Saturday Night Gamer: Rugby Nations 09

Saturday Night Gamer: Rugby Nations 09
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As part of our ongoing commitment to bringing you more and more Aussie content, say hello to the first installment of Saturday Night Gamer – a weekly post where I get to pretend to be a games reviewer review whatever game has tickled my fancy over the past week.

This week, the game of choice is Rugby Nations 09 for the iPhone. It’s a rather basic interpretation of the game they play in heaven: Rugby Union. Using the iPhone’s accelerometer and touchscreen, you can pass, sprint, kick and tackle your way through matches lasting three, five or eight minutes a half, playing as one of twelve different countries. You can either play a friendly match, partake in tournaments like the Tri-Nations, Six Nations or a perverted version of a World Cup, or practice your goal kicking in a dedicated side game.

If I were to really tell the truth, I’d have to admit that I enjoyed the game for about 20 minutes after I got the hang of the controls. Then it became a bit like Rugby League: incredibly formulaic and lacking interest. The gameplay focuses on your team passing the ball left or right, sprinting at the right time and tilting your iPhone to change the general direction. Actions like rucking, mauling and lineouts are completely overlooked – which is incredibly frustrating when you’ll lose the ball first phase, but take 7 phases to turn it back over to yourself. There’s no strategy between using your forwards or backs, and you’ll never knock the ball on, so there’s never any need for scrums or penalties. And the second the half ends, your player will kick the ball into touch, even if you’re about to score.

The different tournament options are interesting – except for the World Cup of course. Because there are only 12 teams in the game, it’s pretty much just win three games and you’ve won the tournament… But being able to rectify the terrible performances Australia put in their past couple of Tri-nations matches by playing against South Africa and New Zealandis satisfying, at least for Australian rugby fans.

The game looks decent enough for an iPhone game. It’s nowhere near PSP level graphics, but it runs without lagging and you can easily make out what’s going on. The control system does the job, even though you don’t actually need to do too much to win the game.

I’ve taken home every trophy on offer, and since that last trophy appeared on my shelf, I haven’t played the game again. For $6, I didn’t really expect a game that would offer endless fun, but I kind of hoped it would. Kinda like supporting the Wallabies these days, I guess…

If you have a game you think I should review for the next Saturday Night Gamer, email me at [email protected]
[Rugby Nations 09 (iTunes Link)]