Radiant: Cell Phone Gaming Gone Retro

Oh, cell phones...what can't they do? In addition to their telephone and text messaging duties, they also serve as a portable media player, a portable Internet browser, and a portable gaming system. I've used my cell phone for all of the other functions I just listed, but I never really caught on to the idea of using a cell phone to play video games. Of the handful that I've played, none of them were able to overcome the problem of having poor controllers. Cell phones weren't built primarily to play games, so naturally there aren't many buttons available to control whatever game you are playing.

Yet there is one game that I found that effectively utilizes my cell phone's limitations and provides a trip down nostalgia lane for those of us who remember when video game arcades were in every shopping mall and Atari ruled the world of home gaming consoles. The game is called Radiant, and it was produced by Hexage. Read on for my complete review.

In short, Radiant is what happens when classic arcade games such as Asteroids, Galaga and Space Invaders are combined into an addictive 2D top-down scrolling shooter that's tailor made for touchscreen cell phones. The game's plot is simple: You vaporize wave after wave of colorful alien ships as they fly in patterns across the screen, with occasional power-up purchases, asteroid fields and boss battles shaking things up to keep the game from getting repetitive. The graphics are colorful and smooth, and the touchscreen controls are very responsive and easy to understand.

You can choose from three levels of difficulty: Casual, Survival, and Hardcore. The Casual level is pretty easy and it allows you to save your progress so you can play through the entire game. The other two levels are for more dedicated players, with the advanced difficulty challenging you to figure out the best strategies (such as which power-ups to use and which alien ships to target first) that will get you the highest score and keep you alive for the longest amount of time. I originally thought that I would just stop after completing the Casual level since it allowed me to see the entire game. However, I've since found myself addicted and trying to make it through the other two levels of difficulty, in between watching an occasional movie or TV show on my cell phone.

Even though this game is light years ahead of the early hand-held video games and is easier to control than many other cell phone-based games, Radiant's neon pastel-colored heart belongs to the early 80s. If you find yourself suffering from arcade coin-op withdrawal, Radiant is the cure for you. Click here to learn more about Radiant and other cell phone games at the Hexage site.


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