The App Store charts look quite familiar at the start of 2012, with Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Bejeweled and so on all taking the top spots in an effort to make all other mobile game developers feel a little hopeless. At least Catchphrase is high in the charts, which should please Roy Walker.
Nintendo might be slightly annoyed with Mole Kart (we’ll avoid the hyperlink), a game which not only copies Mario Kart, but directly rips off some of its tracks too. Almost as blatant as Angry Chickens.
In another piece of self promotion, Paper Glider vs. Gnomes has just been released on iOS and Android, with a dozen or so levels crafted by the dainty hands of our own Mr Philbin. It’s free, so get that to shut Adam up.
Now some games about augmented sound and art.
A game based on augmented sound is a fascinating idea, and the initial noodling around with Dimensions doesn’t disappoint: noises around you in the real world come at you pleasingly translated and distorted through your earphones, over and above the soundtrack which changes depending on what you’re up to. The idea is that you leave Dimensions running in the background as you go about your business, and every now and then you’re notified that there’s an Artifact to collect or a Nephilim to fend off.
There’s just one problem with this. Both activities use up Quantum Cells, which appear around you relatively frequently, and can be collected by scanning the environment occasionally. But this requires you to pay constant attention to the game, which is not really the point: as I said, the idea is to have it as a background; Artifacts and Nephilim are relatively infrequent. The solution is to buy Quantum Cells with actual money. When the app itself is already at the pricier end of the scale, this is a bit much.
The game is quite a demanding beast, too. The different dimensions are unlocked by being quiet and noisy (fine), playing between midnight and 1am (bit specific), and promoting the game to your friends (sod off). Notifications, too, are on the bothersome side – though developers RjDj have taken note of this in a recent update, and they can of course be turned off.
It all adds up to a game that, for my money, just asks a bit too much of the player, in return for relatively little beyond the initial joy of discovering what the game does with augmented sound. It’s an intriguing curiosity, and there’s definitely potential in this area, but that’s not quite fulfilled here.
Not a lot, though initially it might not seem that way. You control a little chameleon guy, jumping through levels based around the art of each decade from the 20th and 21st centuries. For the first few levels, it’s all a bit pedestrian: the action is undemanding, and the background – inspired by the art styles of the time – doesn’t seem particularly varied to my idiot’s eye.
But the second half of the game is a different matter: the variation in scenery and music is far more noticeable, and all the better for it; the levels themselves become exacting sequences of jumping and power-up collecting, long enough to challenge but short enough not to irritate.
Not surprisingly, there’s a bit of education in there too: a nice modern art timeline, and explanations of the different art styles unlocked as achievements.