Saturday, March 13, 2010

Game Review - Eyegore's Eye Blast

Review - Eyegore's Eye Blast - $1.99 (free version available) (Appshopper Link)

One of the great things about the App Store and the games in it is the propensity for its developers to take a formula that works and use the special capabilities of the iPhone/iPod touch to add something very cool and interesting. In some cases, it has to do with touch controls being more precise than moving a pointer around on the screen with a mouse or arrow keys. In the case of Eyegore's Eyeblast, it has to do with using the device's accelerometer to inject some innovation into the good old Bust-a-Move/Puzzle Bobble formula.

For those who were deprived, Bust-a-Move was an old Super Nintendo/arcade game where your goal is to shoot a colored orb from the bottom of the screen at a group of orbs at the top of the screen to make them disappear. Your ability to estimate angles and vectors was key, because the orbs were shot out of something resembling a rotating turret.

Eyegore's Eyeblast takes that tried and true system one step further. Instead of being stationary at the top of the screen as in Bust-a-Move, the orbs in Eyegore's Eye Blast are suspended on a chain, and using the accelerometer (i.e. tilt controls), you can move the chain and orbs as if they were a big pendulum. This introduces an extra element of strategy, because you now have a tremendous amount of control over where your shot lands. For example, if you're aiming for a red orb at the top of the bunch, inaccessible to direct shots, you have to slowly tilt your device from side to side, gathering up enough momentum for the pendulum, and with the right timing, ricochet your shot off the side and top walls to get to the that red orb on top while it's exposed.

It's really a lot of fun, and I think those who enjoy the challenge of playing billiards will appreciate this pocket-sized puzzler. Oh and by the way, instead of being colored orbs, the things in Eyegore's Eyeblast are EYEBALLS!!! Eyegore's Eyeblast is connected to the Agon Online network, which tracks global scores and records your achievements for accomplishing special goals in-game.

If you're curious, at least check out the Lite version (link above).

Game Review - Samurai: Way of the Warrior

Review - Samurai: Way of the Warrior - $1.99 (free version available) (Appshopper link)

One of the things iPhone game developers have to contend with when designing controls for a game is the lack of physical control buttons, like a game console or other portable like the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS. Since the beginning of iPhone games, many creative control schemes have surfaced to compensate for this. Some have been great and intuitive and others have proven clunky at best.

Samurai: Way of the Sword is mostly in the first category. You control an honorable Samurai warrior, who arrives in a town and finds that it has been taken over by a brutal, powerhungry warlord and thus is crawling with his lackeys. Samurai is an action game, primarily consisting of you moving around and using your swordsmanship to wipe out waves of enemies as you move through the towns.

And that's where the controls come in. You simply tap on the screen where you want the guy to walk to. To attack or dodge, you swipe your finger up, left, or right on the screen. As you play, you will "unlock" various combo moves that consist of repeated swipe combinations (such as Left, Up, Left).

As simple and intuitive as these controls are, however, I have found Samurai to be the touchscreen controlled version of a "button masher", where it really doesn't matter which way you swipe or which combos you use - I just ended up going nuts swiping in every direction. I don't know if this is due to my impatience or the inability to tell the difference between all the different combos I was supposedly performing. Still, the cartoon brushstroke visuals and cheesy yet gory enemy deaths are worth a look if you like simple action games.

I would kind of see myself enjoying this game as more of a "play for 5 minutes while waiting in line" type of game rather than something to get sucked into for hours. I have not finished the game yet, but it feels like it can get repetitive pretty quickly.

Look at the screenshots below and check out the free version (link at the top of this post).