  Glu Mobile

Platform(s) Reviewed  iPhone • Genre(s)  Games • Arcade • Retro • Release Date  November 18, 2010 (Updated) • Version Reviewed  1.0.1 • Price (as reviewed)  $2.99

Pros    Faithful port of the classic game  •   Nice retro graphics    Cons    Frustratingly high difficulty curve  •   Joypad control scheme needs work

 

Paperboy. Who doesn’t have nostalgic feelings for this great arcade game? Well most people played it on their NES back in the 80’s. Pretty much everyone remembers the fun they had with it and how it represents a bygone era of simplistic yet unique games.

Very few people seem to remember exactly how many controllers were chucked against the wall in frustration over this game. I do. 3, including an NES Advantage joystick I had to replace thanks to Paperboy, as well as fix the dent in the wall that beast of a controller created.

Of course, many classic games have a reputation for being difficult, and now that we are seeing a resurgence of classic gaming on the iOS, we get to return to the controller-chucking days of yore. Alright, so maybe I was one of the few people that were obscenely terrible at Paperboy, but when I saw this app I had to give it a shot since hey, it’s Paperboy!

Special Delivery is an official Paperboy product that recreates the arcade and NES experience faithfully for better or worse. You ride your bike up the street, tossing papers into the mailboxes or onto the steps of subscribers while avoiding everyday pitfalls like rabid lawnmowers, hedges, basketball players, and break dancers. Of course the fun part of the game is chucking newspapers through the windows of non-subscribers who all tend to live in either spooky Gothic-styled houses with hearses in their driveways or houses hat would make Larry The Cable Guy feel at home. Apparently if you are a subscriber of the Daily Sun, you get to live the white picket fenced suburbanite American dream, however I am not positive if this is a requirement to become a subscriber or an effect this profound newspaper has on its readers. This was not explained during my time with the game. Of course, if you miss a delivery (or shatter a window or three) the subscribers unsubscribe the next day, since they evidently are a spoiled bunch of rich folks that take issue with receiving their paper covered in glass shards. If you run out of subscribers, the game ends.

There are two main modes in the game, Classic, which is the original arcade game we all know so well, where you start on Easy street and continue from there. Then there is Story, where you play through different neighborhoods one at a time. This is probably the most iDevice friendly mode you can get from this product. It saves your progress after each neighborhood so you can pick up and play whenever you need to, rather than playing for an extended period of time in one sitting.

Paperboy Special Delivery features two options for controlling your disaster-prone paper delivery child, both are decent but take some time to get used to. The default setting is “Tilt”, where you tilt your device forward to accelerate, back to stop and use two on screen arrows to turn left and right. Throwing papers is accomplished by tapping on the screen. The other setting is “Joypad” which is anything but a “Joy” to use. It isn’t even so much a joypad as it is a virtual joystick in the lower left corner of your screen. You use this to accelerate as well as turn, and again you simply tap on the screen to toss a newspaper at your unsuspecting victim valued customer. Try as I might, I could not get the hang of the joypad style controls. I kept feeling like I was doing it wrong and not ever going fast enough to avoid the random dangers in the world or slow enough to hit the mailboxes as I rode by.

The graphics and sounds effects have a nice retro charm to them, and Paperboy does feature Game Center integration with leaderboards and achievements, which if you have ready my other reviews is often a big deal to me. Unfortunately the game’s constant difficulty is hard to get around unless you are naturally great at Paperboy.

In Conclusion

If you absolutely love Paperboy, this is a must-have for your device, no questions asked. It offers a very solid version of the Paperboy you know so well. If you are on the fence and remember how frustrating the game used to be way back when, I have to say pass this one up. I really wanted to enjoy this game more than I did, I kept coming back to it thinking “if I could just get a little better…..” but found myself turning it off in frustration and desire to play something more casual.

Paperboy has always been a very subjective game that divides people into two clear segments: Those that love it and those that want to throw it down a flight of stairs. I always thought I was one of the ones that loved it, apparently I was wrong, as my wonderful wife reminded me that it might be difficult to replace my iPod when I was about to hurl it down our basement steps in anger.