Brian Lara International Cricket 2007

With England having inexplicably remembered how to bat, bowl and field during the recent Commonwealth Bank Series trophy, people are starting to talk up the team's chances in the upcoming World Cup.

Experience has taught us to stay pessimistic: to be honest, we'll be satisfied if England manage to avoid a humiliating defeat at the hands of Canada or Kenya. Even so, we'll probably get our hopes up when and if the team make it to the Super Eight stage of the tournament.

There'll certainly be a strong bunch of mobile cricket games looking to capitalise. Player One has already released the impressive Michael Vaughan Cricket 06/07 and the knockabout Freddie Flintoff All Round Cricket, while Gameloft is about to unleash Kevin Pietersen Pro Cricket 2007 (we're surprised they didn't take the obvious alternative of Shane Warne's Sexy Text Messaging...)

Now Glu is also entering the fray, with its official Brian Lara game. It might look familiar though – and weirdly, it's been made by the same developer as Player One's Michael Vaughan game: Distinctive Developments.

It's fair to say that the two titles are very similar, although enough has been added to the new Glu game to fend off any accusations of cheeky reskinning.

The basic structure and game modes are similar to Michael Vaughan Cricket 06/07, so you can play challenges, one-off matches, or a full tournament.

Challenges are set tasks for batting or bowling, with examples being 'Hit 36 runs to win the match with just six overs to go', or 'Bowl two people out before they hit the six runs they need to win'.

Match mode lets you pair up any of the World Cup teams, including the big guns, but also minnows like Bermuda, Ireland and Scotland. Meanwhile, Tournament mode throws them all into a knock-out competition.

Sadly, player names haven't been licensed beyond the game's star, so it's hello to Stroos, Flantiff, Harmistun and Peitarsin in the England side, which is a bit annoying. A more welcome inclusion is a Training Nets mode, enabling you to practice your shots. In a game where timing is so important, it's a useful feature.

Once on the pitch, making shots is a case of shifting the batsman right and left, before choosing the right shot using a directional button at the right time. You control the running between the wickets too, allowing you to steal cheeky singles if you haven't clouted a boundary.

Bowling is a case of moving a circle to set length and line, before setting the power bar to decide how fast the bowl will be, and using a directional button to choose between different types (for example, offcutters or legcutters for a fast bowler, or offspin, topspin, armballs and googlies for spin bowlers).

As for fielding, a gauge pops up when the ball is near your fielder. You have to hit '5' in the centre to make a good catch or throw.

The controls have been given a revamp since the Michael Vaughan game, and while the new things (the fielding gauge and the bowling power bar) feel a bit fiddly at first, you soon get used to them.

Brian Lara International Cricket 2007 isn't a merry slogfest, by any stretch of the imagination. You need good timing, and only trial and error will teach you what the best shots are for different types of balls. In other words, don't be surprised if you struggle at first: It doesn't take long to start constructing innings almost as slick as Brian himself.

Other new stuff for cricket nerds: the game features TV-style Hawk-Eye replays calculating the path of the ball in LBW decisions and the like. To be honest, it feels like a gimmick, adding little to the excellent gameplay.

Finally, pitches can be normal, green, hard, crumbling, dry, damp or sticky – which will alter your bowling tactics – while bowler skill ratings and a variety of field placements gives good tactical depth.

The latter aren't new – they'll be familiar to anyone who's played Michael Vaughan Cricket 06/07. It's also true that Brian Lara doesn't really feature much in Glu's game, certainly not compared to the role Vaughan played in Player One's version. The latter game also has the advantage of real player names for England, which could be important come the World Cup.

Brian Lara International Cricket 2007 looks good, and it sounds good too, with sampled cheers and thunks when you hit the ball. It's very similar to Michael Vaughan Cricket 06/07, but that's a huge compliment. And there's enough changes to make it worth buying if you've yet to try mobile cricket.

Brian Lara International Cricket 2007

The lack of licensed player names will grate, but otherwise it adds just enough to Distinctive's last mobile cricket game to hit another great 6
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