Since there isn’t usually much to say about iPhone Apps, I’m going to be grading them on a scale of three: avoid, passable, and good.
Fast Ball 2
This game is very basic, all you do is jump. That’s it. You roll across the stages, tapping the screen to jump to other platforms and to avoid obstacles. The jump isn’t even affected by how long you tap the screen either, so it’s all about timing the jumps perfectly. The collision detection can be wonky at times, sometimes I was even able to jump off the top of obstacles. Overall, this game can be kinda fun, but it isn’t anything special.
Final Rating: Passable
This is a very good app, it has every Dilbert comic available to view. The only issue I have with this app is when your looking for a certain comic, and then turn the phone on its side, the app will take you all the way back to the start of the list.
Final Rating: Good
This is an interesting app, with lots of little features. I really like its battery status indicator, which clearly tells you exactly how long your battery will last doing different things. Final Rating: Passable
I have really mixed feelings on “cross-media” franchises. When they work well, they can expand a rich universe in a great way, with the Mass Effect books and comics immediately coming to mind. If a publisher makes the wrong choices however, it can just kind of sour you on a beloved game. After releasing a tie-in movie for the first Dead Space (not a great one, either), EA unleashed a marketing juggernaut for Dead Space 2, with books, a movie, comics, and Dead Space Ignition. Ignition acts as sort of a bridge between Dead Space 1 and 2, with the story following two engineers on The Sprawl, the giant space station that serves as a setting for the second game. Basically, shit goes bad, and you have to get the hell out. This story is told entirely in a motion comic style, with some pretty ugly art and animation. Though I’m not professing to be a comic expert, I feel like even the worst comic artists could do a little better than this.
The only gameplay in Ignition comes in the form of 3 different minigames that cycle throughout the story: a tower defense game, a racing-like game that slightly resembles Tron lightcycles, and a grid based puzzle game that is basically a version of the hacking minigame from Bioshock. These definitely grow old quickly, especially the tower defense game, which can basically be won by mashing your controller for a couple minutes. All told, including cutscenes, Ignition can probably be finished in around 45 minutes. Though there are a couple branching paths in the story which you’re encouraged to replay, you’ll probably be sick of the rote gameplay after the first time through.
Even for $5, Dead Space Ignition is still a tough sell. It unlocks a couple rooms in Dead Space 2 which give you some power-ups and ammo, but nothing vital. If you’re a hardcore Dead Space fan who absolutely needs to know every piece of fiction in the universe, pick it up. But for most people, Ignition has far too little content to justify a purchase.
I AM THE NIGHT!!! This is probably the best Batman game ever, by far. The title is self explanatory, you play Batman, and you have to kick ass in Arkham Asylum when the Joker starts a prison riot. Game-play is fairly linear, and you get new items that unlock new areas to explore. When exploring the environment, you can activate detective mode, which points out interactive materials and has X-ray vision. The items all seem fairly useful and most are effective in combat too, which is very nice. You’ll be outnumbered, so you have to go in quiet and stealthy. That is unless they have no guns, if they don’t have any guns, feel free to engage them in hand to hand combat. Hand to hand combat is very smooth and requires some finesse, but it feels awesome when you chain together an awesome combo. Boss battles are usually against famous Batman villains, which keeps things nice and interesting. There was some points in the game where they didn’t really tell you what you needed to do, which was beyond frustrating. Beyond that though this game is excellent, even if it gets bogged down sometimes by annoying game design.
Final Rating: 4/5
I’m giving away a Steam copy of Batman: Arkham Asylum. Here are the rules:
1) Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “BATMAN” in the subject. A winner be chosen at random.
2) The contest is open until 2/24/2011.
3) At least a 100 people need to participate in order for there to be a winner, so tell your friends about it, or post this post on your Facebook.
Kratos is back, because there are gods to be killed, as well as anything that’s stupid enough to be seen by Kratos. Kratos by the way, is as much as a sociopath as he’s always been, if not more. Killing people has never been so beautiful though. The game starts where God of War 2 left off, with Kratos marching toward Mount Olympus.
Kratos kicking some ass.
This opening scene gets the game started with a bang, unfortunately the rest of the game can’t match up to it. This opening scene is awesome to say the least, with giant battles, awesome camera work, and lots of action. Afterwards you can’t help but be hooked for the rest of the game, waiting for another moment like that. But it just doesn’t happen, it never gets as good as the first scene. It goes from being an amazing game, to good game afterwards. This doesn’t mean the game is bad, it just seems that the pacing is off. The base game play tried and true, if you’ve played the other God of War’s, you’ll see that it’s virtually unchanged; go somewhere, find out you need something, go back to where you started, go back with thing, repeat. The boss battles are supposed be the high points of the game, but even they didn’t match up to the first scene, and they seem disappointing, like lighting some fireworks, waiting patiently just to get a small *pop*. Even the final boss fizzles compared to the first battle. When your not fighting, but you usually are, your doing puzzles, some of which are very clever. One puzzle reminded me of the works of M.C. Esher, which only made it more fun to figure out. The weapons in this game are ok, but they’re are similar to your default blades. The ending was kind of boring and predictable, but I wasn’t really expecting much. There was one thing the bothered be about the game; it felt like I was supposed to have some sort of emotional connection to Kratos, which I found hard because he slaughtered everyone who looked at him funny. Overall all though this an excellent game, and it defines the hack and slash genre.