We're stumped if we can think of a reason NOT to get excited about the cricket World Cup, which began last week. We're bowled over by England's prospects. It's enough to make us feel quite batty. And... okay, we've run out of cricketing puns. For the moment.
But anyway, the cricketing world has decamped to the West Indies for the World Cup, where 16 of the world's best teams are slugging it out for one-day supremacy.
There's also a decent fight developing between mobile cricket games, with seasoned campaigners Michael Vaughan Cricket 06/07 and Freddie Flintoff All Round Cricket duking it out with feisty newcomer Brian Lara International Cricket 2007.
Gameloft is the latest publisher to pad up for battle, having signed up England all-rounder Kevin Pietersen. His game features all 16 World Cup nations, although unfortunately KP appears to be the only player sporting his real name.
In terms of the format, it follows a template reminiscent of Player One's Michael Vaughan games, offering a choice between an Exhibition match, a series of Challenges, and a full-blown tournament. The latter is a purely knock-out competition, rather than mirroring exactly the World Cup's structure.
Into the actual game, and it displays all the polish you'd expect from other sporty Gameloft titles, like Real Football 2007 or Tennis Open 2007. In fact, the viewpoint and visuals while fielding do remind you of both those games.
Another neat feature is the way there are two ways to bat. Auto Hitting just asks you to hit '5' at the right time to hit a ball, with the mobile deciding what shot you play. You can also press '2' for a back-foot defence or '8' for a front-foot defence. Meanwhile, Manual Hitting gets you to choose your shots, with each key on the keypad corresponding to a different shot (e.g. '3' is a hook, while '7' is a cover drive).
Bowling, in contrast, just has one method, with you setting the line and length, then the turn, and finally the speed. It's not hard to get to grips with, with a welcome element of complexity provided by the changing size of the bounce marker used to determine line and length – set it when it's small, and your ball will be more accurate.
Fielding is just a case of holding down '5' to reach and then throw the ball back, while you also control running between the wickets when batting, again with '5' to start a run.
All pretty straightforward on paper. Kevin Pietersen Pro Cricket 2007 should be great, then. But it's not.
Even in the one-button Auto Hitting mode, getting your timing right to hit a perfect shot feels too much like a lottery. In theory, messages telling you you're too early or too late should help you learn, but too often they seem random or just plain wrong to us.
You might think this is a polite way of saying we got thumped by Scotland while playing as Australia, and we're looking for excuses. But seriously, the direct comparison is with Michael Vaughan Cricket 06/07, where it's much more intuitive to develop your batting skills and you feel like you're in control of your shots.
Manual Hitting gives you more control, and the game pops up a message before balls telling you what key does what shot. But the fact it has to do this is surely a sign that the controls are too complex. The bowling is easier, but again, we didn't feel a strong sense of control.
Kevin Pietersen Pro Cricket 2007 does get better the more you play it and we certainly wouldn't suggest it's a bad game. But with three fine mobile cricket games already available, it doesn't bring much new to the table (except KP for his die-hard fans) and isn't as fun to play as any one of them.