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With all the buzz surrounding the Summer Olympic games, which are now well underway, we're totally stoked for all of the friendly competition among international athletes playing out in London. For those who aren't content to be mere armchair spectators glued to your TV, iOS devices, or web browsers, the London 2012 Official Mobile Game puts a little taste of the Olympic action at your fingertips. Unfortunately, a few loose screws rattling around underneath the buoyant presentation make this official game a rather embarrassing affair at times.
Creating a custom athlete -- complete with RPG-like ability stats that level up as you train -- gets things off to a promising start, and London 2012 lets your virtual Olympian complete in nine different events, ranging from the 100 meter dash and hurdles to kayaking and archery. Event mini-games vary in terms of the fun and mileage you'll squeeze out of them, but they do a good job of capturing the grand spectacle of the Olympics.
The sense of progression that comes with amassing stat-boosting experience and accruing medals for your collection is satisfying enough to push you into playing some of the less entertaining activities many more times than you'd expect. Performing well also earns you star coins, which are spent on unlocking more events, buying items to improve your character's stats, and accessing bonus content. These addictive elements balance out some of London 2012's rougher edges.
A reliance on poorly implemented default tilt-sensing controls makes playing many of the mini-games an awkward task at first, but things improve slightly when you switch them off in the options menu. Hiccups in the audio and visual animations that pop up at regular intervals outside of gameplay also detract from the goofy charm of these Olympic events.
The bottom line. With patience, the London 2012 Official Mobile Game has the potential to be an entertaining companion experience to watching the games, if you can look beyond its control and presentation quirks.
iPhone 4 and iPad 2 running iOS 4.0 or later
Addictive progression system. Fun character customization.
Wonky tilt controls. Audio/visual hiccups. Not all events are that fun.