The worst console spin-offs on iPhone and iPad

Who said 'cynical money spinners'?

The worst console spin-offs on iPhone and iPad
| Borderlands Legends

There's little in the mobile games industry as depressing or infuriating as a bad console spin-off. It's an insult on so many levels.

For one thing, a sloppily executed spin-off exploits the good faith of fans of the original IP, who are looking to continue their positive experience while on the move.

On another level, a lazy spin-off often comes across as a slap in the face to fans of mobile gaming. Being fobbed off with a second-rate cash-in tells you exactly what the publisher thinks of your chosen pastime. It thinks you're an undiscerning second-class gaming citizen.

Before we get too hot and bothered about mobile-unfriendly game makers, though, we're going to vent in the general direction of five slabs of smartphone gaming mediocrity operating under the cover of a highly esteemed name.

Mass Effect Galaxy
By BioWare - Removed from the App Store

What would YOU do with one of the best-loved and most popular RPG series of recent times if you were thinking about porting it to iPhone?

Well, BioWare's answer was to make a third-rate top-down action game with dodgy tilt controls, and to then stick on some rudimentary dialogue choices.

In our review, we berated Mass Effect Galaxy's designers for the game's "complete lack of fun," and for their shunning of all the elements that made the host series such a success.

Borderlands Legends
By Gearbox Software - buy on iPhone or buy on iPad

The recently released Borderlands Legends has the dubious distinction of being the inspiration behind this piece.

It's difficult to reconcile the ambitious, imaginative, and vast open-world console Borderlands games with the stodgy squad strategy game we were served up on iOS.

The concept of taking command of the four protagonists from the original and engaging in a spot of real-time tactical play is a sound one - after all, open-world first-person shooters aren't really the iPhone's forte.

The execution's all wrong, though, and what we've been handed on iOS is an unresponsive, limited, and ugly facsimile of the original universe.

Lumines Touch Fusion
By Q Entertainment - buy on iPhone

Lumines Touch Fusion's failure is the least forgivable of all these console tie-in flops, even if it's probably not the worst game.

Why? Well, because block-dropping puzzlers can - and usually do - work so well on smartphones.

It had such brilliant source material to work from, too. Many view the original Lumines on PSP (it's even portable-ready!) as this generation's Tetris, mixing familiar colour-matching gameplay with a modern beat-matching mechanic.

A relatively stingy package and shoddy controls put paid to what should have been a classic on iPhone.

Katamari Amore
By Namco Bandai - buy on iPhone and iPad

The Katamari franchise is evidence that you can have too much of a good thing in video games.

Initially considered a charming and innovative breath of fresh air, its collect-everything gameplay and quirky sense of humour entertained many a gamer.

Eventually, though, the series deteriorated and Katamari rolled into the unfortunate realm of the cynical cash-in.

Katamari Amore is, arguably, the culmination of this sad decline, with its forced 'zany' humour, painful controls, and underpopulated, bland environments. There's little amore for the original franchise - or its fans - on show here.

Resident Evil Mercenaries VS.
By Capcom - buy on iPhone

The Resident Evil series is one of gaming's truly hot properties.

Even a string of underwhelming console games and a series of naff B movie tie-ins can't kill off the franchise's popularity among gamers of a certain age.

Even those loyal players who remember the majesty of Resident Evil 2 and 4 on console probably won't have much positive to say about Resident Evil Mercenaries VS., mind.

Shoddy 3D visuals, dodgy virtual controls, and unexciting gameplay make this a bit of a shuffling corpse.