Kids Corner Review: Feed Killer
When I was browsing the app store, my daughter saw the app "Feed Killer" and insisted I get it. Why? It had a picture of a killer whale on it (or as she calls it, a "Shamu"). So like an obedient father, I purchased the app, and let her play with it.
The apps is a simple game designed around the premise of feeding a "Shamu". You are presented with a screen showing a "Shamu", and a number of fish. Your goal, to till the iPhone and move Shamu to eat the fish. All movement is based on tilting the iPhone.
As Shamu moves, the fish also move. The app claims that they intelligently move away from Shamu, and they do seem to move away very rapidly, so you need to be able to move Shamu around with some skill to be able to eat the swimming fish.
As you progress to higher levels, there is an object in the middle of the "pool" that acts as a hinderance. At first it is simply stationary, then it starts to move around making it harder to swim past. The obstacle is just some sort of mine on a chain, but it can provide some difficulty when maneuvering Shamu around the tank. You eventually get multiple mines moving around in the tank. Hitting a mine removes some of the time you have to eat the fish, so there is a penalty associated with it.
The graphics are pretty good. The fish that Shamu eats look like real fish, and the types of fish are varied (with my daughter at one point yelling out "Shamu is eating Dory!"). The killer whale image is a static image - it would have been nice to see the tail move or something, but that might have been difficult given the design of the game.
There are various background images as well, lending to the underwater scene. It would be nice to have some sound effects (whale song, killer whale chirps and grunts, and even something like Enya).
When you start the game, you can adjust the controls simply by positioning the iPhone in what you prefer as the "neutral" position. I like this style of setting that game up - you don't need to reconfigure it each time you play. You can adjust the tilt settings within the game by double tapping the screen, but this takes time away from the game (which is timed) so I would like to see a better method of adjusting the settings in game (maybe a pause function?)
There are no high scores or anything like that. When you die three times (the number of lives you have) you are simply taken to the start screen again. You are given a score at each level, so I don't see why there are no high scores or record books.
Pros: Fun game for kids
Cons: No high scores, no ambient music
All in all, this is a fun game that my daughter really likes. I would find it more entertaining if I could have a record of the scores, and I think it would be much more fun if there was some sound or music associated with the game while playing. But my daughter likes making Shamu swim around, so who am I to argue with her? I have no idea what to make of the pricing of this app. It is jumping all over the place. I bought it at $1.99, but it has been free, and as much as $7.99 (which is the current price!). Simply put, I do not recommend this app at $7.99. But if the price drops to $.99 (or maybe $1.99) and you have a kid that would enjoy it, I would say give it a shot. Excluding pricing, I would give this app three 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 benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.