Game Reviews

Paperboy: Special Delivery

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Paperboy: Special Delivery

If Paperboy: Special Delivery has a purpose, it's to stand as damning evidence of how times have changed.

It seems rather quaint now, but when Atari's original Paperboy made its debut in arcades across the globe in 1984, it courted a certain amount of controversy.

No doubt too close to the truth for comfort, the idea of paperboys using their deliveries as weapons – smashing up the properties of those subscribed to their round – didn't sit too well with the middle classes.

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Of course, from a 2011 perspective, Paperboy – both in its original form, which Elite brought to mobile back in 2005, and in its adjusted form here – is a tame prospect. The intervening years have sapped away all the flap and fracas, stripping the game naked.

In its newly exposed form, one fact shines through: Paperboy is average.

Glu's Special Delivery doesn't stray far from the original formula – a new Story mode, to its detriment, simply repacking the same setup – with the idea being to cycle through street after street flinging papers at the mats and post boxes of houses on your list, and using them to smash in the windows and bins of those that aren't.

As you ride down each isometrically viewed road there are objects aplenty to avoid and, depending on the stage in question, a clock to race against.

There's also the prospect of running out of papers if your aim is out of whack. Failing to make the required number of deliveries or losing all three lives by crashing out time and again brings about a swift restart.

No control

But, even though Paperboy: Special Delivery feels run-of-the-mill almost 30 years on, its biggest problem is that controlling a boy on a bike just doesn't work on a mobile keypad.

The game's levels require a surprisingly delicate touch, switching between speeds and twisting and turning your way down each path, but too often your approach will look clumsy, simply because your fingers and thumbs have got into an almighty mess with your phone's number keys.

It all leaves Paperboy: Special Delivery feeling like a relic without a cause, delivering a batch of tired levels printed on soggy paper.

Paperboy: Special Delivery

Sadly looking tired and tame in its old age, Paperboy: Special Delivery brings nothing new of note to a franchise that would be better suited to a display in the museum
Keith Andrew
Keith Andrew
With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font. He's also Pocket Gamer's resident football gaming expert and, thanks to his work on, monitors the market share of all mobile OSes on a daily basis.