‘Jaws’ and ‘Jaws Revenge’ for iPhone

The iphone, and other similar devices that run apps, are seeing a bigger and faster growing market for games than any other gaming platform in history (don’t quote me on that fact, I made it up because it feels like it’s true). New games are being released every week, and dozens of knock-offs of the successful ones appear the next week (I gave ‘Vegetable Samurai’ a miss). They’re cheap and easily produced and cheaply distributed – it’s hardly surprisingly that the market is flooded. Picking out the gems among the sludge is a gamble, but with only 99c a hit it’s not a big loss it you pick the wrong one.

Anyway, enough rambling, here’s two games I downloaded this week: ‘Jaws’ and ‘Jaws Revenge’, both based on the awesome film.

‘Jaws’ puts you in the shoes of the Amity PD as they try and co-ordinate the attempts to rescue people caught in the killer animals path. Each level gives you a top down view of the surf and you start by directing swimmers to the shore and out of the sharks path whenever he appears. If the swimmers get tired by not reaching safety in time and or get too close to each other, it increases the frequency of Jaws’ attacks. As the levels progress you wind up directing swimmers, rescue boats and a rifle sights while keeping track of the shark, making it a complex and high tension version of ‘Flight Control’. The graphics are decent, controls responsive enough and the addition of the classic John Williams’ score building the suspense just before the shark appears adds a huge amount the experience.

On the flip side ‘Jaws Revenge’ puts you in control of the shark itself. You cruise along a horizontal axis chomping on everything in sight to maintain your energy and build points. The controls are as simple as pressing the screen to dive and releasing to jump and lunge. The shark seems to have lifted from the sequels and developed super-powers, as it’s now perfectly normal for Jaws to fling himself out of the water to snap planes out the sky. This is the extent of the gameplay, aside from the occasional hidden items. Dopey concept plus comical screams from your victims detracts from the action.

Both are fun, but ‘Jaws Revenge’ has very limited long-term value. One sit down with it and you’ll get the full experience. ‘Jaws’ is the better game, and gets addictive as you do your best to juggle all the elements trying to get 100% success rate. ‘Jaws’ is well worth grabbing while its free, whilst ‘Jaws Revenge’ can be passed on.