iPhone Application (Game) Reviews.

We currently have 4 apps in the store, 2 games, one lite version of a game and a companion app to the book The Business of Design by our founder Joe Desetto. Though we had plans to have at least one new app in the store and another one really close to being submitted by now, I was pulled away from developing for the iPhone to work on other projects. I hope to be back to work soon.

Note: TapDots is now a free app and has done really well now with it’s gratis price, in the education category.

In the name of research and planning for new apps we downloaded and played some of the newer 99¢ games on our iPhones. Here are some brief reviews on a few of those apps.

Research or Play?:
Flight Control is like the gold standard in the 99¢ iPhone game market, it is what every game developer strives to put into the store. It is a simple, challenging and addictive game with great design and replay value. Unfortunately, like with all great things there are many copycats. There are a whole new line to line drawing/prioritizing games now, must are fun to play, but it is hard to enjoy them as much of the original. Too much of a good thing and all that….

Line Drawing Games:

Traffic Rush:
This was a fun game to play for a few minutes, it gets really hard really fast. More of a timing/flicking game, once the game gets going you only have a second to figure out which cars go first. The motorcycles are really hard to see, which I guess is an accurate representation of real life. The gameplay is simple, flick cars, trucks or motorcycles through the intersection before traffic coming from other directions smashes into them. You can also stop the vehicles for a couple seconds, but what fun is that, plus after a second or two they automatically start up again whether the coast is clear or not.
http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=322423174&mt=8

Harbor Master:
A very good adaptation of the Flight Control gameplay, almost the same game with a different theme. What makes this game unique is you have to dock the ships, wait for them to unload, then send them back out to sea to open the port for the next ship. The larger ships move slower in this game while the little vessels zip about. As you guide more and more ships to safety up to 4 additional harbors can be unlocked. Another feature that some will really like is profiles, you can work on your own scores and levels then hand it to a friend who can start a new profile to save their own progress. The hardest part will be taking turns.

Sea Captain:
This game is basically Flight Control for the sea port, where three different colored ships have to be directed to the correctly colored dock. Each boat fades away as it enters the dock clearing the way for the next vessel. Sea Captain includes 6 challenges and 3 seas to navigate. The graphics are great and really give it that salty dog feel. The game offers a couple nice features like subs, subs are cool, and wreck tolerance. The game does not end on the first crash. You have to be careful how you draw you lines, and make sure the line that displays is accurate. There are rocks around the mouth of each dock as well as an island that will blowup your ship if they run into them.
http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=320662253&mt=8

Castle Defense Games:

Archmage:
Combines Castle Defense and Line drawing. Like most Castle defense games, the game play is very repetitive, you just do same things more and more, faster and faster. More of a castle defense game than Line drawing game. Graphics are really nice, It has an in-app purchase feature, which kind of scares me. Between each level you use points to buy stuff upgrades and health. I have to wonder am I spending real money, like Microsoft Points on the xBox? I am taking a break from this game until my next recept from the iTunes store just to make sure.
http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=318793454&mt=8

Knights Onrush:
I think this is the most fun castle defense game I have played. I know some of you will want to stay with the old-school Stick Wars, but this game has a lot more to it then just flicking enemies away from your castle. It starts out like any other castle defense game, infantry attacking your castle. Your job is to flick them away, toss them into a fiery pit or hang them on a hook before the breach your door. Points are earned by kills and you can upgrade your fortress with reenforced doors. You have eight days for each level. That’s right levels, once you complete a level you get to defend a new castle, each with extra powers or features that add a variety of ways of dispensing your foes. Also the the attacking armies will send Calvary as well as bombers to your door, again adding some variety and a tiny bit of tactics.
http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=312494232

Tunneling Games:

I DIg It: ($1.99)
This is a great app to escape with, I really like the graphics and layout of all the weathered controls. It does get tedious though, in the campaign you have to earn $100,000 by digging up stuff, called Digg’ems from under the farm. It is important to make a mining plan because going after items one at a time will produce a maze a tunnels making it harder to get back to the surface before your fuel runs out. The problem with this campaign is you have 3 hours, not game world hours, litteraly 3 hours to complete the challenge. I am about an hour and a half into the challenge after a few attempts. My mining plan is solid so now the game is really repetitive, digging the same old things over and over again occasionally finding something new. Dropping down to over a 1000 feet, I wonder how far down this thing will go?
http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=314864297&mt=8

Number Games:

Nine Gaps:
This game is a mixed feeling of fun and homework. Even though it feels like school I have played it many times. The game goes like this, 9 squares (3 rows, 3 columns) that must be filled with nine numbers. They are separated by mathematical signs and must equate to the numbers on the left of each row and the bottom of each column. I like puzzle games, this is kind of a puzzle game, but mostly a math game. Like I said before, sometimes you may think to yourself, what I am doing play this game, it feels like homework.
http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=317223443&mt=8

Big Top Ten:
A simple game with a old timey big top theme. Drag your finger around the grid selecting strings of numbers that add up to 10. The longer the string of numbers, the more points you earn. Bonus modifiers popup when lots of numbers are used in a string to make the game more interesting.
http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=320461424&mt=8

All the games we tested were well done and definitely worth the 99¢ price tag.

What are some of your favorite iPhone games?

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