Sunday, July 20, 2008

Aqua Forest Review

Review #2 Aqua Forest

Aqua Forest
Gameplay: 9/10 (Amazing...just amazing)
Graphics: 7/10 (the game doesn't need great graphics, though it gets laggy)
Story: 3/10 (as you complete each level, a tree grows...that's it)
Fun: 9/10 (Very fun...experimenting with different elements is a lot of fun)
Addictive: 9/10 (Experimenting with different elements is very, very addictive)
Price: 9/10 (Completely worth the $7.99 price-tag)
Average (Overall, Mathematical): 8/10

Okay, well...I first saw this application when I saw Chris Pirillo doing a brief demo of it on Youtube, and in my head I thought, "Falling Sand Game for iPhone!!! Finally!!!". So, after a paycheck, I decided I would buy this game, and, at first, I didn't really like it.

The premise of this game is to build just about anything from the 20 elements that the game provides. Just playing with water and wall can provide hours of fun.

Let's start the walkthrough.

When you tap on the icon, you are presented with the following menu.

As you can see, the game has two modes. Free and puzzle. We will look at puzzle first.

In puzzle mode, you have 5 stages of puzzles to complete, each with a tutorial. The five stages are: A: Tilting, B: Touch, C: Drawing, D: Warm/Cool, E: All Functions. These 5 functions go in order from easiest to hardest, and they cover all of the features of the game. The puzzles pretty much consist of two main parts. The main object and the goal. The object of the puzzles is to guide the main object to the goal.

The Category "A: Tilting" puzzle menu

Category A: Tilting: As the title says, Category A's puzzles are all based around tilting your iPhone to complete the puzzle. These puzzles usually have something to guide to the goal. IE water, or a ball.

Category B: Touch These puzzles usually are based around cutting string or moving a rock to get an object to the goal.

Category C: Drawing These puzzles typically can only be solved by "drawing" an element to help guide the object to the goal.

Category D: Warm/Cool These puzzles can be solved by either heating an element or cooling an element to guide you object to the goal. IE water heated to steam.

Category E: All Functions These puzzles utilize all of the functions played in the previous categories.

Now, on to Free mode.

Free mode is the most fun and addicting part of Aqua Forest. In it, you can choose from any of the elements, and from any of the input modes (Hand, Move Screen, Square, Pen, Brush, Eraser, bucket, and Knife).

Input Modes

Hand With hand, you can move any unstationary object.

Move Screen With this, you can move around the screen.

Square With this, you can create a square out of any element.

Pen A small tip drawing tool.

Brush A larger tip drawing tool.

Eraser Erases whatever you swipe over.

Bucket Creates a ton of whatever element you have selected.

Knife Cuts whatever you swipe over.

The tool selector screen.


Weak: A weak rock substance.

Tensile liquid: A goo substance.

Elastic: A rubber substance.

Light: A liquid that floats on water.

Mochi: A substance almost like a really think goo. It sticks to things and loses shape as it bounces around.

Outflow: Whenever another element comes into contact with outflow, it disappears.

Water: Water.

Rigid Body Rock.

Heater Almost like a really, really, hot rock.

Viscous liquid: This substance acts like a sticky butter.

Wall: An indestructable rigid substance that does not move.

String: String

Fuel This is a rigid substance that ignites when it contacts fire or heater.

Powder: Explodes when it comes into contact with fire or heater.

Rice: Acts like rice.

Fire: Fire.

Dense: L Liquid that sinks in water.

Inflow: A substance that gushes water.

Rigid Axis: Rigid objects that rotate around their centers.

Cooler Changes steam (gas) into water.

The element selector screen.

As you can see, you have a ton of elements to play with.

Physics Engine

The game's physics engine, called. "OctaveEngine™, is very detailed and in-depth, though it can get laggy.

Here is a simple experiment showing off the engine's capabilities. As you can see, The water hits the heater, then turns into steam, which then hits the cooler and turns back into water.

Wrapping it up

In the end, this game is amazing. With the sandbox experience, to the innovative use of the accelerometer, this game is worth the investment. If I were a tacky food reviewer reviewing some Caviar in France, I would call this game "A bitter taste at first, but once you explore the capabilites of this game, the taste gets to be amazing."

Video Reviews Coming Soon!!!

We will be posting out first video review on Friday, July 25th, and will be posted on our blog. This will be a full 2.0 Firmware review, and will cover all of the new features.

And, in other news...

We are going to try to get a podcast up and running, so stay tuned!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Super Monkey Ball Review

Hey guys, I am going to be giving a lot of reviews of a lot of iPod Touch games, so if you guys have any requests I will be sure to at least look at the game (with $$$ restrictions not sure how soon it would be before I can fill your request). So, without further ado, here goes review number 1.

Super Monkey Ball
Gameplay: 7/10 (Very innovative gameplay)
Graphics: 10/10 (the best possible graphics an iPhone can support)
Story: 2/10 (there really isn't a store here)
Fun: 8/10 (Once you get the hang of it, it gets very fun)
Addictive: 8/10 (You won't want to stop playing this game)
Price: 7/10 (A worthy investment of $9.99)
Average (Overall): 7/10

When Sega first announced this at the Apple Conference in March (the one where they unveiled the App store and the SDK), they made it look awesome.
Picture from iLounge

With the innovative use of the accelerometer, and the amazing graphics, everyone who saw this wanted it right away. And when Sega announced that it would cost $9.99 and would be available at the launch of the app store, I couldn't help thinking that it was a bit pricy. But, after buying it, I think that they could've gotten away with a $15.00 price tag.

When you open the application, you are confronted with few credits (Sega, etc.), and then it goes right to the menu. After picking your game (Main Game, Instant Play, Practice), you pick your character (AiAi, MeeMee, Baby, or GonGon). And then you pick which world you want to play in. In each world, there are 20 levels (plus 2 extra ones to unlock if you complete the game with tons of perfect levels). 10 on the easy mode, and 10 hard mode, which you will unlock when you complete easy mode.

A standard level is comprised of: multiple platforms, obstacles, and a finish bubble. Your objective is to guide the monkey to the finish bubble, by tilting the iPhone in the direction you want the monkey to travel. This can be especially challenging, especially if you are a beginner. But after a few levels, you get the hang of it, and it starts to get more challenging.

Level 90

Once you get the hang of this game, it is quite fun, and very addictive. It is well worth the price.