Weekend Head to Head Review: Spawn Illuminati
Let's hear it for hypnotic graphics apps!
Spawn Illuminati bills itself as an interactive particle manipulator (actually my term, but it sounds good). The program itself is pretty cool.
It a nutshell, you can control or influence the "particles" that appear on screen, making them dance around following your finger, changing their appearance, size, and speed, or even influencing how many particles exist on the screen.
The manipulation is done by pinching or expanding on various parts of the screen. This is a biggest gripe with the program - the sensitivity of both the incremental changes as well as being at the correct location on the touch screen is not up to par. According to the help screen (which is flashed very quickly when you start the program) where you pinch/expand directly influences the particles. The settings seem to be an "either/or" situation - you either have small particles or long particles, they are either moving fast or slow, they are either wide or thin...you get the idea. But the biggest problem I had was actually pinching in the correct areas of the screen. Pinch of the right side of the screen, and the particle color will change. On the left side, and the size is supposed to change, but half of the time I was pinching there, the size was not changing. Or the size AND the speed would change, when I only wanted to manipulate one.
I applaud the effort to manke the controls as unobtrusive as possible. Having the particles dance all around the screen really seems to work quite well. But part of that would also require that the controls for manipulating the particles are very easy to grasp, and there appear to be some difficulties with that right now.
In addition, it would be nice to influence some overall control settings - minimum or maximum number of particles, spawn rate, color changing options, etc. That way you could sort of set it on "background" mode and simply watch it. Right now you can do that, but the particles themselves won't vary unless you take an active role.
Pros: Great graphical display, innovative attempt as user interface
Cons: User interface still seems a little buggy to me
This is a cool program, right up there with Bloom in tems of a concept program. However, I think the user interface (senstivity and incremental change options) needs a little work before it can be a top of the line app. Forwever, it you like watching mesmerizing graphic displays, for $1.99 you can't go wrong. Four out of five stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benfits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.
When I first learned about this application in the forums, it sparked my interest, until it said in the description "firework." Then I was like 'o great, not another 'firework' app. However soon after downloading this app, I soon found myself bedazzled by the app.
The best way to describe this app is a combination of - interactive firework application combined with the Flurry screensaver from a Mac.
This application has no sound and there really is no need for it either.
If you were to just open and watch your iPhone display, you would find a mesmerizing display of colors and bursts.
Besides just watching the app do its own thing, you have the ability to interact with the "flurry". By pinching or expanding you fingers from the center of the screen vertically, you can change the diameter of the "flurries".
By pinching or expanding you fingers on the right side of the screen vertically, you can change the colors of the "flurries".
If that isn't enough by using the same technique as described above on the left-hand side of the screen, you can change the length of the "flurries".
And finally using the pinch/expand technique horizontally on the center of the screen you can change the speed that the "flurries" move at.
When you first begin the app, you will see a screen that displays instructions, however, I found that the screen disappears too quickly and you might have to use this review as a reference or exit the app and re-enter it to see the instruction screen again.
I also found that controlling the various changes of the "flurries" a bit difficult. Using the pinch/expand method, the variables changed a little too quickly. It was almost "this or that," there almost seems nothing in-between. Besides the options of changing the "flurries” appearance, when you touch the screen, the "flurries" will follow. And finally (and the coolest part in my opinion) is when you double tap on the screen, each "flurry" will explode in firework-like fashion.
This app runs for $1.99 in the app store and is recommended for self-mesmerizing enjoyment or providing enjoyment for the “little ones.”
-Lots of controllable options
-Instruction screen disappears a little too quickly
-Controls can be difficult.
While I would like to see a "Tap-To-Continue" instruction screen and better handling of controls, I find this to be one of the best (and mesmerizing) "firework-like" applications in the app store.
Click here for more screenshots.
Video (Coming Soon)