PDA Games from Landware 

PDA games are big business and I see that Landware also have offerings for Smartphones. Here I am putting two games for Palm systems through their paces.

I first came across Landware some years ago as they produced a Palm keyboard that was far more useable than the one produced by Palm. Since then I have been sent their occasional newsletter, they now seem to major on software not only for Palm but also for Pocket PC and recently also Smartphones.


They have Wine and Hotel Guides as well as some business applications. Here I put two games through their paces a Pinball offering and perhaps the best Mah Jongg product available.


9-Ball Pinball

I tried this first and while it has most of the features of a Pinball game it seemed to me anyway to rely far to much on luck and not enough on skill. There are a range of Palm devices out there (not only those produced by Palm) and while I tried it on a Palm Zire machine I also ran it on a Tapwave Zodiac that is riding high in the ‘Stuff’ chart.


The screen is reasonable but if you think of a pinball table then the screen of a PDA is not the perfect shape. It should certainly enable you to while away the odd hour or three and should you use it in a train/bus/tube scenario please think of the other passengers and turn the sounds off.


Shanghai Pocket Essentials

This is great, I had my reservations about tile sizes on a small PDA screen but after a few games these have all but vanished. There are eight different tile sets and six different layouts apart from random and sequential so I make that 48 possible different games. There is also a free download of additional layouts and tiles. The stated information claims more than 100 options. But there is also an edit mode to enable you to decide which game (not all are possibly solvable) and the number of tiles this latter action can help make it easier.


There is a tile set called Calculate make up of pairs such as '4x6' and '=24'. This is a great version and perhaps the easiest to read. The other tile sets are Japanese, Egyptian, Fantasy, India, Kids Room, Outer Space and Prehistoric. I found the Egyptian the least readable (far too many hands) even when placing the PDA within about 20cm of my eyes. That tile set was just too much the same for me. Some layouts are harder and I mean hard, despite playing far too many games the ‘sorry you did not win this time’ message always seemed to be the winner. However it does not stop me trying again.


Both games are available for fourteen day downloadable free trial. The purchase price is $14.95 each with the current exchange rate that’s around £8. I would certainly recommend the Shanghai Pocket Essentials, I understand that with the Free download you also get sound so if your Palm has sound please do think of others.


The site is where you can find all the information not just on the Palm games above but also details of their offerings for Pocket PC and Smartphones. The smileys relate to Mah Jongg.  

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