Thursday, January 15, 2009

iPhone games mini-review, market thoughts

It occurred to me that I've bought and downloaded a bunch of iPhone games (17 to be precise - for a total of ~$20) but not commented on them. I'll also post some thoughts about the market in general in the next few days..


I'm doing a rough stack-rank based on my perceived value for time and money spent:
  • TapDefense: A tower-defense game for the iphone. It's good, it's free, it's playable in bite-size chunks of time. Same mechanic that made this genre addictive on the PC works here. There's even an accelerometer-driven earthquake tower just to make it special.
(Image courtesy Flickr user C4Chaos, Creative Commons attribution, sharealike)
  • Rolando ($9.99). NGMoco's flagship title. It's a *great* platformer showing just how much fun a platform the iphone can be. Innovative use of multi-touch & accelerometer. Worth the $10. Only down side is it's not exactly something you can play for 30 seconds at the grocery store checkout line (like tapdefense). Still, great title.

  • JellyCar (free): Fun physics-based, toon-rendered vehicle platformer
  • SolFree (free): Four different solitaire games, free. It's on your phone and sometimes you've got time to kill.
  • Sudoku (free): Same comment as above.
  • Enigmo ($1.99): A fun Lemmings/IncredibleMachine style puzzle game with 3D graphics and touch UI. Fun, and higher quality than many iphone games. Touch-driven UI can be finicky.
  • TouchPhysics ($0.99): It's CrayonPhysics for the iPhone. It looks cool, and physics puzzlers are always fun. However, the lack of precision and resolution made it frustrating for me. Between those two, things had a 'snap to' feel to them, far more than Crayon physics on a tablet PC, which felt magical.
  • Labyrinth LE (Free): It's a great 'virtual' version of those wooden maze/marble games you had as a kid. Great demonstration of the accelerometer. There's a paid version with more levels.
  • iBall3D (Free): It's a better version of labyrinth. However, I prefer Labyrinth's more minimalist and wooden-table feel.
  • FourFree (Free): It's connect four. Fun if you have kids.
  • TicTacFree (Free): It's tic tac toe. Fun if you have kids.
  • Piccross ($2.99): A reveal-the-image puzzle game. Gets to be *okay* after you clear the initial levels which are really there just to learn the mechanics of it. It would be fun if you were playing to try and beat a time, but this makes it frustrating as the 'picking' precision is too fine for the iphone's touch interface. [Disclosure: I bought this mainly because a friend of mine developed it, but I'm trying to be objective]
  • AirHockey ($0.99): It's air hockey. Fun if you have kids. It's a little finicky given the speed it moves at and the lack of precision in the touch interface.
  • Break Classic ($0.99): It's breakout. It's ok. I think it got pulled after getting a warning letter from Atari prior to their breakout releasing (which, btw, I'm going to boycott. They should spend money on building a better breakout, not on lawyers).
  • Aquahoops ($0.99): It's a virtual version of one of those water-filled pump games we had as kids in the eighties. Entertaining for about 2 minutes as an adult, but my kids loved it.[Disclosure: I bought this mainly because a friend of mine developed it, but I'm trying to be objective]
  • AllisJigsaw($0.99): I'm not a jigsaw-game fan, but it's a genre that keeps clocking along in the casual space. Anyhow, I got it because my daughter likes jigsaws. She enjoyed this one in the easy mode.
  • Cube (Free): It's a 3D First Person Shooter! And that's it. i.e. It's good to download and see that it can be done, but as far as playability, the poor UI, chunky frame rate and lack of precision on the touch interface make it nearly unplayable. Still, it's free and it looks nice.

1 comment:

hanford said...

I kinda feel like the market is a bit like the Atari 2600; that is, overcrowded with a lot of crap and not a good way to find the gems.

I think Apple needs to implement demo-mode (try-before-you-buy) for every single apple (like the game portals do). Right now there's just too many people trying to make a quick buck.