Time To Play
The N-Gage is first and foremost a game deck. The games are stored on MMC cards. For the time being, there are 9 of them: Moto GP, Pandemonium, Puyo Pop, Puzzle Bobble, Sonic N, Super Monkey Ball, Tomb Raider, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater and Virtua Tennis. You will have noticed that some of them (like Pandemonium and Tomb Raider) are entirely in 3D. The N-Gage is perfectly capable of running this kind of game and the result is impressive. Take a dive into the first episode of Tomb Raider and you'll find the illusion pretty complete. Nothing is missing: the grain of the stone in the cave, the vicious wolf, etc. Of course, the textures are not smoothed, but that is hardly important on a screen of this size.
The ergonomics of the directional key are excellent but there are too many buttons on the right side of the device. You often find yourself examining the pad to see which key you are using. The sound is all right, but much better when heard through the headset. And while we're on the subject, there is no sound control dial so you have to adjust it via the game settings.
Wireless Multiplayer Gaming
Nokia has not forgotten multiplayer gaming and uses Bluetooth, the most common system for phones. If a game is compatible (like Pandemonium or Moto GP), then you can play in multiplayer mode. This is easy to run, so when you select the option, the master deck scans the area to detect other decks and then displays them in a list.