After the surprisingly success and quality of Prophecy Advance, we began covering new space combat sims for other handheld game systems and mobile devices. Darxide EMP is another portable space sim designed for Pocket PCs and Nokia Series 60 phones. The game is built around colorful combat, but players must also earn resources to upgrade their ships and prepare for more intense scenarios. David Braben, one of the original creators of the space trading game Elite, also contributed to some of the game's design. The handheld version of this game is a remake and enhancement of the original DarXide released for the Sega 32X. Bits of story are presented via brief cutscenes with recorded voice talent. Controls were designed to be either left or right handed, and Pocket PC users can take advantage of touch screen functionality. Darxide EMP retails for approximately $6.99 and has received many positive reviews. Microsoft awarded it with the "Best Game on Pocket PC" recognition shortly after its release in 2003. The game is currently on version 1.78 with various bugfixes and additional levels.
We have put a lot of effort into game-play balancing to produce a well-pitched learning curve. To progress you need to continually upgrade your ship with pick-ups. In addition to the 'quick fix' of destroying things, there is a variety of different, well structured, increasingly challenging mission criteria which mean that thought is required as you progress - enemies have different weaknesses and attack modes, and need different strategies to overcome them. Later on in the game you also have to manage resources - for example as lasers get more powerful they deplete your energy quicker, requiring you to hunt energy crystals.