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    msbaylor's Avatar
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    Default Head 2 Head Review: 3D Fireworks

    Chris’s Review:

    Okay, so I admit, a fireworks program has limited use on the iPhone. But it can be fun to play with, and depending on the graphics, it can certainly be entertaining to watch.

    3D Fireworks is a program that attempts to recreate the fireworks experience. It is very simple - you are presented with a "blank" sky, and by tapping the iPhone screen, you launch fireworks into the air.

    The are some controls you can manipulate. By swiping across the sky, you can adjust your view (up and down, or left and right). By pinching, you can shrink or expand your field of view as well. You have the option of locking your field of view (which is nice, as I will explain below) as well as pausing the fireworks display, and changing the time of day (it would appear to be dusk, dawn, or middle of the night). You can also adjust your view by tilting the iPhone.

    The controls for moving your viewpoint are somewhat confusing. While the up and down adjustment (and the tilt) are pretty straightforward, the side-to-side viewing is a little odd. Rather than actually looking side to side, it appears as if you are spinning under the firework explosion. Doing this while a firework is exploding gives you a nice 3-d view of the graphics. However, doing it at other times will just disorient you. It would be nice if they included a landmark (such as a tree) or some sort of arrow indicator to help orient yourself when changing your angle of view.
    As I mentioned, it is possible to lock your viewpoint, which will prevent you from accidentally spinning around when you are trying to launch the fireworks.

    The fireworks themselves are a mixed bag. The explosions are pretty nice, and there is a nice variety of fireworks types (unfortunately, none of the "sparkle" type or the ones with multiple cascading explosions). Unfortunately, there is no way to choose which firework you are launching, you simply tap the screen and wait for the surprise. In some ways this is good - it is a surprise when you see the explosion. But it also means you can't choreograph your own fireworks show. It would be great to be able to choose what firework you are launching, and even to choreograph a show in advance and then watch it.

    One other drawback is that you can't really aim where the firework is launched. I thought at first that tapping the screen in different areas would launch a firework to that area, but it appears random.

    Pros: Nice graphics
    Cons: Lack of ability to control the program, tricky adjustment of viewing angle

    All in all, the graphics themselves are nicely done, but the lack of additional controls limits the enjoyability of this program. In addition, while the intent behind controlling your viewing angle is nice, in reality it becomes more of a headache than anything else. While at $.99 this application won't break the wallet and it can be fun to create a fireworks show, until they implement some additional features I discussed here, I would pass it by.
    Two and a half out of five stars.

    Matt’s Review:

    In the past I’ve purchased PyroMania, which was a fun little application and I was excited to try out 3D Fireworks, however, I was greatly let down. Straight up, I wouldn’t recommend it right now. Here’s why:

    The initial screen begins on describing you how to navigate within the application

    When I first navigated the screen, it was a bit disorienting. The screen seemed to pan and move about as I tapped the screen in order to “set-off” the fireworks. I then thought about the initial screen and “locked” the camera. I started tapping the screen once again and I heard the bursts, but did not see hem, or half of the bursts would come into to screen, as if it had bursts just off screen. I unlocked the camera and moved about, I found it quite easy (and very annoying) that you could look directly up and begin spiraling. Also it has tilt controls on it, which I found a bit confusing , When you are looking down at the screen, you can see the horizon, with the fireworks bursting near the top of the screen. When you move it above your head, it’s like your watching it from directly underneath. Knowing this it seems a bit odd, I mean in physical reality that doesn’t happen…if you look up, you see nothing. If you hove your finger around the screen, it pans around the firework burst. This is a neat idea, if everything else worked out equally it would be a very nice app.

    I found that you can only set off one firework at a time (no multi-touch). However by tapping multiple times you can set off several.

    Once you begin messing around with the application, by tapping the screen I believed you that you could set off a firework and it would explode at that height, but it doesn’t, it seems to burst at a preset height (or randomized preset height). The main thing I was impressed with, was the assortment of colors and types of breaks, it however (as with other firework apps) lack willow-style fireworks (bursts that break and then slowly fall toward the ground) and it also doesn’t have and multi-break explosions.

    There are however, a multitude of colors and different burst types compared to other firework applications. You might even come across a bursting-smiley.

    If you stop touching the screen for a few seconds, the app will, on its own, begin to “shoot” off fireworks

    In the application, you have the ability to pause what is currently on screen and move around it (hence 3D). You also have the ability to change the time of day – sunset (orange in sky & stars), after-sunset (blue in sky & stars) and night (black with stars). Truthfully, I felt this was an un-needed feature.

    I am still flabbergasted as to why the firework applications don’t utilize the mic input (like Ocarina). It would be really cool to see the fireworks explode to music.

    -Several colors & burst types
    -Can pause motion

    -Hard to navigate viewing
    -Lack of customizing the height of the burst
    -Lack of realistic physics.

    Overall I would not recommend this application even for $0.99. I however wouldn’t mind paying $1.99 if the ironed out the viewing issues and added some of the features I mentioned.

    Last edited by msbaylor; 11-24-2008 at 11:29 AM.

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