This year's Tour de France is in full swing. Even as you read these words, riders from around the world are currently pedaling up impossibly steep mountains in the French countryside. Winning the coveted yellow jersey, or even the polka dot jersey (which goes to the best climber in the race), is truly an achievement.
Now, you--yes, you--have the chance to don the yellow jersey, without having to do all the work and training and sweating! Yes, thanks to the wonder of video games, which make experiences that are otherwise impossible to mere mortals like us, we can now travel from one end of France to the other in Tour de France 11: The Official Game (available now for the iPhone and iPad).
Is this game worth a download? Let's take a look at the pros and cons.
Developer Natural Motion boldly made a run at the Madden franchise last year with their underappreciated take on football. The game, titled Backbreaker (PS3 and 360; 505 Games; look for it in the bargain bin at your local game store), featured a realistic physics engine called Euphoria which resulted in some of the best tackles the Sports Gamer has ever seen. Unfortunately, without the coveted NFL license, which Madden's publisher EA Sports has a lock on, few gamers were willing to give the game a shot.
But buried within the mini-games section of Backbreaker, and also available on the iPhone (Backbreaker and Backbreaker 2: Vengeance), was a gaming experience that arguably captures more of the essence of the football experience better than Madden does in its entirety. I'm referring, of course, to Tackle Alley.
If you've played Tackle Alley on the iPhone or 360/PS3, then you have a good idea of what you're in for with Backbreaker: Vengeance (Xbox Live Arcade; $15). Once again, you take control of a ball carrier and attempt to traverse all 100 yards of the football field while tacklers attempt to take you down.