Pocket Kingdom: Didn't fix the menus
Here's a review of Pocket Kingdom from Wireless Gaming Review which reflects much of what I saw when I playtested the app this past summer:
There's no real visceral satisfaction in besting your enemy, so you'll spend the lion's share of your time with Pocket Kingdom navigating the game's numerous and kind of sluggish menus. ... The fact of the matter is, in Pocket Kingdom, you will be spending a disproportionate amount of time navigating menus trying to manage your army rather than actually cutting a swath through the Map of Ulgress and climbing toward the number one spot. Considering that the N-Gage is fitted with a full 12-key pad and Pocket Kingdom makes use of only two keys, this seems like an obvious missed opportunity to streamline the interface with some kind of hotkey shortcut system, and, subsequently, the clumsy menu-based interface is one of the game's biggest weaknesses.
Yeah, that's what I thought when I playtested it, and I complained loudly about it (to the point they were like "yeah, we heard you"). In fact, the original published screen shots didn't even have a menu, so I figured they were still tweaking and improving them. Obviously not.
Hey - I was a developer, so I know how easy it is to criticize and how hard it is to get stuff like that right. But this was such an obvious flaw in the game, I can't believe the menu system stayed.