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Paperboy: Special Delivery
by James Valaitis on Saturday 27th Nov 2010

Just look at his stupid face

I never played the original paperboy; as a 17 year old, I know no-one who actually did. However, I know what makes a bad game, and this app manages to implement each of its features badly enough to make it clear to even the most ignorant of people that this is not worth money.

The higher you regard the original, the more reason you have not to ever play this game. Glu Mobile has attempted to take an arcade classic and pull on your heartstrings to sell a few copies. In the 80’s I’m sure the isometric camera was fine, however, in today’s world it’s awful. What I don’t understand is how in the 80’s the idea of being a paperboy was fun, because to be honest it sounds boring as hell, and it is.


First thing you’ll notice when booting the app up is the awful sound. With a repetitive main menu tune and no selection noise my first impressions of the game were anything but good. What’s worse is the in-game music, which is some sort of stupid drumbeat, which only ever succeeded in annoying me to the point where I had to go into the settings and turn the music off. Fortunately Glu Mobile were canny enough to know their music sucked and so included the ability to play your own music.

Unfortunately it doesn’t get any better from there, the default controls are a ridiculous combination of both touch-screen steering, and tilting. The tilting I don’t actually think works; I found myself tilting my iPod Touch to the point where I couldn’t even see the screen anymore, and I still noticed no discernable difference in the speed my paperboy was cycling. Once again, Glu Mobile must have known the controls were awkward to the point of dysfunctional, and so included the option for joystick controls, but even then the management of the paperboy is made ridiculous due to poor presentation as to what you’re about to bump into. This is where the isometric camera comes into play, because acknowledging what’s in front of you is made nigh on impossible and resulted in me losing my three lives in a matter of seconds the first time I played.


However, to get to the point of playing, you would have had to choose between ‘Story Mode’ and ‘Classic Mode’. Calling it ‘Story Mode’ is laughable; if having a stupid child pop up in the bottom of the screen muttering something irrelevant and poorly written is classed a story, then consider me the next Shakespeare, because I could do a million times better. Story Mode, as I’m loathed to call it, involves two game modes, which I have had to name myself: normal delivery and timed deliveries. The difference between the two being a timer, and that is honestly it.  Classic mode is the only mode that features a difficulty setting, and basically all you have to know is that the harder you set it, the more obstacles there will be. Other than that, it’s no different to ‘Story Mode’.

In all seriousness, the aim of the game is to throw papers at subscribes houses, and to throw papers at unsubscribed houses, but in a manner which damages the house. This would be a bit of fun for a free app if it had been possible, however, avoiding the obstacles to actually deliver the papers is made so difficult, and just to check it wasn’t due to a lack of skill on my part, I did give it to all three of my brothers, and they all failed miserably.

Such a shame that they couldn’t have done something with Paperboy, because all they have done is taken a game from the 80’s, tried to put it on your iPhone and they’ve created a disappointingly awful throw away experience. This is one delivery I’d be happy to miss.


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  • Sound: 4
  • Graphics: 5
  • Gameplay: 4
  • Longevity: 6



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