Playing Sopwith on the N900

Despite my involvement with Mario Marathon, I’m not much of a gamer.  I have more toes than I do games for my Wii, and only a few more (purchased) titles for my computers.  However, I’ve found that my phone gets the most gaming time simply because it is portable and I can play while I’m on the bus, waiting in line, etc.  The game that has been receiving the bulk of my attention these days is Sopwith.

Sopwith is a simple 2-D game where you must fly your biplane and destroy enemy buildings.  It has been ported to the Maemo platform by Mikko Vartiainen and can be installed from the Maemo Extras repository.  I had never played Sopwith before discovering this version, but my understanding is that it is very true to the original (it helps that the code was re-licensed under the GPL a few years ago) with the exception of a lack of sound.  The presence of missiles seems to be a relatively new and anachronistic feature that I can’t help but use. I never claimed to be good at the game.

Gameplay itself is quite addictive, and fortunately very simple — there are a total of 10 keys you might need to use, and I find myself only using six with any regularity.  The one disadvantage is that all of the keys are on the bottom row of the N900 keyboard, and I’ve found myself hitting the wrong key in the heat of battle. That usually ends up with a dead me.

Since Sopwith was originally written as a showcase for the “imaginet” network system, it makes sense that the Maemo version of Sopwith also has support for network games.  Unfortunately, since I’m the only person I know with an N900, I can’t test that aspect of it.  I imagine it would be fun, especially if you’re in the same room and and trade sharply-pointed barbs.

For those worried about it growing stale, there are several levels.  In the novice mode, there are at least three levels that get progressively more difficult.  I’ve nearly made it past the third level, but not quite.  In expert mode there’s at least one level, and you don’t get unlimited ammunition or automatic throttling.  There’s also an option for playing against a computer opponent, which appears to play in expert mode as well.

Sopwith clearly isn’t a sufficient reason to buy a Maemo device (if it is, then please send me some of your vast amounts of disposable income), but it is a great game to have installed for times when you need to kill a few minutes (and enemies).