Archive for the ‘iphone review’ tag
Posted on 26th Jun 2011 at 10:44 by David Hing with 9 comments
Back when mobile phones were still thought of as a new idea, Nokia's 3210 was highly sought after in many circles for its built in version of the highly addictive game Snake. Fast forward a decade, and Hard Lines is attempting to be a worthy successor to that classic title.
The mechanics of Hard Lines are simple. With simple directional strokes of your finger, you steer a line around the screen towards randomly spawning markers, accruing points while avoiding other lines that enter from the sides of the screen.
Slick and neatly designed, Hard Lines is clearly influenced by the Light Cycles from Tron, yet it doesn't limit itself to that one style of play; there are several variations. In some modes, you gain points by getting opposing lines to crash into you or the walls; in others you race against the clock, or just try to last for as long as possible. There are also some good bonuses, such as the occasional power up that enables you to crash through any other competing lines without killing yourself.
Posted on 6th Feb 2011 at 09:52 by Joe Martin with 10 comments
It’s startling what’s possible with technology these days. A few decades ago Pong! was the pinnacle of interactive entertainment, and digital watches were the height of fashion. Nowadays, games such as Dead Space for iPhone offer console-like experiences on pocket-sized devices. Meanwhile, I’m wearing a wind-up watch, so maybe not everything progresses equally.
The term ‘console-like experience’ is one that gets bandied about a lot on the AppStore, with the likes of the simplistic-but-stylish Infinity Blade making an especially big deal about it. To us, though, the iPhone version of Dead Space is the first title that really lives up to that claim, matching great graphics with decent complexity.
Casting players as a new character in the Dead Space universe, codenamed Vandal, Dead Space for iPhone bridges the game between the 2008 series debut and the more recent sequel
. Acting as a secret agent for the church of Unitology, Vandal is manipulated in the opening chapters in order to contribute to the disaster that forms Dead Space 2’s backdrop.
Posted on 12th Jan 2011 at 07:28 by Joe Martin with 12 comments
There's only one problem with Ultimate Spiderman for the iPhone - there isn’t enough of it and, when the end comes, it feels abrupt and lacks closure. There’s no real plot that ties the action together; just a series of boss fights linked by someone occasionally muttering ‘prison break.'
You knock the wind out of Sandman, run Rhino through a wall, truss Doc Ock up with his own arms, nullify Venom, best the Goblin and that’s it. End of line, as they say.
It’s disappointing because, right up until the end, Ultimate Spiderman is one of the few truly console-quality games on the iPhone. As Ultimate Spiderman you can run, jump, swing and soar through a number of (relatively) gorgeous levels, finding hidden areas and unlocking comic book art, trophies and extra moves.
Ultimate Spiderman’s button-mashing melee is also perfect for the tiny touchscreen, especially when compared with the awkward thumb-panning and auto-aim of most iPhone shooters.
Posted on 9th Jan 2011 at 10:56 by Joe Martin with 15 comments
They say they devil is in the details, in which case you should imagine Bad Company 2 for the iPhone as having red skin, horns, a trident tail and breath that smells worse than wet, rotten garlic. What really kills Bad Company 2 is the lack of fine polish – and that, sadly, makes a huge difference to the overall experience.
This is a shame, because Bad Company 2 initially looks good. It has a lengthy singleplayer campaign, which slots neatly into the story of the full, proper Bad Company 2, plus a four-player multiplayer mode that’s supported over WiFi and 3G. The graphics are lush, and it packs in plenty of variety too, despite a disappointing tendency to resort to turret sequences.
The multiplayer is especially impressive, in fact. While five levels and support for four players might not sound like a lot, it’s actually a perfectly judged limitation for a mobile phone game. If you want to sit down and invest yourself in lengthy tournaments and huge clan matches, then you're better off going back to the full version of the game. The iPhone version is much more suited to drop-in, drop-out games that keep you occupied while you’re patiently enduring whatever dross happens to be on TV.
Posted on 27th Dec 2010 at 09:45 by Joe Martin with 7 comments
The easy, initial reaction to Rage for the iPhone is to say that id Software has done it again, delivering a game that sets a benchmark of graphical splendour for the platform and will doubtless grow to be one of the iPhone’s definitive shooters.
Closer inspection, however, reveals that early assessment to only be two thirds right. Yes, Rage is a technical marvel and it’s amazing that id Software has managed to cram such large, detailed levels into a mobile phone game. However, this isn’t a definitive shooter. If anything, Rage follows in the steps of Quake Wars and Doom 3; it's graphically magnificent, but a fundamentally boring game.
Rage is closer to a lightgun game than an actual first person shooter. Cast as contestants on Mutant Bash TV – a gladiatorial TV show for the post-apocalypse civilisation – players basically run a scripted gauntlet and kill all the baddies they see along the way. You can’t control your movement, and your role in the game is merely to aim and shoot using the three weapons provided.
Posted on 16th Dec 2010 at 11:39 by Joe Martin with 3 comments
Hooks are a recurring motif for Rocketcat Games, it seems - as 'Cry' is to Crytek, perhaps. It's a motif that has taken center stage in both of Rocketcat's previous titles, Hook Champ
and Super Quick Hook
Now, it shows up again in Hook Worlds - albeit under three different guises.
You see, there are three games in Hook Worlds. The first of these, Curse of the Watcher, doesn't anything new or wholly unfamiliar to fans of Rocketcat's previous games. A cross between Super Quick Hook's endless Avalanche mode and Hook Champ's story-driven levels, Curse has players using rocketboots and a grappling hook to flee a pursuing ghost. The controls have changed about since Super Quick Hook, but it's still super accessible; a tap on the left or right is all you need to whip through the scenery.
Posted on 19th Sep 2010 at 08:33 by Joe Martin with 1 comments
I played and previewed Mirror’s Edge on the iPhone
ages ago, but for some reason it was an iPad exclusive for ages after that. It’s only just been released on the iPhone recently and, interestingly, while the iPhone version is exactly the same as the iPad one, it also manages to be a better game. I’ve played Mirror’s Edge
on both platforms and it’s the smaller of the two which is best.
It’s mainly because of the type of game that Mirror’s Edge
is. Like Super Quick Hook
it’s a fast-paced racer with exploration elements as you search for secrets and new paths through the levels. The levels are short and slick, flying by in a matter of minutes. It’s a game for filling train journeys, not for keeping your hands busy while you watch TV.
It’s an important and often glossed-over distinction, I think. The iPad is
good for laying on your lap and playing slow games that don’t require constant attention. The iPhone is useful for when you need something to fill the uncomfortable silence in a moving lift full of strangers. The iPad is for Scrabble
; the iPhone for Hook Champ
and Mirror’s Edge
Posted on 14th Sep 2010 at 11:16 by Alex Watson with 6 comments
Surely you must have played the Game of Life
? It was a board game that always appealed to me; partly because it had a clicky spinning wheel instead of regular dice, but also because of the neatness of the whole experience - the well behaved blue and pink pegs, the salary that always came in on time, the guarantee that insurance and university really did pay off.
Perhaps it's no surprise then that I'm a big believer in organizing my real life with lots of lists - I have tried full-on GTD
but really what I prefer are just to do lists, on paper, so that I can underline, star and vigorously score out entries when they're done. Even better is the act of feeding the whole list to the shredder when everything is done.
I've been playing around with a new iPhone app called Epic Win
, which in some ways is like a 21st century Game of Life. Specifically it's the game of your life
Posted on 16th Aug 2010 at 13:13 by Joe Martin with 3 comments
As an adaptation of the old Gamebook model, Siege of the Necromancer gets a lot of things right. It lays itself quickly and clearly, providing bookmarks and cheat modes for those who want to just sprint through with no risk of death, but also boasts an achievement board and unlockable art gallery to encourage replays. The RPG rules are simple and to the point, the automated dice rolls quick and no-nonsense. It looks good too, with configurable fonts and nice little sound effects to enhance the mood.
Despite being a new series from an unknown developer, Siege is heavy on the nostalgia too. The basic starting point of a man returning home to his family to find the town overrun by goblins is immediately evocative of a hundred Fighting Fantasy and Choose Your Own Adventure books – a feeling that only increases as you journey through the later chapters. Picking a route through Myr Castle was especially reminiscent of classics like The Legend of Zagor, for example.
Unfortunately, while Siege of the Necromancer definitely gets these broader issues right, it's all too often spoiled by poor writing that speaks of authors desperate to put their fingerprints on what should have been unapologetically based in the tropes of the Fantasy genre. Small tweaks to spelling and jargon, such as changing Goblins to Goblyns, Ogres to Ogryns and Gold to Pestados, feel like differences for differences sake.
Posted on 5th Aug 2010 at 10:33 by Joe Martin with 21 comments
Ugh, it’s late – I’d better turn my iPhone off and go to bed. I’ll stop playing at the end of this turn, so I can start more easily tomorrow morning.
Well, I’m only two turns away from researching gunpowder actually, so I’ll finish that and then I’ll go to sleep…
Excellent, I get two Riflemen units as a bonus for researching Gunpowder first! I’ll just test them out, super-quickly. Gandhi is going to regret conquering Buffalo now!
What? An army of Archers could never defeat a platoon of Riflemen! I’ll rush some more soldiers through production, bring in that Cruiser for support and rectify this mistake next turn.