OmniMotion’s Sumo Pro – not to be confused with Sumo Paint Pro – takes the ancient Japanese sport of Sumo, and turns it into a challenging and frustrating game of battling balls. Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, the touchscreen interface allows you to use your fingertips to guide your Sumo around a circular arena perched precariously on top of a medieval tower. You have to avoid, outwit and finally defeat your slippery globular opponents by pushing them out of the arena and into oblivion, with a satisfying scream. The arena is surrounded by Druid-like standing stones that you have to smash out of the way in order to achieve your goal.
You learn the basics of Sumo Pro with a series of 30 tutorials in Sumo School before entering into combat with other Sumos who have the same level of powers you have. Then you progress to a variety of other opponents of differing skills and powers:
The Sumobots – elite almost unbeatable opponents with seemingly unmatchable speed, strength, weight and cunning. The Ninjas – small and quick but not as strong as some of the other opponents. They come at you in packs they’re are tough to overcome. The Clowns – nebulous and cloud like, and a lot more dangerous than they look. And a super-heavyweight opponent called The Daddy who’s a really tough customer to even budge. When you’ve worked your way through a few levels, and got the hang of shoving your opponents out of the arena, you can customise your fights and pit your wits against multiple opponents.
I played Sumo Pro on my iPhone 3G, while traveling on what would have been a very long and boring train journey. It passed the time perfectly, and I was arriving at my destination before I knew it. My only criticism is that sometimes I found the touchscreen interface to be a little slow and unresponsive. Also, I started to get some very strange looks from the little old lady sitting opposite me as I stroked and massaged the screen of my smartphone. At one point she actually looked a little afraid. I’ve got a feeling the game might play better on an iPad screen – a lot more room for your fingertips to create the kind of subtle dynamics that are required for the more advanced levels.
The physics of Sumo Pro are absolutely fascinating, and if you persevere with it, extremely addictive – it’s a bit like playing snooker or blow-football in slow motion with a couple of ten-pin bowling balls. Updates to Sumo Pro include a handy on-screen timer and a win counter to help you keep a track of what’s going on when you’re competing in two player mode.