Bargin crack: Baseball Slugger: Home Run Race 3D for 59p

July 26, 2009

A successful addiction formula:

  • Gameplay is simple to learn but with plenty to master, and always satisfying;
  • Games often take under a minute and are quick to restart, so it’s very easy to say “one more go”;
  • it’s loaded with achievements and other ways of scoring Golden Balls (ahem), the game currency, which buy effective upgrades for your customizable avatar.
  • Very quick and simple internet matchup play, with added flavour of international rivalry.

In short, you are doomed to play this.

Add me to your rival list : Yodeler, riding high at #11,365 in the world rankings.

Buy now, it’s only 0.59p today (store link).

App website at Com2uS


Renda: “Measure your blow after blow ability”

May 26, 2009

The game instructions tell the whole story:

Touch anywhere while 10 seconds.
If 16hits/sec repeatedly is exceeded, it is a game player of the first class!

In other words, tap madly at the screen as fast as possible for ten seconds, then brag about it.

Renda is not just for fans of Engrish and Repetitive Strain Injury: we all got briefly obsessed with it, even to the extent of neglecting the mighty Peggle.

Interoffice Renda competition results:

  1. Ed in the lead with  12.8
  2. James with 7
  3. Steph with 0 (too scared)
Ed's unbeatable score

Ed's unbeatable score

Rating: pointlessness raised to an artform. Recommended.

Version: 1.0 | Size: 0.0MB (?) | Tested on: iPhone 3G, 2.2.1
Price: Free  |  Developer: http://www.smallnetwork.co.jp/

Get it: iTunes link


Losing hurts so good: geoDefense

April 6, 2009

I sat down to do a quick comparison review of some Tower Defense games that are proliferating like creeps on the iTunes store – I was going to look at the the popular and venerable FieldRunners (£1.79, and very much worth it) and some of the free ones like Tap Defense, but after I found a hot tip on a  RockaPaperShotgun comments thread about geoDefense, that plan went out the window – geoDefense ate all my time.

Gameplay: dangerous blobs travel along a winding path to get to your … things you are defending. You must stop them, with the help of 5 towers that you can place next to the enemies path. The towers (mostly) then shoot the bad blobs as they zoom past, creating lovely fireworks.

boom

You must make quick decisions about which tower to deploy where,  when to upgrade, and when to restart.  Which is often, as geoDefense can be very, very hard.

Each level is in effect a puzzle – some seems so restricted that only a few tower placements will yield victory, and the rules seem to shift in un-obvious ways.

Lifespan: There are 3 difficulty levels and 30 unique levels.   Either due to my own incompetence or the developer’s sadism, certain levels may take many, many attempts to perfect. I’ve nearly cleared Hard mode, but there are bits of Medium that seem impossible.  The developer has promised that solutions to each puzzle will be posted on their website, but no sign of them yet. Annoyingly, having nearly finished this review I’ve just discovered that there is a “novice” mode that makes the game easier. Where was that last night at 2am?

win1

Graphics: “retro but modern” – if you know EveryExtendExtra or Geometry Wars you might know what to expect: it’s Tron but more explodey.

Sound: reportedly great, but my speaker is broke. It’s still fun silent.

Usability: the “resume” and “restart” button placement on the pause screen has befuddled me a couple of times and made me lose progress; this is mostly moot as the pause button itself is really difficult to activate – perhaps its my gelaskin‘s fault.  Menus in general are fiddlier than they should be and would benfit from better sizing and spacing.

Addictiveness: Everyone has their own gaming Kryptonite – my fellow reviewers can tell you war stories about months-long quests to catch that one special FlickFish Fish, or the hundreds of hours sunk into landing planes in Flight Control.  geoDefense was mine – I’m at least 5/10 on the Symptoms of gaming addiction scale as a result.

Verdict: a genuine (if uneven) challenge, a treat for the eyes, and “one-more-go-till-dawn” time-stealer of the first rank: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
There is also 59p light version featuing 6 levels – check that out.

Store link for geoDefense | Developer site: Critical Thought Games (screenshots, videos).

Version: 1.1 | Size: 2.7MB | Tested on: iPhone 3g, 2.2.1


Flight Control

April 5, 2009

UPDATE: version 1.2

What’s new: 2 new maps to compliment the original airfield. One is an island themed  map that retains the standard jet, the jumbo jet and the helicopter BUT adds a seaplane with its own water runway. There is also an extra helicopter landing pad. The second map is much more interesting: an aircraft carrier with the 4 new aircraft. There’s a bomber plane (think standard jet), a fighter jet (think jumbo jet), an old-school WWII type plane (think bi-plane from original map) and a Chinook helicopter. The landing zones are much tighter on this map and the aircraft carrier actually rotates when you re-load the map. It gets fast very quickly.

Anything else: A fast forward button was added so that you can get through the first few landings more quickly. It can also provide some fast and furious fun (especially on the aircraft carrier map) if you want something slightly different. A quick save function has been implemented as well. All these features tie in very well with the interactive online scoreboard.

*          *          *

What’s the big idea: What’s the fastest route from point A to point B? Ok, we all know that…but what’s the safest way between 2 points?? That’s what Flight Control is asking you as it brings the stresses of air traffic control to your fingertips.

Gameplay: This is of the “start slow and creep towards manic-ness” variety. Bottom line though is it’s fun. The object is to land 3 different types of aircraft to their respective runways—without any crashes taking place. You guide the planes by drawing flight paths to the runways taking care that aircraft won’t collide. The more aircraft you land, the more Flight Control throw at you. You will develop some simple strategies, i.e. if a plane comes in from this side, I will generally create this kind of flight path.

Controls: These are very intuitive. Simply tap an aircraft and in the same motion draw a path, connecting it to the runway. Aircraft colours change away from red to signal that a successful flight path has been created. Changing a flight path is equally easy: just re-tap the aircraft and draw a new path. The aircraft will automatically change its course.

Graphics&Sound: Flight Control uses a 2D top-down view. The slightly washed-out 50s-60s style retro graphics are a treat to look at and reflect the polished nature we’ve come to expect from iphone native games. The simplicity here only serves to enhance gameplay as there is just enough variation to satisfy without distraction. The game is low on fancy animations, i.e. no explosions.

Sound wise, Flight Control isn’t going to wow you. The initial menu music fades out quickly once gameplay begins and you are left with the beeping sounds of aircraft getting too close for comfort as well the sweet sound of those successfully landed! Ipod music has been enabled.

Depth: Possibly the only drawback of Flight Control. The game is by nature, repetitive and might leave you wanting more. That being said, the fact that it’s so simple works in its favour. Simple score keeping (aircraft landed) will leave you wanting to beat your score again and again—and you will surprised enough when aircraft collide to give it another go! Flight Control’s simplicity also means it’s great for short-burst gaming.

Final rating: Flight Control’s low learning curve, high flying fun, smooth graphics and great value for money make this one of the best native iphone games yet. It is perfectly suited for the iphone and itunes app store ideology we will surely see more aircraft and maps in the future.

Score: 7.5/10

iTunes store link: Flight Control | Developer: Firemint | Version: 1.0 | Price: £0.59 as of 25/03/09

Gametime: open-ended | Tested on: iPhone 3G, 2.2.1 | iPhone native: yes

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